Holiday tips for caregivers


By Kay Kaylor

SUN Columnist

For San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (SJBAAA), I am not only a part-time long-term care ombudsman, advocating for residents at Pine Ridge, a 24-hour extended care home, and BeeHive, an assisted living residence. I also am an aging and disability resource specialist and trained Senior Medicare Patrol and State Health Insurance Assistance Program counselor. Information on the many aging and care concerns will be included here.

In the spirit of the holiday season, I am grateful for the many advocacy groups who testify before Congress and fight to improve or at minimum maintain the quality of life and care for elders and who work to create laws to help keep people in their homes as long as possible. I also am thankful to encounter, try to help and learn from elders in this community.

Tips for caregivers during the holidays

As noted in an online AgingCare article by Carol Bradley Bursack, caregivers may focus too much on making holidays perfect for others and neglect their own health and enjoyment. Here are some ideas from the author to avoid caregiver guilt.

Wipe out memories of “perfect” holidays of other decades and celebrate in a new way that fits your current life. Add a funny and touching, but perhaps imperfect, holiday movie to your traditions, and watch even more than once to elevate everyone’s mood.

If we accept where we are in life, it is easier to work toward gratitude; even slight feelings of appreciation may improve our attitudes and see what is truly important, Bursack notes.

Communicate to everyone how you need to also spend time with others, from the very young to an elder in your care, even if that person lives with dementia. They might gain more realistic expectations and even give you a hand or encourage you to spend time with others.

Simplify your plans and forgive yourself if you limit your decorations, shopping and holiday cards to increase everyone’s quality of time. Your own health and peace of mind are your gift to those you love.

SJBAAA offers resources for people age 60 and older or on Medicare. For further information, please call me at 264-0501, ext. 1 or send an email to