Members of Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community and Caregiver Fellows shared what they do as caregivers to help make the holidays easier.
The Holiday Season can be a difficult time for both caregivers and veterans alike. For some caregivers, their veteran’s date of injury occurs during this season, for others the holidays bring up painful reminders of seasons past, pre-injury. For most, it is a time filled with extra activities, unfollowed schedules, extra noise and stimulation, and pressure, which can throw a wrench into caregiving.
One veteran has difficulty with loud voices in the room, so his caregiver has helped by having the entire family designate a quiet place for the veteran to rest and watch TV. Other men within the family will also join him in the “quiet room.” This serves two purposes, the caregiver explained, “1) He is not alone and hiding, 2) Guy talk makes him feel normal.”
Another caregiver designates family time on Sundays. She states that “We play board games and eat take out and enjoy ourselves, free of everyday worries.”
An important theme among the caregivers was the ability to set boundaries and say “no” when needed. As explained by one caregiver, “This is especially important at Christmas when things can be so hectic and overwhelming. By picking and choosing where my energy is spent, I have learned that I don’t have to do every tradition, bake every cookie, attend every party, or even decorate every inch of space. One especially difficult year, I put up the tree with lights and tinsel only. In other words, I manage my OWN expectations.”
If you are a caregiver and would like additional tips on how to manage the holidays, or would like to share your own – please sign up to be a member of our Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community at http://www.ElizabethDoleFoundation.org/HiddenHeroesCoalition or by e-mailing HHCC Program Coordinator, Emery Popoloski, at Emery@ElizabethDoleFoundation.org