Once again as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Will be near to us once more
Regardless of your family’s traditions, the holiday season is associated with great energy, excitement, and anticipation. But accompanying these emotions is their troublesome cousin: expectations.
The pressure we put on ourselves and each other to make the holidays measure up to the often imagined memories of years gone by can seriously increase anxiety levels and get in the way of the limited time we have to enjoy being with our loved ones.
A need for senior care doesn’t ever take vacation, so we at Caring Hearts are often there to help our elderly clients throughout the holiday season. Here are a few tips our elder caregivers share with their client families while helping out at family visits during the holidays:
1) Don’t take sides.
Some of the most common holiday challenges are family disputes. Whether it’s some disappointment or disapproval that has surfaced in recent months or those two adult siblings who have never gotten along—stay out of it. Trying to play peacemaker may only escalate the situation. It’s best to approach it as you would a couple of squabbling children: Do your best to keep them separate and busy.
2) Don’t pretend it never happened.
Often the holiday spirit is dampened by recent events. A divorce or the loss of a loved one can add pressure to make the holidays as “normal” as possible, whatever that means. By recognizing that this is the new normal, you can accept change and enjoy the season to its fullest.
3) Have the experience, don’t document it.
It’s never been easier to take and share up-to-the-minute photos, but this isn’t a new issue—families have been posing for holiday photos ever since amateur photography became affordable. We recommend that you do take a few pictures—it’s important to have mementos of your time together, and you may need some new photos to send to your family’s WiFi photo frame—but take care to make memories of friends and family enjoying the holiday, not of them waiting to have their picture taken.
4) Be in the moment.
This is your 2015 holiday season. You will never have another exactly like it and you only have one shot at it. Take the bitter with the sweet, and remember that years from now you or someone else will look back and wonder why the holidays aren’t like this anymore.
In the spirit of Judy Garland’s classic Christmas tune, we hope you have yourself a very enjoyable holiday season. Accept the facts of difficult family situations. Don’t take sides unnecessarily in family disputes. Snap a few photos, but don’t spend the whole holiday with your nose buried in your smartphone. Above all, enjoy your moments together, and appreciate this special time of year while it’s happening, so you’ll have happy memories to enjoy for years to come.