Holidays increase stress for everyone, especially caregivers. A new APA study found that more than 6 out of 10 Americans report significantly more stress during the holidays (Here’s the link.)
Caregivers need to find ways to manage their stress this holiday season and family and friends can use their holiday gatherings to help them do this. But first they need to open the door to a conversation with the caregiver about how they are doing. Here are tips for them to get this conversation going and allowing the love and support to flow.
1) Begin a respectful, productive conversation with the caregiver without invading their privacy.
2) Agree about whether this conversation – or part of it – is confidential or not.
3) Ask questions about the caregiver’s well-being and be a good listener.
4) Honor and affirm the caregiver for their generosity, perseverance, and commitment.
5) Explore ways to share the care and be part of the caregiver’s circle of support.
6) Offer to help them explore the possibilities of using a caresite ( i.e. a free, easy to set up and easy to use website that helps caregivers get the support they need in the ways they want it).
Over the next week I will focus on each of these 6 tips.
Before we start, I offer a few questions for you to consider and comment on.
Which friends of yours are doing caregiving – either directly or from afar?
Who can you imagine might be open to having a conversation with you about how they are doing?
What will it take for you to be willing to step forward and start a conversation with them?
My big message this holiday season? This all about relationship and connection. Caregivers can not do this alone. You can use the warmth of your holiday gathering to open up the healing possibilities that are right in front of you.