• Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

By Dr. Tyra Oldham

Holidays are always challenging for family and friends. For some holidays or a time of sadness and depression, while for others, it’s a time of joy, fun, and festivities. The caregiver in the times of holidays is the same plus more responsibility to care for their loved ones and manage the holiday. Caregivers are continually challenged and have the same day-to-day obligations during the holidays as before. Caregivers, this is a time that you need to think about yourself! Everyone always says think about yourself make time for yourself, but it’s tough when you have day-to-day responsibilities and sometimes hour-to-hour responsibilities. For many this is a time a vacation taking breaks but for the caregiver they still have the same responsibility to care. I will admit I can be a weary caregiver, and many are experiencing the same. We all have choices to take time to rejuvenate and do something extraordinary for ourselves during this holiday. There are alternatives for caregivers if it is affordable or accessible. One, you can place your loved one in respite care right after the holiday. Two, you can hire someone to support you during the holiday if they’re available and affordable. Three, you can figure out how to juggle your time a little bit differently to make more time for yourself. 

Caregivers we must start to care for ourselves. I don’t necessarily believe in resolutions for the new year, but in 2022 caregivers must take time for themselves to do the things they like to do and manage their care. I know the job of caring is quite hard. I would say it’s the most demanding job I’ve ever had, and I have had some tough, challenging jobs in my lifetime. But care is filled with emotion, physical, and spiritual. The emotion to spiritual challenges makes the job so much harder than just a regular 9 to 5. Figure out a social plan and a livable plan for yourself over this holiday. Make calls to agencies and people to get the support you need. For some, this is a financial challenge and an emotional challenge of letting go. But we must find the time to make those decisions before we suffer our own health crisis. It is stated that caregivers sometimes do not outlive the people they care for. June 27, 2017 a report detailed Richard Schulz, PhD, December 15, 1999 study of caregiver stress. The report shared; “An oft-cited 1999 study found that caregivers have a 63 percent higher mortality rate than non-caregivers, and according to Stanford University, 40 percent of Alzheimer’s caregivers die from stress-related disorders before the patient dies.” I have had calls from older caregivers who are suffering and not 100 percent. These situations are challenging and require a family meeting to discuss care options and responsibilities.

So, this holiday in this new year begin to change the way you think about how you care. Think about how you can love and care with equity, responsibility, and grace. 

Care Corner looks forward to sharing more care, tips, and news in 2022. I have been proud to share care with you this year. May you all be blessed and filled with care and hope each day ahead.  

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