Keeping Caregiver Stress Minimized this Holiday Season

Typically, November and December can be two of the busiest months of the year because of holiday entertaining. Many of us took a hiatus from our hectic schedules last year due to COVID-19, but as more and more individuals become vaccinated and additional treatments are discovered, gatherings are being planned. If you are the main caregiver to your aging or ill loved one, adding any additional responsibilities to your “to-do” list can seem daunting! Here are some recommendations to help ease the stress associated with being a caregiver.

Just say no.

Even if you have always hosted the Thanksgiving get-together, it’s ok to pass on hosting this year. Is Christmas Eve your holiday to have everyone over? See if a sibling or cousin can take the lead. Preparing the house, shopping for food, and planning the gathering is a lot of work, and having another family member or friend host will take a lot of additional stress off of your plate. Many of us tend to feel guilty when we decline certain requests or family traditions. Not hosting doesn’t mean you still can’t bring your family’s favorite dessert or side dish!

Rely on others.

Superheroes don’t really exist and trying to “do it all” can create mental and physical stress that can be exasperating over the holidays. If you feel overwhelmed, ask a friend or a relative to help out, even if it’s just a Sunday afternoon so you can spend some time on taking care of yourself or wrapping gifts. There are also respite care options, including services through the Alzheimer’s Association, The Department of Veterans Affairs, and more. You can also contact Family Hospice at (618) 277-1800 to learn more about our palliative care and hospice services.

There are also support groups, like the wonderful services offered at Heartlinks Grief Center, for anyone simply needing to share their experiences and learn from others. It’s important to talk to friends, family and others that love you and understand your challenges as a caregiver.

Simplify how you communicate.

As caregiver, are you constantly reaching out to different sides of the family to update how things are going? Do you feel like you are having the same conversations multiple times about the health and wellness of your loved one? There are resources available to help, like PostHope and CaringBridge, which allow caregivers to post updates while also protecting their loved one’s privacy. Instead of sending a Holiday Card this year, send out a link inviting them to this new, informative way of communicating in the months ahead.

No matter the season, focus on your own health.

With the new year just around the corner, this is also a great time to begin a new routine and put your own health as a priority all year long. By exercising regularly, you’ll achieve better sleep and begin to feel better, too. Haven’t been in to see your doctor lately? Get a check-up on the calendar. By doing simple things like eating well, drinking water, and focusing on your happiness, you’ll notice an improvement in your mental attitude. This will also improve interactions with your loved one.

About Family Hospice

Family Hospice is a non-profit, independent healthcare organization that helps guide patients and families through their journey, providing professional care and many other support services. Designated deficiency-free for another three years by the Illinois Department of Public Health.  If you are interested in making a donation or want to learn about Family Hospice, please call (618) 277-1800. You can also learn more about Family Hospice by following them on Facebook or visiting them online at





In supporting our Tree of Memories program through the holiday season, we make ornaments available at our kiosk at St. Clair Square from November 30 through December 22.


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