Help a caregiver during what can be a stressful holiday season

A new survey conducted by AARP found that many caregivers drastically change their lives during the holidays because of the emotional stress their under.

There’s nothing glamorous about being a caregiver. There are no fanfare or awards handed out. Thank yous are often lost and forgotten in the daily grind.

But they push through and serve unconditionally.

“Caregivers by nature are giving people, and they do it because they love doing what they do for the people they love in their lives,” said AARP Hawaii director Barbara Kim Stanton.

But something happens during the holidays that creates even more challenges.

“Seven in 10 say that they’re emotionally stressed and that they have to change some of the things they’re doing in the holidays because they quite honestly can’t handle it all,” Stanton said.

In order to help manage seasonal stress, caregivers make three to four changes to their holiday traditions with the majority choosing to change what they serve for holiday meals or cut down on decorations. Nearly half cut back on spending.

“They are spending less during the holidays because the money has to go farther. They’re now paying for caregiving, out-of-pocket expenses, and they’re also trying to buy holiday gifts,” Stanton said.

Caregivers want help during the holidays, but they won’t ask for it.

Offering to help with their holiday to-do list, such as picking up or making a meal can make a big difference, and sharing a moment to listen can go a very long way too.

“Just let them know you know what they’re going through, because sometimes they just need a moment,” Stanton said.

Despite the stress the holidays brings, 32 percent feel more positive about the holidays overall since becoming a caregiver.

“So when you see a caregiver and because it’s the holiday period, thank them and don’t just thank them, offer real help,” Stanton advised.

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