A retired professional and active volunteer at a local museum reached into her pocketbook and pulled out a picture from her wedding day 50 years ago. She said, “I brought this to show you because the day I married my husband we didn’t know then what the future would be like and I feel the same way now that he has become ill and I have become his caregiver.”
America is getting older, with adults 65 or older making up about 15 percent of the population. Growing older is not always easy, for both the senior and their loved ones. While aging can often present a variety of challenges, including physical changes and mental health problems, it’s challenging to figure out how to know when your elderly parents need help at home, and when your loved one should seek help or make life changes.
The act of caring for an aging parent is not one that many plan in advance. Instead, caregivers are thrust into a scary, stressful, challenging situation out of necessity and love. Since many people do not have time to prepare, there is a lot of “learning on the job” and a lot of trial and error that happens as a caregiver, which can create a new source of stress in your life.
Self care for caregivers shouldn’t get set aside just because the holiday season is upon us. Although this time of year can be stressful for everyone, it can be especially stressful for those who are also caring for aging loved ones. For caregivers, coming up with a system for holiday stress management is essential to preventing caregiver burnout.
No matter where you are in the holiday shopping process--whether you’ve been crossing gifts off your list since Black Friday, or have not yet started to shop--if you are caring for aging parents, investing in the gift of fall prevention at home can have a profound effect long after the holidays are over. For some, coming up with gift ideas for older parents can be a challenging, especially if they insist that they do not need anything and to not bother getting them a gift.