SCAN Club Issue 4 2023

7 Tips for Caregivers to Cope With Holiday Stress

If you’re a caregiver who feels more stress than good cheer during the holidays, consider trying these seven stress-busters to create a more joyful holiday season for you and your loved one.

Family sits around Thanksgiving food while person at head of table carves turkey.

Caregiver Stress-Busting Tip #1: Set realistic expectations for what your holiday should look like.

First, recognize that for most people the holidays aren’t like those in the Hallmark movies. Next, accept that it’s okay that holiday traditions of your past can change as your family does. Rather than forcing past traditions to fit into your current reality, find ways to celebrate the time you and your loved one have together now.

Caregiver Stress-Busting Tip #2: Decide what’s most important to you and your loved one.

Make a list of activities and tasks you’re planning for the holiday and ask these questions: What do you have to do? What do want to do? What can be crossed off the list? Focus on what is truly important to create a holiday that is custom-made for you and your loved one.

Caregiver Stress-Busting Tip #3: Simplify holiday activities with these ideas to “simple-size” your holiday to-do list:

  • Order all or part of your holiday meals from the local grocery store.
  • Send personal texts with a photo and happy holidays message instead of spending the time and money it takes to send cards.
  • If you usually buy many gifts, make this the year you scale back. Assure family that instead of spending time and money hunting for gifts, you’re focusing on spending valuable time with your loved one. Then, invite them to do the same.

Caregiver Stress-Busting Tip #4: Take care of yourself so you’ll feel better.

Here are some ways to practice self-care during the holidays:

  • Look for ways you and your loved one can get regular exercise, even if it’s only 20 minutes a day.
  • As often as possible, eat nutritious meals at regular times each day.
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule so you and your loved one will both sleep better.

Caregiver Stress-Busting Tip #5: Reach out for help if you’re feeling troubled or stressed.

Spending time with someone other their loved one can be a lifeline for many caregivers. Consider contacting a caregiver support line or joining a support group for caregivers like yourself. If you’re a SCAN Medicare Advantage plan member, SCAN has programs to support people caring for SCAN members as well as for SCAN members who are caregivers to others.

Caregiver Stress-Busting Tip #6: If you or your loved one is grieving, recognize that dealing with loss can be particularly difficult during the holidays when there is pressure to be social and cheerful.

Instead of being burdened to live up to the season’s expectations to feel a certain way, do what feels right for you to work your way through your grief and back to more joy when you are ready.

Caregiver Stress-Busting Tip #7: Share with your loved one the things each of you is grateful for and look to these blessings to be a North Star guiding you to creating a holiday that is special to the both of you.

Many SCAN plans offer programs, benefits, and support for caregivers, including respite care, home-delivered meals and caregiver workshops. SCAN members, check your benefits in your SCAN online member account or your Evidence of Coverage to see what your plan includes for caregivers and members who qualify.

If you have don’t have a Medicare Advantage plan, take a look at the comprehensive coverage, award-winning service, and extensive network of caring physicians offered by SCAN Health Plan.

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