How can I enjoy the holidays with an aging loved one?

If you're caring for an aging or sick relative, the holidays may be more a source of stress than a time of togetherness and celebration. By making some adjustments, though, you can enjoy the holiday season with an ailing loved one around. Some tips:
  • Lower your expectations. What's truly important this time of year is being together, rather than creating a feast worthy of Martha Stewart magazine or making all your decorations by hand. Think about what you can reasonably accomplish before the holidays and don't plan for more than that. You may find that a small, intimate gathering is more meaningful than a party with everyone you know, for example.
  • Close down the kitchen. Cooking a holiday meal can be a major hassle. If you're known for a special dish, make just that and get the rest from a restaurant, bakery or caterer.
  • Put your loved one to work. If she's up to it, have her measure ingredients, mix batter or decorate cookies. Your aging or ailing relative can also help trim the tree, make garlands or wrap presents. You may find that this brings you closer and takes the focus off of her illness.
  • Reset your mindset. Stay in the present. Be thankful that your loved one is here for at least one more holiday season. Enjoy each moment so it stays clear in your memory. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.