Thursday, December 8, 2011

Helping Hands for the Holidays

If you are a family caregiver you know --or are learning --that you can ask for help with many basics. Most family and friends think first to offer a meal and the casseroles will  arrive but you can ask for --and they can help with--so much more. (Besides lasanga is only good the first 20 times). You also know that you can ask for rides, laundry, pick ups at the pharmacy, grocery store and my favorite, the dry cleaner--if you are a working caregiver please let a friend be in charge of your dry cleaning. Some folks will help with light housekeeping or baby sitting, maybe doing homework or fun activities with children.

But the holidays are here: Hanukah and Christmas are right around the corner. No one expects you to entertain or be super celebratory--but you don't want to miss the holidays entirely. Hence the big stress add-on.  Chemo at Christmas will blow every caregiver higher than the first star in the East with stress.

So think about this: You can ask family and friends to help with Christmas tasks too: shopping (hand over the list of basic gifts-- the ones you can name by make or brand), cookie making, gift wrapping, set up the tree, decorate, and going to the post office. I know that everyone is busy but all of your helpers are going to the mall, the card store, the hardware store and the post office anyway. Let them do some of it.

You'll want to keep some holiday tasks for yourself--you'll feel better that way--but you can shop for the closest loved ones (shop online) and you can put the star on the tree or light the candles each night. But you don't have to do it all--or feel bad if you don't. The helpers will really, really feel so much better about themselves if they help you at this time of year--so give them the gift of helping you.

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