Saturday 12 December 2020


 This year is so tiring - everyone I know feels exhausted and .... spent. On the other hand, many of those same people have put a lot of energy into decorating this year. Christmas trees are nearly sold out, outdoor lights adorn most houses (because no one is going away for the holiday season). Everyone is looking for ways to feel the comfort of home and love of family this Christmas, including caregivers. 

So what should caregiving families consider in adapting holidays both to the requirements of Covid and the individual circumstances of families? Dr. Aaron Blight of Caregiving Kinetics, an esteemed colleague in the Caregiver Transformation Retreat that you can read about here, offers wise and compassionate advice in his latest blog post.  

In her recent blog post, Liz O'Donnell, author of Working Daughter comes to the rescue with coping strategies for anyone trying to navigate the holidays as a caregiver for the first time. 

If you are a regular reader of The Caregivers' Living Room, you'll know that I facilitate a free online course called Caregiving Essentials at McMaster University. As it happens on Monday, December 12th, I'm hosting a webinar for participants of the course titled Workable Plans for the Holidays. Here's a sneak peak into some of the ideas I'm going to present: 

1) Know THIS can't happen this year. 

2) Accept Change and Go With Your Creativity

3) Giving is a Powerful Act of Contribution and it Makes Our Loved Ones Happy! So, how to enable giving: 

I made this with my Mom and with Nick in years past for them to give to friends and helpers. All you need is a bag of white chocolate chips (melted in the microwave), some dried cranberries and some shelled pistachios. Mix it, spread it on aluminium foil and refrigerate. Present in a pretty box. Remember to use gloves throughout the process to be Covid-proof. 

I'm also going to talk about thoughtful giving to loved ones this year (scrapbooks or books that you read aloud), or the gift of time spent together listening to favourite music. Many caregivers I know have loved ones who live in a health care residence. 

In my family, here's how we are changing our traditions to spend Christmas "together" this year. Our daughter Natalie and her partner live in another city, so we will skype them throughout the day for present opening and cooking. Our son Nicholas lives in a care home and this year, he is not allowed to come home to us as he usually would on Christmas Day. So, we're going to him for gift opening - we'll skype with the rest of the family from his house and Jim and I will be in masks and face shields. We are very lucky that Jim and I are both allowed to visit Nick at once - many caregivers I know whose parents live in long-term care homes can only visit one at a time, including during the holidays, or in the case of a virus breakout, not at all!

Later, at home, I'll cook while chatting with our Natalie on my laptop. We had a dry run for these arrangements at Thanksgiving and we all agreed it was a good close second to being together. 

Every caregiver's situation will be different this year, but we all have in common our love for family, our creativity and our determination to make things the best they can be this holiday season, 2020. 


RebeccaV said...

This was wonderful what great ways to use gloves, masks, shield, cellphones, and computers to celebrate the Holidays with family while remaining safe and practicing social distancing!

The Caregivers' Living Room said...

Thank you for commenting, Rebecca. Merry Christmas!