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A holiday boost for family caregivers

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The holidays bring mixed emotions for family members caring for aging parents or an ill spouse, relative or family friend. Many family caregivers feel so weary and overwhelmed with daily duties that the thought of idyllic families enjoying the holidays only adds sadness, depression and resentment.

The following suggestions from Right at Home Inc. can help lighten the load for family adult home care providers from now through New Year’s:

• Allow for “good enough.” If the tree lights are uneven this year, tell yourself that it’s good enough. If you need to send your holiday cards after Jan. 1, it’s good enough. For family caregivers already stretched thin, perfect isn’t always the wise choice.

• Acknowledge your feelings. It is sad that your loved one can’t live alone anymore or engage socially like in previous holidays, so set aside time to listen to and work through those more difficult feelings.

• Be free from the “shoulds.” Free yourself from the mindset that there’s a right way to spend the holidays. Consciously toss aside these statements: “I should feel chipper. I should have people over. I should carry on our usual holiday plans.”

• Extend compassion to yourself. Compassion and gentleness are gifts family caregivers can give back to themselves. Taking time for regular exercise and leisure activities allows for healthy self-care. Add special treats including nail treatments, massages and restaurant gift cards to your own gift wish list.

• Plan ahead and ask for help. Simplify priorities. Ask other family members to take shifts and rely on professional home care providers like Right at Home to step in with a variety of services from respite care and transportation to light housekeeping and meal preparation.

No one was designed to run ragged by doing it all during the holidays, especially family caregivers who narrow their focus on the priceless gifts of extending love and self-sacrifice to another.

Founded in 1995, Right at Home Inc. is an international franchise organization that offers in-home care and assistance to seniors and disabled adults who want to continue to live independently.

The Northwest Suburban offices of Right at Home in Algonquin has been servicing the northwest suburbs for the past 10 years. Its area includes but is not limited to Barrington, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Palatine, McHenry, Rosemont and Park Ridge.

For more information, visit rightathomealgonquin.com, call 847-458-8656, or email jpElder99.com.

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