The holiday season is upon us. For many, it is a time to reconnect with loved ones, and spend time with family. For most, the holidays can add on layers of stress to ourselves and our relationships, especially when dealing with important issues like the aging of a parent.

Tensions may rise between family members when trying to find the best way to care for an aging parent, especially around the holidays. Here are some of Loudonville Assisted Living Residence’s tips for managing stressful family relationships:

  1. Practice self-care. Have you heard the saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup?” It’s true. It’s not selfish to take some time and space to refill yourself with peace by doing things that you enjoy and practicing stress relief. You will be better able to manage relationships and provide care to loved ones once you first take care of yourself.
  2. Set aside time, perhaps on a recurring basis, for your family decision-makers and your parent (if possible) to make a realistic and detailed list of your parent’s needs. This can be difficult, and many people find that siblings or other family members enter a bit of denial – basing their idea of what their parent’s needs are on what they WISH their parent’s ability level were. Try to be objective and fact-based, focusing on what tasks your parent can or cannot complete safely without assistance.
  3. Delegate fairly, keep lines of communication open and respectful. Try to avoid having one family member be both primary caregiver and also responsible for tasks such as: communicating with other family members changes in status or other important information; paying bills online for the aging parent; setting up housekeeping or meal planning services; and so on. Nowadays there are many ways to be creative and split caregiving tasks with other family members even when they live far away.
  4. Be realistic about what tasks you and your family can safely – and sanely – take on for your parent’s care, now and in the future. Some families are able to take care of all of their parents’ needs always, or for some time; many families find that at some point they are not physically, financially, or emotionally able to be the primary providers of care for all of their parent’s needs. Many families find that the greatest quality of life possible for an aging parent and their family may be obtained by moving a parent to a home where the parent’s physical needs can be met by professional health care providers, while the family is more available to maintain the loving, emotional relationship that is so important, especially at this time of year.

If your family is considering whether assisted living is right for an aging loved one, Loudonville Assisted Living Residence is here to help answer your questions. We wish you all a wonderful, happy, and healthy holiday season of warmth, togetherness, and delicious food.