Managing Holiday Family Dynamics with Aging Loved Ones

family dynamics

When Aging Parents Are Involved

The dynamics of taking care of aging parents, especially during the holidays, can be complicated. There are a number of factors that come into play when you are trying to provide caregiving for loved one.

  • Taking Care of Your Family – Because you have your own responsibilities of life it’s important that you maintain a balance between caring for aging parents and caring for yourselves. Hiring professional caregivers can help.
  • Time – Everyday life and chores take up most of your time; between work, shopping, being physically active and social functions you also have to block out time to care for aging parents. It’s not easy, but it is possible if you share the caregiving with siblings, family, and especially professional in-home caregivers.
  • Distance – Families are often spread out across the globe; some even living in other countries. Having one or no adult children living near the parent can complicate the abilities of sharing caregiving responsibilities and truly do require professional help.

The Stress of Holidays and Caring for Aging Parents
The holidays are stressful for most people as it is; usually because of high expectations. Here are some helpful tips to help you and your aging parents have a happy and less stressful holiday season.

  • Limit Holiday Expectations – This can include pulling names for gifts during Christmas or Chanukah and putting dollar limits on gifts purchased. You can also choose to not exchange gifts and instead have a small gathering with more meaning, doing things together.
  • Reminisce with Pictures – go through their pictures and frame them for your parents
  • Bake a Family Favorite – pull out an old family favorite recipe and make it together with the help of your parents or before hand and take it to your parents to share.
  • Decorate – chances are that your parents are no longer able to put up and take down holiday decorations. Choose a day before the holidays to have everyone join in decorating minimally and be sure to set a day after the holiday to take the decorations down.
  • Low Key – Get small trays of cookies from a local bakery, limit decorating to small items or simple lights, and keep holiday dinners simple. Think “semi-homemade” and don’t be afraid to order prepared foods.
  • Help Parents Get into the Spirit – Spend a day together wrapping gifts, reminiscing and getting into the spirit. Spend a few hours in the evening driving your loved one around to view the lights and décor.

There’s no question that managing holiday family dynamics when aging parents are involved can be touchy. This article by PBS helps adult children deal with caring for aging parents by offering great tips and advice.

Having the option of using professional in-home caregivers can reduce the stress involved with caring for an aging parent; helping to bridge conflict between siblings while resolving any worries that your mom and/or dad are safe.

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About Tim Colling

Tim Colling has more than 30 years of experience in management in a variety of industries and has served in the past as a member of the statewide steering committee for the Home Care Aide Section of the California Association for Health Services At Home (“CAHSAH”). He is a Certified Public Accountant (licensed but not actively in practice), and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from California State University at San Diego. He has held the credential Care Manager Certified ("CMC") from the National Academy of Certified Care Managers, and has practiced actively as a Professional Geriatric Care Manager. Tim has worked as a CPA in Public Accounting, a corporate Chief Financial Officer for a chemical manufacturing company, and a software engineering manager for several private and public software companies, in addition to working as an eldercare manager, in-home caregiver agency administrator and professional geriatric care manager since 2003. Learn more about his in-home caregiving company at A Servant's Heart In-Home Care

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