Christmas can be joyous as we celebrate the birth of our LORD and enjoy family and friends. As caregiver, you may be wishing that the holidays were over or anticipating them with a dread because the expected and extra “doing” is added stress. You have family coming into town to see the parent you care for and hold resentment towards one or more of them for their lack of support or for telling you how to do things when they never offer actual help.
You can’t find anyone to watch your care recipient so you may go with your husband to his office party. Your care receiver struggles to recognize pictures accompanying Christmas cards, getting agitated for their lack of memory. They don’t recognize where they are because the Christmas tree is taking up the corner where a certain chair is the rest of the year. What once was a holiday filled with tradition must change to fit your current needs. Know that you are not alone in this.
Rather than wish it were all over, keep in mind that you can begin anew, setting down parameters that work for you and your care receiver, and remember what Christmas is really all about. A Savior came into the world over 2,000 years ago. He is our peace, our Prince of Peace. During these times, keep your eyes focused on Him. Paul reminds us in the Book of Timothy that Jesus is with us and is our “perfect patience,” guiding us through each day.
A few ways to hold Jesus’ “perfect patience:”
~Maintain a regular routine for both you and your loved one. The one being cared for must be considered of prime importance. Many need peace and quiet; others need to have the family gathered with the delight of children.
~Take care of yourself, both physically and spiritually.
~Allow yourself to say “No” to obligations or invitations. Tradition often has to be exchanged for what is better for you and your care receiver.
~Permit yourself to say “yes” to offers of assistance. Don’t be shy to ask for help.
~If your loved one lives in a nursing facility and cannot come home where the family is gathering, small groups should go over, spreading joy throughout the day.
~Be positive and hold onto the beauty of Christmas. Holidays are for memories, joy, and reflection.
~Share your faith by looking like Christ.
“But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.”
– 1 Timothy 1:16 (ESV)
“Father, You know the price is high in this task You have called me to do. I know that You give me the strength, the countenance, the ability and Your love to do the job set before me….”