Holidays are stressful for everyone, but even more so for those who are caregivers to loved ones. Peter Rosenberger, author of “Hope for the Caregiver,” offers these great tips for caregivers to give to themselves for this holiday season and time of visiting family and friends.
- Commit to seeing a doctor. More than 70 percent of caregivers don’t see a doctor. Taking care of your health is important.
- Commit to doing something that brings joy to your heart. It doesn’t have to be exotic: see a good movie, watch a standup comedian, read a good book, paint, play the piano — do something that speaks beauty and joy to you in the middle of your stuff.
- Make a list of people you resent and forgive them, and then burn the list. Lose the grudges but keep boundaries.
- Make one small change in your diet. For instance, substitute water for a sugary drink, a salad for a burger, or olive oil for butter. Grab a piece of fruit instead of a candy bar.
- Send a Christmas card to yourself. Pick out a card your loved one would send if he or she were healthy emotionally and physically. And put a $10 bill in it.
- Do something physical. Walk to the back of the house and back. Alan Alda walks around to John Phillips Sousa to help with his Parkinson. He’s not a doctor but he played one on TV — and it’s pretty good advice. He lifts up his knees. Something that simple can really benefit caregivers. Weight gain is common in caregivers.
- Isolation is crippling. Go to church or other places of worship. Slip in and listen to the music of the season.
- Call a trusted friend and tell them you’re struggling. Take a leap of faith that they will listen. Don’t ask for solutions, just for an ear and a tender heart.
A caregiver for more than 30 years for his wife, Gracie, who lives with severe disabilities, Peter Rosenberger understands the caregiver’s journey in ways few do. Broadcasting on Sirius XM’s Family Talk Channel (131) and an additional 180 stations through American Family Radio, he hosts the nation’s No. 1 show for family caregivers. From autism to Alzheimer’s to addiction, Rosenberg addresses the needs of those caring for loved ones with chronic impairments.