Holiday Hacks for Caregivers



Reminder: Holidays are supposed to be fun.

Yeah right. We’re busy taking care of other people. Our to do lists doubles or triple. And there’s that damn Elf on the Shelf! 

But we don’t have to make ourselves crazy – that’s a choice. Choose to relax this season. Here’s how:



  • Avoid the crowds. Shop online. You can even order your tree from home and have it delivered from Touch of the Mountain.
  • Save time wrapping. Use gift bags. Place a penny on the end of the scotch tape every time you’re done with it. You’ll never struggle to find where the tape starts again.
  • Save time cleaning. Houses come with closets for a reason. Save time cleaning. Houses come with closets for a reason. Click To Tweet
  • Skip the cards. Save the planet.
  • Shelf traditions that don’t work right now. An evening family gathering doesn’t work if a family member has sundown syndrome. The party at the senior living center might actually be fun. Experiment. You can always resume a tradition when it fits your family and lifestyle again.
  • Take a break. Use respite care.*
  • Accept help. Keep a list of tasks you need help with from side dishes to gift wrapping to an errand-run in your bag or on your iPhone. When someone asks, “How can I help?” consult the list and assign a task. Then start a second list of who did what for you and drop them a note (email is fine) thanking them. Then move on. No guilt. No drama. Just gratitude. Accept help. No guilt. No drama. Just gratitude. Click To Tweet
  • Save time cooking. Supplement meals with pre-ordered platters.
  • Or, cook up a storm if that’s your favorite part of the season. The point is, do what you love; shed the rest.

*A note about respite care. People always  tell caregivers to consider respite care; a senior living facility that takes your family member for a week or a month so you can take a rest or go on vacation, or an adult day health center that provides socialization for your family member and free time during the day for you. But how do you find respite care? Google it and you’ll go mad. There are plenty of articles on the topic but who has time to sort through all of the information? If you’re interested in respite do this:

  • Call your local assisted living and ask them, “Do you offer respite or temporary care? How much does it cost?” You can visit the websites but they won’t give you pricing or availability, so just call.
  • Search for an adult day care program on the National Adult Day Services Association website. Enter your street address and zip code and the database will return a list of local centers. Narrow the list based on location and hours and then arrange to visit.

Remember, some holiday stress is real, but some is a choice. Choose wisely.

Some holiday stress is a choice. Choose wisely. Click To Tweet





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