Caregiver Corner: A Holiday Letter for Caregivers
Sometimes it’s hard to let others know the details of your caregiving situation. Yet, often, many friends, family, and neighbors are already aware that there’s something going on and would love to help if they only knew how. Take this holiday season to share the news in a way that is respectful of your loved one, and gives the people who care about both of you the opportunity to give a gift that is meaningful to them AND to you!
We’ve shared a sample letter that could be used if your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia. Use it to help you get started. Sometimes the gift of sharing is much more meaningful when it doesn’t come wrapped in a pretty package. Check out the letter below. You can copy and paste it to your document:
Dear Friends and Family,
This is not your usual holiday letter – although I am writing with some holiday thoughts.
As most of you know, <name of loved one> has been diagnosed with <disease/condition>, and I am caring for <him/her> at <location of care (home or assisted care facility)>. What some of you may not know is that <disease> is more than just <complication>; it also affects the ability to <actions>. Because of this, I am being proactive in how we handle this holiday season. My objective is to keep things as close to our routine as possible, while still being able to enjoy some limited holiday festivities.
Although <name of loved one> still really enjoys visiting with friends and family, being around too many people at once makes <him/her> very anxious. As much as I enjoy all the parties and events we usually attend, I’m quite certain that they will be somewhat stressful for <name of loved one>.
[Borrow from these bullet points as you let loved ones know what’s happening with the person you’re caring for.]
- Understand that if we attend a gathering, we may need to leave early
- If you have an extra hour – come stay with <name of loved one> so I can shop or attend a party
- Call first before you stop by with goodies – our life is rather unpredictable right now
- Explain to the children that if <name of loved one> is rude – it is the dementia – not <him/her> (sometimes this one is hard for me to remember myself)
- Be patient if you notice agitation
- We love visitors – in small groups
- Bake an extra dozen cookies – I won’t be baking this year
- Join me for a couple hours of baking – I get lonely
- Add your own here …
Filed under: Medicare