Thank you for joining us for another edition of our newsletter. I appreciate your continued support and look forward to meeting you here each month. With Thanksgiving kicking off the holiday season, I hope you all are staying safe, healthy, and happy. I emphasize happiness because there is no denying it’s been a tough year for everyone.
The holiday season brings a wave of emotions. We’re seeing seniors struggle with loneliness, isolation, fear of not seeing family and friends again, or longing for those who have passed. And even though many may be filled with the joy and spirit of the holidays, they still feel sad. The seniors we serve are not alone. This time of year affects us all, and with the pandemic, the impacts are double. During this time, I hope that each of us can find moments to step back, take a break, and remember to take care of ourselves too, which might be a gift in itself to those we support.
In this month’s newsletter, we’ll talk more about holiday caregiving during COVID and some exciting things happening at Ombudsman Services. Please read more about our volunteer opening in Solano County with our Friendly Visiting Program. While it may be virtual right now, you can still significantly impact the life of an older adult. If you’re already volunteering or unable to, please share details with others who may be interested, or consider making a donation to help us expand our reach. All of us at Ombudsman Services are thankful for YOU and your continued support. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Holiday Caregiving During COVID
If 2020 was an emoji, many of us might agree on the exploding brain, right?! Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, we’re on to Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s – a hectic end of the year for just about everyone. But what about caregivers? Those who are looking after their own family, other relatives, friends, even employers, and their families. Double the support needed, double the holiday, double the stress – oh my! If you or someone you know is worried about the added pressures during a COVID holiday, here are some tips to help ease the stress and lift the spirit this season.
Plan Ahead: Have an idea of what’s going on before it happens. Make use of that calendar app and check it twice. Get in touch with all necessary parties to compare schedules, discuss plans, and what safe celebrations will look like. Having a strategy for the season will take the pressure off and help if something unexpected pops up. It makes sure that you have time to address all needs of everyone involved.
Make Your Priorities Known: Communicate the things that need to get done and be realistic about what you, your family, and those you are caring for can handle. Sure, some traditions and celebrations may look a little different, but be clear about what’s going on and when. It’s okay to voice your opinions, and dare we say it, NOT compromise on what’s important to you this season.
Rally the Troops: Create an extended support team that can help you carry the load. Whether it’s weekly video chatting with a loved one, a weekly grocery drop-off, doing some online holiday shopping for you, or setting up telehealth services, it’s okay to ask for help!
Make Time for Yourself: How can you de-stress if you don’t have time? Remember that calendar app we mentioned above? Schedule time for you! Go for a walk, read a book, watch your favorite TV show, or call a friend. No matter what you do, plan on intentional self-care time.
Get Creative: Most importantly, have fun! Even if that means you’re having a Christmas cookie bake-off over Zoom, hosting a socially distanced holiday picnic, joining a virtual holiday cocktail party, or scheduling a holiday movie watch party.
Despite all demands and changes of the season, you can still enjoy this special time of year and remain connected. A little advanced planning and flexibility go a long way.
Need help getting connected with other resources? We are here to help. Get in touch with our team by calling 925.658.2070 or visit ccombudsman.org for more.