Christmas is approaching once again, with its last-minute buys, endless shopping lists and general overindulgence. Beyond all of this noise and the festive hustle and bustle, the thing that makes this period really special is the chance to get together with our loved ones.
However, for some, organising Christmas gatherings involves more effort than deciding where to spend Christmas Day or whose turn it is to do the cooking! If one of your family members is receiving care, spending a serene festive period together may not be without its challenges.
The challenges of caring for a loved one during Christmas
It can be complicated to keep to your care routines during Christmas, and you should be careful not to disrupt your loved one’s habits, especially if they suffer from dementia.
Here are some of the challenges you may face during the festive season if one of your family members needs care:
If your loved one is cared for by you, juggling between your usual care responsibilities and organising family get-togethers may seem like an impossible task. Also, having sole responsibility for caring for your relative may mean you are bound to your home. Taking a break to visit other family members or to go on a short trip over the Christmas season may just seem unmanageable.
If your loved one is in a care home, you may wish they could spend Christmas at home with the rest of the family. However, it may be too much to manage their care on your own.
If you employ a professional home carer, you may find that they want time off during the break, to spend with their own family, which leaves you in the difficult situation of either finding another carer to cover this period, or looking after your relative yourself.
Why you should consider respite care at home over Christmas
Christmas should be all about enjoying some quality time with the important people in your life. However, having to face the challenges of organising care for your loved one can be very stressful, for both you and the person receiving care.
Respite care can help you to face these difficulties by providing you with some relief.
Respite care can support you by:
Helping you care for your relative during the busy festive period. If you think you need an extra pair of hands, a respite carer will assist you with your day-to-day caring responsibilities, so that you can make the most of this period and dedicate some time to other members of the family as well.
Allowing you to relieve stress and take a break, knowing your relative is well looked after at home. It is very important to recuperate from time to time, so that you can go back to your caring responsibilities with even more energy. Caring demands a lot of selflessness and emotional strength: taking some time for yourself will enable you to feel recharged when you return to care for your loved one.
Creating a serene environment for your loved one during Christmas. With the help of a respite carer, you can feel like you have everything under control, even during the hectic festive period. The person receiving care will certainly benefit from this as well. Thanks to their respite carer, they’ll be able to stick to their routine, and can enjoy your company more than if you were juggling between caring responsibilities and stressful last-minute Christmas tasks.
Enabling your loved one to spend Christmas at home. With the help of a respite carer, you’ll be able to make home a peaceful, safe and quiet place to be, even during the festive madness. Your relative will be able to spend Christmas in the place they know best, well looked after and close to the people they love. This is truly the best gift you can give them.
How to organise respite care at Christmas
Have you decided to get some help over the holidays but don’t know where to start? Here are the top five factors to take into account if you are considering organising respite care this time of year.
Plan ahead. Care organisations, agencies and independent carers are likely to be busy during the holidays, so it’s better to get in touch with them as soon as possible to make sure you can find a suitable carer in time.
Ask yourself what you need assistance with. Respite care is a broad category including many different specialist services. Carers can answer your family’s specific needs and be available for anything from a few hours, to a few weeks. Be prepared and think of what exactly you need help with over Christmas, so that you can tailor your search according to that.
Involve your loved one in the decision. Before you make any decisions, make sure your choice will work for everybody. It’s very normal for there to be nervousness about someone new providing care, and it’s important for your loved one to understand the reasons behind these changes. Explain the situation to them, and ask for their thoughts. You can also read our blog for more advice on how to talk to your relatives about care.
Plan some overlap time. It is a good idea to arrange for the carer to visit once or twice in advance. This will help the carer to know their way around and truly understand what’s needed. Plus, your loved one will get to meet the carer in advance and feel more at home with them. For your part, you’ll be able to really relax if you’re confident that your carer knows and understands the needs of your loved one.
Look for a personal spark. You need to feel you’re leaving your loved one in trusted hands, especially if this is the first time they’ll be looked after by someone other than yourself. Most importantly, the person who needs care must feel comfortable with their carer. Make sure the carer doesn’t just have the right experience and references, but also is compatible with you and your loved one on a more personal level. You should aim to meet them in person before the care starts, to make sure they are a good fit and they get along well with your loved one.
How SuperCarers can help
SuperCarers can help you find the right respite carer for your relative, so that the whole family can enjoy a great Christmas knowing everyone is well looked after.
We know how important it is to plan this temporary care around you and your loved one’s needs, with minimal disruption for all. That’s why we match selected local carers with your needs, taking into account not only their expertise, but also your loved one’s interests and preferences. This makes your care truly personalised. You can get the support you need and take a break, while your relative can maintain their independence in their own home.
If you wish to have a chat about home care or respite care options, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our care advisors for a free care consultation on 020 8629 1030.
If you know what type of care you need, fill out our online form and we’ll hand-pick the perfect carer for you.