Caregiver, Are You Too Tired to Enjoy Thanksgiving? Find Your Grateful Heart

November 25, 2009 at 1:18 am 1 comment

Thanksgiving weekend is a time to gather our loved ones, eat a sumptuous meal, maybe shop a little or even take in a movie. Sounds like fun, but for a caregiver this time of year can also mean more work–and a disruption to your loved one’s schedule. Caregiving can feel like you’re juggling ten plates at one time. Any time anyone throws in an extra plate in the mix might mean it all comes crashing down. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, overworked, and under appreciated. It might be time to simplify a few things.

Choose one thing to be thankful for. You don’t have to go for something big, and if you’re feeling rather curmudgeonly, it’s okay. For me, being grateful can come early in the morning. When everything else goes wonky I can always know that I get to start my day with morning coffee. I don’t want to be made to feel grateful for everything and everybody, because sometimes I’m not. For coffee, I’m always grateful. Gratitude should be simple. I have a favorite coffee, and I try my best not to ever run out. I’d rather run out of gas or toilet paper before I run out of my coffee! Sipping that first cup and taking in that deep, nutty aroma is calibrates my day.

The other component to Thanksgiving is–giving. Yes, you give a lot, but who gives to you? Do you have a neighbor who always waves? A cousin who calls every holiday–just to chat? A faithful old dog who’s been your companion for years? Look around at who gives to you. Don’t worry about being patted on the back. That will come in time. It’s more important that you recognize that many people support you–in big–and little ways.

If you’re in the midst of some major caregiving this year–if your loved one has been ill, recovering from surgery, or has entered hospice, then this might not be the year to kill yourself on a big dinner or a fancy table. Scale back. Buy a pre-made meal from a catering company or even parts of it from your local grocery store. Decide to be together this holiday. Who cares if it’s a store-made apple pie, it still tastes good, and it probably tastes better if you didn’t have to stand up for hours making it.

Grab a cup of cider, egg nog, or coffee, get a piece of pie and actually sit with your spouse, your mom, your dad. Watch a video, play cards, talk, or even take a nap. Being together, really being present is the best gift you can give.

Naps. Now that’s something to be grateful for.

Entry filed under: brain fitness, caring for parents, elder care, family caregiving, sundown syndrome. Tags: , , , , .

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This Blog

Hi, I'm Carol O'Dell. This blog will include stories and lessons I've learned while caring for my mom, and now as I speak to caregivers around the country. I hope to offer suggestions, ideas and insights that will help others.

While this blog is supported by Dakim Brain Fitness, I’m not blogging to promote the Dakim company or products. Instead, I’m writing about how caring and being cared for affects your life and your family. My hope is that this blog gives you a place to learn, reflect, gain new perspective to make it another day.

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