‘Tis the season to be jolly but not everybody is celebrating/has something to celebrate this Christmas. There are many reasons why people are melancholic rather than merry this Christmas. Let us look at the possible scenarios and see how we can help people in these situations.
Loss of a loved one. Loss of a loved person so close to the holiday season is hard. For a little child, the loss of a parent or sibling around Christmas is very sad situation. For a parent, losing a little child is a big blow. How we can help:
- You can show sensitivity and understanding by downplaying your own Christmas cheerfulness when your bereaved friends are around.
- You can provide distraction – a dog or a cat or a house pet to take care of, even if only temporarily.
- You can let your bereaved friend take care of you – let them feel they are needed.
Health issues. There is nothing like health problems to dampen the holiday spirits. This is hard enough for adults, but much more for a child who is stuck in a hospital bed while his or her friends go Christmas caroling. How we can cheer them up:
- Visit, call, visit. My husband’s grandma, who is 90 years old, broke her leg from a fall the other week and had to stay at the hospital. She lives in another country 260 km away, but we visited her on that first weekend after her admission, braving the snowy road conditions. Boy, was she happy to see us, chuckling at my husband’s joke that her ice hockey career for this season at least is over. We called almost every day afterwards even after she was transferred to a rehabilitation clinic, where she will stay till after New Year.
- Donate. Donate time and money to cheer up the sick during the holiday season. I know somebody who runs a Toys for Tots fund drive every Christmas for a public hospital in Manila, Philippines. It is not only the kids but also other hospital patients who need cheering up during the holidays. The elderly, with no family to visit them, are especially lonely during this season of cheer.
Stress and responsibilities. It is not only the patients who need cheering up this season. Their caregivers need our help as well. Let us face it: taking care of the sick is a big burden both physically and emotionally. Here is what we can do to help them:
- Time off. Giving caregivers time off even if only for a few hours is the best gift you can give them. A whole free day without responsibilities would be a special treat.
- Moral support. Luckily, there are groups providing support for caregivers the whole year but more so during the holiday season. Some caregiver support programs can be found at:
the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation and Leeza’s Place,
Stand Together for AD: Strength and Support for Alzheimer’s at www.alzheimersdisease.com/.
I’ll be bringing you some more tips on caregiving in the coming days.