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Avoiding Holiday Caregiver Burnout

Photo: NH family caregiver sharing her experience with Dr. Oz. Ten tips for avoiding holiday burnout are available at the AARP website (aarp.org). Photo courtesy Fox 25
Photo: NH family caregiver sharing her experience with Dr. Oz. Ten tips for avoiding holiday burnout are available at the AARP website (aarp.org). Photo courtesy Fox 25
December 23, 2013

PEMBROKE, N.H. - 'Tis the season... to have way too many things to do. That can be especially true for caregivers, who are always looking for the next thing they need to do for family members in their care.

Tammy Boucher is caring for a mom in her 80s and two young children in Pembroke. She suggested that family caregivers who want to survive the holidays without burning out try throwing perfection out the window.

"Think about simplifying," she said, "realizing you don't need a hundred presents and it's okay if you don't have that one perfect present. It's not perfection that you're looking for; it's having family memories and family times."

Boucher said it's important to take regular breaks from caring for others, and allow time for self-care and stress relief. She suggested that caregivers pick up other useful tips for themselves during the holidays by visiting the AARP website, aarp.org.

Earlier this month, Boucher was featured on the "Doctor Oz" show, where she said she did pick up a couple more tips that she thinks can help other caregivers.

"One of the things they talked about is being okay with being a 'good enough' woman - not being the new superhero - instead of 'Super Woman.' I really embraced that concept."

Luckily, people don't have to try to schedule a visit with Doctor Oz to find out more, Boucher said, because there is a wealth of valuable information available free of charge on the AARP website - including videos by caregivers about how they cope with all sorts of demands.

"Hearing others who are just like me," she said, "I know I'm not unique. I happen to be a member of a family's generation that is taking care of older parents and younger kids, and that's something that's occurring more and more often. Connecting with others - that's something AARP's Caregiver website really provided for me."

One more thing she likes about the website is that it only takes a minute or two to grab useful information, she said, adding that's critical for caregivers, who don't have a lot of spare time to spend surfing the web.

Tips for caregivers are available on the web at http://states.aarp.org.



Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH