MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The pandemic has changed the holiday season for all of us this year and caregivers are especially feeling that impact.
A new AARP survey shows 44% of caregivers say the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health.
“Their care recipients are also having a negative impact on their mental health. So they’re facing that challenge of being isolated and having more isolation,” says Amy Goyer, a family and caregiving expert with AARP.
Goyer says the holidays add a lot of pressure. 77% of caregivers say the pandemic will affect their plans. AARP suggests talking with loved ones about doing phone calls, or video chats, or sending greeting cards.
“Focus on what is most meaningful for the holidays. Adapt your traditions and create new traditions,” Goyer says.
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Marjorie Conner is a caregiver for her 93-year-old mom while also working full time.
“She’s suffering from some dementia, but she’s still a happy, sweet, lovely person,” Conner says.
Conner says the pandemic has impacted her own state of wellbeing.
“I’m in a constant state of stress, that’s for sure. I’m constantly worried about the people in my household remaining safe and healthy,” she says.
Conner won’t be seeing a lot of family this holiday season.
“Thinking we’re gonna put the dining room table on the front porch and seat everybody really far apart,” she says.
Conner says she puts up decorations and watches Christmas movies with her mom. A thoughtful friend just sent her a gift certificate to order dinner.
“If you have friends who are caregiving and they have a front porch, or back porch, go over and have a glass of wine with them, or a cup of tea, or coffee, or something. Just don’t let caretakers get isolated, because we do,” Conner says.
She’s grateful she has a great support system.