The Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Services at Regional One Health offers support for survivors of brain injury and their caregivers. Whether you are a caregiver for someone in your family or you are just one of the many people who do too much during the holiday season, TBI Services offer these helpful tips to reduce stress for you and your loved one.

Try to include your loved one in some holiday preparation. Give him or her something to do that is within their abilities and will promote positive self-esteem.

Maintain a sense of familiarity. Go easy on the decorations and don’t rearrange the furniture too much to accommodate Christmas trees. Changing familiar surroundings can lead to confusion, especially for someone with memory problems or physical challenges. Extension cords, fragile decorations, and stacks of presents can be hazards to those with limited mobility.

Try to limit the number of guests in your home at one time and make sure someone is always aware of the whereabouts of your loved one. If your loved one tends to wander, there is the possibility this could happen when you think someone else is watching.

Plan rest periods.  Don’t forget that increased activity during the holidays may be more fatiguing than usual so plan rest periods accordingly. This is very important when cognition and behavior are problems.   Fatigue often increases confusion that can result in an outburst or other kinds of unpleasant behaviors.

Prepare in advance.  Avoid crowded places, loud noises, and exposure to bright flashing lights, particularly laser holiday lighting displays, to help minimize cognitive/behavioral issues that are problematic and might possibly trigger seizures.

Be flexible.  Parties, holiday family dinners, and open house gatherings are often scheduled at times that do not coincide with routine mealtimes and may present a problem for those whose mealtimes are more rigidly structured.

Ask for help!  Families with unrelieved caregiving responsibilities may be unable to attend functions as in the past and in some cases refuse invitations for fear of embarrassing social skills lapses on the part of their loved one. Don’t try to take on all the responsibilities of caring for your loved one and preparing for the holidays.

Take time for yourself. Spend an hour in a bubble bath, read a book, go to a movie or meet friends for lunch. Do something that you enjoy, and have fun. Keep your level of expectations realistic and allow extended family and friends to spend time with the loved one you are caring for. The holidays are about fun and enjoyment, so make sure you allow for a good measure of both.

Click here to learn more about Traumatic Brain Injury Services at Regional One Health.