For parents and caretakers of loved ones with special needs like autism, being able to get to those holiday to-do list items comes with an extra layer of stress. One local expert sheds light on simple ways parents can get it all done and truly enjoy the season this year.
Contributor: Dennis Morgan, Senior Vice President at Bancroft
Monday, November 21, 2016
This time of year, an increasing number of parents are struggling to balance holiday errands while also needing safe, engaging and appropriate respite care for their children. And while most of us juggle holiday shopping, wrapping and baking, family gatherings, company holiday parties and seemingly endless to-do lists, parents and caretakers of children and adults with disabilities like autism face an entirely separate challenge getting it all done. Or, not. In fact, many may have to miss out altogether.
As someone who works with families of children and adults with diverse challenges at school and in-home, I know how important it is for parents and caregivers to have access to reliable childcare. I have seen the profound difference those few hours can make in families’ quality of life.
Fortunately, local organizations offer comprehensive support services, including after-school and weekend respite and recreation programs for busy families in need of a few extra hours.
I encourage parents to search for a program that provides flexible options including more structured programs on location as well as on-demand, in-home services to accommodate any schedule. Seeking outside support can be the difference between enjoying the season with the family and a stressful, harried holiday.
But even with additional time to complete tasks, see a movie or even relax at home without worry, parents and caregivers should be aware of caregiver burnout.
Parents and caregivers should remember the following tips:
- Recognize the signs of stress and exhaustion, and ask for help
- Schedule personal time regularly
- Maintain good health habits. Keep regular physician and dentist appointments.
- Remain socially connected
Sometimes, just knowing support programs exist in your neighborhood can be a great comfort for busy parents. The good news is that if you make time to care for yourself this season, you can overcome holiday stress and ultimately become a better you – a better parent and caregiver – and truly enjoy the season with your family.
Bancroft offers the following Respite Programs for families of loved ones ages 3 and up: