How to Support your Loved Ones After a Stroke or Brain Injury This Holiday Season

Holidays can be a hard time of the year for many reasons. For some people it is a time to celebrate and spend time with loved ones, but for others, it could be a sad and lonely time. Many people who have had a stroke or brain injury face new challenges during the holiday season. Holidays can be tough for both the caregivers and those who have had a stroke or brain injury. It can be hard emotionally and physically. For the caregivers, holidays may add on extra responsibilities and stress, like providing support and care; or they might feel a mix of emotions, like love and concern. It's important for you as caregivers to take breaks and ask for help when they need it. On the other hand, for people who have had a stroke or brain injury, holidays might also bring up a lot of feelings. The holidays may have previously been filled with traditions, festive activities and meal planning, but is now a bit different. Making the season more enjoyable and manageable involves some planning and support. Here at Moxie OT, we want to offer some tips and tricks to ease you into this holiday season. Here are some ways you can help:

  1. Include Them: Make sure your loved one feels included in holiday activities. Adapt traditions to fit their abilities, so they can still participate.
  2. Listen: Take the time to listen to your loved one. They may want to talk about their feelings or experiences. Listening shows that you care.
  3. Learn Together: If your loved one has new challenges, learn together about how to overcome them. This can strengthen your bond.
  4. Plan Ahead: It is important to take into consideration your loved one’s energy levels and physical abilities. Encourage them to take breaks as needed and avoid overexertion.
  5. Be Patient: Understand that your loved one may need more time to do things. Be patient and help if they need it.
  6. Learn Together: If your loved one has new challenges, learn together about how to overcome them. Work with your loved one on figuring out ways to adapt some favorite holiday traditions so they can still feel included. For example, plan to buy something pre-made instead of cooking or make the meal together. This can strengthen your bond.
  7. Support their mental health: The holidays can be busy and overwhelming. Plan quiet moments where your loved one can relax and enjoy the company without too much stimulation. Celebrate their achievements and check in often with your loved one recovering from a stroke.

Celebrating holidays while supporting a loved one who has had a stroke or brain injury can be a personal journey. It's like finding the right balance between favorite traditions and the needs of someone healing. Your loved one is recovering, and it's essential to adapt your traditions to make everyone feel comfortable and included. Recovering from a stroke or brain injury is hard enough, and if you still need more support, occupational therapy can help. Contact us today, we are here for you every step of the way!

Guest Blogger: Rachel Delman, OTD