‘Tis the season for homemade cookies, mistletoe and snuggling by a warm fire! Not everyone enjoys the cold weather and snow, but you can’t ignore the added family bonding time that results from staying indoors. However, you may have a concern to deal with: How can you provide consistent, loving care to your elderly parent when you want to enjoy the holiday season?

Respite family care is your solution. This type of care is designed to relieve caregivers from the demands of caregiving for a few hours or even a few days. You should never feel guilty for needing a break – you can only be a good caregiver if you care for yourself first. This holiday season, consider hiring in-home help. You will benefit in the following four ways.

1. Reduce holiday-related stress.

Life is stressful enough, but you find a way to get through it. The holidays – while wonderful – do bring more stress, and this can put you over the edge. Some of the biggest stressors of the holiday season: hosting the holidays, having out-of-town family stay with you, the financial strain of buying gifts, strained family relationships and traveling. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed, so take a step back and let in-home services help care for your loved one so that you can manage stress.

2. Strengthen family relationships and avoid conflict.

In very few instances does caregiving not affect the family unit in some way. You may be frustrated that your out-of-town siblings don’t have to care for your parent as you do. You may be resentful that you have to host the holiday and take care of Mom or Dad. You can’t change an entire situation overnight, but you can make the next month as seamless as possible. With in-home help, you can keep your own feelings in check and perhaps even strengthen family relationships by spending more time together with siblings. Don’t forget to ask your own family for help during the season, too!

3. Prevent serious complications from illness.

With cold and flu season upon us, it’s more important than ever to protect yourself from getting sick. You can’t be a good caregiver or a good holiday host if you are sick. By taking time out for yourself, you can ensure that you are eating healthy meals, getting enough rest and spending at least some time relaxing. This will keep you healthy and help you fight the many colds and viruses that are in the air. If you start to feel ill, be sure to hire in-home help right away. Not only do you need to get better, but you don’t want to expose your loved one to your sickness.

4. Good practice for the future.

If you are like many caregivers, you probably don’t take enough time out for yourself. Caregivers have a hard time shaking off the guilt factor, but this is an illusion. Think about your loved one and what they would want for you. Would they want you to scramble through the holidays just so you could return to your caregiving duties?

The fact is that you can benefit from respite care not just during the holiday season but always. Once you get used to asking for help and seeing that your loved one is in good hands when you’re away, you won’t hesitate to request help in the future. This could be the beginning of a happier future.