How to take a vacation when you’re a caregiver

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The days are getting longer which means summer is here and thoughts turn to vacation! Many families, however, are caregivers for a loved one in their family who may be too frail or infirmed to travel. The idea of taking a much-needed vacation can leave them feeling even more stressed or guilty because of their responsibilities and obligations. According to an AARP study, caregivers spend on average 24 hours per week providing care to their loved one, with 23% providing more than 40 hours per week. Considering the time commitment and responsibilities of providing daily care – caregivers are most in need of a vacation to recharge and refresh – and it can be done!

Here are a few things to consider: 

Accept that you need a break to take care of yourself

Being a part-time or full-time caregiver is incredibly fulfilling, but also challenging. It’s important to realize and accept the physical and mental break you need to recharge, refresh and renew yourself. Whether it’s an overnight trip in town, or a full week at the beach, don’t discount the power of a little self-care.

Document your care routine

The choice of care for your loved one can be a very personal decision. So, whether you have a friend or relative cover for you, or you look to a senior community for help – you’ll feel better knowing that your care plan is followed through. Make notes of your day-to-day activities and the little nuances that make your loved one happy. You may wish to keep a folder that includes important documentation such as medication information, nearby hospitals and physician contact information.

Review coverage options

For most, it’s comforting to rely on a relative or trusted friend who can care for your loved one in your absence. However, for many that may not be an available option. There are still a variety of alternatives to make a relaxing getaway possible. You may be able to find in-home care in your area, or you may choose to consider the convenience of respite care with a local skilled nursing community.

Many people don’t realize that you can pre-plan a short-term stay for less than 30 days. Respite care with a reputable senior community can provide peace of mind, knowing that your loved one is in a safe and medically supervised environment. Your loved one can get daily assistance with bathing, dressing and grooming and they’ll be in the care of multiple nursing professionals round-the-clock. They may even enjoy some social events or meet some new friends!

The bottom line is that being a caregiver can be tough, and to provide the best care – you can’t forget about your own wellbeing. So, if the opportunity for a summer vacation arises, instead of passing it up, consider the benefits and know there are options available.

Read more about Elderwood’s respite care services here