Taking care of an elderly loved one is equal to a full-time job, and it is definitely physically and mentally demanding. Studies show that family caregivers are more prone to mental health issues like depression as well as poor physical health like sleep deprivation. A vacation a few times per year from your caregiving duties is the ideal way to recharge your body and mind and be a better caregiver.
Here are 7 tips for family caregivers like you who want to take a real vacation:
1. Get Rid of the Guilt.
Too many caregivers feel as if they don’t deserve a break or that by choosing their own needs they are being bad or selfish. In some cases, even your aging loved one adds to the guilty feeling with statements that they can’t manage without you. However, you have to realize that self-care is the secret to balancing everything in your life, including being an awesome caregiver.
2. Utilize Family Members.
The main obstacle in getting away for a vacation is finding someone that can substitute for your duties as a family caregiver. Ask other family members to step in, especially those that may live close by. Even if there isn’t just one family member to fill in, several can divide up the time while you are gone.
3. Consider Home Care Options.
There are many home care agencies that provide elderly care services on a short-term or long-term basis that you can use to fill in any gaps. Hiring a home care assistant to help with grooming, bathing, meals, and transportation is often the least disruptive to your aging loved one, because they stay in their own home.
4. Create an Information Binder.
Nobody knows your aging loved one’s schedule and needs better than you, so the best way to share that information is to write it all down. Before you leave, prepare an information binder that family members and senior care assistants can reference. Inside should be information on daily and weekly schedules, medication amounts and frequency, names and numbers of doctors and therapists, and any important dietary or allergy warnings.
5. Choose the Right Time to Inform Your Elderly Loved One.
Only you will know the best way to let your aging loved one know that you will be vacationing soon. Some seniors have no problem with the information while others may feel anxiety about seeing you go. Depending on their physical and mental state, you may want to give them plenty of notice or save it until a short time before your departure.
6. Establish a Check-in Schedule.
Chances are you won’t want to go the entire vacation without checking in once in a while, but you can’t let it dominate your leisure time. While it may be tempting to phone in morning, noon, and night, keep it minimal so you can truly take a break.
7. Have a Wonderful Time.
A vacation can be wonderfully restorative and gives you the mental and physical break you need to tackle your regular life once again. Once you are on vacation, make sure you are all in and enjoying yourself as much as you can. You deserve some leisure time so enjoy it fully.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregiver services in Berkeley, CA, contact the caring staff at Provident Home Care. Call today (877) 572-3411.
Robin Conley RN., Owner and CEO of Provident Care Home Care Providing HOME CARE- ASSISTED LIVING PLACEMENT ASSISTANCE
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