Thank goodness that in our situation we have facilities very closely located that provide short term care that allows us to get away, all the while knowing that our aging family member will be well cared for, so we truly can get away from it all and relax. However, depending upon the situation, the arrangements for this respite care can be more easily said than done. Perhaps the best way to make my point is to describe the arrangements needed to take a recent holiday.
First of all, there were the usual things one must prepare when going on a holiday, whether or not a caregiving situation is in place—things such as ensuring that work or business matters are looked after, in an attempt to avoid a disaster during the vacation. Also, there are the household matters that must be accounted for, such as interrupting mail delivery, asking neighbours for help with garbage and recycling collection, ensuring the watering systems are running reliably, decide and arrange for pet care, and so on. If the vacation includes a boat, said home away from home must be checked to ensure reliability to avoid any potential problems, shopping for the trip and stowing all provisions, and planning your trip. And, of course there is always laundry, even more so when a boat is involved.
Added to the already mentioned preparations, caregivers can also add these duties to the list for the care recipient, often while dealing with confusion, upset, and unhappiness on the part of the care recipient because she or he does not want to move away from home or have someone move into your portion of the home: vitamins and medications for the entire time involved, lots of laundry, extra pads and pull-ups, clothing arranged in advanced often in spite of opposition, all items carefully packed, sometimes several times as they keep getting unpacked, etc. In addition, we need and want to let people know that the care recipient will be away and would appreciate outings. Said outings sometimes involve careful planning to ensure they happen. All that said, I must also include one last thing which is onerous at best: the labelling of every piece of clothing, etc. so there is a possibility that said things will return home with the family member going into care.
I don’t know about you, but I am tired simply reading this description of these required tasks! But, I can assure you that for the family caregiver or givers all this chaos is worth it, to help recharge our batteries. This year our vacation was of the three-week variety, and it was almost into the second week that we stopped pondering how things were going at home, and truly began to chill out and live in the moment, knowing that we’d done all our homework, and if we had let something leak through the cracks other people could apply the bandages until we return home, fresh and ready to carry on, with renewed vim and vigour.
Yours in caregiving,