The Caregiver's Checklist: Vacation

Posted by Dave Tomar on May 12, 2014

The Caregiver's Checklist: Vacation

As the primary caregiver for a loved one, you have a lot to keep track of.  In all likelihood, you probably make a lot of checklists just to get through the day. Prescription medicine? Check. Doctor’s appointment?  Check.  Physical therapy? Check. All-Inclusive Caribbean Cruise? Ch…wait, what?

Yup. It’s true. If you’re a caregiver, a vacation should be on your checklist. According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, taking an occasional vacation from your caregiving responsibilities is the only real way to recharge your batteries both physically and emotionally. While intermittent days off are beneficial, nothing provides you with the opportunity to become reacquainted with yourself and your own needs like a vacation.

Get Out of Town!

Caregiver Burnout is a very real thing. The daily challenges of caregiving require you to summon a remarkable degree of patience and emotional fortitude. The physical and practical difficulties of your role may even be magnified by your exhaustion. The truth is, you need a break!

You are your best self when you are well-rested, clear-headed and focused. This makes you a better caregiver for your loved one. But this won’t happen with one good night’s sleep. The effects of sleep-deprivation and emotional exhaustion are cumulative. What you need is to get yourself a train schedule, plane ticket or a roadmap and get out of town.

Catch up on sleep. Meet some new people. Eat some strange foods. Splurge on things you’d never buy at home. Let yourself have a good time.

Get Help! 

As a caregiver to a loved one, you may often feel isolated by your demanding responsibilities. But you are not alone. In addition to tens of millions of other adults who are living with the same challenges, there are support services that can offer temporary relief. According to Help Guide.org, Respite Care is a support option with which many caregivers are not familiar.

Respite Care offers short-term residence and treatment for those that require daily assisted-living. This allows you to place your loved one in the care of trusted professionals to ensure access to the kind of support and attention that you provide on a day-to-day basis. This means that you can take some time for yourself with the peace of mind that your loved one is in good hands.

Let Go!

You Deserve This! It’s common for caregivers to feel guilty for taking personal time. Health Central notes that this feeling of guilt is normal but misplaced. You’ve made many sacrifices to care for a loved one.  Without a doubt, these are sacrifices that you make willingly and without hesitation. But that doesn’t mean you don’t still dream about getting away to some place warm, exotic and brimming with great views.

And you should dream about these things. You aren’t abandoning your loved one. You are giving yourself a much better opportunity to meet their needs. Health Central advises that the very first step to being a better caregiver is taking better care of yourself. By finding time in your life to experience things you enjoy and to make new discoveries, you’ll have a far better chance of achieving the kind of emotional balance needed to cope with your everyday caregiving responsibilities.


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