Caregiving can be a very stressful and time-consuming responsibility, and just like any other job, sometimes it’s nice to have a break from something. In fact, taking a break is essential for your health as a caregiver. But now the question becomes: how do you vacation as a caregiver?
Vacationing as a caregiver may seem impossible among all of your responsibilities, but this is in fact possible and a key ingredient in providing the best care for your loved one!
Things to Consider
The key to vacationing as a caregiver is much like organizing any other vacation: smart planning! It’s important that you give yourself plenty of time to plan since you may have more things to consider before you leave for a vacation as a caregiver, including the following:
- Is any time off mentioned in your caregiver agreement? If a family caregiver agreement was created, check the agreement first because the amount of vacation time allotted might have already been decided.
- What level of care does your loved one require? If your loved one is mostly independent, then you may only need a family member or a trustworthy neighbor to check in on them a few times a day while you’re away. If your loved one needs more care than that, see our next consideration below.
- Who will be there in your absence? Luckily, there are many options available to you. A family member would be best, but a trustworthy friend, neighbor or even a daytime or nighttime caregiver may be willing to help out. No matter who it is, just make sure it’s someone your loved one is comfortable with.
- Are there any cost restrictions? Obviously asking a family member or friend to help out is the most cost-effective option, but if there are no cost restrictions and if your loved one needs more extensive care, consider hiring a licensed home care aide or taking advantage of out-of-home respite services. If you decide to go this route, make sure you give your loved one plenty of time to get used to their new caregiver and surroundings before you leave.
When in doubt, an aging life care expert will be able to help you sort through all of your options and help you decide what is best for both you and your loved one so you can enjoy your well-deserved vacation without worrying that your loved one is well taken care of.
The Proper Preparations
Even after taking these options outlined above into consideration, it’s important that you take the proper precautions before you leave on vacation. Perhaps the best thing you can do for yourself is to take plenty of time to both prepare your own vacation and your loved one’s care in your absence. Planning a vacation can be a lot of work, and this can be doubled when you have to make arrangements for your loved one’s care, so make sure you give everyone plenty of notice of your plans.
When making these alternative and temporary care decisions, involve the whole family of your loved one. One of the most important things is designating a point of contact(s) and preparing a collection of important information should an emergency occur while you’re away. Some important information to include is a list of emergency contacts, physicians, medications and directions on when to take them, insurance cards, and other essential documents (power of attorney, living well, etc.).
Even after taking all of these necessary precautions, an emergency could still happen. A medical alert system from Medical Guardian will ensure that your loved one is able to receive the help he or she needs, and you can be notified of your loved one’s condition – even if you’re away on vacation.
A final reminder: you may feel guilty about going on vacation when you’re a caregiver, but vacationing as a caregiver is a necessity as it gives you a chance to de-stress, boosting your overall health. To learn more about how you can de-stress as a caregiver, click here to see our top 10 steps to becoming a stress-free caregiver.