Take a holiday from caregiving

Taking a break is really important for caregivers

Summertime is often associated with the smell of fresh cut grass, gardens in full bloom and the anticipation of summer holidays.

Although with the haze of smoke in the air from all the fires in B.C., summertime is looking and smelling much different this year!

I receive many calls from family caregivers who are wanting to take a holiday during the summer months. There can be a great deal of stress for both the caregivers and the person they are caring for around the idea of holidays.  There are legitimate concerns and worries such as, “Who will look after my Dad overnight?”; “Can Mom afford private care?”; “My Mom has dementia and doesn’t want anyone else to care for her but me.”  Probably the most common statement I hear though is, “I feel so guilty leaving them while I go away on holiday!”

Taking a break is really important for caregivers. Without time away from caregiving duties, feelings of resentment and burnout may present themselves more readily.  Being able to trust someone else to take care of an aging relative or your spouse, gaining clearer insight to the situation at hand and reconnecting with yourself and your family are just a few ways caregivers can benefit from a holiday.

Here are some tips to make going on vacation a little easier:

Clone yourself: OK, maybe not literally but do find a replacement caregiver or a network of support.  It might be family or friends or you may decide to hire someone. It all depends on how much help and care is required, the length of time away and financial resources available.

Checklists: It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared!  Having detailed instructions for the caregiver will help ease your mind while you are away.  Build in time for the care recipient to add to the checklist and enough lead time for everyone to feel comfortable with the care plan while you are away.

Financial matters: Make sure all bills are pre-paid and that cash can be accessed easily to meet expenses or emergency expenditures.

Emergency contact: Keep a list of emergency telephone numbers and places of where you are staying at home with the caregiver and another trusted source.  Contact your aging relative’s physician, case manager and/or head nurse prior to leaving and let them know you will be travelling and how they can reach you in an emergency.

Emergency plan: Talking about what needs to be done in a medical emergency such as a stroke or broken hip is important. A signed health care proxy or representation agreement should be in place and its whereabouts known.

And please, promise me and yourself not to feel an ounce of guilt about being away! Enjoy yourself knowing that your loved one is in good hands and that you deserve a break from your vital role as a family caregiver.

Wendy Johnstone is a gerontologist and is the founder of Keystone Eldercare Solutions. Her column runs in the Comox Valley Record every second Thursday.

 

Just Posted

Comox Valley RCMP looking for suspicious man in Courtenay

Man was frantically waving at vehicles

Comox Valley golfers prepare for another 55+ Games

Competition, camaraderie name of the game

Comox Valley firefighters assist with wildfire effort

Four Courtenay firefighters are in Fort St. James helping with the fight… Continue reading

Woman rescued from Stotan Falls calling for safety measures

3L Developments did not comment on immediate plans to add safety precautions

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Glacier View residents take a ride on the river

Ground Search and Rescue guides floaters on Puntledge

Authorities mull evacuation order for Zeballos

Smoke billowed from the steep hillsides of Zeballos on Friday evening, as… Continue reading

Safeway union urges prejection of mediator recommendations

Says mediator asks for too many concessions

Fire chases B.C. crews out of their own camp

Crews in Burns Lake had to leave after a wildfire reportedly overtook their sleeping quarters

To address peacock problem, B.C. city moves ahead on trapping plan

Surrey’s new bylaw focuses on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

‘Disjointed’ system hinders British Columbia First Nations in wildfire fight

More than 550 wildfires were burning in B.C. and crews were bracing for wind and dry lightning

MasterChef runner-up an award-winning broker

What started as an interest turned into a global pursuit

Most Read