When you work as a caregiver, a vacation seems like an impossible goal. However, you can provide yourself a caregiver vacation by redefining travel, committing to treating yourself, finding wonderful destinations close to home and asking for support to take longer trips.
Some combination of these ideas can give you the opportunity for a caregiver vacation, or at least small breaks that can add up over time. Each day is an opportunity to both care for your loved one and see to your own wellbeing. Take a break from caregiving by putting some of these ideas to work.
Getting The Support You Need
Let’s start with taking a typical vacation, which usually involves traveling away from home for a week or so. Many caregivers never dream of doing this. However, it’s possible if you get the support you need while traveling a long distance.
One option is to ask a sibling or other close relative to stay with your loved one while you are on vacation. This can be tough for some caregivers, who are hesitant to ask for help. However, this ranks as the best solution because it allows your loved one to stay in their home in familiar surroundings. However, other options exist outside family for those who want to take a break from caregiving. For example, you could hire a home health aide to work in your home during your vacation or find an assisted living facility that will take in your loved one while you are away.
If a longer vacation is currently out of reach, you may want to consider redefining your idea of a caregiver vacation. Decades of marketing for vacation destinations make us feel cheated if we don’t take big trips, but in truth a caregiver vacation can happen in many ways. For example, a vacation might mean just one day (or even half a day) free of having caregiver duties. And travel can involve visiting a place just a short drive from your home. or even half a day. How we define things can change how we perceive our lives.
Caregivers typically find this much easier to say than do. Others may tell you to “take care of yourself,” but too few make time to do that. But each day offers a chance to do something for yourself that will uplift your spirits and renew your energy. The many services and options for caregiver respite at Hope Grows offer examples of what caregivers can do to improve their lives. They also can take care of themselves by taking time every day to do something they love, such as a hobby, reading, or taking walks in nature.
Find Destinations Close To Home
Most areas have interesting places to visit that are less than a few hours away. One strategy is to see what is within a 30-minute drive of your house, and then make arrangements to visit for a couple of hours. Even taking a quick detour while running your errands can give you a break from the daily routine, such as going by a city park or taking a short drive through a scenic area. Making time for a mini caregiver vacation goes hand-in-hand with taking care of yourself. Those who provide care to a loved one take on a difficult job. Most do a great job planning out every detail of their loved ones’ care. But they often forget to include care for themselves. Planning to take a caregiver vacation, however you define it,can go a long way toward changing that situation.