Many caregivers are doing their best to balance their lives on two fronts. They have their immediate family to take care of and are also caring for senior parents. This can have a huge impact on a caregiver in a number of ways. Mental, physical and emotional fatigue sometimes stretches caregivers to the limit. It often reaches a point where caregiver and fatigue and planning a vacation becomes a necessity.
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This is especially true when dealing with seniors who suffer from dementia. It can be very demanding and often months and even years go by without a caregiver ever taking a holiday.
Of course, this presents another set of problems. If a caregiver is taking a much needed holiday break, what are their options when it comes to ensuring their senior parent is cared for while they are gone? It’s hardly a vacation if a caregiver is worried about what’s happening back home.
However, there are a few options that might work out.
A TEMPORARY FAMILY CAREGIVER
The best-case scenario might be if there is a family member who can take over the responsibility until the primary caregiver returns from vacation.
This would work well because chances are the seniors would be more comfortable having someone around they are familiar with.
On the other hand, perhaps there is a reason the family member is not already involved in caregiving responsibilities. Maybe they simply don’t have time, or in some cases, do not have a very good relationship with the senior.
If there is a family member who can help out it’s also a way to save money as opposed to the alternative where one hires a temporary caregiver.
HIRING AN IN-HOME CAREGIVER
Hiring an in-home caregiver is also an option, but can be quite expensive for a senior on a budget, as normally the cost of in-home care would be paid by the senior. After all, one of the main reasons a family member is a caregiver in the first place is to help the senior avoid paying the high price of a senior care facility.
There are several considerations that would determine the cost of hiring an in-home caregiver. For instance, has the senior been living in their own home with the caregiver making daily trips to see if all is well? Or perhaps they have been living with the caregiver’s family and require some sort of attention on a 24/7 basis.
There is a huge difference between a senior who is in the early stages of dementia as opposed to advanced dementia. In one situation the senior can do without constant care. Perhaps they just need help with meal preparation, running errands, or taking prescription medications at the right time. In this case, an in-home caregiver would be needed for just a few hours a day.
On the other hand, 24/7 care might be necessary if the senior has advanced dementia in order to ensure the senior is safe and does not wander off.
Whatever the situation, the hired caregiver should be vetted to ensure they are a good fit for the senior. Also, it would help if the family caregiver accompanies the in-home caregiver for a few visits to assure the senior they will be well looked after.
ADULT DAY CARE OPTION
This is perhaps not the most desirable option because in most cases these facilities usually only operate in the daytime and during the week, but not the weekend. It’s an option for those seniors with advanced dementia who require day and night supervision.
This would work out if a family member was taking over the caregiver duties temporarily. In the event the family caregiver has to work, the senior could spend the daytime at the adult daycare and stay with the family caregiver in the evening and on the weekend.
In the event, the seniors fall into the low-income category some centers offer reasonable rates on a sliding scale. In the USA they might even contract with Medicaid to offer options for low-income seniors.
SENIOR LIVING SHORT TERM CARE
Utilizing a senior living facility is a desirable option in the event the primary caregiver is taking an extended vacation of several weeks.
For shorter stays, finding a family member or Adult Day Care option might be the best choice. However, for a longer interval, it might be best to make use of a senior living facility.
The type of senior living care would depend on the senior’s physical and mental health and ability to look after themselves. In many senior homes, independent living, assisted living, memory care units, and even nursing homes are an option.
For example, assisted living offers aid with the daily routine, but does not have around the clock supervision. If dementia is advanced then memory care would be the best option. The premises are secure and there is increased supervision.
WHY IS A CAREGIVER VACATION IMPORTANT?
Many caregivers put their heart and soul into looking after the senior in their lives and it over time it can be very stressful. This is especially true if the caregiver is trying to balance life on two fronts.
A break from caregiving duties is absolutely essential as it will give the caregiver a chance to rest and recharge. They will be all ready to resume their caregiving duties with a happier frame of mind once they return home.
Being a caregiver asks a lot from these individuals who are willing to give so much of themselves.
Here are some excellent books for caregivers that could help them on their caregiving journey.
The 36-Hour Day– A family guide to caring for people who have Alzheimer’s Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss.
Creating Moments of Joy Along the Alzheimer’s Journey– A Guide for Families and Caregivers, Fifth Edition, Revised and Expanded.
There is also one more option that might be excellent for a senior who is in the early stages of dementia and is also able to enjoy a vacation.
There are cruise ship lines that have cruises for seniors with dementia and their caregivers. Cruise ship staff are specially trained to deal with seniors with dementia.
They also relieve caregivers in order to let them have some much-needed rest.
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