When you are depended on to care for an elderly loved one, it can be difficult to allow yourself to take a vacation. But caring for an elderly parent or loved one is one of the most challenging experiences a person can deal with. For your own well-being and to be the best caregiver possible, vacation is needed and much deserved. Amid all the frustration and anxiety, planning a trip can bring on additional worries. Here are five tips to make sure your loved one will be well taken care of in your absence so that you can get the rest and relaxation your body and mind need:
1. Buy extra groceries and stock up on medications
Stocking up the refrigerator, pantry, freezer, and medicine cabinets means that your elderly loved one does not have to make necessary trips outside the home while you are away. Besides stocking on up medications, organizing and clearly labeling them will prevent any accidents, such as forgetting to take medication or taking too much.
2. Plan something for your loved one to do
You’re on vacation, so why can’t your loved one have fun too? Get them out of the house in a safe way to do something stimulating, perhaps with another family member or friend. Plan for them to see a movie, go to the park, visit to a friend’s house or attend a family party. Many communities’ senior centers have weekly trips and activities for their senior residents. Check the local newspapers for such events. The more your loved one has to do, the happier and more stimulated they will be. Arrange any transportation plans ahead of time.
3. Make sure someone you trust, like a fellow family member, will be nearby while you are away
Depending on the level of your loved one’s independence, it may be helpful or even necessary to plan for this family member to check in once a day or so for the duration of your vacation.
4. Hire a professional caregiver while you are away
If your loved one is not really independent, perhaps hiring a full-time professional caregiver would be beneficial and even necessary. If a trusted family member is not available to care for your loved one full-time while you are away, a professional may need to be called in. Hiring a professional will ease your mind the most during your vacation and provide round the clock care for your loved one. Make sure you check their references, licenses and qualifications.
5. Install wifi cameras
Pending where you are going on vacation has wifi access and that you have a phone or computer to connect to the internet, the next best thing to being with your loved one is being able to see with your own eyes how they are doing. If you have any worries about unwanted visitors, quality of interim care, or the ability of your loved one to care for themselves, a wifi camera may be the only thing that brings you peace of mind. Of course, you will want to respect your loved one’s privacy and resist the urge to watch them too frequently. You are supposed to be on vacation, after all.
Whether your loved one is still living independently in their own home or needs a professional caregiver in your absence, it is important to consider all of these tips for your loved one’s comfort and security as well as your own comfort.
Have you put off taking a vacation because you were too worried about your loved one’s well-being? If you were able to get away, how did you make sure you both enjoyed the break?