We all need time to recharge and take time off from our everyday stresses. If you are a caregiver, you may be in dire need of a vacation! Reducing stress keeps us healthier and able to be better caregivers. For those who care for family members, the concept of getting away from it all often seems unattainable and unrealistic. Your loved one may feel the same way, and may also desperately want to travel outside of their everyday space too. So why not vacation together? Here are four tips to have a successful vacation with an elderly loved one.
1. Start Small and/or Local
Before booking nonrefundable flights to Australia for the two of you, maybe start with shorter trips or days out. Start with a local museum or an afternoon in the park. If all goes well, work up to a long drive and the day at a boardwalk. Eventually, day trips may seem easy and you can set your sights on a long weekend. You get the idea. Even if anything more is not possible, a temporary change in scenery alone could be very beneficial to you both.
2. Consider Their Schedule
It will be a more enjoyable trip for you both if you can maintain some sense of familiar rhythm to the day. While in their normal living space, is your loved one generally a morning person or a night owl? Do they have a certain time of day when they usually sit and watch tv or rest? When planning an excursion or several days away, consider your loved one’s normal activity level throughout the day. Think about when it would be the best time to go for a walk and sightsee versus when it would be best to sit in the car.
3. Research & Plan
Some elders have different challenges, some impacting their physical abilities more than anything else. When planning time away, research how you will get around and what you can do there. If they aren’t able to walk easily on the sand, maybe look for a beach with an accessible ramp. When planning a trip or event, think about if it will be possible for your loved one to fully participate in activities. If this will depend on small adjustments or concessions, plan ahead. For example, if you would need to rent a scooter at a venue, make sure you look into that process ahead of time. You may need to reserve in advance or enter using a particular entrance.
4. Bring Help
If it sounds overwhelming to bring all the luggage by yourself, or still manage their needs while attempting to escape your daily workload as a caregiver, consider bringing help. Whether it is another family member or someone you hire, sharing duties may allow you all to maintain quality care and really enjoy your new surroundings!
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