Taking Time away
A tricky Decision
Whether you are managing a household, a business, or a job, finding time for a vacation can be a challenge. Many are in your shoes. In fact, a 2019 study showed that 768 million vacation days went unused by American workers in a single year. However, families who are also caring for a loved one, understandably stay home and skip the vacation even more. At Beverly’s Daughter we believe families who are acting as caretakers deserve a guilt-free vacation, in fact, it could be crucial to your caring longevity. Let us unpack a few tips on how to go on that getaway while still maintaining your excellent level of love and care.
Check your Guilt
If feelings of guilt or worry pop up, that is understandable. However, it is important to dismantle these feelings, for they can compromise the very intent of your getaway—respite for you. Thoughts like “I should just stay home or “no one else can care the way I do” are understandable but ultimately unbased. It is important you confront and intentionally process these thoughts, and then decide when you will drop them. If you are flying somewhere, consider processing through your worry until you board the plane then choosing to intentionally combat and let go of feelings of worry after take-off. If you are driving somewhere, consider using the drive time to really check-in with your loved one and then drop the guilt on the non-travel days and lighten communication. Some time away will not only help your own self-care but also long-term make you a more present caregiver for your loved one.
a care plan
While some time away is needed and important for your self-care, obviously it does need some planning. Remember, this plan does not have to be something that works for months or years! Rather, something that only needs to last and function the duration of your getaway. So, do not be afraid to ask for favors, use resources, or spend a little extra money to make a care plan that works. Start by writing out all of your responsibilities, from check-in calls, to grocery drop offs, to drives to appointments, specifically for dates you will be gone. Next, start grouping these responsibilities into categories: things that can wait until your back, things that can still happen with preplanning, and things you can have another fill in for. For instance, perhaps your grocery run can be ordered and prescheduled through a third party. Or, a friend can step in for that doctor’s appointment. Or, a hired hand can check in for 2 hours a day. Work backwards, create a plan, and be sure to communicate this plan with your loved one so that they too are comfortable with it.
Once you and your loved one have created and agreed to a care plan, you next will want to decide what level of communication is appropriate for you while traveling. Do you want daily updates? Calls? Only emergency calls? This decision is completely up to you, your loved one, and what you are comfortable with. However, creating a plan will give you and your loved one a structure and may even alleviate any guilt, knowing you will still be caring from afar. Be sure to prepare for this plan, checking your internet and phone service at your destination, making sure medical releases are signed, outfitting your loved one with the technology they might need, having people in place ready in case an emergency occurs, etc.
Self-Care is Caring
While taking time away may be the last thing on your mind, it is important on your self-care journey. Regular breaks, whether they are weekend stay-cations or yearly faraway getaways, will allow you to create longevity in your caregiving journey. It may take some planning and work, but reasonable and prepared time away will benefit you and your loved one’s relationship.
Your loved one can be cared for, even from afar
Your loved one can still be well cared for, even if you are absent or faraway. There are resources, tips, and ideas on how to love your aging adult well even if you cannot be there in person. At Beverly’s Daughter, we are here to help you create a plan for care and find creative solutions for the distance.
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