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Community Manager

AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

 

Summertime often means taking breaks and planning vacations. Both of these can be a bit tricky while caring for a loved one.  Have you traveled with your loved one recently or are you planning to?  

Share your experience here and you will be entered in our Caregiving Summer Contest 2018 and could win one of the weekly $100 gift cards or a chance for the overall winning prize of $500 gift card. Your story may be advice or inspirational!

Review rules here:  https://community.aarp.org/t5/Caregiving/AARP-Caregiving-Summer-Break-Contest-2018/m-p/2023713#M67

AARPTeri
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I have never done this before When My mother pasted away I became care giver for my sister and brother and they have mental illness and im the one who needs a vacation It is always something or other and im tired all the time my brother was evicted from his apt and now he is living with me and my kids in a tiny house with two other cats its a crazy time right now I need a break thanks for listening. Illia Pagan.

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My name is Beth.  My 92 year old mom moved in with me in May 2017.  She was living by herself since 1993 when my dad passed away and was doing great until her pest control company found termites under her house and recommended a tent treatment which enclosed her entire home which meant she couldn't  be thete for several days so she came and stayed with my family which is a little over an hour from her house.  Her house was treated, mom went back home and was thete for a couple of days and then my middle daughter went to spend the weekend with her and the day my daughter was going to come back home, I received a call from my daughter while I was at work and she told me that grandma was scared, didnt feel safe,  and didn't think she could be alone so I talked to my mom and told her to come back to my house with my daughter and stay for awhile until she felt ready to go back and she never went back home.  She made the right decision which I know was hard for her to do.  She's gotten forgetful (short term memory loss) and was having issues with driving.  Having her has been a blessing because I don't worry about her like I did when she was at her house but the adkustments we have had to make have been challenging including vacations and day trips.  She's  healthy as a horse but is slow getting around and a bit wobbly.  My family goes camping alot and grandma isn't fond of camping but she's  a trooper and has gone with us quite a few times and each time she would always comment on our way back home how much she enjoyed the trip.  We've  taken her to our one week time share trip as well and making accommodations to suit her needs with the condo we pick so she doesn't  have to climb alot of stairs.  We bring her because she isn't  safe to be alone for long periods of time.  It's very tiring at times taking care of her needs and I get no breaks.  I am able to work at home and between my hisband and two daughters who are still at home while attending college we all help out to make sure she's cared for.  Sometimes I feel like I can't do this anymore but then the next day I'm grateful that I'm  able to have her with me.  I have two older brothers and an older sister.  They would be willing to help me out but my mom and I share a diffetent bond other than mother and daughter; we are both registered nurses.  We can relate to each other on a diffetent level.  My oldest brother got real sick in the Fall of 2016 and we almost lost him.  He was a heavy drinker for many years and burned alot of bridges with family and when he was so sick, my mom asked me to get him to a doctor which I did and after being in the hospital for 10 days and finding out he had prostate cancer, I can say that today he is cancer free and is living a new, healthy life.  I helped him through all of his doctors appointments, surgeries, follow up visits, and being the friend he needed to get through all of that and after he was better I inherited my mom so since Fall of 2016 I've been a family caregiver and I wouldn't have it any other way.  My respite care to myself if taking my three dogs for a walk every morning, spending time in the yard, taking my mom to visit her dear friend or taking her to the casino.  I know that someday, I might not be able to care for her anymore so even though thete are alot of days when I feel drained, frustrated, unappreciated or completely burned out, I think about what would my mom do if she were in my shoes and it's those moments when I realize this too shall pass and how lucky I am that she picked me to want to spend her last years with - her doctor says she's going to be a Centurian and that warms my heart.  

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yes it is  hard to deal iwth caregiving

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Great day and I will be there at the same time I don't have a car so I can get the money to you and your family a very

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The only programs I like for my mom is at the Alzheimer's Association in my area. The resources are very helpful and has made me so much more aware. Adult day care under Oasis in Santa Monica was an option but for one month is was so costly last year until I couldn't continue to take her but I did have a chance to breath and focus on business .

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I think its really important to take breaks from caregiving. I often find myself at a local brewery with friends to take the edge off of daily responsiblities.

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When I am caring for someone I usually take a break by going into my space and having my own personal alone time where the only person I have to worry about is me

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Regular Contributor

Hello my name is Anita and I am a caregiver for my mother who is 89. I was also taking care of my father who passed away a year ago this month. For years my mother and myself would drive to Las Vegas at least 2 or 3 times a month to see after my grandmother. Usually around the first of the month taking her shopping, running all her errands and making sure she had everything she needed for the remainder of the month. I often wonder why I never thought that one day I would be taking care of my mother or my father. My mind never went there. But here I am taking care of her and making sure she has all she needs. Its hard at times but it is also rewarding too. Especially when she says I don't know what I would do without you. For a couple of years now i have asked her, mama when are we going to Vegas again? We have not been there since my grandmother passed away, but last m on Mother's daythe Friday before we took the road. I packed a lunch, plenty of water, snacks for her made sure our cell phones were charged and we took off just like the good ole days! We always took our time and stopped at our regular stops plus a couple of more because I wanted her to get out of the car and stretch her legs and mine too! For years we spent Mother's Day in Vegas and I just wanted to do it one more time and so did she. Although when we got there and in our room we both crashed in the bed until later that evening. We went to our favorite place for dinner and she really enjoyed herself and so did I. We have family there and they were shocked to see us, they did not think we would ever make the trip again. We had dinner on Mother's Day with relatives and its a day I will never forget because it made her day. I gased up later that evening packed a few snacks for her and we were on our way home to L.A.the next morning. We made an extra stop in Barstow to get her favorite sandwich, can't believe that place is still there. I made sure she was comfortable going and coming. Now she wants to know when are we going again. Well next time we will be getting on that BIRD because my kids say the two of us will not make that drive again. I want to close and say God Bless ALL caregivers I never knew it was so many and we all know just about what each of us is going through. And thank you AARP for your assistance and giving us this forum.

Anita

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I hope this is the place for my story. I clicked all around but cannot seem to find the 'appropriate' place for the contest but I could really use a break. I am the 'sandwich generation'. My parents had me very late in their life. My sister was 16 when I was born and my brother 13 years old then me. I am the sole care taker of my almost 96 year old Mom. My mom is the best. She is very kind, giving and loving. She moved to my town at 90 years young and gave up her car of which she drove around in her small town until then (it WAS time). She lives in her own condo but I maintain her house as well as mine. I have 15 year old and am married and lots of furry kids. While having a teenager, one might think that 'its easy' - well it is not. For the past 5 years, I have had to divide by time up between my son, my mom, my pets, my husband and my jobs. I never get a day off because even if I am off from my 'job', I still have my legally blind Mom to care for by doing her bills, taking her shopping, ironing, taking care of her dog, taking her to doctor appts after teaching all day long, etc. and this takes time, my time. Time is important to me - I am a 13 year Breast Cancer survivor and my husband had brain surgery the year before I was diagnosed - we both are fine (our son was 2-3 at the time). My Mom was the only one there for us thick and thin through our jouneys. I love her dearly and what I do is a 'labor of love' but I am 52 years old and tired. I have worked up to three jobs at one time all the WHILE doing for everyone else. My days start at 5:30 am and end sometimes as a late as 9:30 pm before I put my head down to go to bed. I sort of don't like this forum because it sounds like I am complaining and I know how lucky I am to STILL have my Mom. The family members all live 15 hours away and visit maybe, once a year. I would love a week to go away or weekend with my husband who is always like 5th on the list of 'things to do' (haha-spending time) and lately, I just feel old and run down. My husband and I have only had 4 weekend getaways since we were married 18 years ago. I don't feel like I own my life because of all the things I have to do for my mom. She can't afford to 'hire' an elder care helper - that's me. She has great neigbhors but she won't ask them to take her places - she'd rather wait until I get home from work taking me away from my family. My son is growing and he is growing away from me. After my Mom had been living in my town for two years, I picked my son up from school and he asked me in a dull tone of only a 4th grader can ask, 'where are we taking Nana today?'; I just want to go home Mom.' ... I just want to go someplace where I don't have to rush to hurry to get back to do something for someone else. I just want some time for me and not feel like I am on a schedule ALL OF THE TIME!!!! - Rush rush rush..to do for others but don't get to enjoy my life. This sounds horrible but I need a break.....Yet, I know in 4 years, my son God willing will be in college, my Mom could be gone or she'd be almost 99, and my horse gone (my therapy). LIfe is so fast, so quick, so desperate at time, so full of life yet so sad and tiring at others.

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Therapy can hellp. 

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Newbie

I understand exactly what you are saying. I too took care of my Mom. She passed away a year ago. So here is my advice my siblings lived far away too. But I begged them to come and stay with Mom so I could have a week away with my husband. It really helps for you to take a moment for yourself your son and your husband. You come back still wore out but also renewed. I also had shingles from the stress of care giving and that will force you to stop and take care of yourself. It is much better to take a week or what ever you can to allow your mind and body a break. You still Love your Mom but you can love her better with a break.  

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I und

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Kudos
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This really resonates with our family situation as well.  Good luck!

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Hey Missy,

 

I hear you!

 

I'm using my mother's account to use this forum.

 

I'm 32 and my mom is 56. I've been taking care of her for five years.

 

At times I'm not sure if I made the right decision to put of my own desire for my mom.

 

There have been good times, but many unfortunate, confusing moments where I felt like I was wasting my life on a situation that would never get better.

 

I also felt like I was racing the first two or three years to find a resolution for my mom. Now I feel like I have time to really think about what I want instead of doing damage control.

 

Now I wonder if I should remain in my librarian job or be adventurous and travel? I taught English abroad and missed it bitterly!  Now I'm more balanced about my life, but travel still attracts me.

 

I recently applied to be a flight attendant and a airport ramp agent.

 

I want something to stir me and make me excited to go to work. My mom is basically ok. Her biggest problem is her fatty liver. She must lose weight to remedy that. I want to help her to do that, but a full time job and one hour commute take a lot out of me.

 

Maybe I'll find a dietary/exercise expert to help her?

 

Maybe I'll work part time to give myself a break and help my mom?

 

Maybe I should leave my brother in charge of her--he's 27 now.

 

I don't know. I'm just trying to figure out how to continue my life.

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AARP help others
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Periodic Contributor

You sound so overwhelmed! Have you checked with your county social service agencies to see if there's any kind of respite care available to help with your mom? If she can't afford to pay for someone to help her, perhaps her income would allow her to qualify for assistance from the county. Good luck!

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Wow, after reading your story, I hope you win or at least find a break in your schedule.

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Contributor

God Bless you - you have a full load every day you wake. Be strong - it's our call in life and how we accept it that matters.
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Newbie

BLESSINGs to such a devoted pwerson

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I came here to read the stories, I’m not in the contest sorry for my confusion 

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is sounds great 

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cool
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Hi, my name is Cris. I am currently taking a gap year before I begin college. My mom and I take care of my niece and nephew as a way to help my sister. It has been difficult but luckily I'm not by myself when taking care of them. 

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It is hard to be in the middle of husband, kids, work and caregiver! I understand about your mom waiting until you get home to ask for help with things, because my mom is the same way! You deserve time with your husband and kids, and they deserve time with you, that does not include your mother. If there is an agency in your town, like Visiting Angels, that can come once or twice a week to help, and maybe create a schedule with her neighbors that are willing to help, and give her the schedule - explain that you are taking time to be with your family. You have described your mother as kind and loving, so I am sure that she will understand your need for some "me" time. You have to realize that you deserve that time, it does not make you horrible!!! You cannot give your best as a caretaker when you are run-down and frustrated! It took me a few years to realize that truth, and now I have a much better relationship with my mother and my family. I will keep you in my prayers!
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Hello my name is Vickie I'm caregiver to my mom Dorothy who is 82 in 2007 she was diagnosed with short term memory because of her thyroid condition which caused her to have unbalance memory and with medication she just never reverted back to how she was prior to this condition.  Since that time until now has been a completely new chapter and journey she has Dementia. The aggression and the day to day is unexplainable .  I now monitor behavior, moods, all discomfort, sleeping , breathing, eating you name I'm doing it and each day is different yet I have programs and activities for her trying to see what is a good fit is my focus now and wanting to keep her safe and secure.  This is round the clock and if you see me you see her.  I feel isolated from the world but I'd rather look in my mothers eyes every day and try to imagine what she feel  with her illness cause sometimes I just try to understand and I can't why this illness is here.  Staying stronge for my mom cause she would do it for me.  She is my air I breath.

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Periodic Contributor

This is a fabulous message! My mom is 85 in a few days and livews full time with my sister. We speak with her often and go out and see her, and she'd beginning to be a handful, but I agree with you, seeing her eyes is much better than the alternatives. Take care.

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Newbie

Great

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These are the exact reasons that you NEED a vacation. Being the primary caretaker for aging parents is challenging and demanding, and it takes its toll on you.

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what a great story
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I am currently living with my mom and helping to take care of her plus her pups. My dad passed away several years ago. She is elderly and needed the help. 

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