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Community Manager
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  thought I was alone. Until AARP helped me with awareness and resources I was going insane. The only programs for  my mom is at the Alzheimer's Association in my area, which is limited to who they can help as well.  The resources a has made me so much more aware of my moms illness and how I can be apart of her health and treatment.  Adult daycare was an option, but it was too costly. Now I can revisit the idea of adult day care and budget plan for her to attend at least 4 days out the month because I'm not doing any selfcare.

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Newbie

My wifes family has taken care of so many people in need for generations.  What I am most impressed by them is the relationships they've built with the community.  For example, they have even used the same vacation cabin for so long, the owners renovated it to make it more accessible over the years.  Thank you!

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Before my dad died he had 2 strokes.  The second left him with diminished mental and emotional capabilities.  My mom was his main caregiver.  My sisters and I took turns watching my dad to give my mom a break.  It took time but eventually she realized a caregiver has to take care of herself.  With our help she got to do so much more, and we all have very special memories from that time.  So cargivers take a break to take care of yourself, let others help! 

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Newbie

I am a caregiver for my 70 year old dad. He is diabetic and has heart issues and is overweight. My mom was killed in a tragic car accident 5 years ago. I also hold a full and part time job, own a house, am married, and have 2 school aged children. Oh, and I take care of my mother-in-law part time. Time to myself, what is that?! But seriously, you just have to steal a moment whenever you can, breathe, and realize the reason you do all of this - family.

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Before my dad died he had 2 strokes.  The second left him with diminished mental and emotional capabilities.  My mom was his main caregiver.  My sisters and I took turns watching my dad to give my mom a break.  It took time but eventually she realized a caregiver has to take care of herself.  With our help she got to do so much more, and we all have very special memories from that time.  So cargivers take a break to take care of yourself, let others help! 

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Newbie

My favorite summer breaks are taking my parents to the mountains. They love the mountains and the fresh air. It makes them happy. I also treat  them to their favorite restaurants and give them time to enjoy themselves. We usually fly, but when it comes to it when they can't no more we will drive.

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Taking loved ones to all of their doctor appointments.

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I take a break by just taking a relaxing walk in the evenings. Even just 30 minutes helps me wind down and clear my head.

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Newbie

Summer time means fun in the sun, vacations and lots of trips to the beach.

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Contributor

Hello All,

 

I am the primary caregiver for an elderly man (78) who is an uncle to the man I was married to but I am now divorced.   He has no relatives in the area and I help out as much as I can.  I do his shopping, cleaning, and lots of cooking for him. I am trying to get him to become more proactive in his own care. I think he is depressed and it is hard to keep him motivated in self-care.  He is taking steps lately, though, in providing more care for himself.  It is exciting to see him look forward to his now daily walks!

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It can be difficult to travel when caring for a loved one - I find anxiety is high for both involved. Bringing it up can seem like a good way to prepare, but for me, it feels like it makes it worse so I usually bring it up with a lot of notice but don't continue to talk about it until closer to the trip itself. 

Keeping it simple in terms of what information also helps alleviate some of the anxiety, but mos helpful for me was accepting the help that was offered by friends and family. That has been the hardest but most beneficial tip I ever got. 

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My Dad is 90 years o;,ld and suffers from a couple medical conditions.  He needs a lot of care so he lives with me, which makes taking care of him a full time job.  He is the best Dad so I feel honored to have this time with him.  When it's time for me to have a break, or him have a break, we go fishing!  All through my childhood, my Dad went fishing when he needed a break.  The pond we go to is quiet and peaceful and we get to talk and laugh together like we don't have a care in the world.  These times are memories I will always cherish.

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Kudos
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We traveled in May to my nieces graduation in Florida!  It wasnt so bad!  We took more frequent breaks to get out and walk.  I tried to find rest areas to stop at so we knew there would be paved paths and sidewalks to make it easier to walk around.  We packed coolers to bring the foods along that we all enjoy more than fast food.  

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my husband and I try to take a break with a movie date once or twice a month. It is nice to spend time together and as movie buffs it is the perfect break!

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Newbie

No time for a vacation, so we find restoration in the national forest. A long walk through the woods soothes the weary soul.

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Newbie

When taking care of a loved one who cannot leave the house, which is the case with us, what matters the most is that you can bring the vacation to you. We recently decided after watching Moana with my grandmother, that we would have an in-house Hawaii vacation. We looked up heart healthy foods to make that had a Hawaiian theme and all wore clothes you would typically see on vacation there (lots of loud flowery prints and leis). Sometimes, you have to make a vacation where you are at, and that's okay. We had a blast and I know it's these moments that truly matter.

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It takes patience and it's helpful to have another adult to come on vacation with you to take turns spending time with the person you are caring for. Like, take your sister's family and your family all together in one trip with mom so that way each family can still do the things that maybe mom can't do, like ride roller coasters while the other family spends the day with mom, going to the amusement park the following day when you get to spend time with mom doing something she enjoys. 🙂

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Newbie

Took my sister who has cancer on one last vacation ! She wanted see ocean like we did as kids with our parents . So me and wife took her and her 17 year old to Myrtle Beach for a week . Great time even thou she was sick a lot got see do things we dud as kids .My parents would have been proud of it .

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Newbie

I enjoy spending time with my grand kids during the summer.

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Caregiving for my neighbor with dementia and diabetes is a part time job for me to help the family. It can be so challenging and has really opened my eyes to the role caregivers play.

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My grandmother has severe dementia and hasn't been on a vacation in years, which was always her passion. She has been on over 20 cruises in her lifetime. I would love to be able to take her somewhere nice in her final years.

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Newbie

Fellow caregivers,

My dad needed almost round the clock care. Brittle diabetic, legally blind, hearing loss, kidney failure, etc. Multiple surgeries and diabetes related issues with his feet had made walking difficult, but he had avoided being wheelchair bound. My mother was his caregiver.  I, of course, was busy with my own family, (husband, three active children), job, etc. I helped as much as I could, driving to appointments, shopping, helping with housework and lawncare. Then my mother was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. I became total and complete caregiver to not just my own family, but both of my parents as well. Honestly the details are still too painful to recite, but most of you know exactly what I went through. Work all day, then leave to run dad to nephrologist or mom to the chemo infusion clinic. Run to take a kid to baseball practice, back home to cook dinner. Back to parents house to make sure they had eaten, took their evening meds, then I'd walk their dog and do their laundry. Back home to catch up on my own chores until midnight. Up at 5 AM to the next day to start all over. Weekends were the best/worst because even though I didn't have work or appointments to juggle, I would cook meals for two families for the whole week. I'd cut my grass and theirs. I'd do mountains of laundry so everyone had clean clothes, sheets, etc. Scrubbing bathrooms for two families, mopping floors for two, so on and so forth. For over two years I burned the candle at both ends. My mother passed first and my dad 9 months later. I have kind of languished since then. I don't know what to do with that part of my life anymore.

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Newbie

I am the sole caregiver for both my mom and grandma. While hard, it is fulfilling, but I do not get a break for myself. Sadly the most travel we get are to the doctor!

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Newbie

Took my mother out for a weekend getaway to the ocean a few weeks ago which was much needed due to her health. While it proved to be more challenging then we had anticipated, it was worth it all. We truly had the time of our lives, and felt so refreshed and rejuvenated afterwards. Amazing what a weekend carefree by the ocean will do for your mind body and soul.

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I live in NY.  My 85 yr old mother lives in Massachusetts.  She is unable to travel, and I work two jobs with three kids.  Her husband was recently placed in a residence with Alzheimers, she has cardiac, circulatory and pulmonary issues.  How am I caring for my mom? Technology!  We chat, instant message, facebook messenger and skype.  It wasn't easy getting her on board but she is a fast learner! When she injured her foot? Facetime helped me see what she needed to do! We can watch TV "together", we can share a laugh, or I can just sit and read her long missives written about her husband's Alzheimers written in the middle of the night. Thank goodness for technology...it is revolutionalizing "caregiving" for me!

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My experience has been typical of those at this stage in life. Ups and downs but grateful for everything at the end of the day

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Newbie

My fondest memory is when we rented an RV and took Dad from his Florida home to CT to see his first granchild.

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Newbie

Having my dad live with us now has been a challenge.  We've all had to adjust to a new person in the house with habits different from ours.  And there's been physical adjustments too -- rearranging furniture to make it easier to move around; installing a chair lift for the stairs.   But I see him much more alert now because he interacts with people, including my kids, and my kids are benefiting as well as they get to know their grandfather better.   They're more patient....and so is he!

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Newbie

This was the first time we had taken my mother-in-law on vacation with us. It was quite a challenge.

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Newbie

This is the first time we have taken my Mother-in- Law with us on vacation. It was quite a challenge.

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