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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
I am my fathers POA and have cared for him since 2009, a year after he was diagnosed with neurological complications (brain injury) causing onset of dimentia. My father was on a quiet Sunday drive on a country road on the same weekend as families celebrate the 4th of July. During this time my father noticed two motorcycles approached the side of his vehicle, while he continued to drive the other motorist began to perform wheelies and become wreckless, at that time my father chose to slow down so he could move to the side of the road. At that time a third motorist driving a motorcycle slammed into his vehicle, he respectfully exits the vehicle to confirm the well-being of the individual, while he is surrounded by at this time 10 individuals which who are friends of the individual. Two men approach my father while one assaults him and takes him to the ground and continually kicking him in the frontal lobe causing him to blackout. The individuals grabbed their friends and fled the seen leaving a 72 hour investigation to take place. While my father was flown to shock trauma for immediate surgery and after 16 hours we were told he would stay in a medicated coma with his left portion of his skull removed to help reduse the swelling while the brain is draining and the blood clots continue to be monitored. He awakened over a month later to no conversation, mobility nor knowing how to eat. Seeing the man that I called my father lay in front of me so lifeless how could another being do a thing? After some time physical therapy as well as speech would slowly have him not as frustrated with his quality of life. However prior to being transferred to a specialty hospital we were told his brain was severed and unfortunately we did not know what to expect. During intense rehab legs and arms became more than noodles and he was able to chew more and light up when I and my children would walk in. Over two years until my father is accepted into a program for individuals with brain trauma and the transition for him was challenging. My mother decided she was unable to care for him and would need to move on and my sibling chose to not face the situation. Leaving myself and my husband to assist in anyway possible. Life was challenging while we had 6 small children at the time as now they are teen and still challenge his visits. However seeing my father transition into a assistant facility with life restrictions after working his entire life was the next hurdle, while trying to figure out ways to not make him feel less of a person and close to our family as possible, even with being an hour away. Here we are today 10 years from the accident and I look at the accomplishments he has made as an individual as well as a new person. He has concussion due to the dementia onset and frustrations that follow brain trauma patients however he wants to travel and experience life as he never did before. Taking his first trip to Miami last year while being monitored by his home aids, he was able to feel like a person with a purpose. Having a facility dictate all of his moves has been a challenge and he feels as if he were in prison. I enjoy my time with my father since he is a man I can have hour conversations with and remember the little moments. Not taking life for granted or those in your life is how we raise our children, as we never know what road they may travel could be there last. - Grateful Daddy’s Girl.
- Proud Caregiver
AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest
When we were kids, we wanted to spend our Summer vacation at Disneyland. But every year Dad said, your grandmother is very old and she might not be there next year. We should visit her (5 states away) instead. She lived until I was in my late thirties.
I think that we should not wait for someone to die to go on vacation. If Grandmother doesn't want to go to Disneyland with us, maybe we should take turns doing what we really want. I have a few fond memories of Grandmother, sure. But I also resented her for something that wasn't her choice at all.
Summer Breaks might not always be getting away for a vacation. The breaks I'm able to have with my mom is driving out of town for doctor appointments. It might sound strange, but it's something both my mom and me look forward to doing. After every doctor visit or going to hospital for tests, when we are done we stop and get us a bite to eat, before we head for home. We love sitting and talking about our food. How it looks, how it tastes, how good it is or even how bad it is. It's something we both enjoy and each time it is a break for the both of us. We're getting out of the house and I don't have to cook or wash dishes and the best part of all is I'm still getting to spend my time with the most wonderful woman in the world.
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!
Here in my town the watermelon are fat, and the people are helpful. If my truck break down on the highway, and i get stuck in the hazy heat it’s only a matter of time before someone come to help. I’m 23, work 20 hours a week, go to school full time, perform wifely duties at home, and take care of my precious 3 year daughter. So when people stick there neck out to help, I always appreciate and pass the good deed on.
So what happens when I leave the cozy little town where I can’t go to the gas station without running into to someone I know? Well my truck breaks down of course. It’s 98 degrees out and there smoke in the air from the Oregon and California fires. We have no water and my phone is almost dead. I’m 30 minutes out of town in a very similar sized town to mine, and I don’t know anyone. I had no idea if someone would stop to help, so I pulled into a quickylube hoping they could tell me what was wrong with my power steering. They went above and beyond FOR FREE to help me. They gave me some fluid, tightened the line and let my sit in their air conditioned lobby with ice water and coffee for as long as I needed. I offered to tip them but they refused. If I won the gift card I would honestly buy they all lunch or dinner or whatever.
My point to this is, I was somewhere I didn’t know, and these people helped me and made me feel like I had nothing to worry about. The amount of stress I was feeling knowing my daughters comfort rested on my shoulders was substantial, but they took it all away.
Every year for the last 5 years - we have taken a family vacation to with my entire family, with 6 grown, adult kids and 13 grandkids - it hasn't always been the easiest task to start! Add in an aging Papa with heart issues and it just gets a little trickier.
My step mom was diagnosed with breast cancer 3 Christmases ago.
That first vacation after her diagnosis (she had her 1st round of chemo 2 weeks before we left) was the hardest.
My dad's health has contiuned to wane and she wasn't feeling so hot during that first vacation.
Yes, we have traveled with a family member needing constant care. We plan for several weeks & make a very thorough checklist of everything needed to care for her and bring. We take much shorter trips when she is going along to so it's not so tiring & stressful for her.
Hi, My name is Ashley. I have been a caregiver for my late mother-in-law who battled cancer for the last two years of her life, and I am now a caregiver for my 80-plus year old grandparents who live comfortably at home. It is a welcome sight to see how happy they are to see me when I come to visit and routinely clean their home to ease their comfort. The best part is taking them on short travels to the beach or to town. They are simple trips with not a lot of distance but they enjoy them.
In an effort to take a “mental break” from the constant bombardment of the same questions that were posed by my Aunt (continuously...God bless her) I wrote “her story” in a small booklet. Whenever, I needed a break, I would give her the booklet so she could read her story (with amazement and delight) that answered all of her routinely asked questions. My favorite part was when she would read that she was 90 years old. Each time (just like most of the women I know), she would deny that truth... “90 years old...that can’t be true” she would exclaim emphatically...I would laugh each and every time! Affording Auntie the opportunity to read her “book” both calmed and entertained her, giving me or other caregivers the mental break that was so needed from time to time. RIP, Auntie Ida!!
Hello all. I am 70 years old and I am currently literally standing in the ER waiting for a doctor to examine my spouse, whom I have been caring for for the past several years. Ironically we were supposed to be going to Florida tomorrow, but we have to put those plans on hold. Still, we will try again as soon as the doctors tell us we are able to go. It is important for caregivers and care receives to make time for a break. Best wishes to you all for a good summer.
My favortie summer break ritual would be goin on down to the local cesspool that me and my cousins like to call 'Ole Ray'. There's all sortsa cantankrin goin on down there. Our favortie thing to do was to catch us some supper the best way we knows how. This by noodling by stickin our finger or toes or other parts into the waters and waitin for a big ol catfish to bite hold. Then we'd pull up our fish we done caught, or more like caught us (hah hah). We'd always make sure to bring some home to feed the kids, but we couldnt helps ourselves to take a big ol bite as soon as we had the fish in our hands. We called this our own family special sushi. I have a friend who is Japanese. I also like to ride on a unicycle in my garage.
We've tried traveling with my dad quite a bit. He likes to go on road trips, so we do several every year. Later this year will will visit museums in near-by states. He isn't as kind to wait staff in restaurants as he used to be...he just has less patience, because he doesn't feel as well, I guess.
I am lucky, in that my dad is still doing pretty well into his 80's. He lives in his own home, still drives, and is pretty active in several organizations. However, he had a very scary near-death experience earlier this year, with a 3-week hospitalization. I am an only child, my mom is gone, and I still work full-time. I was amazed at how absolutely exhausting it was to spend as much time in the hospital with him as possbile and care for his home, his needs, still try to get to work, and take care of my home and family as well. I have so much empathy for all of you who are dealing with these worries and concerns on a daily basis. I hope to be better prepared the next time, but I imagine there is no planning or preparing for caretaking. Sending hugs to you all!