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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Caregiving is not an easy job, but it is rewarding in the sense that you know that your loved one is properly being taken care of.  We have been blessed to have my 87 year old mother in our care for the past seven years.  Mom had several strokes two years ago and currently has two clogged arteries in her brain that are inoperable. When mom had the strokes, they sent her to a nursing care facility for three months, where she sat in wet diapers for hours, amongst other things that were not acceptable to us.  The facilities comments to my complaints were that they were understaffed, and this may have been true, but was not acceptable that mom was not properly cared for.  This is when we decided that we would never send her to any facility for caregiving, as long as we were capable of taking care of her.  It is crucial that caretakers find ways, to make time for some relaxation, enjoyment and stress relief.  Because of moms inoperable clogged arteries in her brain, she is unable to travel by airplane, so we had to work around that issue.  We decided to take mom on a cruise, this would eliminate me having to make decisions on what to cook, shopping for the meals and cooking them, cleaning the house,  changing bed sheets and doing laundry for at least ten days.  Yes, I still had to change moms diapers, dress her daily and feed her at meal time but what a blessing to eliminate all the other routine chores.  This decision proved to be a good choice for us and mom,  great food, wonderful accommodations and planned entertainment.   Even though we weren't able to take any shore excursions, we were blessed to relax and enjoy beautiful sunsets and sunrises.  We even pushed mom in her wheelchair around the outdoor track so we could get fresh air, exercise and enjoy the calming effects of the ocean waters together.  We 87also received and added blessing from so many strangers, they would talk to mom and us,  several would touch her (touch is so important) and say what a blessing she was with her beautiful smile, which made her smile even more.  When it was time to leave the cruise ship mom said, "can't you sell the house and we just live on this ship," refreshment and renewal was had by all!   

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 212 of 1,088

.

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 213 of 1,088

I absolutely love to travel more than anything I can think of.  I travel all over the world.  I plan at least one big trip every year and would do more, if I could.  On average, I do very little in the way of entertainment and extra curricular activites, so traveling is that shot in the arm for me.  I look forward to it every year.  I'm so geeked that mostly everyone (friends and family) are geeked too.  They all want to know what's the trip this year?  Where are you going and how long?  And they all wait for the travel book that I put together for every trip.  Then the book gets to travel from house to house; to co-workers and people I don't even know on the train.  I'll travel in groups or alone.  It doesn't really matter.  I'm just that travel extrovert, so I can go either way.  In recent years, my trips are getting longer and further away, so I don't get many takers because they can either be gone that long or don't have that kind of money to spend on vacation.  You know the story!

 

Two years ago, I became a full blown caregiver for my mom who will be 80 next week.  She got sick, and I had to cancel my vacation right at the brink of departure.  Thank goodness, I insure every trip, so I did wind up getting all my money back.  That was the good news.  The bad news was that this would be the beginning of the end.  It seems like my "traveling well" has dried up.  I have one older sibling, and most of the time she just lets me carry the entire ball.  No sense to her in splitting or sharing the care.  She seems to do as little as possible.  Whatever is going on, her famous line is "keep me posted."  I said if I outlived her, I certainly would put that famous quote on her tombstone!

 

Long story short, I almost can't go any of the places I really desire because it requires that I be gone longer than I can comfortably stay away with my mom.  I truly love her and want her to have the best of care, but it seems like my life is over!  This is the only thing that I do that makes my joy complete and now it has come to an end.  I just started knocking off the continents on my bucket list.  In 2015, I started my "A's."  I was in Australia and New Zealand a few days short of a month.  I wanted to knock off Asia so bad this year, but it seems like it won't happen.  I feel I need at least 14 days minimally, or it doesn't even make sense for me to pack for less than that.  I'm not sure what happens going forward, but it seems as though I have nobody that I or my mom can trust to let me go.  I try hard to fight depression over this.  Here it is August and the "back to school" announcements are starting.  Then it's fall (if we get one).  I live in the Chicago area, so some times we're thrown full throttle into winter.

 

I don't know what my answer is.  Maybe some of you in the caregiving community have some advice you can give me.  Although I could add a lot more, that's basically my story.  I know others of you are out there experiencing the same or similar things.  Let's help each other!

 

Thanks for listening!

Mz. Dee

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 214 of 1,088

great i love the journey

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 215 of 1,088

For 6 years we're didn't go anywhere.   My husband didn't want to do anything.  They had his meds messed up big time. We call them the forgotten years. Traveling was hard. Just recently we've been able to go out to more places. We haven't traveled far but we've gone to a few local places. I'm glad he's able to do more this year. Those other years were rough. 

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 216 of 1,088

great

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 217 of 1,088

I had been taking care of my parents over the last 4 years. My mom passed in October of 2016, and daddy passed May of this year. Dad and I could not go anywhere with mom, because she was in the final stages of Dementia. 

This passed year was pretty good with daddy, because he could still get around a little. Our favorite trip was a simple one back to our hometown.  He had the best time telling me where everyone lived, worked and even goofed off. Dad was 86 when  he passed,  but his mind was very sharpe. He pointed out where different places "use" to be when he grew up.  Take your loved ones back to their hometown if anyway possible.  You'll live their life with them.

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 218 of 1,088

I would just love to win this contest. I am an unpaid caregiver for my dad who is technically my grandpa but he adopted me and raised me as his own. He has dementia and he was first diagnosed with it when I was 22 and now I'm 29 and have been taking care of him ever since. He has gotten worse every year and needs more care every year. I don't go over night anywhere, it's been years since the last three years have been the worse. He is not the nicest person and I would just love a break. Me and my boyfriend of ten years have been wanting to go just anywhere for a long time but No one in my family cant help take care of him while I'm gone especially with showering and changing diapers I think they feel weird about doing those things and I don't want to bother them by asking anyways. So I would love this very much, I have been having panic attacks, anxiety  and depression lately and I think it's because of being home too much. I don't think it is healthy. So I would appreciate this so so much. I think all of us caregivers could definitely use a vacation though!  

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 219 of 1,088

I und

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 220 of 1,088
Bringing a talkative friend along really helps!

As does packing familiar snacks and stuffed animals, CDs of favorite music, DVDs,
an instant photo camera, a sturdy new picture album, scissors, post-its, stickers, etc., for
creating a photo journey starting with a map showing departure home and projected
arrival locations...
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