Are you a caregiver? Tell us how you plan your getaway with loved ones for a chance to enter a weekly prize drawing.

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 171 of 1,057

Caregiving for my mother is a privilege; she is a beautiful and bright 80 year old who always has a friendly smile and hello for everyone. Although she has some physical issues and has trouble getting around, she rarely complains. 

It was wonderful to take her on a short vacation to Lake Geneva area. It was important to call ahead to the hotel to make sure that we got a room with handicapped accessible bathroom and room area. We also called ahead for the Lake Geneva cruise tour to make sure that they had accomodation as well. Both hotel and cruise tour were very helpful and made sure to make my mother feel welcome and even pampered. 

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 172 of 1,057

hi

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Message 173 of 1,057

It's hard to do it sometimes. But if you really want to be the very best, like no one ever was, to catch them is your real test. To care for them is your cause.

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Message 174 of 1,057

I remember we planned for a much needed vacation while school is out for summer but the thing is we also take care of my two old in their 90's in laws. They said go ahead and they can survive without us for few days but of course we cant let them stay on their own so we research places we can go that allows wheelchair and something that everybody will enjoy. The kids absolutely enjoy having them around because of all the stories and experiences they shared to us in long hours of driving. 

 

Based on that experience we always think of taking them every where we go whether its short or long drive because we found out they like to get out of the house and they can still do it as long as there's way for wheelchair to go and they will be comfortable throughout the trip.

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Message 175 of 1,057

I do my best caretaking for my husband.

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Message 176 of 1,057

Thank-you for sharing all these wonderful stories!

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Message 177 of 1,057

I love summer and vacations.

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Message 178 of 1,057

I would call this story "Buried Treasures."

 

Last summer I was caregiver to a friend's mother--a woman over 100 who stood about four-foot-nothin'. She still possessed some of her life stories yet told the same ones every day, until....

 

There was an oppressive heat wave one week. Glenda, weighing perhaps 80 pounds soaking wet, of course thought this heat was a marvelous thing, even in long pants and shirts with long sleeves. Meanwhile...I melted...my energy zapped. Needing AIR, I asked how she felt about going for a ride. Oh, she was on it! She grabbed her little wrist purse and started for the door.

 

"Where are we going?" she asked. (This was after I pulled out my medical step stool for her to use to get in my Jeep, which she pushed aside, stating she didn't need it...which she didn't. I did, though. Sigh.)

 

"On an adventure," I told her, not even having a clue if I would turn left or right out of the driveway. More so, I didn't know the town or surrounding towns at all. Thelma and Louise--step aside. Glenda and I would be their 2.0 version, geriatric-style. Buckle up, baby. The road is ours.

 

Day One: We ended up at an old barn that had been turned into one of those trash or treasure places. As Glenda walked around, certain old things--items she hadn't seen in years--sparked a memory here and there. Glenda was finding new stories to tell!

 

(And while I was concerned she'd trip on something in the over-stuffed barn, I was the one who did, knocking over a display. "Are you all right, dear? You have to watch your step.")

 

Day Two: When I showed up, assuming we were going out again, she had a shirt all picked out. Again, she hoisted herself up in my Jeep in a way that made me both envious and giggle-y. This time we ended up eating ice cream cones on the shore of a lake. Once again, the change in environment fueled her brain. She found more stories she'd forgotten...fishing with her father and brother; her brother, a bit on the naughty side, tipping the boat over; her mother watching from the shore, waiting with a picnic basket. She got a little teary, but I think she felt more joy than sadness over unearthing the buried memory of that day over 90 years ago.

 

Day Three: We went to a small park where we would stroll, sit, stroll, sit. This time, watching a woman walk her dog, she talked about a yellow dog named Toby she had as a little girl. Toby had been quite the comedian, and made her laugh as she recounted his antics.

 

(On one of the strolls, she also talked about her age and death, telling me she didn't know why she had to live "so god-awful long." She stopped and looked me square in the eye and said, "Can you tell me why?" And let me tell you...it was not meant as a rhetorical question!)

 

Day Four: Glenda asked if it was okay if we didn't have any "adventures" today. Sure....but within the confines of those walls, her memories were confined to the same stories she had before we ventured out to play. And she continued to tell each one as if it were the first time--and that's okay, because we can't miss something we never knew (or can't remember), but we both had three days of the (warm) breeze in our hair while she dug up some buried treasures in her mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Message 179 of 1,057

My name is Andrea Barrett. I am a retired Columbus Police Officer and retired Transportation Safety Supervisor for Columbus City Schools. I have 2 sons, one of which has 2 autistic children aged 5 and 10. The 10 year old has Sturge-Webber Syndrome as well as other maladies. The 5 year old was a premature birth with some things underdeveloped. Both are the love of my life. Taking care of the children goes "above and beyond" for autistic children and double that with 2 children. My son and daughter-in-law do it without apologies or regrets. Because of their love, devotion, and true care for their children, I take it upon myself to give them a "respite weekend" once a month, so they can regroup, refresh, renew, and regenerate. Every caregiver deserves a "respite". It is a small sacrifice for the wonderful work they do with and for their children.

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Message 180 of 1,057

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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