Science is honing in on better ways to treat chronic pain. Read about it in this AARP series.

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 201 of 1,088

Hi, 

My mom has severe mobility issues and dementia.  It is difficult not only to get her out and about for a break, but for her to be out.  We have found the best places to take her for a vacation are places familiar to her from her childhood or places we lived or vacationed when we were kids.  Sometimes her memories are scrambled up, but she almost always has a good memory. So even if the details aren't quite right, what matters is it's a good momory for her in that moment.

 

Good luck to all of you in the challenging journey forward.

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 202 of 1,088

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 203 of 1,088

hi

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 204 of 1,088

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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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 205 of 1,088

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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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 206 of 1,088

I do my best caretaking for my husband.

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 207 of 1,088

Thank-you for sharing all these wonderful stories!

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 208 of 1,088

I love summer and vacations.

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 209 of 1,088

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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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 210 of 1,088

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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