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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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My name is Tia, and I am 31 years old, and care for my elderly mother, Irene, who just turned 60 in December. She is living on her own in a senior apartment, ran by the Sisters of St. Joseph.

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Newbie

I monitor behavior, moods, discomfort and eating.  Each day is different but I have programs and activities for him trying to see what is a good fit is my focus now and wanting to keep him safe and as happy as possible.

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I much need a break, so much going on. I never get time for myself, I am always tending to others needs. I would welcome a much need vacation to somewhere quiet and serene.

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Hi, my name is Lucille, I am  78 years old and TOTAL caregiver for my 90 year old husband Morty. My husband was diagnosed with Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Five years ago. 

At that time we decided to move to the Country across from our Daughter.

It was a wise move. As the weeks go by I find it increasingly more challenging . 

THE AGRESSION  increases by the day, the demands, the constant questioning, I realize he feels lost, so to make our journey a little easier, I continually tell him how much we all love him and how special he is. I also take him for a surprise ride and eat out or just get an ice cream or his favorite Vanilla Milkshake. I kid around to make him laugh, he loves it!

We really enjoy our Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren’s visits, 22 of them,  such joy to our hearts. We enjoy watching the Birds and Squirrels from our back door.

we pray daily and know that our Lord keeps us and protects us as we journey through our last mile.

God Bless each of you!

Lucille Morton

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A lot of individuals would think taking an elderly person on a vacation is a burden. I consider it the best! I took my mom to Cancun, Mexico and we went to the spa, I'm only glad she had time to relax considering that she is always sitting at her house, not really getting out too much. 

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Newbie

Possibilities

I prefer movies.
I prefer cats.
I prefer the oaks along the Warta.
I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.
I prefer myself liking people
to myself loving mankind.
I prefer keeping a needle and thread on hand, just in case.
I prefer the color green.
I prefer not to maintain
that reason is to blame for everything.
I prefer exceptions.
I prefer to leave early.
I prefer talking to doctors about something else.
I prefer the old fine-lined illustrations.
I prefer the absurdity of writing poems
to the absurdity of not writing poems.
I prefer, where love's concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
that can be celebrated every day.
I prefer moralists
who promise me nothing.
I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind.
I prefer the earth in civvies.
I prefer conquered to conquering countries.
I prefer having some reservations.
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimms' fairy tales to the newspapers' front pages.
I prefer leaves without flowers to flowers without leaves.
I prefer dogs with uncropped tails.
I prefer light eyes, since mine are dark.
I prefer desk drawers.
I prefer many things that I haven't mentioned here
to many things I've also left unsaid.
I prefer zeroes on the loose
to those lined up behind a cipher.
I prefer the time of insects to the time of stars.
I prefer to knock on wood.
I prefer not to ask how much longer and when.
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.

 

By Wislawa Szymborska

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     My late husband had lung cancer. It progressed fairly rapidly & he made the choice to not seek agressive treatment but to primarily concentrate on comfort care. One thing that Dan & I had always enjoyed doing together was visiting our local state fair. It's not a huge one, but very friendly & down to earth. We eventually got him a 3 wheeled cart to ride but the first time we went to the fair in late August we just rented a wheelchair at the fair. I have severe chronic physical pain & it was a challenge to help Dan while not letting him think I was having a difficult time. I couldn't show any signs of having increased pain or he would feel terrible.  I was able to push him in the wheelchair reasonably ok while on level ground but there were also short hills. One thing about fairs however, is that there are lots of distractions & places to stop & rest under the guise of watching & appreciating new displays.

 

       We had customary places that we both enjoyed each year. We shared food treats & each enjoyed something that the other didn't really care for. A large part of enjoying any state fair of course are the "fair foods".... stuff a person ordinarily wouldn't eat. 

 

         A big part of the escape of the fair for us was just that, the escape. Finding ongoing enjoyment & events remembered from previous years.

       The last year we enjoyed it together was just plain fun. Kind of stressful physically for both of us but still achievable. Memories I still have.

 

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Contributor

i like to share my experience.My mother is a diabetics patient.So food taking should be in control because low sugar containing food is allowed to her.Excercise should be a daily routine for maintaining blood sugar level and also necessary medicines are taken.

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Newbie

caregiver here!
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Newbie

when we take my mother to dialysis treatments (which is quite a road trip to get there) we always take the time to have a nice picnic in the park.  i want my family to remember good times, even though it's not a pleasant reason for the trip.

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Newbie

My name is Glenna Walker.  I lost my momma 9/15 due to complications from Alzheimers.  She was in nursing home when she passed.  I cherish every moment I was able to spend with her.  I miss her so much.  She was my best friend.  She was 83 when she passed.

 

It has been almost three years now since my momma passed.  My daddy just turned 90 years old on 8/10.  He isn't doing so well.  He was recently diagnosed with congestive heart failure.  He fell last month and broke his hip, had surgery, now he is in a rehab facility.  Afterwards, he will probably be moved to a nursing facility.  I just hate this.  He seems happy where he is.  He is still alert and enjoys playing the piano at the rehab facility.  He has played his whole life.  It is his passion.  He has a really nice place of his own behind my brother's house and was being watched over and taken care of by my brother, his wife, and their 19 year old daughter.  Has everything he can ask for there, but I think he was lonely since they worked most of the time.  His little dog just passed away while he was in the rehab center.  He's never been one to show emotion, but his words were "oh that hurts my heart" and his eyes teared up.  He loved that little dog.  It was my momma's dog.  I guess all he felt he had left of her.  Anyway, he says he really likes the rehab center.  Lots of people to talk to, other company to enjoy.  I'm just not ready to let go of my daddy yet.  I am the youngest of five.  I am 55 years old.  I love my daddy so much.  I just want him to be happy.

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Hi I'm Loretta,

 

            My favorite person in the world name's Eva. She's 75 and she has taught me everything I know. Eva has always been extremely independent, so it comes as no surprise that she refuses to let her aliments get the best of her. Maybe that's the Virgo in her as well lol. We plan on traveling to Las Vegas for her birthday. We have been twice before, but this time is a real testiment to Eva's strentgh. AARP represents real possibilities, and that's exactly what Eva and myself are!

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Newbie

Great job to all of you who are sticking with it.! Thanks for all the great ideas and encouragement.

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Newbie

We were are caregiving to the family.  john was there too, bless her soul.  We checked daily on the progress of the progressions, and validated all verifications.  After twenty days at the cabin we had cathing over 20 different fish, all of we enjoyed frying and spending some days together for caring and giving.  It was a good vacationing with each other for the moments that are cherish are the minutes that we preciously preserve.

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We watch out for each other making sure everyone is doing well.

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Newbie

I went with 2 of my uncles my mom and 2 coisins to the beach. At the start we went to the wrong beach and it was so disapointing because there was a lot of rocks and it was pretty annoying, we stayed it a hotel with a pool and we tried enjoiying the night there. Next day we went to the beach we should've went before, it was great we even stayed like 3 more days than we should.

 

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Newbie

summertime often means taking breaks and planning vacations. Both of these can be a bit tricky while caring for a loved one.

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I've been taking care of my Mom, for about 9 years now. She'll be 95 in November, was diagnosed with vascular dementia about 5 years ago. It's hard, being as it's just me, no other family to help out. I quit my job to take care of her fulltime, and trust me, it is a job. She now longer walks now, rarely speaks, but I can still manage to do transfers to move her from place to place, like from her bed, or in her lift chair in the living room.

She nearly passed away earlier this year from chronic UTI's, and it's been rough, but she's a fighter, and I feel she's earned the right to still be here, so I really feel grateful I still have her. I'm an optomist person, and I'm so happy when she has good days, it makes everything so much easier, but of course, there are days when she's not 100%.

You only have one Mother, and I dearly love mine, and I know she can't help having her dementia. She knows she's loved, and safe with me in our home, I do as much as I can, to make her comfortable. She loves to color! And she has some fidget blankets to occupy her. On her good days, she sometimes tells me she loves me, and that's what it's all about. A unconditional love between a Mother and a daughter.

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AARP Expert

@groovyghosty Your Mom is so lucky to have you! I can identify with the way you are caring for her, your optimistic attitude, and your ability to appreciate the positive things she can still do.  You are helping her so much with that! I cared for my Dad for about 12 years, starting when Alzheimer’s was just barely barely beginning. All the way through complete personal care. He passed just two months ago and I miss him terribly.  He was 94, at home living with me and still walking some, and I feel really good about that as I’m sure you do too. Just a few weeks before he died he called me his daughter – you know how that makes our heart sing. The last really clear thing he said to me before he died was “thank you”. That love, the security and safety he felt, all of that is what really matters. 

 

You might like my latest column In which I talk about his end-of-life care and keeping him comfortable and loved.  

 

AARP has great information to help  care for love ones at home. Click here for the section of the AARP Family Caregiving site  that has great tips and tools.  I also have a chapter in my book about taking care of loved ones at home. (See the link below.)  I also have a coloring book out! Perhaps you and your mom would enjoy coloring it together. AARP also has a brand new book out that is a memory activity book for those who have dementia. It might give you some good ideas of things to do with your mom! You can find all of AARP‘s caregiving books at www.aarp.org/caregivingbooks. 

 

Sending you a big hug and good energy! I hope  some of these resources are helpful to you. I know you have sacrificed to care for your Mom but I can tell you now that my Mom and Dad have both passed on that you will not have regrets for all you are doing for your mom. Give her a hug and a kiss for me. 😊

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life Work and Caregiving 

 

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I was a caregiver to my husband for 21 years.  I wish I could do it all over again.  You see, the love of my life passed away 2 years ago, and I can't seem to get past that.  Leo was 19 years older than me.  But he was the kindest, handsomest man I had ever met.  He loved me unconditionally and that wasn't easy!  He was hurt on the job in 1997 and had to retire.  He had a bad back injury that caused him to need help with his ADL.  He tried to make it easy for me, and didn't ask for much.  We had an amazingly busy life even with the injury.  Where I went, he went too.  Then in 2015 he was diagnosed with kidney cancer.  A lot more care was needed with frequent showers and laundry.  I had a hard time lifting him, and we didn't have a lot of help.  But the help we did get, we sure appreciated.  I consider it a priveledge to have cared for him.  I miss him so much!

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When traveling with my grandparents in summer, we always had a place planned that hosted other seniors. They like these place best.

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 We took an idea we saw on the Young and the Restless and had Nanna answer questions and tell stories while recording her. Each family member would ask something and she'd tell them a story partaining to them or their parents. Then we put on like a small movie theatre gathering and showed the film to the close family members who asked the questions. I think it helped give Nanna a moment of clarrity from her alzheimers.

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Contributor

To put it in simplest terms, my mom has been there for everything and is awesome.

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I loved planning trips with my grandma. I was her power of attorney and loved it. Taking care of her was a joy! I made sure on every drivingh trip that I would stop often for her to use the bathroom. I bought her favorite snacks for the ride. When we got home, I did all her laundry from the trip and delivered it to her nursing home room so she could have Downy fresh clothes. 

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Newbie

About 6 months ago i lost my mother and it still have not goting over it i miss here so much we used to do alot of happy things together i know she is in a better place i just miss seeing her she was the best mother in the whole worldSmiley Sad

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Newbie

Summer means travel, but when you don't have any money - you can't travel far.  So i walk to the end of the block and back.  Thats all.

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Contributor

It's important to have your tribe when doing activites/going places. It's nice to have the rest of the family there for support and it just makes everything easier and more fun!!

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My name is Anna. I was once a caregiver to this old man who pooped all over himself all day. Disgusting. I quit. 

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Newbie

WEEK 5 WINNING POST

 

 

 

Hi, I'm a care take of my dad. He has a rare muscle disease called Inclusion Body Myositis. Our breaks away from home are taking him to Golden Corral where he can just sit and stuff his face! We also take a trip to the beach in early fall. His health has gone down a bit more this year, so I have added some new plans. I'm renting a golf cart so I can keep his wheelchair packed on it, along with some fishing gear. We plan on heading out to the pier every day to see if anything is biting. I also bought a huge umbrella to keep him under...c'mon Sept 28, get here already!

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My mother always loved roadtrips. While growing up we took roadtrips every summer to visit relatives in Michigan and go to the great lakes and camp. After Dad died, we moved Mom two doors down from me in a tiny house. It was just right for her tiny four foot ten size.

 

In the summer she would sit on the porch and we would talk. She loved the neighborhood and her porch, but I could tell she missed taking roadtrips. She had continued to do so with my father after we were all grown, and since he passed away she had not been able to go anywhere except to the doctor or the store. She was on a walker and had oxygen now, so it was difficult.

 

I had some time off that last summer before she died, so I decided to see if she wanted to take a roadtrip. She was so excited! Since I am a nurse, I knew I could handle things if she got sick, and this made he more confident to travel. Her only request- to take my neice along since she wanted her to experience the fun too.

 

So my son, my neice, and Mom and I all went to Niagara Falls. The weather was perfect. It was amazing. I had not seen my mother so happy in a long time. She could not walk very far, but she sat and enjoyed the scenery while I showed the kids around. I took lots of pictures.

 

It was my mom's last roadtrip, but it was one of the best. I will always treasure that memory. Just all of us together having fun, taking a break from bills and doctors and worries. It was perfect.

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