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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
My name is Kirby.
I won't disclose to you my real age.
I planned a vacation to Iraq, so I can learn the culture here. I want to visit all the countries in the world before I die, and that's why I'm visiting this country.
I'm going to be sharing my tickets with my friends, so we can enjoy the experience together.
I have been caring fro my elderly, disabled mother for almost 10 years. We are coming up on our first vacation in November, it's not really a vacation as it's a celbration of life for my Aunt (my mothers baby sister) who passed in April. It has turned into a family reunion as everyine seems to be going. We are traveling to Virginia, we live in Florida. I have lists of everyhthing I need to bring and I keep pouring over them thinking I'm forgetting something. She is oxygen dependant so I need to bring the concentrator plus her nebulizer, pills,inhaler, absorbant panties, bed pads, pillows, bed wedge (she can't lie flat down as she can't breathe). I've just been informed that we have to share a bed, which means I'll be on the floor because she wets the bed nightly. I'm very stressed out about this trip as most of the family thinks I should be working outside the home as well as caring for mom, but they don't realize she can't be left on her own and refuse to see it. I'm hoping this trip will change their views somewhat. This was not supposed to turn into a complaining session but I have no one to talk to about these things, sorry. I am hoping tha Mom seeing everyone will cheer her up, she misses her sister badly, they spoke daily. I have been all over the AARP site looking for tips and tricks and it has been very helpful. Wish me luck this November.
I know exactly what you mean when saying friends and family do not understand the situation. It can be both fullfilling and exhausting to be someon's full-time caregiver especially with no support system. I am my husband's caregiver and our sons and their famillies don't understand and some of them are unwilling to try to understand.
You should be able to request a cot to sleep on instead of the floor. You might want to add to your supplies with wetwipes, extra bed pads and plastic bags for wet clothes.
My husband is on dialysis so we have to take that into consideration on all plans. We either need to find and plan for treatment while away or just do a day event. Day trips are more of what we are doing currently but would love to be able to plan another beach trip. Planning is the key to whatever our plans are.
Mom had dementia to the point she couldn't remember our names or where she was most of the time. She talked incessantly about where she grew up way back in the boonies, so my son and I decided we would find out where it was and get permission to take her there for a day. It was a very long walk to get back to her old homestead but the closer we got the more animated she became. She told stories about growing up there and all the antics she and her brother did back then. We had a picnic lunch there and walked in the creek. She was so happy for that entire day and I was so happy not only to see her happy but to hear all the things she told us. I treasure that day as much as she did.
Winning a contest is great maybe even enjoyable .Yes. I recall road trips with my mother and father and siblings. We would drive yellow Chevrolet station wagon out from Detroit Michigan to Hazelhurst Mississippi travel so long so many roads of highways hills mountain tops. Recalling the beautiful greenery trees, water rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. Just wonderful simple pleasures of vacation. On arrival to fig tree in front yard of grandparents house ,water mellow patch and chicken coup . that old mule the livestock. Good old memories .Of road trip vaction with family. YES. C Carmichael.
My favorite thing to do with my mom which makes her very happy is taking her to visit my dad at the cemetery . She finds great comfort in going there. Although it is a distantance form her and driving is an issue my brother and I love to take her. Its a national veterans cemetery and there is a routine to her visit which consist of leaving a coin everytime we go.
My oldest brother got real sick in 2016 and we almost lost him. He was a heavy drinker for many years and burned alot of bridges with family and when he was so sick,after being in the hospital for 10 days and finding out he had cancer, I can say that today he is cancer free and is living a new, healthy life. I helped him through all of his doctors appointments, surgeries, follow up visits, and being the friend he needed to get through all of that
My husband's parents are in their 80s. My husband remembers as a child taking vacations to the lake to go fishing. His parents are older now, but we try to take the grandkids every month to visit. Life passes by so quickly, and we're thankful for the time that we have together!
Hi my name is Carla Streeval. I have spent the last 15 yrs taking care of my mother until she passed then my father until he passed away in Feb 2015 I received my grandson in January of 2015 and have been raising him since. As a single parent it is difficult but a blessing at the same time. I wouldn't trade it for anything. We would love a vacation.
my aunt is in her 90 s. i am an artist, but she didnt know this, till one day, i was showing her some artwork i did. (she said, that her mom, my grndmother was an artist also) weird huh? well , she told me she always asked her mom to paint her a picture of a cabin on the bayou with trees and moss, but grndmother never seemed to have the time. i woke up the next morning and started that picture for her. i painted exactly what she had described. when it was done, days later, i gave it too her as a big surprise, and she bragged to everyone about it. ( look what my niece did for me), lol, seeing her happy , mademe very happy. lol
I did not take my grandmothher, who had Alzheimers anywhere. I took time for me, usually just a long weekend break here an there. It was a great ‘pick me up’ and I felt some relief when I got home. I strongly encourage everyone who’s a caregiver, if possible, to get out of the house, even if it’s just for lunch. You really need to take time for yourself too.
My wife katie is my care giver because im permanently disabled due to a work accident.my legs are messed up so she gets me up and outta bed she takes me to drs.shopping etc.but we cant get offically married because it will effect my benefits greatly but she works at a budget truck rental place as an agent so we can keep the bills paid but living on 725 a month dorsnt allow us any room for any get aways ever never been on vacation together and i feel really bad at how much she does for us.so i think if we could win this she would be over the moon.thank you aarp glad we joined.her name is kathryn dobson we are both members..thank you for reading.
I've cared for elderly and/or disabled folk off and on, throughout the years. It's always a rewarding job regardless of pay. It's satisfying to know you were of help to someone who could very well be you in the future. Being my parents anniversary this month, I'm partially paying some of their expense for a little getaway. Winning the contest would be great for them!
I’ve been a caregiver for family since before 2008. I’m 52 and at that time my husband and I were raising our 3 children. My husband Tracy worked while I was a stay at home mom and to help out with bills I babysat for my brother and his wife they had 2 children the same age as 2 of my 3 children so I practically raised their children from the time they were 12 weeks old until our youngest went to middle school. May 2 2008 my husband was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). I had started taking notes on the changes I noticed in him a few years earlier because with his family the ALS is hereditary. Known as Familia ALS. Tracy’s father grandfather a set of twin aunts, a half sister to his father, 2 uncles, and a cousin had already passed away from ALS before Tracy was grown. So I knew to be watching for signs. After being told he had it and we knew life expectancy was 2-5 years Tracy came on out of work because he had already started have breathing problems and falling around. We did make the most of our time together as a family. Our daughter was finishing up her year of kindergarten our middle son was finishing up his first grade and our oldest was finishing his fourth grade. We played a lot of outside games in the summer played board games and card (uno) at night went places that didn’t cost money like parks, streams, ponds fishing, movies, our yearly beach trip that we usually could only go for long weekend but we decided to start making that a week long vacation to have more quality time together to have memories. We did take that one big vacation to Disney World. We did everything we could together as a family. Tracy passed away 5&1/2 years later on The 9th of November 2013! We stayed together 24/7 those few years and I did take care of him as much as he would let me. But during this time my mother had also started having health issues. In and out of hospitals and doctors trying to figure out what was going on with her some doctors that it was her heart others said stoke. And I was the one taking her to all her appointment. We finally found out she was having TIA’s (mini strokes) now my mom had been taking care of my dad with our help since 1981 because he had had a stroke in September that year that left him paralyzed on his right side in an able to speak sentences but he could say words but it was difficult for him to get them out. After my husbands passing my mom got much worse and needed a lot more care and so I continued my roll as caregiver making sure both my parents had meals and looked after their medicines making sure they took them going to doctor appointments with them both and my mom passed a little over 2 years after my husband on February 23rd, 2016. My dad being disabled I have just continued on taking care of him He and my mom would have been married 65 years this past July 4th and my dad turns 86 Sunday Aug19th. I’m staying with my dad a lot to make sure he eats and takes his meds. I take him to his doctors appointment and he had another stroke this time last year and I had to stAy with him at the hospital since he can’t talk I can usually make out what he is trying to say. My children and I have taken a week each summer to go to the beach for a week. They are a tremendous help to me in caring for my dad and they helped with their dad and with my mom as much as they could. I don’t have any regrets in taking care of Tracy, mama and now Daddy. I know I’ve done my best but it is exhausting at times and remember I’ve had 3 children now teenagers to raise alone during all this time. My brother and his family help as much as possible but they all work so most is up to me to do. As I said I have no regrets. My husband and my mom both passed peacefully at home in my arms with a hospice nurse there with us. Also they were surrounded by the people that loved them most. I told my children that I would love to take them on a vacation cruise. Something special for them because they have had to give up or live without a lot. My daughter is now a junior in Early College High School, myxomatosis is a senior at our high school in the STEM program and my oldest son who turned 20 in June and Graduated in May of this year with his Bachelor of communications with a gaming background from High Point University (he is still looking for a job if anyone is looking for a game designer/developer!) I need a break. But caregiver for a family member is a 24/7 full time job. Thank you for a chance to tell my story. Susan L Easter From NC
Only one month after moving from Southern California to Arizona to care full-time for my mother-in-law (who deals with Parkinson's Disease) I had to make an impromptu trip back across the desert to bring my 8-year-old daughter to her scheduled summer camp. I was in a panic about how to have Mom cared for while I was gone when it occurred to me that she hadn't been to the coast in several years. I asked her if she wanted to come with me and at first she was hesitant. She conjured up several excuses about medications, incontinence, and every possible problem that might occur. I'm grateful for the ability I mustered to calmly talk her through the possible SOLUTIONS for each of her concerns. Together we searched online for an affordable hotel at the halfway point and agreed that we would stop every hour to stretch, use a bathroom, or snack if we needed to.
It was challenging, especially the first day. The heat was tough, the drive was long and the car was cramped, but we talked and listened to music and my daughter added a bit of comic relief here and there. The evening at the hotel was even more challenging, but we made the best of it. The next morning we dropped of my daughter and started our "mini vacation" together.
As we drove along the coast, my mother-in-law reminisced about her youth growing up on the beach and shared stories about my husband and his childhood family. We were fortunate enough to find a decent parking spot on a busy Saturday morning and I pushed her wheelchair along the boardwalk. She was shocked at the crowds and how different things were in only a few short years. We stopped to watch dolphins playing in the water with the surfers and decided not to get a hot dog from a street vendor, but soon left the crowded beach area and stopped at one of her favorite diners for lunch. She was more relaxed than I had seen in weeks. At one of our rest stops on the way home we went inside a travel center/casino to use the bathroom and ended up playing penny slots for an hour at her insistence!
It was a great trip and I'm so glad we were able to share a nice summer break together. Not only did it provide us with shared memories, but now we know what to do to prepare for smooth and easy future getaways.
Being a caregiver takes a lot out of you mentally and emotionally. When you love someone with all your heart a caregiver job is very rewarding and fullfilling. You know you are doing what needs to be done and you feel so empowered to provide your loved one with he/she needs "love". I hope each and everyone one of you that is taking care of a loved one understands they love you as much as you love them even if they don't or can't tell you in words.
Being a caregiver and traveling with someone who has dementia can be quite challenging. However, with a sense of humor it can work.
My husband and I are retired and live in FL. We do our best to spend a month in MI visiting family & friends. Since my husband developed dementia, it has been more and more difficult to manage such a trip.
Our last trip north I was thinking about a neighbor explaining “respite care” to me. It sparked something in my brain and I went online and found a website where I entered the parameters of what sort of respite accommodations I was looking for into a questionnaire and hit the “SEND” button. A few days later the director of an assisted living facility called me to say she thought she had the solution to all my needs. It turned out that she did. My husband and I stayed in a delightful “respite apartment” in an assisted living facility complete with nursing care available! And they even allowed us to have our small ShihTzu dog be with us. I was in tears knowing that all could be taken care of for just a bit more than a decent hotel room would cost. And we both got 3 wonderful meals daily in their lovely dining room. We had a lovely visit and would certainly stay there again.
Our road trip north was always interesting because my husband would tell me I was driving on the wrong side of the freeway. I would just laugh and point out the signs to him that showed we were either headed north or south (whichever was the right direction at the time) and he would insist we wouldn’t get there the way I was going. I told myself not to get upset, but just laugh it off. He would also point at the GPS in the dash and tell me numbers on the screen only confirmed that I wasn’t going the right way. This just cracked me up even more. I find humor in the strangest things!
On this trip, my husband was being very difficult to get back into the car after an overnight stay at a motel. After minutes of frustration and sweating, unable to move him into the seat of the car, I looked around to see who might be able to help me. A gentleman was loading his luggage a few doors down from our room. I approached him and asked if he might assist me. He was more than willing and we got my husband situated in his seat. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. There are still lots of wonderful angels out in the world willing to lend a hand.
Recently I needed to fly north because my elderly father had been hospitalized. I have a home health care aide (who is also my wonderful next door neighbor) stay with my husband while I went north on that trip. Make sure not to overlook resources that may be right in your backyard! Reach out to others who are in the same situation as you are and form a support group. It does a world of good to talk with others who know what you are going through.
My husband has moderate Cerebral Palsy and uses a scooter. We like to take afternoon trips . We live three miles from the beach. Even though we can’t go on the beach because my husband uses a scooter, we enjoy the beach atmosphere by going to the beach library, art galleries and restaurants that are very near to the beach. Always a great view!!
- My husband has moderate to severe Cerebral Palsy and is 66. I am 61 and like to stay active. We take afternoon trips around our area. We live 3 miles from the beach. My husband uses a scooter so we can’t go in the sand but we go to the library, art museums and restaurants close by to the beach.This is our way of getting the beach in our day, always a great view!!