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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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Newbie

We took mom to the beach this year but had to change accommodations to be sure there was a ramp and we rented a beach wheelchair to help get her to the beach.  I had to explain to my kids, that I know its hard because grandma is not her old self but we should spend time with her while we can.  I have such fond memories of this vacation

even if there were some challenges!

 
 
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Contributor

I just simply step out on my patio and enjoy a few minutes of fresh air and let my thought drift away to other things and just how blessed that me and my family are and that others it much worse the we do and just how thankful we should be

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Newbie

It gets hard to take care of an elderly person. I take care of my 74 year old mother who can barely move now. I have to do everything almost. It is stressful. I need a break. Desperately. 

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Contributor

I am a cna and love takeing care of all my residents.

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Kudos
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Newbie

Hi my name is Hailey, i take care of my mother right now, her name is jerry. She has gotten really sick from old age. 

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Newbie

The best way the best way to track take break is to get outside. 

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Contributor

Great story!

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Newbie

We took both my parents on the cruise of a lifetime to Alaska. I loved seeing how their faces lit up everytime someone walked by and acknowledged them. Their smiles were infectious and they made a lot of new friends on the cruise. It was a memory all of us will cherish for a lifetime!

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In order to help protect your parent(s) from thieves who prey on the elderly, it is necessary to arm them with the right tools.  There are many products on the market that will help protect their money and documents better than a traditional wallet or purse including the Passage Wallet (which hangs by a neck cord under clothing), money belts and hidden wallets that can be secured and worn inside of pants.  Give them a more comfortable trip by bringing them a travel pillow and blanket.  

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Contributor

I am amazed at how many resources aarp has. I have been takeing care of my sick mother and they have so many things i can turn to resources wise.

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Contributor

It started in 2003 when I put my life on hold to take care of my mother.

I didn't think in a million years that my life will change drastically. But hey!! You only get one mother right? Gorgeous Gwen (nickname) usually bounced back from her health issues, but since 2012 it’s been a long journey (diabetes, kidney cancer, major back surgery, kidney removal, gall bladder removal, left leg amputation, right foot toe amputation). It just seems when you knock one out the way here comes another one.

Now in 2018 mommy is bedridden and in and out the hospital. I have two beautiful children (daughter, son) who I still have to be a mother to as well. To be honest they keep me sane. As caregivers we have no choice.

From football games, cheer games, doctor visits, hospital visits, medicine intake, homework, parent-teacher meetings, working, and etc. etc. it’s hard on me. It’s only me and it’s breaking me down mentally.

People really show there true colors when you're going through it as well. I'm glad to see that I'm not alone.

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Contributor

I recently joined a hiking group and when I need to break away from caregiving I go on a hike with my group. We usually do 6-12 mile hikes and it gets me out with natural so I can relax and get some much needed exercise. This is a great way to unwind my mind and wind up my muscles at the same time. I have been a caregiver for about 26 years and we all need to take a time out from this stressful job so we don't end up needing a caregiver

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Contributor

My favorite summer breaks are road trip with my dad to see family and friends. It's a little harder now with him being so up in age, have to make a lot more stops, but that just means we get to see things we might not have seen

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Contributor

I like to take a break by either going out for a long walk in my local community or either traveling to the beach to enjoy so outdoor fun. These breaks are needed when caring for a love one or a close friend to relive stress, tension, and other health aliments. 

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Newbie

My aunt has pancreatic cancer, my mom was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and my grandma is 75 and has some memory issues.  I cannot afford a real break like going to a spa or a vacation, so I grab a cup of iced coffee and sit alone and play a game on my phone for a while.  

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Contributor

Don’t have a good story to tell took care of bedridden father at home for 20 + years till he died last t. still have mother bedridden for almost 10 years I’m 50 and have had a vacation since very little help from anyone I’m single and have not had a date since Clinton’s first term

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Newbie

I had lots of fun

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Kudos
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Contributor

Hi, I am Richard.  I take care of my 80 year old father who has severe lymphedema in his leg as a result from cancer.  He has trouble with mobility and doing basic everyday things.  I help him by wrapping his leg and doing all the things we can to keep the lymphedema down.

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Newbie

I care about care

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Newbie

I hope this is the place for my story. I clicked all around but cannot seem to find the 'appropriate' place for the contest but I could really use a break. I am the 'sandwich generation'. My parents had me very late in their life. My sister was 16 when I was born and my brother 13 years old then me. I am the sole care taker of my almost 96 year old Mom. My mom is the best. She is very kind, giving and loving. She moved to my town at 90 years young and gave up her car of which she drove around in her small town until then (it WAS time). She lives in her own condo but I maintain her house as well as mine. I have 15 year old and am married and lots of furry kids. While having a teenager, one might think that 'its easy' - well it is not. For the past 5 years, I have had to divide by time up between my son, my mom, my pets, my husband and my jobs. I never get a day off because even if I am off from my 'job', I still have my legally blind Mom to care for by doing her bills, taking her shopping, ironing, taking care of her dog, taking her to doctor appts after teaching all day long, etc. and this takes time, my time. Time is important to me - I am a 13 year Breast Cancer survivor and my husband had brain surgery the year before I was diagnosed - we both are fine (our son was 2-3 at the time). My Mom was the only one there for us thick and thin through our jouneys. I love her dearly and what I do is a 'labor of love' but I am 52 years old and tired. I have worked up to three jobs at one time all the WHILE doing for everyone else. My days start at 5:30 am and end sometimes as a late as 9:30 pm before I put my head down to go to bed. I sort of don't like this forum because it sounds like I am complaining and I know how lucky I am to STILL have my Mom. The family members all live 15 hours away and visit maybe, once a year. I would love a week to go away or weekend with my husband who is always like 5th on the list of 'things to do' (haha-spending time) and lately, I just feel old and run down. My husband and I have only had 4 weekend getaways since we were married 18 years ago. I don't feel like I own my life because of all the things I have to do for my mom. She can't afford to 'hire' an elder care helper - that's me. She has great neigbhors but she won't ask them to take her places - she'd rather wait until I get home from work taking me away from my family. My son is growing and he is growing away from me. After my Mom had been living in my town for two years, I picked my son up from school and he asked me in a dull tone of only a 4th grader can ask, 'where are we taking Nana today?'; I just want to go home Mom.' ... I just want to go someplace where I don't have to rush to hurry to get back to do something for someone else. I just want some time for me and not feel like I am on a schedule ALL OF THE TIME!!!! - Rush rush rush..to do for others but don't get to enjoy my life. This sounds horrible but I need a break.....Yet, I know in 4 years, my son God willing will be in college, my Mom could be gone or she'd be almost 99, and my horse gone (my therapy). LIfe is so fast, so quick, so desperate at time, so full of life yet so sad and tiring at others.

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Contributor

Please enter me in the ocntest

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Contributor

My caretaker and I would love a break together

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Newbie

I'm a volunteer at a local long term care and surgical recovery facility were I visit with the residents and help them with different activities they have for the residents to participate in, and give them the company that they need to know they are people and not numbers.

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Regular Contributor

Our family tries to take a vacation together every year.  My husband has Alzheimers Disease, we have 5 children and 12 grandchildren.  One particular year while we were on vacation each person took his/her turn being with "papa" doing whatever they wanted to do.  Everyone talked about how special the time was him. It worked for us.

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Contributor

I bought a small motorhome so that I would be able to take her with me because I like to travel. she has a bed so she can lie down and a bath room when she needs it. It has improved our lives so much that we are happier now.

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Contributor

WEEK 2 WINNING POST

 

I take my Mom (90) out often  Easiest travel was the cruises we took.  Holland america did everything to make sure we were safe and comfortable.  The most important thing is to clearly explain what help you may need and what equipment you will be carrying. A cruise provides food, medical help is needed, entertainment and recreation without leaving the cruise.  i found that the tours off the boat were not as satisfactory as they usually did not have accomodations for wheelchairs, ramps or accessible bathrooms.  Mom could stay onboard and have fun.  I could go off on some tours. 

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Periodic Contributor

Hello fellow caregivers,

 

My name is Sue and I have been with my husband for 10 years. He has been sick for almost six years. He was dianosed with sever/chronic pancreatitis and severe neuropathy. I care for him on a daily basis. He is in so much pain and he has so much trouble walking. As of now, there is no cure for his disease. We are young, (At least I think we are). He is only 50 years old and I am 47 years old. Our lives were changed forever the cold breezy night he had a severe seizure in our driveway. We were on our way to the hospital because he felt so horrible. I saved his life and did two more times after that. We are soulmates and I love him more than words could express. Our lives took a turn down a road with no more vacations. No more life and basically, just attempting to exist. The most we do in our lives are go to doctor's appointments. We used to be an active couple, with money. Now, we have no money and not much activity in our lives. There is not one person who trully understands what we go through on a daily basis. It is sad that nobody wants to even take the time to understand, especially our familys. We do make the best out of our lives with laughter and love. I make him dinners that he loves (on his special diet). He looks forward to meal time. We stay and continue to be positive. There is no negative feelings in our home, even though there could be plenty. Both our familys and friends all turned their backs on us, which has hurt us both very deeply. People tend to run the other way, when someone falls ill. We sih it was not that way, but it is. I know this happens to a lot of people who are sick with an illness and/or disease. The key to a successful life, is to never let anyone and/or anything ever get you down, stay positive, and to work together as a team. We do not need anyone in our lives who are negative and who do not care. We have each other. If we could live on love, we would be able to survive on our own because we would be trillionaires! We never asked for this to happen, but it did. We all have to do our best to make the most out of our lives. We are given our lives to us for a reason. Good things will happen to good people. We just have to be patient. We got married in April 2017. It was not my dream wedding and we did not even get to go on a honeymoon. It does not matter though, because we both finally married our childhood sweethearts. We went to middle school and high school together. Ten years ago, we met up with each other again. It was meant to be. Life can change in a split second. People need to realize how precious our loved ones are and we all need to cherish life. Things in life never go our way, but we hit them head on, together. More people in this world need to realize that some people are not given a choice on how to live. People do not ask to be ill and do not ask to be poor. Nobody wants to be. Be kind and understanding to one another. Compassion goes a long way.

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Regular Contributor

I am very happy to see you are keeping a positive outlook and making the best of a bad situation. It is true people often turn there back on these situations, but realize at times this is out of fear, not understanding what you are going through, an what they may be going through in their lives. We never know other peoples burdens. Both of your families turning their back on you really makes no sense at all.Try to ask nicely why. Make sure they know you could use a hand. all United Way in your area for caregiver groups and resources for your particular situation. There is often help if you do not let pride stand in the way of asking for it.

Sandi Burkhart
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Periodic Contributor

Hi Sandi,

 

Thank you for the reply. I have asked both sides of our familys. They either ignore my question or ignore us all together. They tend to sweep everything regarding feelings under the carpet. They do not like to discuss feelings. I have asked for help everywhere, with not much luck. We can't afford the utility bills at our apartment. We hardly get any food stamps because the county wants me to work. How can I work, when I have to care for my husband. This makes no sense to me. The county does not want to help us. They want people to be homeless. My husband passes out sometimes. I have to be here for when he does. If I am not, he could hit his head really hard and hurt himself badly or die.Why does it seem that everyone wants to "get rid" of poor people, people who are disabled, and people who have no choice about their lives? This is not a life that we have. We do not live. We are prisnors in our home. I really do not know what else to do. I only dream of a vacation. My dreams keep me going and my love for my husband. 

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AARP Expert


@Fedup68 wrote:

Hi Sandi,

 

Thank you for the reply. I have asked both sides of our familys. They either ignore my question or ignore us all together. They tend to sweep everything regarding feelings under the carpet. They do not like to discuss feelings. I have asked for help everywhere, with not much luck. We can't afford the utility bills at our apartment. We hardly get any food stamps because the county wants me to work. How can I work, when I have to care for my husband. This makes no sense to me. The county does not want to help us. They want people to be homeless. My husband passes out sometimes. I have to be here for when he does. If I am not, he could hit his head really hard and hurt himself badly or die.Why does it seem that everyone wants to "get rid" of poor people, people who are disabled, and people who have no choice about their lives? This is not a life that we have. We do not live. We are prisnors in our home. I really do not know what else to do. I only dream of a vacation. My dreams keep me going and my love for my husband. 


Hi Sue!

 

You're in a tough spot. I have a few suggestions, and please don't be insulted: you've probably tried them all, but i just want to make sure, because you and your husband are suffering something terrible.

 

So you're both 'underage' for the usual services for the elderly, but there are still services for younger people who are permanently disabled. Young people get disabled too or are born with disabilities. Have you looked into your local ADRC? (Defined as The Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC), a collaborative effort to streamline access to long-term services and support options for older adults and individuals with disabilities.) Even though the eldercare.gov site is mostly for elders, you can use it, with your zip code, to find the local ADRC, and you can also just google your county and ADRC. 

 

More basically, has your husband filed for social security disability? Because he is surely eligible. With that will come, eventually, Medicare. To get that ball rolling, you simply call the Social Security Administration, put him on the phone briefly so he can give the SSA person permission to talk to you, and ask for the disability papers to be sent to you. His primary care doc will be the most help, i would think.

 

Let me guess, is he a type 1 diabetic? If so, is there an active Diabetes Association near you? have you called them to see what they offer? I'm just guessing based on his issues. 

 

The American world wants you, who is able bodied, to work outside the home, even though your husband needs help. I wonder, is there a part time job you could do, to add to your income? You mentioned he could faint at any time. There is a machine, the apnea machine, that detects interruptions in consciousness. Kind of a pain to use but you could ask his doctor if he'd order one, if he or she thinks that might help. I also once ordered a kind of emergency call button that a client wore on her wrist that detects falls, swift falls to the floor, and then called, in this client's case, her daughter, then her neighbor, and finally 911 if no one could look into her home and check that she's okay. 

 

I'm brainstorming here.

 

Have you looked into the local food bank?

Do you or he belong to a faith community? If so perhaps you could look for volunteers to come be with him while you do errands? 

 

I'm guessing this is a 2nd marriage, and it sounds very romantic that you've reconnected after many years. Perhaps this new marriage feels weird to your children from other marriages? I hope that the two families will come together around the two of you. 

 

Given that your financial situation is so dire, i wonder if you've looked into other options, like cashing in some 401k plans, taking the tax hit, and spending that money on stuff he needs, like making sure the bathroom is safe with grab bars and stuff, as well as some basics. It's a shame to do that, but it also sounds like he might not live to retirement age? Sorry to be so blunt...

 

Anyway, please say more. There are options. There is no need to sit in your home, isolated and broke. I'm sure you've looked into all kinds of things, but keep looking... I think there are options and it takes courage and fortitude to dig in and find them. I hope you are comfortable sharing here with more detail. Because the caregiving community here on AARP is full of wisdom, i've found. And creativity. And it's time to be super creative.

 

With respect and hope for your situation,

Jane

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