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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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I don’t understand what to do 

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My neighbor is going through dementia and I bring her to doctors appointments 

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Travel is really a whole other ballgame when you are a caregiver responsible for someone else. It becomes not about enjoying yourselves, but also about making sure that things are in place to accommodate your needs. Bathrooms are important - stop often and carry an Occupied sign.

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Newbie

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I am not sure I am eligible to post this as my mother passed away from complications of Alzheimer's disease.  I was her primary caregiver for many years and learned and experienced more than I have room to share here.  Time away from home became very important to both of us.  I would take her to familiar places, to church, to see friends, to animal related sights, nature walks (or rides), to a lake or beach or just stroll in a mall and look at all the people and stores.  I hoped to spark a memory or a light in her eyes.  We would often flip through a picture book I made with photos of familiar people and places, which became dimmer and dimmer.  Here are some helpful hints for readers who find themselves in a similar situation:  bring all needed equipment and supplies such as wheelchair, walker, cane , supportive shoes, incontinent supplies if applicable, med alert ID, plenty of water and snacks, medication needed during your outting, extra clothing for those mishaps or seasonal changes and most important, bring a positive attitude and a light and giving heart.  Yes, things may not go as planned, but smiles and a little problem solving go a long way.  These special times together have provided a lifetime of memories for me, and I hope all you caregiver angels feel the same.

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Newbie

For the past 5 years, my father has been living with me and my family. He has been an alcoholic a good portion of his life and has experimented with many other drugs. He has recently been suffering because of this. He has cirrhosis of the liver. 

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i share responsibility for my grandmother who has dementia. we take shifts with here. 3 days on 4 days off etc. it helps so much having two caregivers. my mother is the best

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My father is getting around a little after a stroke but he’s having a hard time bathing. I think he’s only showered 3 times since April and that’s because they assigned us a home health aid for a little while. He didn’t even really use the aid, he was too embarrassed so she would just hand him the towels and soap, etc.

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Most times it's worth it. 

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Newbie

I hope someday to say that I will be happy without thinking about so many things that hurt us as people

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My son who is named Edward which is also my name, has Autism Specturm Disorder. Taking care of him is a hard subject because when you first discover that you have a child who's cognitive mind is different than yours, you have to adjust the way you parent the child. He has his fits here and there, but he loves our family and I love him very much. He is disabled and unable to work. He may not earn a paycheck, but he does his hard work taking care of his family which includes me, my wife, him, and his 4 sisters and my daughter, Rebecca, 2 children. He is a very funny man who is passionate about computers. Some of the things he knows is way beyond the comprehenction of what i can ever know. He is a very shy man who likes to mostly spend time by himself. He is what you would consider obese by todays terms, but I am no fat shamer. 

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Newbie

My name is Mia and I help out and take good care of my parents alot. They woud like to go to Disney Land amusment park soon, maybe in a couple of years. Wish us luck, thanks. -Mia

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My grandmother enjoyed the most simple of outings later in her life. A “vacation” would have been too much. She enjoyed day trips- A “staycation.” To a movie, out to lunch, bargain shopping, watching horses at a farm or dogs play at a dog park. Just spending time with your loved one doing a little something out of the ordinary can be a special little getaway. 

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AARP Expert

@StephanieT124603 Well said! I totally agree. Kudos to you for recognizing what brought her joy. Sometimes a “vacation” is a state of mind. Doing something a bit special and out of the ordinary. I used to take Mom and Dad to the mall on a hot day and get a piece of Godiva chocolate or ice cream and window shop. Wonderful memories! I bet you have good ones too! 

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

 

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I'm a professional caregiver and take care of my grandparents with Alzheimer's. Making time for both them and myself to be able to relax and get out of the house is so essential. Thankfully we have so many local resources that can help out. It definitely helps me stay keep my stress levels down and them happy . 

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Newbie

I spend a lot of time outside and I even cut off my finger! I guess I'm pretty incompetent.

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Contributor

I am caregiver for  my oldest son.When I need a break I just step out on my patio for a bit and sit and think about all my blessings and just let my mind drift away to other things.I honestly think he enjoys the short time alon more then I do,we have to remeber that the ones we care for get tried and frustated as well.

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AARP Expert

 

@bk72905583 So true! Sometimes we all need a break from each other! Daddy loves to justkisten to music while we do other things in the house. I always tried to keep in mind that it gets exhausting for him to have one of us constantly interacting with him - unless he wanted that! 

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I've been helpingh take care of my aging mother for a while now. She has a few mobility issues and other medical issues that make it very difficult to take a regular vacation. It's still good to get away though, it really helps change your perspective. So, for us, local vacations are there only real option. Twice a year,  me and Mom take a local vacation at a bed and breakfast forty minutes away from home. Location is definitely key. Knowing where the nearest hospital is, where the pharmacy is, and having all of her medical info with me just in case something happens. It's also important obviously to have all of my mother's medications and mobility devices with us. Because we're fairly close to home, if something were to happen we could go back home where my mom will be comfortable.

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I've been helpingh take care of my aging mother for a while now. She has a few mobility issues and other medical issues that make it very difficult to take a regular vacation. It's still good to get away though, it really helps change your perspective. So, for us, local vacations are there only real option. Twice a year,  me and Mom take a local vacation a bed and breakfast forty minutes away from home. Location is definitely key. Knowing where the nearest hospital is, where the pharmacy is, and having all of her medical info with me just in case something happens. It's also important obviously to have all of my mother's medications and mobility devices with us. Because we're fairly close to home, if something were to happen we could go back home where my mom will be comfortable.

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Not sure if this is right place. Rewarding, memorable but a bit difficult.

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Newbie

I have traveled with my mama a few times since becoming her caregiver and each time I learn new things that make it easier to accomplish. I wish we could vacation yearly but that is not possible with her condition but bi-annually is the best option for us and it works out so well for both of us. She loves traveling, it just overworks her body to the point of creating issues. I probably pre-pack and re-check before heading on the road that way we can handle anything that may come up during the vacation. Just the little action makes the entire trip go smoothly with little or no headaches. It has worked for me many times and I think it can work for everyone else as well. Breaks away are great for everyone if it can be managed. 

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Vacation can make you more productive, Vacations cut the risk of heart attack and cure burnout

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I once went to the beach with my mom with our dog, I helped her carry our belongings to the beach. She had a nice time relaxing in the sun and cool air. Later we visited a shop and a restaurant where they served cinnamon rolls. I would like to take her to the beach again eventually, as she deserves a time to rest and get refreshed. 

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Social Butterfly

Such a sweet memory; I have one similar so appreciate your post; thank you so much!

 

The last was during AARP annual meeting in NOLA; we so enjoyed it and found so many resources there. So miss those annual meetings/conventions.

 

The last I attended was in Las Vegas in 2013, maybe? AARP no longer thinks the national meeting is important; many of us did (e.g., caregiver break).

 

Thank you for being a caregiver to your Mom.

 

#VegasStrong

 


#VegasStrong
Phil Harris, actor and showman, to John Fogerty of CCR: “If I’d known I’d live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”
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My very independent 88 year old mom is becoming more housebound as her ambulation deteriorates, so whenever my husband and I visit we try and take her on mini road trips. The car ride itself is part of the fun as she likes to watch all the scenery outside the window as we are driving. When we get to our final destination of the beach or a park we usually just sit on a bench and "people watch", as she calls it. This simple activity gives her great joy and she talks about it with all her neighbors when she gets home. Just spending time outdoors with her family makes her happy and rejuvinates her spirit.

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Even at the age of 89 my father loves to go to the casino and do a bit of gambling and he is sharp as ever too. Thankfully the resort we go to is very accessible and me and my father have always bonded over gambling so it works out well.

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We haven't traveled recently because of lack of money.

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I cared for my mother who has passed away but while caring for her I really enjoyed taking her fishing. Fishing was always her favorite thing to do in the summer.  I still go every chance I get just so I can relive the memories I had with her.  If you are lucky enough to still have your mother please do yourself a favor and spend every minute with her that you can. Do the things she loves.

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we took everyone to cancun last year, to celebrate summer, it is nice to have everyone together and also the little ones. it is so relaxing and we wish to do it more often

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