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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 HATE SUMMER. ITS SO HOT

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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!
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When you are a caregiver you need to schedule vacation time around that. It can be planned in advance . One thing I do is ask for rooms on the first floor or close to the elevator. Also,just take things as they happen no need to get all stressed out .

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took my mother to visit her grandchildren, thats when we discovered that she cant sit for very long without her legs cramping up so we had to change our plans and stop every half hour for her to walk around. slowed the trip but gave us a lot of time to reminisce.

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Hi all
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I take care of my 83 mother. Since my dad was killed in an auto accident 18 years ago she moved in a trailer in our yard.Or I should say we moved her in our yard. She was so spoiled she coldn't change a lightbulb. She can't cook, clean, not anything. I am a 6 year cancer survivor and my husband was diagnosed with glioblastoma 3 years ago. I also have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndorme. I tried to take my mother to the beach last year and this year and my 3 children and their families came so we could all be together. It was a total disaster both years. She complained both years about everything and we were all miserable. My kids and families ended up leaving early and she said she was glad they left. I cried the rest of the time and told the kids I would get somebody to sit with her next year and we come by ourselves. I need the break anyway. She is such a difficult woman. Nothing I do is ever right. I get cussed out every time I turn around. I have a sister that lives 15 miles away that neverdoes anything but she is going to have to start. I need a break. I wish I had some of the happy stories some of you had. It would surely make life easier.

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AARP Expert

@carlund1 Thank you for sharing your story and for reminding us that it doesn't always work out. I'm so sorry to hear of all your stress. I'm glad to hear that you are reaching out and getting more help. Having a heart to heart with your sister will hopefully get her more involved. I know it's so easy to be angry at siblings who aren't helping, but I've learned that coming at it with love vs. anger tends to yield better results. 🙂 

 

This article written by my colleague Dr. Barry Jacobs might have some helpful tips for you! When Caregivers Dislike 'Loved Ones' They Are Caring For

 

Hope your next vacation/respite trip is wonderful, refreshing and fills your tank! 

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving and

Color Your Way Content When Caring for Loved Ones

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, 

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I hope this is the correct area to enter into the contest!  Just wanted to encourage those who are out there caring for their parents and/or loved ones.

 

My mom was a Type 1 diabetic and that posed some issues with taking road trips and vacations.  When you have to eat on a schedule, it can be hard to go sightseeing as your regular meal times may not synch up in another time zone.  Thankfully, more places are becoming more aware of the need for rest and food - and I have found that calling ahead works wonders!

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Hi Caregiver Community,
In an effort to take a “mental break” from the constant bombardment of the same questions that were posed by my Aunt (continuously...God bless her) I wrote “her story” in a small booklet. Whenever, I needed a break, I would give her the booklet so she could read her story (with amazement and delight) that answered all of her routinely asked questions. My favorite part was when she would read that she was 90 years old. Each time (just like most of the women I know), she would deny that truth... “90 years old...that can’t be true” she would exclaim emphatically...I would laugh each and every time! Affording Auntie the opportunity to read her “book” both calmed and entertained her, giving me or other caregivers the mental break that was so needed from time to time. RIP, Auntie Ida!!
 

 

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@HeatherM512269 This is SO wonderful! I can just see her saying “that can’t be true!” I never took the time to write it out for Daddy (wish I had) but I used to tell him his life story and he’d listen and it always calmed him and he loved it. I would sing songs to go with the parts of his life - he had taught us all of them... his  Elementary school song, high school song, college songs, fraternity songs, World War II songs, musicals he had acted in etc.  it was a wonderful way to pass the time and very interactive and fun. 

 

 There are more good ideas in AARP‘s new Memory Activity for those with Dementia book!   https://www.aarp.org/entertainment/books/bookstore/health-food-cooking/info-2018/memory-activity-boo...

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP’s Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving and Color Your Way Content When Caring for Loved Ones

 

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My family member that I care for can not be too far from home or the hospital so our summer break is usually going to the beach.  We can sit and watch the water and if he is feeling up to it we can take a short walk.  The fresh air is needed to stay healthy and being outside with other people even if you are not interacting with them lets you know the world is still turning and we are all living life.

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My Mama is 90 and is a rockstar, I function as a caregiver when she needs me and a companion when she needs that and a coordinator when she needs me to figure out who can fix what. However, my primary role in this amazing woman's life is her next door neighbour. . With bridge groups 3 times a week, her volunteer schedule, and social calendar she runs circles around me.  If you met her you'd never guess she had just celebrated her 90th birthday (with 119 of her closest friends at a truly elegant seated lunch with wine cocktails and 3 other generations)  My only wish...that i can be just like her when I grow up. 

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Summertime is the time to take a break and be with the ones you love and care for. go on trips or just a day at the park to recharge the batteries can make all the difference.

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I have been a care giver to both of my parents since I graduated from high school. Before then I helped care for my grandmother. I have learned that caregiving is not an easy job, but it is rewarding in the sense that you know that your loved one is properly being taken care of and with people who love them and that they love. When traveling things can become difficult 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 as well as the needs of the people you are caring for. Weather it is for kids or adults you are responsible for their needs as well as your own. Everything has to be in order so that your travels can go as smooth as possible. You need to have your route to the destination planed out so that you know where the bathrooms, gas stations, food places, and emergency care facilities are just in case of an emergency. You have to find accommodation that meets the need of everyone you are traveling with so that everyone is comfortable and can enjoy themselves. You have to rush to get things done and make sure everything is taking care of appropriately so that you can enjoy a small part of the vacation while making sure that all of the people you are a caregiver to is taken care of in all aspects of their day. You need to do things that both you and your family enjoy so that everyone can enjoy the vacation. Yes, vacations and traveling can be a hassle when you are a caregiver to the elderly, disabled, and children but with the proper planning and a little luck vacations and travel can be a fun way to spend time with your loved ones.

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Live life to the fullest! I used to think about why I couldn't do things and so I didn't. But recently after almost 20 yrs of caregiving for 2 disabled people (my son & father) I now figure out how I can. Accept it won't be what others get to do on vacation but just go! My secret is go to a familiar place so you know what is available ahead of time, carry a transfer chair (lighter wheelchair) every where you go. I have preplanned the trips even to the point of all family members (even the young ones) or anyone else that comes along to help so everyone enjoys the trip. We work as a team. I was assigned to my son and my 14 year old was assigned to my 80 yr. old father when we took our whirlwind trip to the beach. We choose the one thing most important to do instead of trying to do it all. I drove us 5 hrs to the beach stayed one night and drove home but we still talk about our fun adventure!! We met our goal - feeling the ocean breeze and getting to stick our big toe in the ocean! Life is short, don't expect perfect, plan ahead, be patient with each other, take a photo and laugh together often. And the best part...you get to smile every day reliving and talking about those memories forever!!

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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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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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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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