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AARP Expert

Planning for a respite for you as a caregiver

The holidays are over! (Phew!) It's winter time. Hopefully the routine is re-established and there's a bit of calm in the air. Now's a time when you can plan a break for yourself as a caregiver. Plan ahead for, say, March or April. A break that's more than a weekend if possible. Here are some ideas on how to do it, starting now so that you have the pleasure of anticipation, and also enough time to think of all that's needed for true respite.


Things to think about: 

* Where do you want to go?  A four day trip to see a favorite cousin? A flight to see your favorite niece and nephew? How much time? Will you stay with them or rent an Air BnB? This is partly about budgeting, and partly about how much time. Allow a day before and after to pack/unpack, etc. 

* What do you need to 'replace you' for the time you're gone?


For that last one, which is huge:

Make a list of all that you do, the schedule for when you are away, the tasks, the back up plan.

Who in your family can step in for part or all of the time? Who can you hire to take up slack, do chores that normally you do, errands, etc. Who has been offering help and you've yet to tap them? Be specific. "While I'm gone, could you pick up our mail? Here's the mailbox key..." 


Enlarge the caregiving circle. When you get back, you might have more people you can call upon to share the load for the usual routines.


Give yourself permission. Plan. Go for it. Enjoy!


Periodic Contributor

This all sounds wonderful but what if there are no 'dependable outside sources?'  Whenever I want to get away, I have to plan 2-3 months in advance with my siblings.  They never ask do I need time out.  I have to call in advance to ask for a sibling-sitter even going to the grocery store.  There are no friends (all elderly) that I can turn to.  Sometimes it can be a no-win situation, which can become a miserable situation for the caregiver and the one being cared for.

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AARP Expert

Hi, Heddiemae! You probably have exhausted all 'outside sources', but just in case you haven't, your household may be eligible for subsidized nursing assistants if your/their income is low enough. and type in your zip code. Then call the agency that comes up.


If your parent(s)' income is too high for help to be free, perhaps hiring someone for as little as 4 hours a month could be achievable. That four hours might cost $100, but in that chunk of time you can get some things done. Perhaps your elderly friends could simply watch TV with your parent and buy you some time to go to the grocery store. I wish someone would just call you up, find out what you need, and arrange it all for you. Instead, you have to plan your own breaks, as you do. You have to cultivate your own "dependable outside sources" and think outside the box. I wish it was easier. Perhaps press on your siblings more. You deserve the support, as does the care recipient, and no one should be miserable as a caregiver.


What do you think? What obstacles are in your way?



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