Summer Vacation for Caregivers

By Denise Pott, LCSW
Assistance Home Care

The phone rings. It’s your daughter, calling to invite you to spend a weekend at the lake with the grandkids. Unfortunately, you say you can’t go because of your responsibilities as a family caregiver. Everyone is disappointed, including you. Does this sound familiar?

As all caregivers know, sometimes you just need a break! Caregiving responsibilities can weigh heavily, especially for those who provide care for a loved one on a daily basis. Even caregivers who provide assistance less often can feel the strain, particularly when they are unable to participate in family vacations or other activities due to their caregiving responsibilities. When caregivers are unable to take time for themselves, it can lead to feelings of frustration and resentment. But how can you take time for yourself when you’re the caregiver?

The good news is that there are some great options. First, there are many local area care facilities that provide respite care. Respite care is the provision of short-term accommodation in a facility outside the home in which a loved one may be placed. Respite can last from a few days to a few weeks. If you wish to consider this option, a list of local resources has been compiled by the Alzheimer’s Association and can be used for anyone in the community, not just those with Alzheimer’s Disease. A comprehensive list of resources is available on their web site at www.alz.org. Once on the web site, simply enter your zip code to find your local chapter. Then look under the “We Can Help” heading. Select “Community Resource Finder”, then click “Housing Options”. Now, you can search for facilities, by zip code, that offer respite care programs. Be sure to visit any facility that you are considering to ensure that it meets your needs and expectations. It’s important to note that this option may be covered by Medicare under certain circumstances, or by Medicaid or Long Term Care Insurance. In addition, many disease-specific organizations such as ALS, The American Parkinson’s Disease Association, The American Cancer Society, and The Alzheimer’s Association have special respite programs and grants available to assist families who may not otherwise be able to afford respite care; these grants may cover care in a facility or at home.
A second option is to arrange to have a caregiver who will travel with you to care for your family member, enabling your loved one to be part of the fun on family events or vacations while relieving you of caregiving responsibilities. This is also a great option for events like graduations, weddings, reunions, and other family celebrations.

Another option for consideration is to engage a home care agency to provide care in the home. This option has the advantage of being less disruptive to the older adult’s routine. For individuals with dementia, this may be a much easier transition because it does not involve a change in their environment. Generally, people with Alzheimer’s Disease have difficulty adapting to new surroundings, so remaining safe and independent in their own home is an ideal solution.

At Assistance Home Care, care is personalized for each client and family. In-home care can be arranged for a few hours a week or up to 24 hours per day, depending on the needs and preferences of the client, and can be started on short notice when necessary. The cost is very affordable with no long term contracts required and again, may be covered by Long Term Care Insurance. At Assistance Home Care, we are available 24 hours day to answer your questions and are happy to meet with you and your loved one.

Like most non-medical home care agencies, at Assistance Home Care, we carefully screen all of our caregivers, and recognize that the “fit” between caregiver and client is extremely important. We make every effort to have a great match from the outset. We put together a special team of caregivers for each client for added comfort, and of course all caregivers are insured and bonded. The aim is to provide excellent care for the client in order to give the caregiver peace of mind and temporary freedom from their caregiving responsibilities. Like everyone else, caregivers need a break in order to maintain their own sense of health and well-being. Caregivers may find that even a few hours a week can make a huge difference in their outlook.

As any caregiver can tell you, no one needs a break or vacation more than a family caregiver. At Assistance Home Care, our sincere hope is that families will explore all of these options and know that there are great solutions available in the community to make it possible for you to get the kind of break that you need and deserve. Why not look into these options so that you can plan your next special event or vacation now?

Assistance Home Care. Ellisville: 636-200-2909; Webster Groves: 314-631-1989; St. Charles: 636-724-4357.