Everyone needs a vacation once in a while, and caregivers are no different. “Taking a vacation helps revive the heart, rejuvenate your body, recharge your mind, and soothe your soul,” Psychology Today notes. You can relax more and achieve a greater peace of mind when you’re positive that the senior you’re caring for is completely healthy and safe while you’re away.
Let’s explore ways to ensure that your senior is still receiving high-quality care and attention while you take some time to rest and relax.
Setting Up Care While You’re Away
Caregivers don’t usually want to ask family members and friends for help with caregiving duties, but you’ll have to ask for help when you plan a vacation. Keep track of these elements as your time off nears:
- Be specific: NetofCare.org offers a number of tips on asking others for help with caregiving, including, “Specifically discuss areas in which you think [others] could help.” Keep in mind that it’s okay to ask more than one person to help you. Look over your list of tasks to determine which of your friends or family members are the best match.
- Essential information: Create a document with all the essential information that your substitute caregivers will need, particularly your contact information and all of your senior’s information. Include doctors’ contact info, insurance numbers, and a list of all medications and supplements. Make sure that your senior has all this info on hand, as well.
- Online calendar: Set up an online calendar, using a program such as Google Calendar, and share it among all the caregivers. Include your senior’s activities and doctor appointments, and don’t forget to note who will provide transportation if applicable.
- Meals and food delivery: Stock the pantry and refrigerator before you leave, and if necessary, arrange for family and friends to fill in while you’re gone. In addition, you can prepare refrigerated and frozen meals and leave instructions on how to defrost and/or heat them.
- Medication management: Fill a pill dispenser with medication, preferably one that covers seven days with compartments for morning, noon, evening and bedtime. If your senior uses a smartphone, download a medication-management app, and make sure that your senior practices using it for a week or two before you leave.
- Climate control: Program the thermostat at your senior’s home with daytime and nighttime temperatures. If it can’t be programmed in advance, you’ll have to either educate your senior on how to adjust the thermostat or include temperature control as one of your substitute’s key tasks.
- Contact information: Leave a list of helpers’ phone numbers and program them into your senior’s phone.
- Medical alert systems: A medical alert system can help support senior safety by alerting you or the authorities if your loved one needs assistance.
You can thank everyone who pitched in and helped give you a break during your vacation with an online thank-you card. If you bring a little something home for those who did the most work, they’ll be more than happy to help you out the next time that you need help. Bon voyage, have a great time, and don’t forget to call home!