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Aging Wisely June 2008 - Aging Wisely

Caregiver Vacations


More and more adult children find themselves in the role of caregiver for an aging parent. One in four households are involved in caring for an aging loved one in some manner. Often, caregivers are juggling competing demands from eldercare, work, childcare and all that life brings. How does one get away for a vacation with all of these roles to juggle?

Too often, caregivers do not take a break and this can have grave consequences—for their health and wellbeing. But, from a practical perspective, how does one get away when they need to be there for their loved one? What if Mom or Dad lives in the home and cannot stay alone, or stay safely alone for a long period of time? What if Mom lives in a care facility and you worry about not visiting for a week? What if there is an emergency? How can you think of going on a cruise knowing you might be called back if something happens?

There are several options for enabling caregivers to get away. Many families share the care and have a sibling come to stay or the care recipient go to stay with another family member, but this is not always feasible or available as an option. If not, consider various options for respite care. If an elderly parent lives with you in the home, professional in home care may be the most viable option. But, how do you know where to find good help? What happens if someone does not show up to help while you are gone? A professional care manager is the solution. A care manager deals with setting up in home care regularly, so he or she knows the best resources and can explain the details to you. A care manager works to find the most appropriate caregivers for your loved one’s needs. Typically, a care manager will coordinate with a licensed home health agency (either independent of they may have their own or work in conjunction with one) so that you have liability and other legal protections. Then, the care manager works to coordinate the care plan and the caregivers. Most importantly, the care manager helps monitor the care while you are gone and provides on call assistance if there are any problems or emergencies. You can have the peace of mind to know someone is handling any issues that arise.

If your loved one resides in their own home and does not need direct care but you check in and worry about being far away, a care manager can take over those duties for the time you are gone. The care manager can check in and be on call if needed.

Alternatively, if your loved one lives in a care facility, the care manager can monitor the care there while you are away, and be the alternative emergency contact if needed. A care manager can also help set up a respite stay in a care facility while you are gone. This may be a good option if your loved one requires some care or assistance, rather than bringing in home care. The care manager can help you assess and decide what is best for your loved one. They can address the pros and cons of different options. For instance, someone with dementia may benefit from the consistency of staying in a familiar setting with caregivers coming in, but others may have trouble getting used to the unfamiliar faces (which a care manager can help work through and provide techniques to help). Others may benefit from the socialization and activities at a care facility—and this can be a particularly good option if you want to start getting your loved one and yourself familiar with a facility for possible future needs.

Whatever your situation as a caregiver—consider talking to someone about the options and know that there are options. You can come back refreshed and better able to do your job as a caregiver. It may seem impossible, but don’t rule it out until you have checked out the options.

Contact Aging Wisely today for assistance with such needs in the Tampa Bay area. We can be reached at 727-447-5845 or

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FGCMA sponsored video


FGCMA sponsors And Thou Shalt Honor, May 8, 2008 at 8pm on WEDU

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