Aging Life Care Association™ Experts Offer Tips for Caregivers in Need of Vacation Time

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The experts in aging well offer advice to caregivers for ensuring quality and continuity of care.

Caregiving is exhausting and difficult work, but with some extra planning and research, it is possible to take some time away from your caregiving responsibilities to recharge your batteries. - Jeffrey S. Pine, MS, MSPH, CMC

When responsible for the care of an aging loved one, summer vacations or weekend getaways may seem impossible or out-of-reach. The questions race through your mind: What happens if mom falls? Who will remind Dad to take his medications? What if there is a storm? You feel overwhelmed and cancel your plans.

But not taking time away from caregiving responsibilities can lead to bigger problems – caregiver burnout, stress, or poor health. With some extra planning and help, primary caregivers can take a break. Aging Life Care™ experts from the Aging Life Care Association™ offer these tips to ensure a loved one is safe and comfortable while the caregiver is away:

1.    In-Home Caregivers: If there is not another family member or trusted friend or neighbor to fill in for you, connect with an Aging Life Care Professional who can help arrange for in-home care, monitoring, or transportation needs. Many Aging Life Care Professionals™ offer 24/7 service and can serve as an emergency contact while you are away. Depending on the individual’s needs, paid caregivers can assist with activities of daily living – bathing, dressing, mobility, meal preparations, house cleaning, or transportation. If you plan on using a caregiver, spend time getting the caregiver and your loved one familiar and comfortable with each other and to be sure that the caregiver is a good match.

2.    Organize Important Documents: Prepare a folder or binder of information for the person/agency who will provide care and oversight while away. Include information on emergency contacts, physicians, preferred hospital, pharmacy, and other service providers, such as therapy services, Meals on Wheels, home care agency, etc. Also include the loved one’s medication list and other important documents such as Power of Attorney, Living Will, Advance Directives, and Do Not Resuscitate orders.

3.    In-Home Technology: There are a variety of new technologies designed for keeping aging adults safe in their homes, including personal emergency response systems (PERS), GPS tracking devices, automated medication reminders and dispensers, as well as systems that allow someone to remotely monitor or control the usage of certain electrical outlets or appliances.

4.    Respite Care: Many retirement communities, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes offer respite care on a per diem basis for short stays. If the senior just needs daytime-only activities or supervision, consider an adult day care center.

“Caregiving is exhausting and difficult work,” says Jeffrey S. Pine, Aging Life Care Association president, “but with some extra planning and research, it is possible to take some time away from your caregiving responsibilities to recharge your batteries.”

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ABOUT the Aging Life Care Association (ALCA)
ALCA (formerly known as the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers) was formed in 1985 to advance dignified care for older adults and their families in the United States. Aging Life Care Professionals™ have extensive training and experience working with older adults, people with disabilities, and families who need assistance with caregiving issues. They assist families in the search for a suitable nursing home placement or extended care if the need occurs. The practice of Aging Life Care™ and the role of care providers have captured a national spotlight, as generations of Baby Boomers age in the United States and abroad. For more information or to access a nationwide directory of Aging Life Care Professionals, please visit aginglifecare.org.

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Callie Daters

Kaaren Boothroyd
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