Caring for Your Loved One When You Are Away

11/11/2015

vacation

Hey everyone! Wink Martini is back after celebrating a fun-filled Halloween. I was dressed as a giant martini glass, and tell you what, I was a hit at parties! But now I’m unwinding and was thinking about taking a trip to Puerto Rico, Cancun, Jamaica or somewhere else where I can properly enjoy my martinis on the beach. You know, a few years ago when I was still the one taking care of my mom and pops, I couldn’t even imagine taking off for a trip like that. I just couldn’t leave them and, honestly, didn’t know who could take better care of them than me.

If you have been your loved one’s primary caregiver for quite some time, you are probably hesitant about leaving them as well. Part of it could be caregiver’s guilt or the sheer volume of preparations that need to be made. But at some point you may need to (or have to) leave, whether it’s for a vacation or to take a lucrative job offer in a different state. What happens to your loved one then? In this post, I’d like to share a few tips on how to find your replacement, whether it’s temporary or permanent, and how to get your loved one ready for this transition.

Find a Reliable Senior Caregiver in Your Area

When I say “reliable caregiver,” I mean someone with a proven track record and good references. I would advise against looking on Craigslist because it doesn’t have the best reputation for that sort of thing. I’m sure there are good people who are using it, but there are also many scam artists, and you just never know who you are going to get. If I were you, I would look at home care companies that have their own staff of caregivers. A company usually has more resources than an individual and is often able to assist your loved one in many ways. Plus, if the primary caregiver can’t make it for any reason, a replacement will always be sent. I personally appreciate this kind of peace of mind.

Start Preparing Long Before You Leave

“Hey, mom, I’ll be gone on a business trip for a week; by the way, this is Angela, she will be watching you.” This is just not going to work, especially if your loved one is used to having you around or if they suffer from Alzheimer’s or Dementia. Start introducing your replacement a few weeks before you have to leave. Be home to walk them trough everything they may need in the house, as well as tell them about your loved one’s schedule. You’d want to have as few changes as possible when you are gone, unless these are the changes to improve your loved one’s health or well-being.

Discuss How to Stay in Touch

Being in touch is easy these days, but you may run into some complications if you are traveling far away. Different time zones or lack of a stable internet connection can become an issue. Discuss with your loved one and their caregiver how you plan to stay it touch. It’s best to incorporate these sessions into everyone’s daily schedules. However, don’t become a “’helicopter parent” to your own parents. Calling multiple times a day or interrogating your caregiver over the phone will only keep everyone on edge.

Have an Emergency Plan

If your loved one is not in their best health, it’s wise to anticipate that their condition may worsen. Make sure their new caregiver has your contact information, as well as contacts for the primary physician or other doctors involved. Check if someone can make medical decisions if your loved one can’t and you are inaccessible. Leave addresses for the nearest hospital or an emergency clinic and make your loved one’s insurance info easy to find. Probably nothing of that nature will happen, but it helps to be prepared and will allow you to actually relax during your getaway.

It can be hard to leave a cat or a puppy for a week and have neighbors check on them. Leaving a loved one who may not be capable of taking complete care of themselves can be downright scary. However, as soon as you find the right caregiver, you will know your loved one is in good hands. Need temporary or long-term help as you move out of town? Get in touch with 2nd Family to talk about senior home care options for your loved one.

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