August - How to get away!

Last month, I encouraged all caregivers to take some time off and get away for at least a day or two. I would like to follow-up on that and give some practical ‘how-to’ suggestions. If you have not already done so, create an emergency folder with the following:

  1. Legal documents: Power of Attorney...Health Care POA...Living Will
  2. Phone Numbers: Location where you will be staying...Your cell number...Your loved ones Medical Doctor/Dentist/Preferred Hospital...Power Company...Clergy...Funeral Home
  3. Prepare food/meals that are easy to heat up or arrange for someone to come and assist at meal times.
  4. Prepare medicine in individualized containers and mark clearly the day and time to be taken.
  5. Turn off alarm clocks you may have set – (this from a friend whose parents could not figure out how to silence them!)
  6. Have laundry done and clean clothes available.
  7. Depending on their level of self-care, you may want to ask someone to come and physically stay with your loved one or at least come and check on them once or twice a day. (Give them a key to the house!)
  8. CLEARLY explain to your loved one when and where you are going and when you will return.
  9. Set up a calendar with large numbers and mark your vacation.
  10. If you still are unsure, check with an assisted living facility as they frequently will provide Respite Care for a week or more.

Above all, pray and vacate!  You need the time away to re-charge and renew your desire to fulfill the responsibilities God has given you to honor and care for your loved one!



Practical Tips

Matthew 11:28  “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” 

Caregiving is a heavy burden. What “modern” conveniences can help relieve the burden?  There are single canes, swivel canes, four-legged canes, walkers, walkers with two wheels, and walkers with four wheels and a seat. There are shower stools, shower benches, walk-in showers, walk-in tubs and the list of aids goes on and on. I recently heard someone who had difficulty getting in and out of the tub – even with a bench seat. She happened to find a great idea – a small round plastic pillow on a turntable. She was able to have her loved one sit on the pillow/turntable and spin into the tub. Very cool idea!

There are lift chairs (my personal favorite), wheel chairs, motorized wheelchairs, lifts, bedside commodes, and hospital beds. All of these aids can be very expensive, so what do you do with them when you no longer need them? Keep them! You will be surprised how many times your neighbors and/or church family will call and ask if you have any of that equipment. I have recently had two friends that have needed several of my items of “furniture” to assist them short-term after surgery. What a blessing to be able to provide this for them.  Second hand stores, Goodwill, Salvation Army, and others are a good place to look for used equipment as well but be sure to have it thoroughly checked out before you use it with your loved one.