How To Take a Break from Senior Care

by francy Dickinson

Dear Francy; I am simply too tired to face my dad this morning. I am sitting and doing computer stuff trying to ignore the morning things I have to do for him. I feel so down-

Ok, down is just what you need to feel. I remember starting to hate the sound of the door bell – that mother used to call me when she needed me downstairs. It’s a very, very normal way to feel. You give and give and one day, you feel like you have nothing left to give.

Think of ways to break the cycle. How about a week off? Did you know that you can take your elder care parent and put them in a care center for a week of care? Yes, this is just a great service and it needs your time to make a few calls and find a place close by. The money will come from him, some times the insurance or veteran’s plan pays – other times your dad will have to pay through his income. It is just a week and they have special rates.

They will take your dad and give him care all week, he will get out and around others and have a different view of the world. You will take a break and just sleep in, or go away to visit a friend or family member. You can even borrow a weekend beach cabin of a friend.

You can tell everyone you are away and just be quiet and sleep. Or you can go out with friends and reconnect. You can rent movies and do Yoga, or you can go out to eat and shop. A break is a break.

If you are working, you can just go home and be quiet at night instead of all the extra work. If you have children, you can make sure they are busy all that week with visits to friend’s houses or watching movies. If you have a spouse you can go out and spend some time together. What ever you want, you do so you can feel like you went on a cruise, not that you worked around the house or garden to get caught up. That is not on the plans for the week, you need change for your own good, not more work.

If you cannot do the care week with your dad, you can call a relative and ask them to come and visit and give you a break. If I get snowed under with things, I call my husband’s sister to come and visit and she has been very kind about coming up from Oregon and giving him some attention away from me. George has a few friends that come over to visit him and that removes me from the care for a few hours too.

Do not be afraid to ask for help! Everyone understands your tied down with the extra care of a parent that needs lots of attention. But do they need lots of attention? My husband will do what I call, take to his bed. He simply sleeps all day and then I have to make sure he has food and medications. I let him do this for a day, but then I push him to get up and do a chore for me (even though the chores are often not done, it is a reason to get up) and I have him sit in the living room. I ask him to make my tea or make me a peanut butter sandwich. He does and he stays busy and I can get my writing done. Some times you need to be creative with things for the senior to do. Even if they do not cook, making peanut butter sandwiches, or microwave leftovers or set the table or mow the lawn…can give them a feeling of being needed that will increase their Independence from you.

Men tend to push our buttons and need more care than women. So, do not fall for the I can not move, I need a treat moan. Tell them there are brownies on the top of the stove ready for him to cut and you would appreciate one with a glass of milk. Then you have to walk away. He will think it over and soon the lure of brownies will draw him into the kitchen and he will make an effort to care for you.

 After all, you’re still his little girl. Don’t forget to act like one every once in a while, so you can keep him active and moving and doing things that help the family as a whole.

Thank you for all you do for your dad – I hope you can think up ideas for vacations of the mind as well as the body. For a day off here, a few hours there and a week of respite for you both.  Please visit my website and review more tips for care

Remember if you need to place your father in a care center I have a free service that will help you find just the right place for him. You can find the information on the website.

Thank you, francy


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