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Respite Wisdom 2012 Responses


My husband is wheelchair and hospital bed bound. His home care service helps me schedule an aide to be with him up to 12 hours a month under his Long Term Home Care Program.  After a stressful and tiring week, I took five hours off to meet a friend yesterday for lunch and some shopping.  We try to do it once a month.  Other times, I schedule respite for my own doctor's appointments and the next time.   it will be for a few hours when I get a perm.  I have been caring for my husband almost 20 years now, through many ups and downs, in and out of the hospital and nursing home rehab and then back home again.  I know I need respite time to keep from burning out.  I never use the full allotment, but it is so good to have it available.
J. B.  

My husband and I take care of our adult very disabled son. Our last break was our 25th anniversary when we stayed at a neat little B & B, located in a historic town not too far from us. We did just what we wanted to do, which is rare. We walked around the town and ate at a couple of the well-known restaurants. I actually got to read some magazines that I had never gotten around to (months old). Our breakfast was prepared for us and it was delicious. The innkeepers were so accommodating and kind, we actually felt like we had made new friends. There was an old general store that had all of the neatest things you seldom see anymore. By the way, that was August 2011. Before that, we took a dream cruise in May of 2006. Our "respite" time is very, very rare; but when we do get it, we try to enjoy it by keeping it simple and go where it is peaceful and quiet.

S. M.

I am taking my husband living with dementia to a group at our church specifically for dementia patients.  They keep them entertained, feed them, play games, create social interactions.  And the CAREGIVER has some respite time!  I am having a deluxe pedicure and manicure and I won't have to worry about hurrying back, if he is okay by himself, has he fallen, etc. Four hours of bliss and at the same time, he gets to talk to his heart's content to like-minded individuals who also need a friend!
D. J.

Hi Gary:
Thank you so much for all you do.  I get so much out of it.
I took myself out to Taco Time and had a great burrito!
J. T.

I was able to take two hours this morning to play tennis.  Running around in the sunshine did wonders for me, both physically and mentally.  I am so grateful for this time!
Ernestine (“Ernie”)

I tend to use things way past their usability. I decided to redo the bathroom. There is an outlet store that provides much of my bounty at a reasonable cost. Well, the bathroom was finished and I looked at the bedroom.  It needed something new.  Another outlet store furnished a bed in a bag at 50% off.  Looked really good...but then I needed something for the fireplace.  The picture cost a little more than I wanted to spend, but it is just what I wanted!  I did this last weekend.  It provided a necessary lift to my spirits at an affordable dent in my budget.  Making up my mind to make the changes and use some resources was the first step.

J. M.W.

Went to see Elton John; had a Mom-sitter for 12 hours. It was a great time to be with friends and not worry about my mother.

A few weeks ago, I went to my home town of Topanga Canyon to spend the day with my two very best childhood friends, Joann and Anthea. I've known these women for 53 of my 55 years! Topanga in itself is very nurturing for me—hills covered with sagebrush, oak trees, the little windy mountain roads of my childhood.
We hung out at Jo's house, just the three of us, and talked about caring for our parents, how to balance it all, death, our relationships, you name it. We had lunch, which included greens picked from Anthea's garden that morning. We sat outside in the sun, then we sat on the floor inside watching Jo's new kitties play. We just lounged for hours. We had no plan but to hang out together.
The depletion I often feel from getting strung out caring for my dad (after 10 years of helping with my mom, who died five months ago of Alzheimer's) was gone for a while! A day like that, for me, is like getting filled back up with all the warm good stuff—well worth the five hour drive!
Thanks for asking.
J. P.

My father is in an assisted-living memory care facility, but I have many responsibilities other than all of the personal, financial, medical appointments, and banking duties for my father.
One thing I have done is to “take off” a few days and just read, watch TV, or go out with my husband so it feels like I have taken a mini-vacation.  It works.
I appreciate your email notices that focus on caregiving and the toll it takes on the caregiver even if the family member is living in a facility.  They remind me that others are having the same issues as I am.
Thank you for your support!
S. F.





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