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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 00:00

How to give yourself time off from caregiving

Taking time off from care giving responsibilities may seem like an unfathomable task. There is so much organisation, logistics and planning to do, and not forgetting that you need to deal with – the guilt.

It's so imprtant though. Taking the time away from caring for someone else is essential to maintain your own health. After all, if you are run down, burnt out and completely overwhelmed, how is it possible to offer the best care which your loved one or patient needs?

While it may seem impossible at first, organising some time away for a well-deserved recharge is definitely do-able! There are just a few steps which need to be taken in order to guarantee you some peace of mind during your break, which may include the following…

1. Come to terms with the fact that you also need a break

The routine of care giving, day in and day out, can become extremely exhausting and mind numbing. There is nothing shameful in recognising that you need a break from this daily routine and the weighted responsibility of caring for someone else. Ultimately, the rest will not only be rewarding for you, but also the person you are caring for!

2. Create a full-proof plan

If you know your plan is 100% full-proof, you will have a better holiday! Make sure you have found a care giver replacement whom you are completely comfortable and confident with during your time away. Otherwise, if your care receiver is already in an assisted living facility, make sure you have liaised and planned with the appropriate people – who will 100% support your need for a break too!

3. Ensure medications are up-to-date

For the ultimate peace of mind, ensure that prescriptions are filled and you are up-to-date on all medications needed for your care receiver during your time away. If medications need to be picked up from a pharmacy, make arrangements with someone you trust to pick them up and drop off at the appropriate times. Make a follow up call to ensure this has been done if you need to, but don’t let it be a burden to you!

4. Fill up the staples cupboard

Make sure to stock up on essential items that you know will be needed – if you have to, buy two of each in case! Some staples may include particular types of preferred foods which will help to make them feel more comfortable during your absence. Not forgetting personal items such as soaps, creams, incontinence items, toilet paper, facial tissues etc.

5. Meal preparation

It’s highly recommended that during your time away you stock up on easy-to-prepare meals if your care receiver is still able to cook for themselves. If not, prepare meals ahead of time and freeze and label them. If your holiday is longer than a week, have your hired care giver take care of groceries and write up a list of regular items which need to be bought each week. You can also write a list of recommended, favourite meals to prepare so they feel as comfortable as possible during your time away.

6. Have a means of staying connected

To put your mind at ease, check-ins with your loved one or replacement care giver can do wonders for your holiday / relaxation experience. Staying connected via Skype, FaceTime, video messaging, Facebook messaging and WhatsApp allows you to keep in touch – but remember, the point of your holiday is to ‘disconnect’, so keep your check-ins to once a day, at most!

Mentally detaching from your responsibilities and your guilt by taking time off as a care giver may be the hardest step. However, it’s so important for your own well-being. Be the best version of yourself with the right amount of time off from your responsibilities, and it will go a long way to improving quality of life for both you and your care receiver!

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