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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 266 - Caregiver Vacations

We're linked with Messy Marriage's From Messes To Messages - please drop by for some great marriage resources!

The thought of a vacation for a caregiver may sound like an impossible dream...and may give rise to a sardonic comment, or even a sarcastic one.

Obviously, though, we're not talking about two weeks in Fiji (unless, of course, you can afford to bring in qualified help while you're on the beach!).

No, the vacations I have in mind are the small graces you can give yourself, and require only a few hours of respite care to give you some time off...or nothing special at all.

  • Spa Day - If you can find a day's worth of trustworthy respite care, consider giving yourself a spa day, with a massage, skin and nail care, a facial...well, maybe not all that if you're a dude, but a massage sure works for everyone
  • Bookstore Browsing - If you have a decent bookstore close by and can arrange respite care, take a couple of hours to browse what's new in books and magazines. It's an experience that can lift you out of yourself, and give you a look into a wider world
  • Miniature Golf - Yes, you read that right. The perennial summer-evening recreation is a great way to relieve stress, and gentle activity that nonetheless has a focus that will keep you occupied.
  • Bowling - Another perennial, and it can be a great (Boom!) stress-reliever
  • Go To The Movies - Many cinemas have lower-priced matinees, and if you can break away for a couple of hours you can get lost in an on-screen world
  • Arts and Crafts - This is something you can do while caregiving...you can teach yourself to sketch to some degree of satisfaction (I did, so anyone can!), and there's plenty of craft opportunities available that will keep your hand and mind occupied while being 'on call'
  • A Special Meal For One - Chances are that your diet is dominated by the culinary needs of your spouse/patient, but why not occasionally treat yourself to a special meal? 
  • Climb To A High Place And Gaze - Mountaintops, and even rooftops, can elevate our spirits as well as our bodies, and I always found peace in height.
What would you suggest for a caregiver mini-vacation?

I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.

Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.


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  1. Great list, Andrew. How about a weekend with your same-gender friends? I'm planning one this year and I hear all the time about men getting together for a weekend to go camping, hunting or fishing. There's just something super relaxing to be with your gal pals or buddies amidst the things you love to do.

    I do hope your ankle is healing up and those resurfacing memories are staying put! How is Barbara doing, as well? I've got you all in my prayers and hoping that you're both feeling more comfort and hope in life.

    1. Beth, that's a great addition! It didn't occur to me because, frankly, I don't enjoy 'guy time'. That was really hard for Barb to understand when we married, that I'd rather be with her or the dogs...or alone.

      Thanks so much for the kind thoughts and prayers! Barb is still frustrated that I wouldn't get medical attention for my leg - it's healing - and that has been a stressor for her. But what you can't afford, you can't afford, and I figured the future bill would be harder to stomach. I'll be all right.

      Thank you so very much for the prayers!

  2. Replies
    1. Jan, excellent suggestion! may I suggest David McCullough's "The Path Between The Seas", the story of the Panama Canal?

  3. I feel that any time a caregiver can get away, if only for a few moments or hours, is a good thing for both. At this point in my caregiving, I am fortunate to be able to get away, sometimes even for a few days - though I am only "down the street"...while my husband has dementia and is slowly getting worse, he IS able to be alone for that short period of time. Things will change; I realize that! And, when it does, the respite care will be necessary.

    Thank you for sharing these few ideas. I am sure there are others! Even just a quick stop at Starbucks (or somewhere!) to join a friend for a coffee or ice cream...or browsing the store for a new outfit. Whatever gives the caregiver pleasure, and time away from the caregiving business!

    Thank you Andrew, for sharing your ideas!!

    1. Barbara, yes, getting away is vital for both...especially when the time is coming when that will not be possible.

      I love your suggestion - coffee or ice cream with a friend, and browsing for a new outfit (yeah, even dudes do that when no one is looking!)

      Thanks so much for being here today!

  4. Yes, mini-vacations are good! My husband likes to have a movie night at a friend's house every once in a while. Sometimes he goes out for breakfast or lunch with a friend.

    1. Movie night at a friend's house - great addition, Rachel!

      And there's something special about meeting a friend for breakfast (lunch, too, but I used to enjoy breakfast more). Love that one too.

  5. When we were caring for my mom, who was bed bound, we got 12 hours every other Saturday - probably saved our sanity.
    At about 7 months a group of friends sent us way for four days and three night. They arranged 3 hour shifts during the day, and had a doctor or nurse spend each night (plenty of medical personnel in our home church groups). Best thing anyone has ever done for us!

    1. Paul, thank you for sharing this wonderful testimony of the sheer good that friends and community can do!