What to do while mom is out during Christmas break?

3 answers | Last updated: Sep 13, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My siblings are taking mom for the week of Christmas break to give me some rest from caregiving. I'm so excited that I get a WHOLE week to myself! I have a lot of things to do to catch up on mom's paperwork and my own things, but I want to be sure to be well rested by the time mom comes back to live with me. What do people do to help themselves feel rested and rejuvinated again when they have a caregiving break?


Expert Answers

Brenda Avadian, brings knowledge, hope, and joy to family caregivers for loved ones with Alzheimer's and dementia. She cared for her father with Alzheimer's and helps families one-on-one and in groups. She is the author of eight books, including the pioneering memoir "Where's my shoes?" My Father's Walk through Alzheimer's and the Finding the JOY in Alzheimer's series. She presents vivid, compelling, and funny keynotes to both professional and family caregiving audiences.

WARNING: The time passes quickly when you try to get a holiday rest from caregiving.

So, what can you do?

Answer: Not much.

Here are some helpful TIPS to make sure you feel rested after your caregiving break.

1. REST

It'll be hard to wind down after hectic caregiving; but keep reminder notes to REST posted in the kitchen, bathroom, and any where else you spend time.

This may sound funny, but when you see your notes to "REST," you'll smile and know what you need to do.

2. EXPECT to accomplish only 25%

When I was in graduate school (in the last century), during breaks, I'd plan to get 100 things done. I carried these unreasonable expectations into adulthood and middle age.

Now past middle age, I see that I'll do only 33% of what I plan within the time frame. And since you're resting, it has to be even less.

Yes, you'll miss Mom, but look at your notes: REST.

3. REFLECT

Use this peaceful time of solitude o reflect upon that which is important to you. You'll be surprised what things come into your mind as you let the daily stresses slip by.

And remember to REST.

BONUS TIP

If you feel like it, set some times aside to choose and do one of the following: - See a movie - Get a manicure and/or a pedicure. - Get a massage - Dine out - Invite friends over for a potluck - Just be a couch potato - Whatever you want

My best to you on a successful REST.

Mom hasn't yet left; but when she does, she'll be home soon!


Community Answers

Shelly beach answered...

You've been blessed with the opportunity to enjoy holiday rest from caregiving. Consider the following areas as you plan for this special time. Invest in relationships. Spend some extra time with family members and friends.

Indulge your soul. Read a good book. Get a massage. Put on some music and crank up the volume. Take long naps. Make a list of the simple things that refresh your spirit.

Let people know. Tell a few close friends you've been granted this special time, and give them a few suggestions for how they might add to your blessing during these days: bringing in a meal or two, chipping in for a night away from home or taking you out to your favorite restaurant for lunch.

Make it memorable. Indulge yourself with something small: candles, a manicure, an afternoon getaway. Use the opportunity to refresh yourself in body, soul, and spirit and share the gratitude with others.


Ca-claire answered...

As a caregiver that pretty much has had only 1 3 week break in 6+ years of caregiving, do not plan out more than 2 hours in each day that you are 'off'. Be ready to let the phone go to voicemail, and only pick up the messages once you have rested for the day. Set expectations low.... Sleep lots!