Caring for Elderly Parents on Holiday
What do you do when you go on holiday if you are also caring for your elderly parents or relatives? Everybody needs a break, and you can’t always take your aunt or your father with you, even if you want to (there are always too many steps; getting in and out of the sea is no longer very easy, and really and truly they find it more stressful going away than staying at home). You’ve booked the dog into the kennels, the neighbour will feed the cat. But who will make sure your parents are ok while you are away?
This is a question we have struggled with over the last few years, since we moved closer to my parents. They don’t need daily care, and even if they did, the carers would still come in, so that isn’t the issue. Its more about just knowing they are ok, having someone to check that they managed to pick up their pills, or got to the doctor if they needed to, make sure they have been shopping this week and that the washing and washing up are getting done. Someone to answer the phone in the middle of the night if the care alarm goes off when Mum trips on her way to the loo. They have lots of friends (though they seem to see them less and less, as their world gets a little smaller with each year that passes), but none of them would be able to do this kind of ‘keeping an eye’ on them thing.
Some Personal Experience
Trying to have a guilt free holiday? Take a look at the things we have tried or considered in the past:-
- Persuading my brother to come and stay while we are away
- Arranging for Mum and Dad to stay with my brother while we are away (marginally less popular than the first option)
- Organising for them go to a care home for a respite break (no need to tell you how that suggestion was greeted)
- Having someone to housesit for us (which we don’t need) so they can make sure the parents are ok in a clandestine fashion
- Asking the cleaner to drop in every day
- Giving my parents a list of things that they really shouldnt try at home on their own
- Calling twice a day from wherever we are and hoping we will be able to ascertain if there is a problem and then be able to sort it out remotely (this requires taking a long list of emergency phone numbers with us)
You won’t be surprised that none of these is the ideal solution, and feeling rather rubbish, and hoping against hope that things will be ok, we have often had to adopt the last option.
We would love to hear from you about what you do in this situation! Please join the Age Space Forum and start a conversation.