Gerontologist Wendy Johnstone recently wrote some tips for caregivers who are planning a vacation in The Comox Valley Record. She admits that it may be difficult to plan a break from these responsibilities, but it's important for everyone to get some relief. Here are her tips:
1. Train a substitute. No one can do what a primary caregiver does, but that caregiver can help others learn the ins and outs so that the transition can be smooth – at least for a few days. Johnstone advises meeting with an individual for a few days before the vacation for training.
2. Pay the bills. Don't take off for a sunny beach holiday without making sure every financial requirement is in order. Seniors often depend on family members for financial assistance, so make sure that this is taken care of.
3. Emergency plan. While it may not be a pleasant topic to bring up, caregivers should talk to their substitute about what to do in the case of an emergency. Likewise, they should include a list of contacts.
4. Install a medical alert. This step may not be included in Johnstone's list, but having a way for seniors to contact help can be invaluable. Installing a medical alert system in a home means that even if an older adult is left alone, he or she can still get assistance.