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I'm feeling guilty about taking vacations. How can I cope?

Asked by  |  Jan 22, 2011

 
 
 
  •  Answers 1 to 9 of 9 
 
 

Carol Bradley Bursack, Jan 23, 2011

Over the span of two decades, author, columnist, consultant and speaker Carol Bradley Bursack cared for a neighbor and six elderly family members. Her experiences inspired her to pen, "Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories," a portable support group book for caregivers.

 

Please do not feel guilty! You need to take care of yourself, for your sake and that of your care receiver. Coming back refreshed (even if the person lays a "guilt trip" on you) will make you a better, more patient caregiver. Martyrs don't generally do well as caregivers, since their resentment (which is natural) shows. Please find appropriate care for your care receiver, then go and have a good time.
Carol

 
 

Braida

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Jan 24, 2011

Hey, Missreturn, I really can identify with this dilemna. Vacations are such a source of stress for me, in every aspect. First off, my husband wants to go places all of the time. I'm the only person for my Mom. She seems to fall apart when I'm gone, even though I get things totally organized and other people to come in when I'm gone. Nobody does it like me! (if you know what I mean.) Consequently, when I'm gone, by about the 3rd day everything starts going to hell in a hand basket. She's not eating. She's getting all spacey and confused, she doesn't want to do anything, etc. Everytime I call she's asking "Are you back yet? When are you coming back?" So it's a major stress on me whenever I go anywhere, and I spend a lot of my time on the phone trying to sort things out, advise my stand-in caregivers, and attempt to hold things together until I can get back. It doesn't make the "vacation" very enjoyable, and another thing is I don't like to go too far away, as a 5 or 6 hour plane trip might feel too long to get back fast in an emergency!! I wish I could plan it so I'd be guilt-free and be able to relax. My siblings are never available to come to stay. Their lives are too busy and too inflexible. (They both live in other states, and have too many things going on in their lives.) It's a huge problem, and I always try to come up with excuses not to go anywhere unless it's just for a few days, and not too far away. My husband doesn't like this. Sorry. No advice for you from me here, just commiserating with your problem.

 
 

Gossip

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Jan 26, 2011

Hi missreturn, After reading other member's reply to your plea, regarding you taking holidays, I understand where you are coming from. My Mother suffered from Dementia for 6 years, until she finally and peacefully passed away at the age of 91 years, in the year 2009. My older Brother and younger Sister oftened took holidays at the same time. I was not until I spoke to them, that it was not a good idea, because I lived the furthest
away. As a Caregiver, it is your responsibilty to look after yourself, so that you go on holidays and not feel guilty. You will come back refreshed and able to care for your Mum. Even though my Sister lived next door to our Mother (but also worked) I was the one, who took time out to stay for a couple of weeks with my Mum. Even though it was hard work, I felt that at least I had given something back to our Mother, because she was always their for us. So enjoy your holidays and have a good time. Love from Gossip3

 
 

headbanger

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Jan 24, 2011

Please take care of yourself. The person you are caregiving for may have trouble adjusting to other people or even places when you need a vacation, but you need to take care of yourself first.

You have to be healthy to continue to give. It may be hard to step away for a few days or more, but the bottom line is...if you have a good alternative caregiving situation that allows for you to go on vacation. Go without looking back. You need to care for yourself.

 
 

palmtrees1

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Jan 24, 2011

braida, I bet your siblings are really glad you feel this way. It leaves them off the hook. They are too busy, you are busy too. Your time is as important as their's. I have a brother who lives near by Mom and he is control of all of her finances because he is "The Son", but he is always toooo busy to do a single thing for her. It is just an excuse. Go enjoy yourself once in a while, they certainly do, at your expense

 
 

hapfra

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Jan 24, 2011

I think most of us here in this forum have gone thru the feel of guilt from time to time----you have to tell yourself you deserve a break-and line up people to take over your caregiving needs while you are gone.
Best to all~
Hap

 
 

milagros9

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Jan 24, 2011

Hi Missreturn,
I feel that it is important for you to get away and relax your body and mind. You need to sleep comfortably without waking up in the middle of the night to see if your love one is in his/her bed or wandering around the house trying to get out. If your sibblings have not been supportive, find or train someone to care for your love one, the way you want them to be treated. The few times I left my mom with my sister she called me about 5 times to tell me that she could not find mom's purse, that mom misplaced her keys or her teeth or that mom said she was leaving. "Good grief" "mom does not even know her address" Is that an important reason to call me and interupt my me time? She did that on several occasions because she did not want to share in the responsibility of caring for mom or she would say she was going out whenever I asked her to stay with mom, I would even pay her for taking care of her own mother because she would ask for money whenever I took mom to her. I stopped because the stress was not worth it. As for my brother he felt as if he was giving me a break the couple of times in the past year he has spent with mom.
Thank God for caring people who are responsible and capable of giving us the caregivers a well deserve and guilt free break. Believe me it is better to to pay and have peace of mind, then to hear family make excuses as to why they can't share in the responsibility of caring for their own love one.
Enjoy your trip,call once a day to make sure all is well and make sure that all emergency numbers are available for the stand in caregiver to call in case of an emergency. Enjoy your vacation and take care of yourself.

 
 

Denni

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Jul 8, 2011

I am a caregiver to my 86 year old widowed father (for quite a few years now). I am 56 years old and recently retired. I would like to go on a long awaited vacation for a couple of weeks with my boyfriend. I have family members who can step in and look in on my dad pretty much on a regular basis, almost daily to make certain he has what he needs. He health isn't too bad for his age. He does seem to have beginning signs of dementia. He no longer drives. He is extremely upset I am going even though family members will be around to help out. I've made myself too convenient for him. I need a break. My siblings fully understand. My dad does not. My dad believes I should stay and look after him because he "doesn't have much time left". I feel as though I've taken my mother's place. It's my own fault. Any others out there experience a similar situation?

 
 

Denni

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Jul 8, 2011

Sorry, I should have posted this as a question and not a comment. New to this. Thanks!

 
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