I recently added 2 new elders to my list of caregiving, for a total of 5. It's pretty overwhelming, and each of them has their own set of health and mental problems. I often gripe here, or to my friends who've been through it. Worst of all, it's turned into winter where they all live and I'm mostly stuck here until they all kick the bucket.
Suddenly, I realized that I was utterly depressed and depleted. The phone calls for help sometimes start at 7:15 AM and often go until the last one goes to sleep around 9:30/10. So I...masked up, was super careful, wore a face shield, carried a gallon of sanitizer, disinfected my seat, tray table, air vent thing, etc. and...flew to my happy place, my real home in Los Angeles.
Just one week in a well-sanitized hotel room, albeit eating prepped meals from Trader Joe's and only meeting friends and family outdoors from 6-10' away was not ideal...but the respite from the elders gave me renewed life energy to serve their myriad of needs. I'd like to suggest that whatever "taking a break" means to you, that you find a way to do it. I can handle them all now with so much more love and patience!
PS: I don't need a lecture about covid, I'm well aware of the pandemic. My message is to reassure each of us that self-care is critical for survival while we're doing this for old folks.
*Lord, grant me patience, and I want it RIGHT NOW!*
For most of us, it's just being able to take an uninterrupted shower, or running to the grocery store, or getting to go to lunch or supper with a friend, or just taking a walk in our neighborhood, that gives us the little repreve that we need to continue on with caring for our loved one.
I'm glad you learned what most of us caregivers have known for years, and that you were able to implement it in some way that worked for you.