Hi everyone.

I'm wondering if there's any other carers out there like me who struggle to enjoy their vacation time.

I've organised care for my father while I'm away, so I'm not concerned about him.

But when I go on vacation I feel so wound up from all the demands that come from being a carer and knowing that when I go home this is what I'm facing all over again.

The holiday is good for the first few days and then as it draws to a close I start to feel dread because I don't want to go home to my responsibilities and difficult life.

Anyone have some tips on how to manage this?


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I read a stupid meme on Facebook recently that said, Try to create a life you don't need a vacation from. I laughed. We ALL need a vacation because life is stressful. WHO lives such a carefree lifestyle these days that a vacation doesn't feel like a necessity and a well deserved break??

Read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It's a good lesson in learning how to live in the present moment instead of the past or the future. While on vacation, if you're able to live in the Now, you're then able to enjoy the moment w/o projecting about the future when your life will again be less than ideal due to your father's irritating personality. Living in the future prevents your enjoyment of the Now, and your vacation is ruined by several days at least. Living in the future creates anxiety. Similarly with dwelling on what's happened in the past, which creates depression or sadness. You can't change the past, so don't think about it; same with the future. It takes a lot of practice and in the book, you're given a blueprint on how to actually DO it.

Even though you may not be much of a 'hands on' caregiver for your father or living with him 24/7, a person with a difficult personality lives inside of one's HEAD, taking up valuable real estate in there. That real estate is better served elsewhere so having it hogged up with dread & worry is an ugly thing. I know, b/c even though I'm not a hands-on caregiver for my mother (who lives in Memory Care), she hogs up a HUGE portion of my mental real estate and causes me a lot of anxiety and aggravation.

A good thing for you to do with your father is to decide what you will and will not do for him, and when you will do it. On Tuesdays & Thursdays from 5-7 pm (for instance) I will be available to fix computers or do whatever tasks you have for me. I will not be available at other times, so anything that needs doing will have to be saved up for the times I AM available, dad. Sorry/not sorry, but that's the new terms of the deal. Phone calls can go to voice mail and not returned until and unless you have the time and/or the desire. You are not at your father's beck & call and YOU are the one who needs to understand that. Once you do, you can make HIM understand it. As long as you feel like you are obligated to jump when he says you must, then you WILL. Stop feeling the obligation to, and you will begin to feel strangely free from the burden you've taken on. It's all about rules and boundaries, similar to those we set with our children. If we didn't, our children would be walking all over us & eating candy & cake all day long, right?

Wishing you the best of luck managing a difficult father. And wishing you an awesome vacation that you can truly enjoy!
Helpful Answer (9)
DILKimba Jan 2021
Excellent response Leolonnie!
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Your mind is providing you with a message when you do not want to return to your own life. It is time really to decide how long you can go on giving the care at the level you currently are giving it. You should listen to your mind at rest. What basically I see here is that you are so overwhelmed in your daily life that the running wild is preventing your looking at and actually SEEING what your life has turned into. You go on vacation and the calmness makes it impossible not to understand how bad it is for you. You need to consider how long the current level of care can go on. And need to come to an understanding within about how much of your own life, your one and only life, you are willing to sacrifice to others.
Helpful Answer (7)
bundleofjoy Jan 2021
dear alva,

i find your answer very useful.

i wish you both well, alva and holly.

Dreading going back to your normal life means there need to be some changes. Start brainstorming how to improve the things that you are dreading. Your dad does not need to like the changes, but they need to be made for YOU and your family (who must come first).

Read up on boundary setting. You can give him suggestions of solutions to the void that you pulling back may make. Then it's up to him. He's young enough to be more independent and he should be forced to be as independent as possible.
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Boundries. If you don't implement now it will be harder as time goes on.

I want to say first that I always tried to do what my parents asked of me. Being the oldest I had the most responsibility and the one child who could be made to feel guilty. So, I surprised myself as an adult I set boundries with my parents. I too worked and had 2 children. I overwhelm easily so when I did for them, it was when I could. TG Mom handled most of Dads stuff but a few years after he passed, she was no longer able to drive. From day one I set up one day a week for her and I to run errands and grocery shop. We eat out a lot, she went with us at least 1x a week. TG she had her friends and Church, it kept her busy.

Your profile says Dad has a Dementia. He may need an Assisted Living. If not now eventually. Do not let him live with u. Things will not be better. Boundries will be hard to set with someone who has a Dementia but you can set them for you. Ignore his calls if your in the middle of something. Let them go to VM and then screen them. Maybe he needs a more simple phone and a simple tablet. It may just be that he can no longer use them. He is forgetting how they work. Learn to walk away or hang up when he is abusive.

Someone with Dementia can no longer be reasoned with. Their processing becomes slower and they lose the ability to show empathy. They get self-centered and get like a small child.
Helpful Answer (6)

STAY IN THE PRESENT. Refocusing your 'head' and 'thought patterns' to return to the present will help you STOP the constant head tripping. You may need to do this often. However, once you do it a few times, it will be easier.
1. Focus on your breath.
2. Look into the eyes of those around you; people you are interacting with.
3. If out in nature, marvel at the beauty in a tree, colors of the bark, the magic of flowers. (I revere trees, earth tones (colors) nature and am a designer so when I look at the formation of a tree, for instance, I see it 'for the first time' and am stunned with its beauty).
4. If / when walking, be aware of your body and moving.
1. That you are no worried about your dad now. That is huge. Be grateful.
2. With Covid, wherever you are going, be aware of being grateful for your circumstances - that you can travel.
1. The 'business' of caring for a loved one is never done however you need to put people and procedures in place to lessen the stress/strain on you.
2. Whatever you do not take care of when you are taking care of day-to-day needs will be with you, heavy in your head and heart, until you make or investigate / pursue what you need to do - what care you need, etc.
3. If you feel you do not want to 'go home,' all the more critical that you dive in - with the help of whoever you need to assist you, be it a social worker, therapist, neighbor, friend, family memberS (everyone) to change your circumstances.
1. Anxiety, overwhelm - we know it well (or I certainly do) - self care is critical.
2. Meditate, move / exercise / stretch / take a walk
3. Eat well.
4. It is essential you take care of your self / health and not 'stuff in' feelings of stress with overeating or just collapsing in a chair.
5. Do little things for yourself - get a rose (one flower), read a few pages of a book each day, do a body scan - a relaxation and 'letting go' exercise/meditation, journal writing - whatever will support you to feel better / relieve the stress - as you decide to change your daily patterns 'habits' you will develop 'self care habits' over time.
Remember, whatever you do not change will remain the same. You need to take action-for your well being and for your ability to care for your dad. Gena.
Helpful Answer (6)
NeedHelpWithMom Jan 2021
Great response!

I feel exactly the same as you when in nature. Not everyone does though. I wish they did. As you say, even one single flower is special.

It’s true, just breathing deeply is so relaxing. My therapist taught me breathing exercises long ago. I continue to use this calming practice.

I find it interesting that colors effect me as much as they do. Certain colors cause a peaceful atmosphere for me, while I detest other colors and find them somewhat disturbing.

Music and art definitely soothes my soul. Moving too. Exercise releases endorphins and make us feel better.

If we keep seeking peace, I believe that we will find it.

Starting each sentence with, “I can’t.” will definitely kill any peace.
Sounds simplistic, but have you tried Incorporating meditation into your lifestyle? Perhaps just the first few days of vacation?

when I worked and had two small children, I didn’t have any time for myself and felt I wasn’t enjoying the time with my children the way I wanted to. For 15 minutes each day, I would place a sign on my bedroom door “Mom is meditating”. My children couldn’t read yet so I had some pictures on it as well. they eventually learn to respect the sign. I’m still not sure if it was meditating that helped or just having 15 minutes a day that I knew was just for me
Helpful Answer (5)

I don't think the OP needs MORE stuff to do and has NO extra time, so suggesting she create these magical moments to self care aren't going to happen. Her dad is still VERY young to be having issues such as he has--and he could easily live 30 more years. 30.

I have very little compassion for people who basically abuse their CG, whether they be their family or paid CG's from an agency. It really sounds like dad is driving you up a wall sideways--and that, plus your job & kids--your plate is too full.

Sadly, time for that 'talk' with dad. He needs to learn to access what is out there for help and use it. No more being mean to the CG's who show up. And no more being mean to YOU.

Explain to him that he comes 3rd after your DH and kids. Suport him in finding activities, if he wants, but not in negative nasty behavior. When he gets over the top, you can walk out. It's a super effeective tool in shutting down pointless discussions and arguments.

You are also showing your kids, by example, how to be used and downtrodden and it's not pretty.

My SIL is there with my MIL right now. MIL is only 'allowing' SIL into her life. She will not allow a single other person to 'do' for her, except her housekeeper of 20 years. And she doesn't even really like her. This will happen to you--almost a sure thing if you allow dad to run your free time like this.
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He is only That is not a good omen for his later years if he's already having these issues.
one thing you might want to think about is that the ONLY thing you can change is you and your thoughts. When we worry, we are living in the future. So when you go on vacation, and you begin dreading going back, you are not in the present enjoying the gift of being on holiday. You are projecting into the future some awful even. Ask yourself, how does that serve you? The honest answer would be that it doesn’t. You say he’s always been abusive and from your description it appears he is not appreciative of your help. Did you know as an adult, you are allowed to set boundaries? Is it easy, if you’ve not been used to doing that? No...however it is the healthiest thing you can do if you want to gain control and power over your life and not allow his wants to take precedence over what you need. You do not have to talk to him daily...surprise. You can let the call go to voicemail or you can tell him daily calls are too much for you with a young family so set a schedule. Perhaps every Sunday and Wednesday...or similar. You need to find out now how to control this as it will only get more difficult as he ages. If you don’t know how to set healthy boundaries, a good therapist can help and there is a book by Henry Cloud on Boundaries that is helpful.
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You say dad is in Independent Living. What are you doing to "prop" him up so he can remain in Independent Living? Should he be in Assisted Living or with the dementia maybe Memory Care?
He is in a facility that SHOULD be taking most of the burden from you not adding to it.
You need to establish and maintain boundaries.
Your priority is to yourself and your family and they deserve your time.
You are young. When I was in my 50's my Husband was diagnosed with dementia. All the travel we wanted to do became impossible. You need to realize that we need to take advantage of what we have NOW. Travel with your family enjoy your family. You never know what the future holds.
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I’m unable to go on a “vacation “ & have not gone away since 2014...even though I went with my Florida...she was still walking...very slowly...with a Walker ...& wheelchair help at plane & cruise port ...(in 2012) she also had a couple of incontinent accidents......separate suitcase for pull-ups & pads for her...

but vacation plans for me as nobody can or willing to stay with my mother ...

enjoy your vacation
Helpful Answer (4)
NobodyGetsIt Jan 2021

Ditto for my husband and I but if it makes you feel any better, we haven't had a real vacation since 2010!

We've done "turnaround" day trips but, that's not enough!!!
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