How do you readjust to caregiving after a vacation?

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I’m a 53 yr old single mother, who has raised 3 children by myself. I work full-time and for 4 years, I've been taking care of my mother who has dementia. (My siblings refuse to help in any way). For the first time in 4 years, I took a week off and went on a vacation to visit my son & my daughter-in-law who are in the Navy. (All expenses paid by them) , while my other 31yr old son (who recently left the Army) & my 28 yr old daughter (who is a nurse) watch their grandmother. I went parasailing 350ft up, horseback riding, kayaking, paddle boarding, rock climbing (at a gym), went to museums and had a variety of different foods. It was wonderful.
However, since I’ve been gone, my mother’s dementia had gotten worse. My son told me that being in Iraq and Afghanistan was a lot easier than caring for his grandma. My daughter, being a nurse, had an easier time, but she works such long hours and has a family of her own, which made things difficult. I feel bad for asking them to care for her. My children told me that they have the utmost respect for me because they didn’t realize how difficult and stressful my life had become. I now remember what I’ve been missing (I use to be very active) and it’s harder than ever to readjust to caregiving. I now have to get used to it all over again, which is extremely stressful.

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What a fun sounding trip. Roberta, is your last name Flack because you are singing my life with your words. :) Actually your situation is harder because I have a helpful partner and a sister that takes my mother for a few weeks a year and my mom can be left alone for a couple hours if need be. We do have two teenagers which is a full time job in itself and creates the sandwich caregiver effect.

In any event, restarting after a break is tough. I recently spoke to elder services in my area and they suggested I get acquainted with an in home caregiver from their pool of vetted people. It did not sound super expensive and there is often govt. respite assistance if you are not wealthy. I hope to get someone who can come and check in and give her lunch when I want to go on a long hike or even stay over night for a short trip.
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Hi Roberta - Your Mom may be just reacting to your being gone, and may stabalize and go back to what she was before your weeks vacation. I had a similar thing happen when I went on vacation, and took my Mom to my brothers. Before long I was getting calls that she was sick and needed and to go home. She finally ended up in the emergency room, and I did end up bringing her home about 10 days before we were scheduled to come home (we were supposed to be up there for 5 weeks). It turns out that most of what was going on with her was panic attacks - being away from me, her primary caregiver.

Sweet, but oh-so-stifling.

If you could get even 1 day a week to yourself to do the things you want to do, I know it would be huge, so if you could ask your kids to alternate 1 day every other week, I'll bet they'd be willing to do that to help keep your stress levels down.

You're lucky that you have such great kids that are willing to help out living close by - now you just need to get yourself to ask for that help. Good luck!
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Hi Roberta, welcome home!:0/ It sounds like a lovely trip. I imagine it will take time to readjust to your war zone. Maybe you can make mini vacations right at home. Like, buy a big beautiful book about museums and for 20 minutes a day put your feet up , have a nice cup of tea and just look at the book. Or try and get a sitter and go for a hike or go canoeing if you are in an area where you can. Or even fly a kite-it is not quite parasailing but...

I recently went to the beach but my Mom came with and I was in charge of bathing her. And my daughter has special needs and she had some issues with being out of her comfort zone but I still had a great time and got the blues after we got home. I love the beach and I love to collect sea shells. And my daughter did so good in the ocean!! And I drank so much Corona! Now we have school and work and no more Corona. -well, not too much at least. ;) (sigh)

Maybe we should have a cyber vacation on here. We can all log on with our drink of choice , change our avatar to our dream destination and chat about what we wish we were doing-I.e- walking on the beach, horse back riding. IDK could be fun.

Good luck and think of those great vacation memories to get you through the hard times. Ahhh, I can feel the sand in my toes....
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Is there any money to hire caregivers so you aren't on the hook for 24/7/365? It is an awful lot of time that you don't get to live. Planning ahead for a future break might help you to face the ordeal now.

It may be getting to the time where she needs professional care, or where you need her to have professional care. You don't need to make decisions right away, but it may be time to start looking at possibilities. God bless you.
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Wow! That is a hard question. Can you make a routine or schedule with your children to give yourself small breaks? I think if I knew I wasn't going to have it all back on me. It would be easier to to handle. Now that they know how hard it is would they be willing to take 1 day a week to allow you to have a little of your own life back?
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