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From Daydreams to Vacation Vibes: 4 Tips for Caregivers to Finally Take That Vacation

Vacation often feels like a distant fantasy when you’re in the trenches caring for your loved one. 

You’re probably thinking: What if my Mom suddenly gets sick when I’m away? Who can step in to do all the things I’m doing? How can I make sure Mom is taken care of?

At the same time, you’re tapped out – snapping at the slightest inconvenience, craving a break from the never-ending demands.

But guess what? Taking a vacation is not only possible but essential for your well-being. Here are 4 quick tips to turn that fantasy into a reality 🏖️:

 

1. Create a Coverage Task List & Instructions

Jot down ALL the tasks that need to be done and instructions for how they need to be done. This includes everything from prepping the meals, their medication schedule, bathing/dressing your loved one, your loved one’s daily routine, and the activities they like to do. 

Leave no stone unturned! Having a detailed plan ensures nothing slips through the cracks.

2. Ask For Help & Find Coverage

Reach out to siblings or a friend to see if they can help. You can also consider hiring in-home professional help or researching a short-term respite stay at a local assisted living facility or nursing home. 

You can then coordinate for this person to spend a couple of hours with you, getting to know your loved one and their routine, to ensure as smooth a transition as possible. 

3. Set Clear Communication Expectations

When you go on vacation, set clear expectations for how often you’ll check-in while you’re away. Whether it’s daily check-ins or a complete digital detox, choose what’ll work best for you and help you enjoy your time off. 

 

4. Grant Yourself Permission to Unwind

Now that you’ve done the hard work of organizing the coverage, give yourself permission to enjoy the vacation. 

Many people feel guilty leaving their loved one or worry about “what if something terrible happens” while away. 

When you find yourself feeling this way, I want you to remind yourself that: 

1. You can’t pour from an empty cup. You DESERVE this time off So let that guilt hang out in the corner while you lounge in the beach chair. 

2. You can’t control everything that happens in your loved one’s life. Whatever worst-case scenario you’re imagining happening while you’re away, it could just as easily happen while you’re at home. 

So, permission granted! 🪄✨

Bottom Line

You deserve that vacation—it’s not a luxury. It’s one of the best ways to continue to be the loving caregiver you are. So use these tips and start planning your vacation. 

Now I’d Love to Hear From You!

1. Which of these ideas will you use to schedule that much-needed vacation?

2. What strategies have you used to coordinate your own vacation as a caregiver?

Let me know in the comments below.

Here for you 💖

Ashwini Bapat, MD

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Ashwini Bapat, MD is a board-certified Palliative Care and Hospice Physician, coach, and co-founder of EpioneMD. She completed her Internal Medicine Residency and Hospice & Palliative Medicine Fellowship at Yale University, before working at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She’s devoted to empowering caregivers so that they’re seen, heard, and supported.

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