What is a staycation and how can it make caregiving during the summer easier? Let me explain.

Do you care for someone living with Dementia or Alzheimer’s? If you do, then you know it can be difficult to plan even a day trip away without a long list of to-do’s and concerns. And if you’re like so many others, you may even decide to skip the vacation altogether!

Caring for someone with Dementia or Alzheimer’s is not only a difficult job – it’s a full-time job. Whether assisting with their Activities of Daily Living, managing their medications, or ensuring they are receiving the proper emotional engagements, this job doesn’t stop even when vacation time from your other job kicks in.

 
 

All in the name of being the best caregiver you can be. However, you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of someone else. But, how can you even begin to think about yourself while busy juggling so many other things?

This year don’t just skip your vacation – take a “staycation” instead. With a bit of planning, a staycation at home can be just as relaxing and regenerating as a trip to the beach.

So, What is a Staycation?

A staycation is the alternative to a vacation away from home. In recent years, it has become quite an attractive option for those of us who are too busy to get away or are trying to save a bit throughout the year. There are several different ways to make a fun staycation!

Cooking Your Way to a Yummy Staycation

I know the last thing you may want to do on a staycation is cook, but eating at home is sometimes the healthier and more budget-friendly option. Here are just a couple of ways to do the cooking at home fun.

Take a Ride to a Nearby Farmer’s Market

Fresh and local ingredients will make any dish taste that much better. Get those recipe books out or scan the Internet for an enticing recipe that calls for lots of fruits or veggies.

Then with a list in hand, scope out your local farmer’s market and spend the morning or afternoon perusing all the fresh food. And feel good knowing that you are eating healthy and shopping local!

Have a BBQ… on a Tuesday!

BBQs are a summer staple and can be a ton of fun – but usually, they are a weekend get-together. Try shaking things up a bit and invite friends and family over on a Tuesday or Wednesday. You may not get as many people, but you’ll have a friendly gathering, which often produces the most laughs!

Make Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

Nowadays, it is just easier to head to the store and pick up a bottle of lemonade. Sure, it tastes good, but it isn’t freshly squeezed. When you are at the farmer’s market, pick up a bunch of lemons and even some oranges and spend a morning making freshly squeezed juices that will last you all week!

Plan a Movie Day

Whether catching up on the newest releases or reminiscing with the classics, curling up and watching a good movie can be both fun and relaxing! With only a bit of preparation, you can plan the perfect movie day at home.

Create a List of Movies

Create a list of movies that you have wanted to watch or go through your old VHS or DVD collection to find a few you haven’t watched in a while. Unfortunately finding the movie you want to watch is no longer as easy as making a run to the video store, but you can still find it by searching through the various movie sources. Excellent sources for movies are Netflix, Amazon Prime and Redbox.

Gather the Essentials

What is a movie without popcorn? Make a quick stop at the grocery store for snacks – like your favorite candy or a bag of chips. And don’t forget the soda! You should also plan on ordering from your favorite take-out place. No sense in stopping a good movie to cook!

Consider Respite Care

There is often a strong feeling of guilt caregivers feel when they need a break from their caregiving duties. However, it is near impossible to provide proper care when we aren’t taking care of ourselves, and burn out is high – particularly for family caregivers.

Acknowledging that you need a break from your caregiving duties is the best thing you can do for both yourself and your loved one. Honestly, they probably could use a break from you, too!

Respite care is short-term living care for seniors, typically in an assisted living or memory care unit. Rather than moving into a room, your loved one will rent a room for a few weeks, and the staff takes over your duties while you take some well-deserved rest. It is a great option for caregivers planning a staycation to take a vacation from their caregiving duties.

Planning a vacation? Here are some tips on how to plan a vacation with someone living with Dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Making a Plan That Works for You and Your Loved Ones

If you still don’t feel comfortable with the idea, AARP has a few great tips for making this an easier and healthier decision for you and your loved one. Involve your loved one. When planning for time off from your caregiving duties, make sure to keep your loved one in the loop.

Assess your needs. Make a list of what cares will be required in your absence. Also, decide if the respite care provider will need any special skills or training to be able to stay with your parent. Read the full article here.

Enjoy Your Staycation!

No matter your reasons for wanting to stay home, there are plenty of ways to have fun and relax on your staycation.

Have you ever taken a staycation? What are some fun ways you spend your time off at home? What is a staycation to you? Please share your ideas below!

Molly WisniewskiMolly Wisniewski has cared for older adults living with dementia for over ten years. She is a recent graduate of the Erickson School, UMBC where she received her M.A. in the Management of Aging Services. Her blog Upside to Aging is dedicated to sharing an alternative and more positive side to aging.

Let's Have a Conversation!