I took a long weekend and spent a few days with my aging parents, my adult children and my sister over Independence Day. Everyone decompressed and unplugged to actually spend dedicated time together enjoying life. While our staycation wasn’t anything glamorous, it was intentional. We spent our time reminiscing our favorite family memories and laughing….a lot. The outings and activities we did were planned after morning coffee to see how we felt that day. And, one day we didn’t even leave the house!
It may be the beautiful fireworks we saw that are getting to me, but spending this time together allowed me to reflect on the importance of freedom and choice. As the primary caregiver for my elderly parents, this family staycation helped me realize how much I needed a break. I needed the freedom to choose something other than caregiving for a few days to recharge my battery. I needed to choose to ask for help so my family could see that my parents are aging and they need assistance with some activities of daily living. And, you know what? My family did choose to help. It was a blessed opportunity for me to have the freedom to watch it all unfold.
My 85-year-old mother loves to cook but chopping and cutting meats and veggies can take a toll on her hands, so my daughter stepped in to dice and cut peppers, onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms and herbs for my mom’s delicious bolognese sauce. The greatest part, other than enjoying the bolognese sauce, was the comfort in knowing the two of them had a connection and chattered the whole time cooking together.
My husband could see my father struggling to open his morning medication bottle. My sister noticed the extra rest breaks our parents had to take when we visited the local botanical gardens. While the additional pit stops limited how much we could do, it was refreshing to see that it didn’t bother anyone. No one seemed to mind, in fact, I could see my parents light up in conversation as we all sat and chatted on the park benches.
Knowing how much joy and rest the staycation brought me, I know, without a doubt, the cherished time, memories and joy it brought to my parents. This joy helped me realize how important companionship and the freedom to age at home is for my parents and as part of eldercare. In-home care services like those provided by Home Instead Senior Care offer my parents help with prepping healthy meals, light housework, getting out to exercise and simple companionship. Hiring a professional caregiver provides me, and any family caregiver, respite which makes me a better caregiver.