Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Preparing to Care From Afar During Spring Break Holiday



There may be parents of children with disabilities who travel as a family during spring break, but I'll leave that subject for another post.

Today, I would like to talk about making preparations to care from afar when you leave on holiday and your loved one does not travel with you.  Spring break is an important time for many families to bond with able-bodied siblings or reignite the romance in marriages.  Taking a break from your loved one at any time of year is a very good thing, as long as it's managed carefully for all concerned.

Coordinating care from afar requires planning and coordination.  But once you've got that in place, you can relax on holiday.  Skype is a blessing for travellers and their loved ones, too.

Here's a sample check list that you can use to begin your distance caregiving planning:

1)  Make a list of people you trust to do just one job on a regular basis while you are away.  Think of extended family (even if they don't live nearby - they could call your loved one regularly).  List all the friends who have ever offered to help and include them on your list if you trust them to follow through on a small commitment.  Identify a neighbor who will check in once a day if your loved one lives alone.

2)  Use a diary to write down the tasks that you would normally perform for your loved one on the days you plan to be away.  Don't forget to include yard work or snow shovelling if that will be necessary.  Now, add in the 'extras' that you think your loved one would enjoy - perhaps an outing to a museum or just a visit at home.  Don't forget to assign someone to keep YOU up to date on  Share this diary with your friends and family and ask them to commit to one or two tasks in the diary.  You could even put names to tasks if you think a particular individual is well suited to home visits or outings.

3)  Consider using a technology to keep everyone in the loop while you are away - something like Tyze Personal Networks or Lotsa Helping Hands.  These platforms are designed to help people share the care.

4)  Ensure that your loved one has access to skype technology.  Perhaps this will mean that one friend or relative is a 'skype friend' who visits with an Ipad and logs on at agreed times to visit YOU.  We gave my Mom an Ipad for her 90th birthday and she can use it pretty well.  When we are away, we skype our son Nicholas every day.

5)  Check that there are enough supplies and medications to last through the time you are away.  You may want to contact the pharmacist to help you with this.  Make sure your loved one has enough cash and food to last throughout your time away.

6)  Write a 'Contact Information' sheet of your travel details, with flight numbers, dates, hotel contact information, emergency contacts, doctor's phone number, etc.  Share this document amongst all friends and family.

Being well prepared and keeping in touch while you're away are the keys to a stress-free holiday.  Bon voyage!






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