Advice Respite Care

How Can I Find More Time to Enjoy the Holidays When I’m a Caregiver?

Woman and senior woman looking out window

Dear Benchmark,

I’m the caregiver for an older aunt who lives alone. Initially, I only helped with errands and household chores. Over the years, it’s increased to assisting with everything from setting up her pill box for the week to helping her with bathing and grooming.

My kids are getting to the age that they will soon be heading off to college. We’d like to take a family vacation during the holidays this year, but I’m not sure what to do about my aunt.

The guilt and worry about leaving her behind wouldn’t make the trip very enjoyable for me, I’m sure. But she really isn’t strong enough to come with us.

Do you have any suggestions for how I can keep her safe and still enjoy a vacation with my own family this holiday season?


Respite Care Gives the Gift of Time to Family Caregivers

Dear Janice:

This question is one I often receive during the holidays and in the summer months when families typically take vacations. Leaving an older loved one behind can make it difficult for a family caregiver to relax and enjoy their time away.

I do have a suggestion I think will help you. It’s called respite care.

There are a few different types of respite you can explore:

Home Care: In-home care agencies also offer respite services. A home care aide will come to the house at scheduled times each day to help your aunt. The caregiver can assist with bathing, meal preparation, and other tasks around the home. If your aunt needs help at more random times of the day and night, you might need to speak with the agency about arranging for a 24/7 caregiver to stay with her while you are away.

Senior Living Community: Another option that can give you peace of mind is a short-term respite stay in an assisted living community. Many communities have furnished respite suites for just this type of service. Respite guests can participate in all of the community’s holiday events and activities while also receiving the same services and amenities as long-term residents. From well-balanced meals to transportation and personal care, respite is a popular service during the holidays. And a side benefit is it would provide your aunt with an opportunity to give assisted living a trial run. If she likes it, you could make the move a permanent one.

I hope one of these respite options works for you, Janice, and that you can enjoy a happy holiday season with your family!

Respite Care
Understanding Options