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Taking a Caregiving Break: 5 Tips to Help You Prepare

Lounge chair by lake

Before you feel totally exhausted with no energy to care for your senior parents, maybe you’ve gotten a signal that you need a POParenting Break(POPbreak).

Here are 5 tips to help you take that break and really use it well:

1. Decide how long of a break you need: If you only need 30 minutes, see what you can do that takes that 30 minutes that will really de-stress you. Maybe go for a walk on a nice day, read a chapter of a novel or call an old friend.  If you need a longer break to feel refreshed and come back to POParenting with a fresh outlook, go to step 2.

2. Enlist Help: Make a list of possible candidates you trust to stay with your senior parents. Ensure your replacement knows how long your break will be and, if necessary, look into hiring adequate respite care or exchanging with another POParent — like you did with your kids. Your rest is very important too!

3. Accept that guilt may be part of the equation: Leaving someone in your place to POParent may produce feelings of guilt. These are natural and you can learn to accept them, partly by knowing that caring for you is key to being able to lovingly attend to your aging parents.

4. Make a list of possible needs: Include those things that your helper may need while you are away such as phone numbers for emergencies. Tell those stepping in for you about established routines and what your parents like and don’t like to eat, drink and do.

5. Have a discussion with your aging parents: Sit down with them to explain how long you will be gone and reassure them everything is being taken care. Ask if they have concerns or questions and respond to those with kindness.

What advice do you have when you feel the need for a POPBREAK? What are your questions or concerns?

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