Wednesday, January 02, 2008
traveling, guests, & caregiving hostels?
Traveling as a caregiver is always something more than an adventure and hopefully less than a nightmare. There is no blueprint answer. Variables explode like fireworks when you consider how each caregiver is unique multiplied by how each person with needs is distinctive plus the inconsistency of each allegedly accessible facility.
Over the holiday we shared a successful experiment with caregivers helping each other out. Our guests, for 3 nights / 4 days spanning the New Year, were a Mom and her autistic teenage son.
For non-caregivers it may be complicated to grasp the difference between conventional lodgings and another caregiving home. There is so little that has to be explained between caregivers. Support is almost seamless. Caregiver to caregiver chat at the end of the day is priceless.
In some utopia such a network might exist. However until then it is about friends.
As the ramp extended from our van and we all exited our outings might appear like alien landings. Yet, visiting superstores such as Wal-Mart and Wegmans Food Market (especially in late December) can be almost as fun as Hershey Park when two of four people have physical and cognitive challenges.
Interestingly the larger group was a bit easier than one on one from my perspective. Maybe strength in numbers? Maybe diversity of Multiple Sclerosis and Autism kept it beyond unpredictable? Maybe just having another pair of caregiver eyes and hands to share made the difference?
31 percent of America's adults are taking care of an elderly, disabled or chronically ill relative or friend. Look around yourself the next time you are out in a store. Do your eyes see a third of the people involved in caregiving? Keeping everyone out and involved in the community can be overwhelming.
Talking with Patti about our guests contrasted to our holiday trip last year to Philadelphia and trying to ‘adapt’ the Hyatt hotel, she reflected, “Maybe you should create something like this.” … Ahhh! Now there is a New Year’s resolution for the 25th hour of each day. Become the Conrad Hilton of caregiving hostels <grin>.
Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
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