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


  1. I think it does make a difference when there are 2 caregivers, instead of the other person not having the 'caregiving skills'. It sounds like Patty thinks you can do anything, Patrick! <grin>

    Happy New Year!

  2. Seriously, though, that is an excellent idea of hers ... a Caregiving Travel Facility for overnight stays. Still with the increase of the population needing that kind of care, what if someone were to start a motel chain along a major highway? ... a place that welcomed families with disabled members, where pets would also be welcome, and amenities included extra towels and washcloths, extra cups, extra pillows, Depends-type products (in case one ran out unexpectedly or forgot to bring them) instead of the miniature shampoos and conditioners they provide aplenty, ...with wide doorways and extra space in rooms for the wheelchairs, extra wide bathrooms and tubs with places to accommodate folks who can't stand in the shower... extra wide elevators for more comfortable manueverings, someone to meet you at the door and help you bring your luggage in while you wheel in your bride...friendly people with experience working with the disabled, caring people who will anticipate your needs before you ask them, who will make your visit so pleasant you wouldn't mind the extra bucks it will probably cost to get all this. Oh, yeah, it might exist in that Utopian world you mentioned ...  I'm sure there are other needs I haven't even thought of due to my own lack of experience... but like you said, just take a look around at WalMart or the grocery store.... lots of folks walking with canes, pushing walkers in front of them, accompanying a friend in a wheelchair. One thing I've noticed, though, ... there are not enough handicapped parking spaces these days. They're always full... and not necessarily with cheaters. I thing more of the folks who have physical disabilities are not staying home... they are getting out more, they're still part of this world, and they're still contributing to it. We need more parking spaces for them!! And wider aisles in the stores so they can get about. Okay.. I'm done. bea

  3. (((((((((((((((HUGSTOYOU)))))))))))))))Sometimes,I may not understnd what you are saying.But I do know you are making such a good point at what you are saying.Like I do know what you said when you were saying,that if you looked in a stoor,you see so many people like you helping,being a caregiver.I see that all the time,because I do work in a stoor.

  4. there's strength in numbers, that's probably what helped "lighten the load" on your outings. You weren't the "only" caregiver, but had the help of your friend. Given the situation you are both in as caregivers, you can relate easily to each other and have empathy towards each other whereas those of us not caregiving or currently caregiving don't "dance the same dance". I hope this makes sense. I'm just glad the visit seemed like a success to all involved.

  5. i agree with Patti what a great idea:) glad it went well and what a adventure it was:) Happy New Years Patrick


  6. How you do it I will never understand.....always having new experiences!  Happy New Year to you and Patti!

  7. It really is as high as 31% isn't it.  I notice when one caregiver connects with another, they have this perfect wordless understanding of each other.  Something there is about a selfless, nurturing heart.  Thanks once again for bringing it all back home.  Hi to Patti and hope you reap the benefits of 2008 cause they're going to be stellar!  xoxo CATHY

  8. happy new year to you and your family
    hope 2008 treats you all kindly

  9. ah but the problem with some of the illnesses that require assistance is that they are invisible to the other people on this earth...


  10. PS:  the new site is COOL!


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