Traveling and Caregiving in Retirement
"I'm planning to retire soon and am hoping to travel for the first few years while I can. The challenge I am facing is that I also want to have my father move in so I can help care for him. How do I care for him while I am not there? Would I be better off waiting to have him move in until I stop traveling so much? It could be too late at that point, I fear." - READER
Juggling your lifestyle will be one of the joys and challenges of retirement. It will be a joy to plan vacations, and a challenge to accommodate your father. This is a great question, and you are a very thoughtful person for asking it. For my answer, I will assume you wish to be gone several times a year.
I don't believe you need to wait until you are done traveling to move your father in with you. I recommend setting up an arrangement for someone to stay with him while you are traveling. Ideally, you will find just one person, maybe a sibling of his or yours, who stays with him in your home. Familiarity and consistency will be better for Dad's wellbeing while you are gone.
While it is important to plan coverage for Dad during your travels, do not let your father's care keep you from enjoying your early retirement years. There is surely a healthy balance to be found here.
Here is something to think about. Planning time away can provide you proper respite, and proper respite means you can return to your father a more mentally, physically and even spiritually-fresh caregiver. We all need a break from time to time, and kicking off your retirement with some traveling will be good for you. You don't need to reach the point of exhaustion to feel deserving of a break. I personally love the idea of planning breaks upfront, before he even moves in. It is brilliant and healthy.
Find a clever way to include your father in your trip-planning. Send photos daily while you are gone, plan fun activities and outings for Dad to partake in, and have special celebrations when you return to relive your "shared" vacations. It may sound a tad simplistic, but it is the little moments in life that matter.
There will always be a way to make this new living and caregiving situation a worthwhile adventure. It requires only a little bit of planning. You are well on your way to a rewarding retirement and caregiving experience. Have a wonderful time with your shared journey.
I wish you the best.
Family Caregiving Advice Column
Written by CEO, Mary Haynor, this newsletter is packed with useful tips, resources and practices that will make the lives of family caregivers easier.Learn More...
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