My recent caregiving stint while Carol was down with the flu brought home again that respite is an essential part of caregiving. With no respite for the caregiver, they will soon need caregivers themselves. This can get out of hand, sort of like a multiple level marketing pyramid.
What do I do for respite? Exercise is the first priority. I walk or ride my bicycle for aerobic exercise. If I don’t get enough exercise I tend to stagnate, finding it ever harder to get out of the chair. I haven’t bicycled much lately. I tend to go in cycles, and cycling seems to be lower on my priority list lately. I walk.
I really enjoy the bicycle, as I can see more during my rides than I can while walking. I do not like exercise machines because they are so boring. I need to have stimulation while moving the body. Bicycling, hiking, and walking in our neighborhood provide plenty to look at. It’s fun to second guess what people are doing with their homes and yards. With the economy on its way back, there are a number of new houses going up in the neighborhood. It seems that people are not willing to live in the smaller spaces that were common 40 or more years ago. I like to watch change happen, and I can’t do that in an exercise room.
My job at Four Mile is an excellent source of exercise. Setting up for school field trips and birthday parties requires a lot of moving things around the park. For field trips, helping the teachers run the activities involves walking all over the park. It’s fun and great exercise. This time of year, however, things are pretty slow until it starts to warm up.
I do the shopping, yard work, home maintenance chores, and the heavy part of the gardening. Good, productive work, and useful. Whoa, this is caregiving, not respite, but it can feel like respite at times.
My big daily time for respite is when I am in the bathtub. I relax, soak, and catch up on my reading. I got some perfumed bath bombs for Christmas, and Carol is not as happy with my baths. She says I smell up the whole house.
Carol is pretty much over the flu, so a friend and I are off today on a road trip to retrace some of the Old Spanish Trail in southern and western Colorado. It’s good to get clear away at times. We will be out three days. I do one day trips four wheeling in the mountains west of Denver as well.
These are some of my respite strategies. Others will have different approaches. The important thing is to have respite.