Life as a caregiver can be exhausting. You’re scheduling and driving to appointments, helping with personal care, picking up medications, keeping on top of household chores and much more.
It all adds up.
According to the U.S. Office of Women’s Health, the high levels of stress caregivers experience can increase their risk for developing chronic health problems, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis.
That’s why it’s so important for caregivers to schedule time for themselves, so they can rest and rejuvenate.
Many times, all a caregiver needs is a morning or an afternoon off. But sometimes caregivers may require a longer period of time — an entire day or even a weekend — away.
One such way to get a break from the demands of 24/7 caregiving is for your loved one to stay a night or two in a facility-based overnight respite program.
Choosing a program
Many organizations offer overnight respite services, including adult daycare centers, adult foster-care homes, assisted living facilities and other care centers.
Call the Senior LinkAge Line at 800-333-2433 or see mnaging.org/advisor/SLL for a list of programs in your area.
Before you choose a program, be sure to visit the physical site and speak with staff members in person. If possible, bring the person you’re caring for along.
If it doesn’t feel like a good fit for either of you, keep looking. Take your time and find a place that both of you feel comfortable with for overnight care.
Trusting someone else to care for your loved one can be difficult, especially if you’ve never done it before.
That’s why — for your first getaway — you might consider travelling to a location nearby for greater peace of mind. Then, if something does come up, you’ll be able to return fairly quickly.
Fortunately, Minnesota is a beautiful state, full of gorgeous scenery, rich history, interesting attractions and fascinating communities.
Here are some special spots outside of the Twin Cities to consider:
- New Ulm: This farming community is rich with German heritage. Listen to the chimes of the Glockenspiel clock tower, take a tour of Schell’s Brewery and visit a 32-foot-tall Hermann the German statue.
- St. Cloud: There’s lots to do in Minnesota’s 10th-largest city. Enjoy a production put on by GREAT Theatre, check out the Stearns History Museum or, this summer, take some time to smell the roses (and other flowers) at Munsinger Clemens Gardens.
- Lake City: Looking for a smaller town? This village of 5,000 features nearby attractions such as Pepin Heights apple orchard, bird watching at Frontenac State Park and boat tours on Lake Pepin and the Mississippi River.
- Duluth: Stroll through Canal Park and along the Lakewalk and see the ships come in. Visit the Great Lakes Aquarium and grab a burger at Grandma’s Saloon & Grill. You could also take a trip to nearby Gooseberry Falls State Park and countless other destinations on Lake Superior’s stunning North Shore.
- B&Bs: Not interested in sightseeing? Then you might consider finding a quaint bed-and-breakfast to visit in any number of small Minnesota towns. Spend your time eating, sleeping, reading and just relaxing. You might even schedule a professional massage. Pamper yourself! Visit the Minnesota Bed & Breakfast Association at minnesotabedandbreakfasts.org for a list of options.
Explore Minnesota is another top resource at exploreminnesota.com.
No matter where you end up, plan a trip that will help you return to caregiving well rested. With a refreshed heart and spirit, you’ll be able to care for your loved one with greater joy and a renewed sense of purpose.
Sam Patet is a writing specialist with Lyngblomsten, a Christian nonprofit organization that provides health care, housing and community resources to older adults in the Twin Cities. Lyngblomsten is a member of the Metropolitan Caregiver Service Collaborative. Learn more at lyngblomsten.org and caregivercollaborative.org.