It’s summer and along with it comes thoughts sun, sand, campfires and of course, summer getaways. A vacation offers survivors and caregivers alike time to get away from the stresses of every day life – doctors appointments, rehabilitation and daily, mundane tasks. Although one cannot fully take a “vacation” from brain injury, you can take time out of your daily life to enjoy a slower pace for a week or two and time away from doctors’ appointments. Considering going away this summer? Keep these tips in mind before you start traveling.
1. Consider your destination. Depending on your needs, consider the location for your vacation. You may want to stay close to home, in close proximity to doctors or the survivor in your life if you’re going on vacation solo. A weekend getaway is also a great option if you don’t want to be away for too long.
2. Plan, plan, plan. As a survivor or caregiver it is extremely important to plan out your trip. Whether you’re a caregiver traveling alone and leaving your loved one behind or going together, it’s essential to plan out all the details. Make sure the hotel or resort you’re staying at is wheelchair accessible (if necessary), for example and ensure you plan out activities appropriate for everyone in your group.
3. Pack all necessities, including medications. Caregivers typically have their daily routines down to a science, but being in a new place can throw off schedules. Ensure you pack all medications and any other health-related needs and set alarms on your phone to tell you when medications should be taken. You might get distracted by the day’s happenings and an alarm will ensure you don’t miss anything.
4. Leave time for rest. Whether you’re going to a theme park or a sleepy beach town, leave time for rest and relaxation. While you may want to explore or participate in exciting activities, it’s important to schedule time for rest, especially for survivors who may want to take a break from a busy day. Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a nap or break during the day.
5. Focus on recharging your batteries. Although you cannot take a “vacation” from brain injury as a survivor or caregiver, you can change your focus for the time you’re away. Enjoy activities you might not normally be able to and make the focus about having fun and enjoying your destination. Medications and brain fatigue are might be part of your everyday life, but by focusing on enjoying the time away from everyday tasks and appointments, you’ll be able to relax and recharge your batteries.
What other advice would you offer to survivors and caregivers going on vacation?