Are you a caregiver daring to live fully this summer? Or do you feel like it’s challenging to make summer plans in an “anything can happen this year” situation?
Try following our bucket list for caregivers that offers a variety of things to do and make the most of these months.
There are many wonderful opportunities to get out and create lasting happy memories, participate in things that bring joy, and still manage the care.
When one of you has a health issue, it can be challenging (or downright overwhelming!) to plan what used to be a simple day trip, take a vacation with your spouse, or go to a family celebration at the cottage. The good news is that there are many wonderful opportunities to get out and create lasting happy memories, participate in things that bring joy, and still manage the care.
If your plan for this summer is to take it easy because "anything can happen this year", here are some suggestions for making it a summer to remember.
1. Read at least 3 great books
Can you imagine anything better than relaxing on a dock, in your backyard, or on the beach with a great book? Maybe you’re in the mood for a breezy light read with great characters, an edge-of-your-seat thriller, or a story about a family that has more drama than yours! Whatever you’re in the mood for, carve out some much-needed time to let the world slow down and lose yourself in some great stories.
Need some inspiration? Check out Chapters Indigo’s Summer Reading List.
2. Paint, draw, craft… be creative (and take it outside if you can)
Tapping into your creativity through the arts, in all of their forms, boosts your well-being so make it a priority on your summer bucket list. Summer is the perfect time to try a new art form or pull out something you haven’t done in a while. You don’t need to get expensive supplies. Pencils, pencil crayons, some good paper, or a tray of watercolours can all spark your creativity. Create a vision board, go out and take some photographs, or whatever strikes your fancy. The repetition and relaxation of knitting has also been shown to have health benefits. Let nature inspire you too — try painting on some smooth rocks, or pressing flowers.
Consider visiting some galleries or museums as many offer tailored programs to meet the needs of caregivers (see our article, How Art Museums are Stimulating Minds and Supporting Caregivers). Many local galleries or cultural centres also offer open studio time or drop-in creative workshops during the week. These are ideal if you aren’t able to commit 100 per cent to a particular schedule; if one week doesn’t work out, you can try the next.
If you do these activities outside, remember to apply a good sunscreen, stay hydrated, and use a shady spot to avoid prolonged sun or heat exposure.
3. Take that day trip you or the person in your care has been wanting to go on
Take advantage of the beauty that surrounds you and finally do that day trip to the town, lake, or attraction that’s been on your must-go list forever. Or, maybe pay a visit to a special location, one that you or the person in your care haven't been to in awhile.
Start small if you need to. Small successes build self-confidence. Depending on the situation, it may take a few short local outings to figure out what time of day is best, how to effectively manage a public washroom, what to bring to ensure comfort, and how to navigate crowds, weather, and accessibility issues.
For caregiver travel tips, read our blog articles called Tips for planning travel for the mobility challenged and Alzheimer’s patient travel tips for caregivers.
4. Hit the beach
Really, is it possible to go to a beach and not feel peaceful or rejuvenated? The beauty of the water and sand, the sound of the waves, the smell of the air — they are all good for our well-being.
If you are bringing someone who uses a wheelchair or walker, check online for destinations with boardwalks.
5. Go to an outdoor concert
Summer is a wonderful time to catch an outdoor concert, musical, or play. If you’re worried it will be challenging, work up to this summer bucket list idea by first going to the park or a movie theatre.
6. Have a party
Yes, a party. Summer is a time for relaxing with family and friends, however you can. Making new happy memories with the people you love should be an important priority and is a summer bucket list must-have. Do you have a backyard, a condo deck or patio? Then you’ve got a gathering spot. If you don’t have an outdoor space, open all the windows and let the summer breeze in. It doesn’t need to be anything complicated — pick up pre-made appetizers or a vegetable tray, BBQ something simple, and buy the dessert. Or better yet, ask everyone to bring one food item and you just provide the space and beverages.
7. Take a break
All caregivers need to take breaks, not only to manage your own stress, but to make you a better and stronger caregiver when you return. Whether it’s an hour-long walk in the forest or by a lake, or a weekend getaway with your spouse, it’s so important to make the time. Arrange for respite care through Elizz, other family members, or friends, to help manage the caregiving while you have that much-needed time to yourself.
8. Book some healing treatments
This is something that can be on everyone’s summer bucket list. Healing treatments such as massage, meditation, reiki, or floatation therapy can do wonders for your mind, body, and spirit.
If it’s difficult to go in person, put the word out to your social media network that you’re looking for service providers to come to the home. You may be surprised at how many people volunteer to bring their healing talents to you.
9. Reconnect with a friend
Is there someone you haven’t been in touch with for a while? Reconnect with them, and ideally, see them in person. Friendships are an incredible source of strength, happiness and support.
10. Meditate for 10 minutes a day
There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Sit in silence, listen to music, draw, journal, or do yoga stretches. Do what feels right for you. Also see our article, Why caregiver meditation is so important.
How many of these will you do? What’s on your caregiver summer bucket list?
At Elizz, we provide caregiver support for you and home care services for those who depend on you. Elizz is a Canadian company powered by Saint Elizabeth, a national not-for-profit health care organization that has been caring for Canadians since 1908.