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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer Vacations -Dream or Reality? July 28, 2013

Whether we work for 50 weeks a year and look forward to those two weeks of summer vacation with our families or we are retired and look forward to visits from our families, no matter in what climate or section of the country we live, we yearn to go away from home for a while in the summertime. 

Anything we look forward to so much is burdened by our expectations; our fantasies often exceed the reality even of Christmas. So it can be with vacations, trips or visits from relatives far away.

We don't want to modify our dreams to fit the reality of teen agers who may no longer want to accompany the family and become sullen, of loved ones who have dementia, even mildly, who cannot be true partners in planning or even enjoying the excursion as they once did. So we trod on, being enthusiastic enough -we think- for everyone, pointing out the sites, admiring the views and in the process feeling stressed even on the weeks off when we are supposedly free of household chores, work worries and responsibilities

Sound familiar?

The answers of course are complicated and simple. Reduce expectations but go anyway. Reduce the time and the distance perhaps but plan an outing that works for your family. And then perhaps find a way to spend some quality time with those who can enjoy what you enjoy.

Today's NY Times Sunday Review lead article begins with an article on Status and Stress. The article points to research which shows that ordinary stress can be relieved by a change in activity. Go for it.

The article also reveals that STRESS is something stronger and can be defined as the helplessness one feels when facing a given stressor. The stress of caregiving for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease or the stress of poverty can make us feel helpless, make us feel depressed and ill. I know some folks who are disabled and can no longer work who feel bad about applying for disability insurance, thus causing severe financial problems for their families, in addition to the burden the other members face caring for her or him. 

Please use the resources available to you. Reduce the stress on your family by accepting help. Permit a respite worker into your home so that someone can catch a break out of the daily routines.

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