Free Peruvian Days

I recently got home from nine days of trekking in Peru. My daughter and I hiked the Salkantay Trail, a less traveled alternative to the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. We scaled 15,000 feet, saw glaciers, learned about Inca civilization and ate better than any human being has a right to eat. (Who knew that avocado on a roll could be so delicious?)

Even better than the sights and sounds and time, however, was that the trip was entirely anxiety free.

Since J was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011, I have gone away on a number of wonderful vacations, but I have always been waiting for a shoe to drop.  When J still lived at home, I once got a call that J’s caregiver had lost her.  Since J has lived in the memory care unit of a  continuing care retirement community, I’ve been tracked down on a silent retreat over a medication issue.  I instantly recognize the CCRC phone number when it lights up my phone.  They don’t usually call with good news.

This trip was different.  There were days when no one could have reached me, even if they tried.  The cell network thankfully doesn’t reach remote areas accessible only on foot.  Moreover, the CCRC nurses knew to call our 27-year-old son if anything happened that required family input.  J’s brother served as our son’s back-up if the CCRC couldn’t find him.  I am grateful to them both.

I returned to caregiving mentally refreshed and confident that I can handle whatever comes next with J.  To the other caregivers out there, I highly recommend taking a respite.  There is even funding available if taking a few days off would create a financial hardship.  (See  You owe it not only to yourself, but to your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

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