My husband and I like to travel. He has Multiple Sclerosis and I am his caregiver, but for a vacation I’d like a break too. We are on a budget and can’t afford to have a full-time agency CNA travel with us, plus my husband only needs help in the mornings and evenings. Do you have any suggestions so I can relax on our vacation too?
I totally understand your desire for a break from caregiving duties, as after all, it’s your vacation too. If you are going to base yourself in one city, I suggest contacting the local Center for Independent Living (CIL) and ask if they have any PCA (personal care attendant) referrals for your visit. Many of the folks who work at the centers have PCAs, so sometimes it works out if you just need help for a few hours a day. It’s not free, but you certainly won’t have to pay agency rates. You might also contact the MS Association in your destination city and ask the same question. After all, personal referrals are the best way to find good PCAs.
Another option is to visit a specialized resort that offers optional PCA care for an additional cost. I don’t know of any such places in the US, but Freedom Shores (www.freedom-shores.com) in Mexico is a wheelchair-accessible oceanside resort that offers that optional service. And the good news is, because it’s in Mexico, the costs for a PCA are significantly lower than they are in the US.
Alternatively, you might get a friend or family member to agree to perform PCA duties in exchange for their travel expenses. I have known people who have gone this route, and it only works if you have a very clear understanding of duties and hours.
Hopefully this gives you a few ideas of where to look for some help. I hope you have a pleasant and restful vacation.