Today, many schools, businesses, banks, and other organizations are closed for the President’s Day holiday, but for assisted living communities, nothing changes. There may be some modifications to the daily schedule (a special menu, perhaps), and the transportation department may have a lighter trip load. Regardless of these changes, assisted living communities do not — cannot — shut down operations for a holiday, for inclement weather, or for any other reason besides an issue that compromises living conditions for the residents (fire/smoke, exposure to hazardous materials, etc.).
Caregivers and other staff in assisted living are on duty around the clock, providing meals, distributing medications, and assisting with ADLs (activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and transferring) just as family caregivers are at home. For those caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s, cancer, or other debilitating illness, caregiving responsibilities may be so intense that it feels more like a “36-hour day”, and a break or time of respite seems far off, no matter how many holidays come and go.
If you are a caregiver — whether in assisted living or at home — find a way to take a short “holiday” today: don’t make the bed, leave the dishes for tomorrow, stop for 5 minutes to put your feet up, or take a short walk during a lunch break. Remember, the best caregivers know how to care for themselves even as they care for others.