There are millions of caregivers in the U.S., and a large portion of them are family members. According to the AARP, 44.5 million people have provided unpaid care to a loved one in the last 12 months.
Caregiving is no easy task though, and oftentimes it ends up taking a toll on the person’s health. It can even lead to a heightened risk of depression.
However, some organizations are using cruises to create an environment where caregiving families can relax, smile, and learn together.
Have a Reunion or Find New People
Cruises are a great place to get the family together to talk about important issues they may be facing in the future. Even if everyone can’t make it, the environment is conducive to meeting new people that are going through the same things.
For example, last year the founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks partnered with the CEO of Elite Cruises and Travel. They created a cruise that took all the hard work out of vacationing such as scheduling and food. It even had professionals that were there to share their insights into living with someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
The founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks, Lori La Bay, said that the cruise was “designed to encourage open conversations, raise awareness, and build a sense of camaraderie while rejuvenating souls.
We want to help people expand the depths of their relationships while functioning as caregivers and care receivers. Our goal is to show people how to live graciously with dementia, not become it.”
Enjoy the Educational Benefits
These cruises can target a variety of activities, or just be a general respite for caregivers and their loved ones. On the Elite Cruises website, for example, they have many such cruises planned throughout this year.
Most are targeted at Alzheimer’s and dementia, but some raise diabetes awareness, and others are just targeted at the elderly.
It’s extremely effective for learning because many great sources of information are available to you on the cruise. You can choose to attend lectures from professionals or informally talk to them while participating in activities on the cruise. Other people on the cruise can also share their experiences with you.
Money’s Tight? You Still Might Be Able to Go
Finances are without a doubt a huge source of the stress accompanied with caregiving. However, most caregiver cruises are priced in such a way that they are much cheaper than just going on a normal cruise.
Sometimes, cruise sponsors will pitch in to create a fund that can be used to offset costs as well.
If it still sounds like a pipe dream, check with your health provider or hospital. Sometimes, they will have partnerships or sweepstakes where you could go on one for free.