Caring for a senior while juggling all of the other responsibilities in your life can be stressful. It’s important to carve out a little bit of time for self-care so you can best care for your loved one.
A poll conducted by Gallup Industries found that the injuries and illnesses most common among family caregivers are:
- Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure
- Stomachaches and digestive problems
- Chronic pain in the neck, back, and knees
- Migraines and recurring headaches
- Unintended weight gain or loss
Do any of these sound familiar?
If they do, it’s probably time for you to make a few resolutions for living healthier in 2018.
Be a Healthier Caregiver in 2018
We hope these suggestions can help you start 2018 on a healthier note:
1. Set personal goals: Begin by writing down the three things that are most important to you in life. Be honest! Then, take a hard look at which of your daily activities are taking time away from what is most important to you.
Many of us have a difficult time saying “no.” We agree to make a casserole for a church potluck we can’t attend. Or we bake five dozen cookies for a school fundraiser. These are noble gestures, but also ones that make life even more difficult for a family caregiver. Make 2018 the year you scale back, even slightly, on things that aren’t high priorities.
2. Care for the caregiver: For most caregivers, taking time for self-care is difficult to do. But staying healthy is really the only way to ensure you are able to continue caring for those you love most.
Set an exercise goal of 30 minutes three to four times a week. Split it up in to 15-minute increments to make it easier to fit into your schedule. You’ll still get the same health benefits. Walking, yoga, swimming, and Pilates can each nurture the body, mind, and spirit.
Equally important is to commit to eating a healthy diet and to prepare meals a week ahead of time. You’ll find you have more energy and feel less stressed if you do. Designate a few hours on the weekend to prepare for the week ahead.
3. Ask for help: Family caregivers often feel duty-bound to care for their loved one all on their own. Many feel too guilty to ask for help or accept it when it is offered.
Make 2018 the year you recognize that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. In the year ahead accept offers of help and suggest specific things that people can do to help out.
If you don’t have family members close by to pitch in, contact your local senior services or Area Agency on Aging. They may be able to help you get support with driving to appointments as well as medication and grocery delivery. Or, find a senior living community nearby that offers short-term respite care services.
Sunrise Senior Living Healthy Caregiver Guide
The Sunrise Senior Living website is full of advice and guidance on how to care for yourself while you are busy caring for a loved one. It covers everything from connecting with an online support group to using journaling to manage stress.
Take these tips into the new year to become a happier, healthier you!
Source: Sunrise Senior Living