Attention Caregivers: Tips for Staying Healthy


According to a National Institutes of Health report, the worldwide population aged 65 and over is expected to increase dramatically to 17% of the world’s population by 2050 (1.6 billion).

This dramatic change is not just a statistic; it is personal for many of us.  Our parents are getting older, living longer but with ailing condition.   We see our mothers, fathers, aunts or uncles tired and sleepless as they try to take care of a spouse who needs 24/7 care.

Our guest blogger, Marie Villeza, helps us navigate through the stress of caregiving, and provides us with tips for staying healthy.

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How Caregivers Can Manage Stress And Take Care Of Themselves

By Marie Villeza

https://pixabay.com/en/hospice-caring-nursing-elderly-1797305/

Photo via Pixabay by Maxlkt

Providing care for someone else is one of the most noble, fulfilling jobs, but it can also be one of the most stressful. Emotionally, physically, and mentally, taking care of a person’s needs at all hours of the day can be exhausting. It’s important for caregivers to understand their own needs and take steps to ensure they’re being met, as this prevents burnout and can help with depression and other mood disorders.

Whether you’re a nurse who works at a hospital or a concerned family member who oversees the care of a loved one, there are many ways you can take care of yourself and keep your own well-being in mind. Not only should you do this for your sake, but it’s a good way to keep being the best caregiver you can be.

Here are some tips on how to make sure your mind and body are taken care of.

Practice self-care

Self-care is one of the best ways to maintain a positive attitude, so take a timeout when you’re feeling stressed and do something that relaxes you. Read a book, take a hot bath, get some exercise. Turn your home–or, at the very least, your bedroom–into a soothing haven. Paint the walls a peaceful color, play soft music, light a scented candle, and leave everything else on the other side of the door when you enter. This will help you get some good rest and tend to your mental health. Here are more tips on how to create a relaxing home environment.

Stay social

This is especially important for caregivers who live with their patient or spend most of their time in the same place. Keeping a social life can be difficult when you need to be on call at all times, but one of the biggest factors in depression and anxiety for caregivers is isolation. Stay connected to your friends–even if it’s only through social media–and try to carve time out of your schedule at least once a week to go out and do something that you want to do.

Go easy on yourself

The AARP suggests that one of the easiest ways to get stressed out as a caregiver is to be hard on yourself in regards to the way you do your job. No one is perfect, and when it comes to taking care of nearly all of a person’s needs, there are bound to be learning curves. Take things one day at a time and ask for help when you need it. There may be days when you just can’t do everything yourself, and that’s okay.

Find resources

Look for resources for yourself and for your patient online. There may be support groups in your community that will help you get through the tough days, or home health care options for the times when you just need a break. Being able to talk to people who are going through the same things you are is extremely helpful and will allow you to gain valuable insight and feedback when it comes to your job. For more insight on how to find resources as a caregiver, read on here.

Set goals

One way to stay motivated and avoid burnout is to set realistic goals for yourself and your patient. Go day-to-day and start small; for instance, you might start with getting him to eat so much during each meal, or having him walk on his own to the restroom. Remember that these goals are only for your peace of mind and to assist with your mental health, so be patient and don’t fret if you don’t quite reach the goal for the day.

It can also be helpful to keep communication open with your friends and family about your daily duties. Find support so you can get through the hardest days unscathed.

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To reach Marie Villeza or read more on elder care, please visit www.elderimpact.org.

We will be featuring more of Marie’s blogs and resources on Alzheimer’s in the future.

 

 

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About aspireperspirenourish

We are sisters who share a passion for healthy living! Each of us brings different knowledge and skills to this project, some similar experiences and a whole lot of shared passion for mindful, fit and nutritious living. This blog is our way of spreading our knowledge and passion about motivation, fitness and nutrition for everyday living. It is also our forum for finding like-minded people from whom we can learn. To learn more about us, please see our "About" page.
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