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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Ocean Swim & Healing at Gray’s Beach in Waikiki

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If you are visiting Waikiki and looking for a good place for an ocean swim, look no further than Gray’s Beach.  This small section of Waikiki Beach is located between the Halekulani Hotel and Sheraton Waikiki Hotel.

Among locals, Gray’s beach is known for its healing waters.  In the 1920’s a boardinghouse named Gray’s-by-the-Sea stood at the spot, hence the name Gray’s Beach.  As described by Aloha-Hawaii.com:

“In ancient Hawaii, Gray’s Beach was a place of healing and sick people sought relief by bathing in the water here. The channel in the reef was known as Kawehewehe (“The removal”), and was a place where Hawaiians who were sick came to be healed. A patient may wear of lei (wreath) made from the seaweed called limu kala, then walk with it into the water, leaving it there as an offering in hopes of receiving forgiveness for past transgressions.”

Besides being a spot for healing, this beach is great for ocean swimming.

Ocean Swimming

Ocean swimming can be intimidating with coral reefs, surfers, high surf, and all that wonderful marine life swimming about.  Finding the right spot and the right time to swim are two considerations.

If you are not used to swimming in the ocean, Gray’s Beach is a good place to begin.  The water in this area has a large sand channel that goes pretty much straight out, slightly to the right.  You can follow the edge of the reef to the end of the sand channel and turn back.  About a quarter mile out from the sand, there is a stick (sometimes with a flag marker) that you can also use as a guide.  Many people will swim to the stick and back or do this trek a couple of times.   The stick is about half way to the end of the sand channel.

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Path to my favorite entry point to swim

I find that the water in this area is often less rough on high surf or windy days so it’s my choice for swimming on rough water days.  I also like to swim at Gray’s Beach because there are fewer surfers in the area and only 2 catamarans that come in and out of the beach.  Less congestion allows for a more relaxing swim.

Beach Area

The sandy area at Gray’s Beach is not ideal for sunbathing.  The constant erosion from the ocean has caused the sandy part of the beach to recede.  During the fall and winter months, you’ll find a large group of seniors hanging out under the big beautiful tree, and on busy days there might not be much room to even lay down a towel.  With 2 catamarans landing in the area, it can be busy with people lining up to get onto the sails.

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Beach area. Seniors staking their claim under the tree!

So, travel light!  Pack a small bag with your swim essentials (no valuables) and tuck this stuff close to one of the seniors or just drop on the beach.  Be sure to leave it on dry sand.  On high surf days, or high tide times, the ocean waves can come right up to the top of the beach and sweep things off the sand.

Amenities in the area are limited; however, you’ll find a shower at the Sheraton and bathrooms near the Sheraton Infinity Pool.

Ocean Swimming Tips

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Quick break for a photo before my swim.

Don’t be afraid; be aware.  You are sharing the space with surfers, other swimmers, boats, and marine life. Look up and around occasionally.  Respect the ocean and its inhabitants.  If you see a turtle, enjoy the view and keep your distance.  They will respect your space too.

Swimming in the ocean feels different than swimming in a pool.  The constant movement of the water from the waves can make you feel like you’re not getting anywhere.  Just concentrate on your stroke and move with the water.  Take advantage of those waves to move you in the direction you’re going.

When the currents are strong, you might feel like you’re being pulled back when trying to swim forward.  In this case, relax and continue to swim.  Use the next wave to pull you forward.  It might take you longer to finish your swim but you’ll get back.

Be cautious with your first few swims.  Turn around before your targeted goal time/mile.  Sometimes heading out may feel easy but coming back might be more challenging.  Get to know the water and the conditions before you commit to swimming further out.

Ready, Set, Swim

On your next visit to Waikiki, give Gray’s Beach a try for your ocean swim.

Please let us know if you like this area and/or if you found our tips helpful.

 

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