We all know that caring for a loved one comes with challenges; more stress and less self-care time. But often things can be so hectic, caregivers end up putting their own health at risk. If you are the primary caregiver for an elder loved one, these tips can help you stay at optimum health in order to better care for your loved one.
With a lifestyle that’s continually on the go, the food we eat is critically important for good health. Resisting the temptation to settle for fast food and taking some time to menu-plan for the week can help you stay on track. You can even involve your loved one in assisting with some safe steps in the meal preparation. Look for seasonal vegetables and do some Internet searches on quick preparation for healthy meals. Stick to shopping around the perimeter of the market (where more fresh and healthy foods are located) and avoid prepared foods that are often loaded with unhealthy calories. If time is an issue, consider ordering your groceries or have a personal chef or another family member prepare several healthy meals to keep on hand during the week. Nix the chips and instead keep carrot sticks, yogurt and apple slices available for quick snacks.
You may think that all your moving and dashing about all day gives you plenty of exercise, but this kind of activity often leaves you exhausted and more stressed. Exercise, whether it be a daily walk, yoga, or hitting it at the gym, provides you with necessary stress relief and deep breathing that will lead to sustained health benefits and improved relaxation and rest. Carving out 20 minutes to an hour every day to commit to exercise may be challenging, but is one of the best ways to improve your overall health and combat stress.
We realize that living with an elder loved one is much more than a 9-5 commitment, and often sleep is interrupted due to your loved one’s care needs. Having a consistent bedtime routine for your loved one and for yourself can lead to more rest-filled nights for both of you. Things like avoiding TV and other electronics, avoiding alcohol, taking a long bath, turning on relaxing music, meditating and/or prayer help many people feel more rested and ready for sleep, especially when practiced routinely. If you and your loved one miss out on sleep during night-time hours, consider a 30-minute nap during the day. Many times, that’s all it takes to help restore us for the rest of the day ahead.
Make Time for You
Self-care and time for yourself is imperative to maintain a healthy outlook and reduce caregiver burnout. It doesn’t have to be a day-long spa treatment, although it can be! Self-care should be consistent to allow you to recharge. It can include lunch with friends, journaling, meditating, taking up a hobby, or just activities that make you laugh, cry and feel. When our days are filled with the commitment of taking care of others, taking time to connect with yourself is a necessity.
The best way family caregivers can ensure that time is carved out for self-care is by enlisting the help of a trusted home care agency, like Nightingale Homecare. Our respite care services fill in the gaps with compassionate, experienced care for seniors, allowing their loved ones a much needed break to recharge. Contact us at (602) 504-1555 to learn more about how our professional Phoenix caregivers can help improve quality of life – for the seniors you love, and for you!