The physical toll of caregiving can be quite high if you are not prepared for it. Being a caregiver is both a physical and an emotionally challenging role and it can last for many years. Keeping yourself healthy is one of the best things you can do for you and your loved one.
There are several things you can do to keep your health in tip-top shape for both of you.
EAT HEALTHY. Eating well-balanced meals goes a long way in providing the necessary vitamins and nutrients your body will need.
EXERCISE. A good exercise regimen is not only good for the caregiver but also the patient. Exercise has been shown to not only provide the necessary energy, it can put you in a good mood and make you feel good as well.
REST. A good night’s sleep is paramount. You can’t do an effective job if you are sleepy all the time. You need a good 8 hours of rest every night. As the disease progresses this will get harder and harder. A person with Alzheimer’s seldom sleeps through the night, but exercising and eating right can help with bad sleeping habits.
TAKE BREAKS. Respite care is necessary to avoid caregiver burnout. Taking time for yourself and other family members will help you be a better caregiver. A couple of hours every day or a day a week can make a huge difference in how you feel and how effective you are as a caregiver.
GET SUPPORT. Caregiving is not a job that can be done single-handedly. You need help. Getting a great support team assembled whether they are family, friends or professionals is a must.
EDUCATE YOURSELF. Being a knowledgeable caregiver will make you more confident and secure in what you are doing. It will minimize feelings of desperation, insecurities and feelings of being overwhelmed.
Being a caregiver is the hardest job you will ever do. It is grueling. There will be times you will think that you just can’t do it another day and that’s exactly why respite care is so important. This isn’t a sprint it’s more like a Strongman competition, only there are no trophies or slaps on the back. Our prize is knowing that someone we love spent their last years happy, loved, and safe.
Staying healthy will be an added benefit to both the caregiver and your loved one. Following these tips will go a long way in helping you to be able to do all that you will be called on to do. Taking care of your emotional self will also greatly impact your physical self.
Did you know that caregivers are twice as likely to suffer from depression and other illness? Keeping physically and emotionally healthy can change EVERYTHING!