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5 Ways to Be a Healthier Caregiver

January 10th, 2020

By: Linda Kunicki

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, there are approximately 40 million people in the United States who are family caregivers. Unfortunately, many of them aren’t prepared to become caregivers when they find themselves in the role. They may not know how to prevent some of the common health problems that can come along with being a caregiver. Caregivers, you see, tend to ignore their own health problems because they are focused on the older adult. If you’ve already noticed your health declining, there are ways you can start to feel better. Below are 5 suggestions for being a healthier caregiver.

#1: See Your Doctor
Don’t ignore symptoms or skip your regular medical appointments. If you’re experiencing symptoms or just not feeling well in general, make an appointment to find out what is going on. When you take care of a health problem early on, you may be able to prevent it from getting worse. In addition, it’s important to go to check ups and take care of routine care to reduce the chances of a problem sneaking up on you.

#2: Eat a Healthy Diet
Because of their busy lives, caregivers may think they are too busy to eat healthy meals. Instead, they grab fast food, skip meals altogether, or reach for whatever is easiest. That can mean not getting the nutrients they need to stay healthy or eating foods that cause weight gain. By making the time to eat healthy, balanced meals, caregivers can reduce the chances of getting illness related to weight gain or poor nutrition.

#3: Attend a Caregiver Support Group
Caregiver support groups are a safe place for you to talk about how being a caregiver makes you feel. This is important since many caregivers struggle with stress, depression, and anxiety because of the challenges of their role. 

#4: Learn New Caregiver Skills
This tip might seem more helpful to the older adult than to the caregiver. However, when caregivers learn better ways to care for their aging relative, it helps them to feel more in control and can lessen stress. You can learn more about being a caregiver by attending seminars, reading books, and gathering knowledge about the condition affecting the senior.

#5: Get Enough Rest
Caregivers may stay up late at night to get everything done. Or, if you spend the overnight hours with your aging relative, you might get up several times each night. This can cause you to lose sleep. A lack of sleep can affect both your mood and your health. Make sure you’re getting at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep at night.

If you feel as though you simply can't get it all done and maintain your own health and family, consider a home care provider to offer you respite time. A home care provider can give your senior loved one the care and companionship they need, while offering you the peace of mind you need to take a break from your caregiver role.

Sources
https://www.caregiver.org/caregiver-health
https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/caregiver-stress
https://familydoctor.org/caregiver-health-and-wellness/
 

IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING CAREGIVERS IN BERWYN, IL, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT BRIGHTSTAR CARE LA GRANGE. CALL TODAY: 708-551-2500.