Caregivers take on dozens of diverse tasks ranging from bathing, dressing and feeding their loved ones to shuttling them to doctor’s appointments, paying bills, picking up medication, cleaning house and cooking meals. Many unpaid caregivers are also working and juggling the demands of their own families.
Caregiving is a demanding job with a flurry of activity that can compromise your own mental and physical health, if you’re not careful.
Here is how you can commit to your own health and overall wellness:
1. Take time for yourself
This can feel hard to do until you get into a habit of a taking a little “Me Time.” Plan the daily schedule in a way that accommodates some personal downtime. Instead of cleaning the house while your loved one naps, curl up with a good book and take a break yourself. Rediscover something you have always loved to do – knitting, writing, solving crossword puzzles, practicing yoga or oil painting – and build in time for it each day.
2. Get physical
Each day schedule some time for exercise. Find creative, fun ways of getting it done. Take a brisk walk to the park while pushing the person you’re caring for in a wheelchair. Turn vacuuming into an aerobic activity by moving quickly without a break. Turn on some of your charge’s favorite music around the house and move it. Dancing for 20 to 30 minutes is a good way to strengthen your heart and music is a mood-booster for everyone who listens. If you do better working out at a gym, hire a respite care provider to relieve you for an hour each day so you can hit the treadmill, go for a swim or take on a yoga class.
3. Give thanks
Life can at times feel hard, lonely, and unsatisfying. But, a regular practice of gratitude can reconnect you to the goodness that is there too. A few minutes before you drift off to sleep (or first thing in the morning) declare three things that you’re grateful for. Perhaps you’re grateful because someone brought by a home cooked meal or came for a visit. Maybe, you appreciated the sun streaming through the windows. Studies show a regular practice of gratitude eases stress, boosts immune function and promotes well-being.
To contact us here at the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center
Please call us at (561) 588-4545. Thanks for watching today’s Monday Mojo and we’ll see you again next week!