Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Too many caregivers are sleep deprived! This affects your mood, your ability to remain calm and emotionally stable, as well as your health. It is vitally important to get an adequate amount of sleep in order to be at your optimal best for care giving Try to get a full 8 hours of sleep at night. But, if not possible, perhaps you can get a ‘Power Nap’ in during the day! The Alzheimer’s patient will often nap on a regular schedule. While we are tempted to use the time to do household chores and such, it is the perfect time for a nap. Take advantage of it!
Eat right. You are making nutritious, healthy meals for your patient – but are you eating them, too? It is just as important for the caregiver to eat all 3 meals and healthy snacks during the day. Dine with your patient or loved one. This gives them a feeling of and family’ and gives you the opportunity to sit and enjoy a meal. Make yourself healthy snacks. When you bring your loved one a glass of Ensure, what are you pouring for yourself? Shy away from the high sugar/high caffeine drinks – these will only give you a sugar “high” which inevitably leads to a sugar “crash.” There are so many great healthy drinks on your grocery store shelf! Or find recipes online for things you can make in the blender. Another great idea is simply, fruit. I always kept pecans handy! I could grab a handful at any time and was giving myself a good protein snack! Easy, quick, healthy snacking!
Exercise. I’m the first to admit this is not my favorite past-time! But it is important to find an activity you can do which will benefit you physically and mentally! Exercise is a natural ‘de-stresser’! Perhaps if other family members visit on a regular basis you could simply take the time to go for a walk around the block or do a treadmill for 15 minutes. It doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. Every little bit helps!
Sunshine. Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients tend to have a greater visual sensitivity to sunlight, and therefore shy away from being outdoors. You can easily remedy this by simply seating them at a table with a sun-umbrella, or under the overhang of the porch. This allows them to get fresh air without being in the direct sunlight and allows you to be out in the sun! I used to take my little lady to a local park that had picnic pavilions We’d have a nice lunch then she’d sit in the shade watching me feed the ducks! An enjoyable, healthy experience for both of us!