We are so dedicated to caring for our families ourselves, that we will do whatever it takes to provide for the health of our loved ones. The problem is, we tend to forget to protect the health of the person who everyone’s relying on – our self. Whether it is our young children, our aging parents, or ailing family members, too often we caregivers overlook our own needs. Either we become overwhelmed and resentful or we burn out and wind up needing care ourselves.
Even with a decade of experience as a clinical dietitian, and thousands of hours working at skilled nursing facilities across the Pacific Northwest, raising two kids, and helping my parents transition into retirement… it was too much to handle on my own.
I started looking for resources to help me manage my caregiver overwhelm but struggled to find any helpful information. That’s when I started pooling all my own resources and knowledge I had gained over the past 10 years to create Senior Resource Central to help other people find the practical information they need.
“Family caregivers experiencing extreme stress have been shown to age prematurely. This level of stress can take as much as 10 years off a family caregiver’s life”.
–Elissa S. Epel,
Dept of Psychiatry,
Univ of Calif, SF, et al
Ten years off your life! Taking care of someone else could take years off your own life?
As caregivers, we push ourselves to the limit to provide for our loved ones. We sacrifice our own health – thinking we’re tough enough to withstand the pressure. The fact is, our health is as important to consider as the health of our loved ones’ – after all, who’s going to look out for them if we go down? Yes, your parents and children need you, but they need you healthy and in the right frame of mind to provide the best possible care you can.
Here are 3 ways to self-care:
As a dietitian, I know that what we eat gets reflected back to our physical health. It’s all about changing the way we are thinking. For example, if you believe weight loss is totally impossible, you’ll never lose that weight.
Simply train your brain to think in a positive way. By being compassionate and helping your loved one, you become more aware of all that you have and are generally happier. You’ll get a sense of more purpose in life.
Part of learning how to take charge of your health involves understanding your risk factors for different diseases. Risk factors are things in your life that increase your chances of getting a condition or disease. Some risk factors you can control are what and how much you eat as well as how much physical activity you get.
Feel like the strain of too much work and too little time is boiling over? Time for a tune-up. Uplifting habits to your daily routine and you’ll find more meaning in your life. You may not control what happens, but you decide how you react and what kind of person you are. Stop those constant thoughts of “why me” and “life isn’t fair”.
Whenever people learn that I’m a dietitian, I often get asked, “So, what’s the best food I should eat?” There is no such food. An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but apples alone are not going to keep you alive.
Your diet has to be balanced. It’s the only way for your body to benefit from the many nutrients that come from variety. And it’s the same with your life. Your life needs balance, because it’s the only way for your mind, body and spirit to gain all the wonderful experiences that life has to offer.
As caregivers, it’s important that we don’t forget to give ourselves some care from time to time. Finding a balance is important otherwise we risk being overwhelmed, resentful and burned out. And, remembering that our self-care is as vital as the care we give our loved ones will ensure that we’re able to provide the love and support they need.
How has self-care made a difference in your caregiving life? Please share your thoughts or tips by leaving a comment below.Read More
What can you do today to get financially prepared for your aging parent’s cost of care?Read More
On Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 11AM Pacific Time / 2PM Eastern Time, I’ll be taking 30 minutes to answer your questions on being a caregiver and moving into the caregiving process. I may not have all the answers but I know exactly where you are and exactly what you are going through and I can be your support.
Join us for this free teleseminar where I’ll share a bit about my experience and I’ll open the call up to questions. You can ask me anything from:
- How to maintain balance in your own life, when you are caring for your aging parents
- What to do when your parent or loved one needs to transition from their current experience to a new one
- Why you shouldn’t carry around so much guilt and how to alleviate some of it
- The best ways to set your aging parents up for success inside of their own homes
Or whatever other burning question you may have…
Even if you can’t attend live, sign up below and we’ll send you a copy of the recording and we’ll also send you a free chapter from our soon-to-be released book on being a caregiver!
Yes! Register Me for the Free 30-Minute Call on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 11AM PST / 2PM EST!
Please post your comments below.Read More
The 2012 SeniorHomes.com Best of the Web contest highlights the best senior living and caregiving websites, blogs, and resources for consumers and senior living professionals.
Senior Resource Central is a nominee in the SeniorHomes.com Best of the Web 2012!
Category: Best Websites & Newsletters for Caregivers 2012
VOTE for Senior Resource Central.
Please post your comments below.Read More
Did you know that an unexpected medical bill can have a significant hit on your senior parents’ finances even if they are insured and/or careful spenders?
1. Stay healthy.
2. Eating right and staying fit are important at any age. And, our aging parents will have different needs. They require more calcium and vitamin D to maintain their bone health. So, discuss the best opinions with their primary physician…they could be saving loads of money.
3. Encourage them to have at least 3 servings of a Vitamin D- fortified low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt every day. Other high sources of calcium-rich foods include fortified cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, and canned fish with bones.
Please share your thoughts or tips on how to whittle down medical expenses by leaving a comment below.Read More
Do you feel guilty when you:
1. Don’t spend enough time with your kids?
2. Get too busy to help your senior parents?
3. Leave your elderly parent at a skilled nursing facility?
I had an experience at the skilled nursing facility where an elderly woman lost her appetite for weeks, dropping a lot of weight. Her dedicated son offered to bring in dinner the very next night just to get her to eat something. However, the poor guy was so stressed about his mother’s medical condition, he totally forgot to bring in the dinner. The overwhelmed son felt really guilty.Read More