Make Healthy Caregiver Resolutions in 2022
For the 40.4 million people in the United States caring for a senior loved one, practicing a healthy lifestyle might not be a high priority. From tending to a family member’s personal care needs to tracking a medication schedule, caregiving responsibilities can be stressful and time-consuming.
While loved ones often view caregiving as a duty they are honored to perform, there’s no doubt it can put one’s personal health at risk. As 2021 comes to a close, we have a few suggestions that caregivers may find helpful when balancing caring for a senior and practicing healthy self-care.
Resolve to Live a Healthier Life in 2022
1. Ask for help
Spouses and adult children might be hesitant to ask for help or accept it when it’s offered. It’s important to recognize, however, that it’s rare for any one person to provide care all alone. This is especially true when a spouse or aging parent has a lot of care needs. Find a few people to assist you, even if it’s with small tasks such as picking up prescriptions or grabbing a few groceries.
Involving others in your loved one’s care can also provide peace of mind that there is backup should an emergency occur and you aren’t available for the senior.
2. Practice self-care
Family caregivers have a tendency to put their own wellness on the back burner. While that might be doable in the short-term, over a longer period it can result in a health crisis of your own. Eating well, sleeping, and exercising may seem like luxuries, but they aren’t. Each is key to maintaining your health.
There are ways to eat well and exercise on the go. Home-delivered meal services, such as Purple Carrot and Freshly are budget-friendly and healthy. Another tip is to break exercise up into several 15-minute increments that are easier to work into a busy caregiver’s day. You’ll reap the same rewards as 30 dedicated minutes of exercise.
3. Find support
Caregivers face unique challenges each day, especially if a senior has dementia. Unless a friend or family member has had similar experiences, it’s easy to feel as if no one can relate to your struggles. By connecting with a peer group of caregivers—either online or in-person—you can find the emotional and physical support you need.
The Family Caregiver Alliance and ALZConnected are two places to connect with fellow caregivers in an online forum. If you prefer an in-person meeting, check with your church or local agency on aging to see what is available in your area.
4. See the doctor
When days are busy, it’s easy to let things slide, especially when they don’t seem really necessary. For some caregivers, that can include routine health screenings and an annual physical exam. The COVID-19 pandemic also contributed to people getting off track with these types of medical appointments.
If you’ve neglected to see your doctor in the last year or so, make it a priority to schedule an appointment early in the new year. Taking a proactive approach to your health allows your primary care physician to identify and treat small issues before they become big ones.
5. Explore respite
Another suggestion to help caregivers take a break is to learn about and utilize local respite care. This might involve a senior spending a few days a month at an assisted living community. Alternatively, a few hours a week of support from a home care agency can make a difference. Having time to rest and recharge helps reduce caregiver stress while giving you time to care for your own well-being.
Explore Senior Care Solutions Before a Crisis Occurs
When you are responsible for the care of another person, preparing for the unexpected is vital. That includes creating a backup plan in the event of an emergency that leaves you unable to care for your loved one on a short-term or permanent basis. One way to do that is to get to know your local senior care resources.
We invite you to use our community list to identify the PSL communities near you and schedule a visit soon. One of our team members will be happy to help you learn more about how different types of senior care can assist you in your role of caregiver.
About Presbyterian Senior Living
Presbyterian Senior Living is a not-for-profit organization, fulfilling its charitable purpose and mission by providing high quality retirement choices, healthcare services and affordable residential living options for people 55 and older for more than 85 years. Headquartered in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, Presbyterian Senior Living provides services to approximately 6,000 seniors in 30 locations in the mid-Atlantic region of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and Delaware.
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