Healthy Resolutions for Caregivers to Start a Brand New Year
January 8, 2018
Caregivers often put their own needs last. It’s why so many family caregivers experience a health crisis of their own. Use these resolutions to make 2018 healthier.
If you’ve been responsible for the care of a senior loved one, there’s a strong possibility that you’ve put your own health and well-being on the backburner. As the responsibilities of caregiving slowly increase, family members often don’t see the toll this role is taking on their own health.
From weight gain to high blood pressure and depression, caregivers experience health problems of their own at twice the rate of their non-caregiving peers. As a new year begins, we thought we would encourage family caregivers to make 2018 healthier with a few resolutions.
6 Resolutions for Caregivers to Make 2018 Healthier
1. Ask for and accept help: We put this at the top of this list because it is the one thing caregivers can do to immediately improve their well-being. Adult children are often reluctant to ask for and accept help with a parent’s care. But doing it all on your own will eventually take a toll. Resolve to make 2018 the year you give yourself permission to seek help from friends, family, and even professional caregivers.
2. Explore local respite services: One way to care for yourself is by routinely utilizing respite care services. It might be by using home care services a few hours a week, while also taking advantage of short-term stays at an assisted living community every few months. Having “me time” that you can regularly count on will help reduce stress and give you an opportunity to tend to your own health and well-being.
3. See your doctor: Another good new year’s resolution to make is to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician if you haven’t been there in the last year. The doctor can conduct a physical exam and help you schedule any routine health screenings that are due.
4. Connect with a support group: Caregivers face many challenges each day. Caregiving itself is demanding, and even more so when you juggle work and family life. Connecting with a peer group – either online or in person – can help provide you with tips and guidance, as well as emotional support.
5. Eat a healthy diet: Family caregivers often rely on a diet of convenience: frozen foods, fast foods, and takeout. While they can be a quick solution for an overscheduled caregiver, few of these choices are very healthy. Planning and freezing a few weeks’ worth of entrees on a weekend afternoon is one solution. Then you can add a fresh salad or frozen vegetable and have a healthy dinner in a hurry. Another option is to research restaurants that have healthy food choices. Also see if they offer delivery or participate in a delivery service like Uber Eats. One final suggestion is to join a meal delivery program, such as Hello Fresh or Blue Apron.
6. Exercise: It’s easy to let physical fitness activities fall off your “to do” list when you are busy juggling many responsibilities. One solution is to find several forms of exercise that you and your senior loved one can enjoy together and work them in to your weekly schedule. Walking, chair yoga, swimming, and even marching in place are all ideas to consider. The National Institute on Aging also created a workout series for seniors that can be completed in the privacy of your own living room. Go4Life has free guides and tools you can download.
Aging Resources at Legacy Senior Living
At Legacy Senior Living, we know how important it is to connect with the support you need. It’s why we created our Aging Resources page. Here you will find links to organizations ranging from the Administration on Aging to the Alzheimer’s Association. We hope you find it useful!