Did you know that being a caregiver puts you at higher risk for developing health problems? It’s true.
Caregivers are more likely to have chronic health problems because they don’t take the time to look after their own health. They are often so absorbed in the health of their aging relative that they fail to eat a healthy diet, exercise, manage stress, or go to regular medical appointments. If those things sound familiar to you, it’s time for you to start taking care of yourself.
Below are 4 ways that caregivers can improve their health.
#1: Identify What’s Keeping You from Caring for Yourself
Many caregivers stand in their own way of managing their health. They may have attitudes or beliefs that keep them from doing the things they need to do to stay healthy. For example, when you take time away from your aging relative to exercise or relax, you may feel guilty. Look at what is keeping you from caring for yourself and find ways to change. You might start by exercising for 15 minutes a day if you think taking an hour away is too long.
#2: Eat a Balanced Diet
What caregivers eat can have a huge impact on their health. If you’re grabbing fast food because you don’t have time to cook, you’re consuming a lot of excess salt, fat, and calories, which could cause you to gain weight. Take the time to prepare healthy meals for yourself. It can be helpful to take a day to cook several meals that you can put in the freezer and pull out when you need them. You might also consider cooking for your aging relative and yourself at the same time, which can be a real time saver.
#3: Stay Connected
Although it can be difficult for caregivers to find the time to go out with friends or spend time with family, those connections are extremely important. Spending time with people who make you happy is a great way to boost your mood and reduce stress.
#4: Join a Caregiver Support Group
Stress may be one of the most dangerous aspects of being a caregiver since it has a negative impact on both your physical and mental health. Joining a caregiver support group gives you a place to vent your feelings and see that you’re not alone in how you feel. Knowing that what you are going through is normal can relieve some of the stress of the guilt and sadness you may sometimes feel.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring a professional Elder Care in Pelham, AL, call and talk to the staff at Lipford Home Care (205) 623-5700.