Family Caregivers Need to Take Care Of Themselves
March 24, 2022
According to the CDC, more than 22% of the population is a family caregiver. A third of those family caregivers provide a minimum of 20 hours of care each week. More than half have been the family caregiver for at least two years.
When you're a family caregiver, it's easy to lose sight of your own care needs. It's just as important that you put self-care first. You must take care of yourself if you're going to provide the care your parents need. Here are a few of the areas that family caregivers overlook.
Mental distress was reported as a problem with 14.5% of family caregivers. Those caregivers felt mentally unhealthy for at least two weeks in one month. One of the causes of mental distress is a lack of sleep.
If you're not sleeping through the night, you're going to burn out. Your mom has Alzheimer's and only sleeps a few hours a night. Because you worry about her wandering, you get up. You're four or five hours short of the recommended seven or eight hours. It affects your mental health over time.
Being overtired does more than affect mental health. It can impact your reaction times and caregiving skills. You forget all about your mom's blood pressure medications. Her blood pressure increases, and she has to go to the ER. You blame yourself, but it's an accident. Avoid these situations by ensuring you get enough sleep.
You always feel rushed to get home and help your children with homework and get laundry started. So, you stop and get fast food every night. It's not a healthy diet. The added fat, sugar, sodium, and carbs drag you down.
You have to eat the right foods. Vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins are essential. They provide the nutrients you need and lower the risk of health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure.
A walk outside does a lot for your health. Is there time to get out for sun and fresh air if you're busy helping your parents with personal care, housekeeping, meals, transportation, and laundry? Make sure you do, even if it means going outside with your parents.
Walks in nature are proven to help reduce stress. When you're calm and energized, you're a better caregiver. You'll be ready to provide the care your parents need.
How do you take care of yourself when your mom and dad need you? Elder care services are the solution to your problem. Caregivers take over for a few hours or days while you have a break.
Elder care services like respite care allow you to recuperate from an illness, go on vacation, or have a few hours to yourself. Call an agency to make the arrangements.
If you or your loved one is looking for Elder Care in Palo Alto, CA, please call Familiar Surroundings Home Care.
Santa Clara County: (408) 979-9990
San Mateo County: (650) 353-9777
Santa Cruz County: (831) 480-3990