November is National Caregiver Month. You work hard and make many sacrifices to care for your aging loved one and this month is set aside to take some of the attention and place it back onto you. It can seem difficult to shift your attention away from your elderly loved one (especially if they have health issues) and focus on yourself, but keeping yourself in good health is an important part of being a good caregiver to another person.
Providing care for an elderly loved one while still trying to manage a career, younger or young adult children, a marriage, and your health can be overwhelming. That is why caregivers often find themselves struggling with certain health issues that not only put themselves in harm’s way but can affect the care that they need to give to those around them. Here are three health areas you should strive to monitor and maintain to protect your own health.
Caregivers are susceptible to increased risk of heart health problems such as heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. As a caregiver, regular checkups and lab work should be done to make sure that you are staying healthy and not putting undue stress on your heart. While many factors can contribute to these health issues, caregivers are often so focused on caring for their loved ones that they neglect eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep, all of which can have physical manifestations in the body.
Caring for a loved one can take all of your mental energy. There is so much to remember and so many things that need to be taken care of that many caregivers find themselves eventually full of anxiety, stress, and sometimes depression. Caregivers will often put the added burden on themselves by thinking they don’t have the right to feel overwhelmed or frustrated during the caregiving experience which then only compounds the mental health issues that they may be developing or exasperating. Mental health issues are often put on the back burner as other urgent issues are dealt with, causing them to create mental health issues and physical issues.
Caring for a loved one can be exhausting. It can make the thought of going to the gym or getting up early for a morning walk seem like it’s too much to add to a plate that’s already overflowing. Having a good routine of daily physical activity is an important part of maintaining your overall health and giving you the energy you need to care for your loved one.
One thing that a caregiver can do to get your health back into control is to hire a home care provider to come to the home to help with tasks so that you can take care of yourself. A home care provider can manage morning chores so you can do your morning walk or you can ask your home care provider to help with transportation to and from appointments.
As you take your health under control, look for who can help. A home care provider may be the perfect resource.
If you or someone you know needs help with home care in Cascade, MI, contact Gauthier Family Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services in our community. Call us at (616) 258-2300 for more information.
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