Are you fit enough (physically) to be your parents caregiver?
A few of the major issues of caregiving I hear about are burnout, anger, frustration, exhaustion, boredom, of course love and loneliness. Many caregivers have aches and pains from the constant on their feet running here and there, lifting, bending, carrying, cleaning and all the other movements associated with the daily grind of assisting an older person. The older and more fragile, the more work involved of course.
My question is, how do you keep yourself in shape for this kind of work. It is physical and much moreso for the older population who are normally the ones doing the caregiving for their loved one.
Do you stretch at night and in the morning to loosen up?
Do you do any form of exercise to burn off the stress that can wreck havoc with your body?
Do you eat right to keep your system functioning properly
Do you remember to drink enough fluids so you don’t dehydrate (or do you run on coffee alone to keep going?)
If you currently are a caregiver I would ask you to step back and assess your approach. Luckily I was able to help with some of the heavy lifting and spot checks and shared cooking duties and house chores at both homes. This gave my wife enough time for her to get in some treadmill work to burn off some stress.
Remember, although you choose to do this, you should not have to take the full brunt. Get get your family to help and allow you some personal time. Any muscle needs recovery from overuse and most of yours both physically and emotionally will be beyond overuse.
If you see this coming in your life, what are you doing to prepare for it? You very well may want to consult your physician and see if you should take on a roll of this magnitude. (remember, it will be way more than you think)
I would recommend some Tai Chi, Qigong or Yoga and an occasional massage to help with your overall well being while undertaking the giving of care.
Who wants to add to this post? I am curious to see what other caregivers have to say on this topic.
About the Author:
Stan founded MaturityMatters.net – a network of whole senior fitness and lifestyle providers, resources and information. Stan is also the creator and teacher of ChniForLiving, amovement, balance, flexibility and range of motion program for Independent and Assisted Living seniors.
Also, check out Stan’s blog at http://maturitymatters.wordpress.com/