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10 Stress Relieving Tips for Caregivers

Tips for CaregiversSUPPORT FOR CAREGIVERS FROM CARING HOME CARE

If you or someone you know is acting as a caregiver to a family member, friend, or client then you are surely aware of the incredible dedication required to provide such services. While caregiving in itself is a rewarding experience, the physical and emotional demand on a single person can quickly become overwhelming. That is why it is so important for caregivers to find time in their busy schedules to relax and unwind,not only for their own good, but also for the good of the ones they are caring for.

Below are 10 helpful suggestions from Caring Home Care for ways you or someone you know can help relieve the stresses of caregiving.

 1. Recognize the symptoms of stress.

Recognizing the signs of stress is the first step in taking action to relieve it. Symptoms of stress include headaches, insomnia, depression, eating problems, and much more. Dealing with these symptoms can make it difficult for caregivers to provide the level of service required of them. The first step to taking care of others is to take care of yourself.

 2. Accept help from others.

It may often seem like the responsibility of caregiving is a one-person show, and in many respects, it is. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for help. Allowing friends or family to assist with tasks here and there can take a tremendous weight off your shoulders. Often caregivers avoid asking for help, because they’re afraid to leave their loved one in someone else’s hands. Caring Home Care specializes in providing experienced, qualified care that you can count on – whether you need temporary respite or a longer-term caregiving commitment.

 3. Maintain a healthy diet.

The food we put into our bodies can have a greater effect on stress than we may think. It is important that the foods we choose to eat are ones which will promote a healthy lifestyle while still providing the fuel it takes to tackle the 24/7 tasks of caregiving. Leafy greens, nuts, whole grains, and lean meats all provide healthy boosts of energy. Avoid excess caffeine, sugar, and alcohol.

 4. Exercise and stay in shape.

Exercising can be beneficial for so many reasons including improving overall health and, of course, relieving stress. By exercising, your body is releasing endorphins into your system that support positive moods and emotion.  As well as keeping your body healthy, regular exercise also keeps your brain sharp, according to numerous studies.

5. Break monotonous routines.

Caregiving isn’t your average 9-5 workday. It’s a 7-day a week 24 hours a day dedication. With a workday like this, it’s easy for days to blur together in what can become a repetitive routine. One way to help relieve stress is to shake up your schedule a little. While routine IS important to maintain for continuity, for some people with memory disorders, small changes can be nice way to spice up the week. Try ordering take-out one night instead of cooking or perhaps play a game outdoors if the weather is nice.

 6. Take up a hobby.

Exploring a hobby is a beneficial way to help combat the stresses of caregiving. Hobbies like gardening, crafts, and learning to play an instrument can give you valuable personal time to yourself. Letting your loved one get involved could also be a fun activity for them as well. Scrapbooking, for instance, is a wonderful way to preserve and discuss memories together, as well as promote some motor skills.

7. Confide in friends or family.

Often, caregiving is an isolating responsibility. Letting off some steam can be as easy as talking it out.  Letting repressed thoughts and feelings pile up can cause anxiety and make you feel overburdened. Having someone simply there to listen to you can provide a great deal of comfort. Invite a friend over for a quick chat or give them a call after a busy day. There’s something to be said for laughter being the “best medicine” so seek out those friends with whom you can laugh.

8. Use online resources to stay informed and communicate with other caregivers.

There are many resources available today that are designed specifically to assist caregivers. You can use a forum to talk to other caregivers and discuss specific problems or concerns. If you are feeling stressed or dealing with an issue, odds are no one will understand better than other caregivers.

 9. Acknowledge your own self-worth.

Whenever the day just seems too long and you feel like you can’t go on, take a minute to remember all the good you’ve done and how important your role as a caregiver is. By focusing on what you’ve accomplished instead of what you still need to do, you can raise your self-esteem and lessen worry about whatever needs to be done down the road. Journaling can be a great way to do this – if you aren’t a writer, just start with all that you’ve accomplished in the past month, week, or even day. If someone else showed you that list, wouldn’t you give them a pat on the back?

10. Visit www.caringhomecare.com

Caring Home Care has spent over eighteen years building a reputation based on the consistent delivery of superior home health care services. Visit their web site for more information on personal care assistance, respite care, and more.  You can also follow Caring Home Care on Twitter @Caring_HomeCare and join our community on Facebook (link: https://www.facebook.com/CaringHomeCareInc).

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Caregiving With Children: A Balancing Act

As a caregiver, looking after a loved one with dementia can be difficult and stressful. Add a caregiver’s own children to the mix, and it can be even more overwhelming. Dementia-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease can be difficult for anyone to understand, especially a young child. It is important to speak to your child about the situation, even before they ask. Doing so can be the key to a happier home life.

Children are incredibly perceptive. While it’s difficult for them to process the reasons surrounding the change in their environment, they can easily sense it. They can notice a loved one behaving or treating them differently. Children may be too embarrassed or confused to address the issue, or unsure of how to bring it up. In the early stages of the dementia, you should set aside plenty of time to speak to your child about the changes occurring. This can be a sensitive and difficult topic, and you don’t want yourself or your child to feel rushed or pressured. Before this conversation, prepare what you are going to say. This can prevent emotional outbursts or a loss for words. You should also be ready to repeat and re-explain yourself. Depending on the age of the child, it could take multiple explanations for them to understand a concept such as dementia.

Once you’ve mentally prepared and set aside time for a talk with your child, there are certain subjects you want to address. For a child, being around someone who has a dementia-related disorder can be difficult since the child will be facing role-reversal. This individual, perhaps a grandparent, used to be the one who looked after them. Now the child is expected to be a member of the responsible party – a disconcerting situation for any youngster. Even if the child has already noticed a change in behavior, they should be aware that there are more drastic changes to come. They should also be aware that there is going to be a change in schedule, and that much of your time will be taken up in the care of your elderly loved one. One of the most important topics you need to address and emphasize is that you still love and care about them just as much as you always have. Attention, to children, is a primary way of showing love. With your busy schedule, you will probably have less attention to give. It is imperative that they realize you do not love them any less because you have less time to give.

Be sure to emphasize that the dementia is not the fault of the child, or the result of anything they may have done. Children have a tendency to take blame for stressful situations in the family, drawing on memories of being rebuked or disciplined for misbehaving. Assure the child that they cannot “catch” the disease and shouldn’t be fretful about being around their elderly loved one. Use simple phrases and terms to explain how the individual became ill, such as, “their thinking has slowed down,” and, “it is difficult for them to remember names and places.” Offer plenty of practical examples, such as explaining to the child that the individual may even forget their name, or who they are. Lastly, give the child an opportunity to react to the information you’ve just given them. Ask them how they are feeling. This way, you can see if your child has understood what you’ve explained.

At the end of your talk, ask the child if they would be willing to help with any caregiving duties. Let them you would love for them to learn how to care for their loved one. Giving a child this sort of responsibility can give them a sense of pride along with a closer bond to you and the person they are caring for. Let the child assist in situations that are more relaxed so they do not associate caring for their loved one with stress and strife. Most importantly, recognize and appreciate the child constantly for their efforts and understanding.

Caring for a loved one with dementia in addition to young children can be overwhelming for anyone. Keep the lines of communication open, and try to set aside special times to spend with just you and your child. Now, take a deep breath, smile, and remind yourself: you can do this!

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5 Tips to Stay Healthy at Any Age

Caregiving can be as stressful as it is rewarding, but taking care of yourself is just as important! While Caring Home Care offers round-the-clock respite care as well as personal homemaker and live-in aide assistance, here are a few tips you could do to become a healthier you; and, to promote the health and happiness of your loved ones and those you care for:

Eat Smart for a Healthier You

Benefits of eating healthy for older adults include resistance to illness and disease, faster recuperation times and many others. Make sure you’re providing healthy meals for both you and your loved one, and you’ll both feel healthier and more active! Be sure to include foods high in antioxidants because they protect all of your cells, including brain cells. Foods highest in antioxidant content include the following:

  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Spinach

Just as the right diet can help prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, or cancer, health experts are finding that certain foods may help keep your mind sharp as well. Top mind-boosting foods include salmon, spinach and extra virgin olive oil. These foods play a positive role in overall mental health, so be sure to make them a part of both of your daily regimes.

Figuring out meals involving all these healthy foods doesn’t have to be a hassle. Check out our Pinterest Care-ful Cooking board for simple recipes you can make every night. We are constantly updating our boards! Or, if you need help with menu planning a few nights a week, let Caring Home Care help!

Exercise Regularly

Eating healthy is not the only way you can care for yourself and your loved ones. Regular exercise keeps the mind active while increasing blood flow to the brain, which also protects against dementia related diseases. Exercising regularly may not be as easy as it sounds, but even deciding to skip the elevator for the stairs on a daily basis will help.

Another great way to motivate yourself to exercise regularly is to do it with a partner – your loved one, your best friend, or your significant other. Whether it be an exciting Zumba or a relaxing yoga class, find an exercise routine you can do together!

Play Games

…brain games, that is. Caregiving can be very stressful at times and take a large, mental toll on you and your loved ones. Partake in fun, daily brain exercises to keep your minds active and alert. Regular use of the brain has been shown to generate new growth, and even halt the decline of mental function that often comes with age. Numerous websites offer fast, fun brain games that will train your brain and boost its’ daily activity. Check out these websites for some effective, enjoyable games to feed your brain and enhance creativity:

REAL SIMPLE BRAIN GAMES
http://goo.gl/KilFd

FREE BRAIN GAMES TRAINING
http://goo.gl/5foQl

Change Your Environment

Although it is important to provide stability and consistency for your loved ones, it is just as important to change their environment, as well. Walk more places together instead of driving and use a different route. Exploring your community is another great way to change environments: eat at restaurants you always passed by but never decided to go. Changing the environment helps you explore new things together and create lasting memories.

Creating new habits helps you get out of feeling like you are stuck in the same routine. By exercising regularly or changing your eating habits, your brain is forced to stay active and is constantly energized with new information, making you better fit to care for your loved ones. Try to learn new things together. It introduces your minds to new concepts and new ways of looking at things. It can also be done with little time investment such as listening to a book-on-tape while driving. Learning is yet another way to exercise your brain and is great to do with the ones you cherish most.

Breathe

Make sure to always stop and take a breath. Caregiving, although a joy, can be stressful; especially if it’s just one of the many things you do every day. Several deep breaths can help with relaxation, which helps you think clearly. Do not let stress pile up and get in your way of enjoying those deep breaths. Take two minutes out of your busy day to close your eyes, pay attention to only your breath and say “omm.” Meditation, even if for only a minute, helps fight against cortisol, which is the chronic stress that floods your brain.

Most importantly: do something you enjoy. This is a way to both lower stress and allow you to do something together. Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day. Be sure to take the time to enjoy the life you have now and the time spent with the ones you cherish most. Prevent every day stresses by staying active, eating healthy and simply breathing with easy, attainable and fun at home goals and habits. Feed everyone in your family a healthy, active diet.

Caring Home Care knows that caring for your loved ones is a full-time, round-the-clock job, so be sure to keep a positive attitude and healthy lifestyle! If, however, you are in need of some assistance, we offer plenty of services to make caring for your loved ones even easier and help you focus on the quality of life!

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