I am huge into cooking, and as a caregiver for my mom who has dysphagia (trouble swallowing), cooking and coming up with interesting new meals she can eat and enjoy has become a big part of my caregiving life.
One thing that seems to translate from caregiver to caregiver no matter your situation or caree condition is simply finding enough time to do it all – provide care, work, cook for modified diets, manage a family, etc. When it comes to eating well and taking care of yourself, you simply don’t have an hour to spend whipping up a fancy meal every day, and you certainly don’t have time to succinctly measure out perfect portions and measurements for a long, complicated recipe. (more…)
Being a Caregiver can be one of the most stressful experiences of your life. Most people giving care for loved ones don’t get paid – and many caregivers work full or part-time, or have children or other responsibilities that mean their life gets very, very stressful.
It’s very tough to juggle time for all the responsibilities of your normal life and of your caregiving. And if you’re not careful, this can lead to caregiver burnout – physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that can affect your ability to provide care for others, and cause stress, fatigue, and other deleterious health outcomes.
The way this most often manifests itself is a lack of time – it seems like Caregivers never have time to everything that they need to in a day. We’re here with 5 simple tips to help you save time and minimize stress in your day-to-day life as a Caregiver. (more…)
A guest post written by Erica Hornthal, founder and president of Chicago Dance Therapy. I had the pleasure of meeting Erica at the 2016 National Caregiving Conference and attended her movement breakout session. Her techniques opened my eyes to a fresh new tool for our caregiving toolkit.
As a dance/movement therapist, I have the opportunity to connect with individuals through their bodies, not just through “dance” but through non-verbal expression, communication, and body language. Our bodies have a wonderful way of expressing wants and unmet needs. Martha Graham said, “The body never lies.” This is true as long as we look and listen.
In this post we’ll explore several ways to blend movement with caregiving. (more…)
A guest post written by Family Caregiver Sarah Allen
Staying Connected with Mom
My mother has taken care of me for most of my life. Now she is struggling with the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, and I know it is my time to step up to the plate and return the favor.
Rather than continuously visit nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and try to pay for a home aid ourselves, we moved her in with my family and I take care of her.
My sister Emily lives out of town, but is constantly looking for ways to keep in touch because she can’t see my mom every day. With so many families in our situation, most know it is hard to keep in touch with loved ones we can’t see often. Here are some ways that you can stay close to loved ones.
A guest post written by Lorna Scott, The Caregiver’s Lighthouse
It is a pleasure to be here today and a huge bundle of thanks to Elizabeth for inviting me to share with you some ideas and strategies to help you get through the holiday season without having to dig deep for willpower to say no to every yummy looking holiday treat.
Beware of the Holiday Sugar Monster
I’m not sure how the last two months of the year became most famous for all the sugar filled food that you find on every corner in every store. In Canada, it starts even earlier with Thanksgiving in October. Soon it’s Halloween, American Thanksgiving and before you blink an eye you are rolling into the rush of Christmas. There’s no time to catch your breath in between pumpkin pie, Halloween kisses and candy canes. How can anyone expect to get through the relentless bombardment of “eat this treat and be happy” messages?
This can be especially true for family caregivers. Really, what is easier than grabbing a leftover Halloween goodie or candy cane to give you a boost of energy? Sounds good and you might even feel great for a few minutes. And then the fatigue and fogginess returns quickly, and often is worse than before. So you grab another treat, the same thing happens, and you grab more, and soon, you have been sucked into the grasp of the sugar monster.
I know how easy this is to do because I just lived through it. For some reason I caved into that cycle this week. I have a sweet tooth and while I’ve never sworn off all sweets forever, I am usually very careful about giving in to the sugar cycle. I know it takes me off course in every aspect of my life, hurts my body and adds weight I’ve just worked hard to release. It’s insidious, and I gave in to it.
I’ve been sitting on this advice for a few months and it’s time to release some of it into the universe.
My dad passed away 2 years ago this week. A death anniversary is melancholy yet I have this urge to do something in memory of this special person to continue to honor his life.
A few months ago, my cousin Meghan emailed me the collection of dad’s unpublished chapters intended to go into his next book. It seemed too special a gift to unwrap at the time, like a fine bottle of wine that deserves a special occasion. He had asked Meghan to review it because she has editing experience and he valued her opinion. Meghan was in the process of editing dad’s chapters when he passed away in 2014. (more…)
A guest post written by Beth Phillips, blogger and Happy Healthy Caregiver Community member
As caregivers, we are vulnerable to stress, exhaustion, anxiety and a variety of other factors that can lead to depression and other types of illness. We know that paying attention to our own health and happiness will give us the energy to care for others but it’s hard to find the time or energy when there are so many other things on our plates.
Lucky for us, there’s a lot of new science on happiness and it’s role in success, productivity and high performance. Even better, researchers have identified simple practices to increase happiness. Many of them can be executed in less than three minutes a day and the tangible, physical and emotional benefits can be realized in less than a month, if practiced consistently. (more…)
As parents we are always looking for ways to give our children opportunities. We sign them up for sport, music, scouts, things that enable them to develop their talents and find enjoyment in learning new skills, working as a team and achieving their goals. We realize the importance of this for our children. Why then do we find it so difficult to understand the importance of these things for ourselves? We often believe that we don’t have the time and stop doing those things that are good for our physical and mental health including healthy eating, exercise routines and hobbies.
It doesn’t have to be that way though and with a little bit of planning these important activities can return into our lives. (more…)
There is a truism about me: the only thing I’ve ever been able to quit cold turkey is exercise. Elizabeth of Happy Healthy Caregiver would find that unacceptable and, as much as it pains me to admit it, she’s right.
With a husband, three children and a mother that depends on me, by not taking proper care of myself, I’m making things more difficult. When I’m not taking care of myself, I’m weighed down with guilt and embarrassment. I’m also frequently in a less-than-fabulous mood, which means I’m bringing down everyone around me. That’s why I cooked up the following experiment: exercise at least 30 minutes a day for 30 consecutive days in an effort to make exercise a habit. (more…)