Eating healthy. Exercising regularly. Getting enough sleep. Keeping up with our wellness appointments. All of these are important healthy habits that we as family caregivers intend to do.
We know how to provide excellent care for others health but when it comes to our own healthy habits…we may not give ourselves a passing grade. Why? Because staying on top of our own healthy habits feels like a part-time job and adds to the feelings of overwhelm.
Self-care is important so we have the emotional and physical energy to care for others but HOW do we prioritize our health when there are just so many hours in the day?
Adopting or adjusting healthy habits may not be the 100% answer but each small idea will help us make progress and create momentum. Something is better than nothing. Little moves add up.
You get the idea. We are striving for baby steps in the right direction.
Let’s break down some of these small healthy practical ideas into the following areas:
Habits that we can ADD or start doing
Habits to avoid or SUBTRACT
Habits that we can slightly tweak by making some SWAPS
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…)
My family has two lake homes in Hubbard Lake, Michigan. For health reasons, my mom hasn’t been able to visit Michigan in a few years. My siblings and I were determined to get her there this year. We have dangled this trip in front of her as an incentive for her to take better care of her health and we wanted her to be around the extended family as many have not seen her since my dad’s memorial last fall. Thankfully, she was able to go. It took much preparation, and patience but I know in the end we are all glad we went. (more…)
Finding the time to take care of your own health with all the competing priorities of work, children, and an aging parent is near impossible. There is no lost time to be found in a ‘sandwiched’ life. I’ve experienced first-hand what happens to a mother’s life (and father’s too!) when you put yourself last on the priority list. My parent’s believed they gave us everything growing up – all our needs were met and many of our wants. But because they did not prioritize their own health on their daily to-do lists, their health paid the ultimate price. Starting in their 60’s the lack of attention they gave themselves caught up to them in countless hospital visits, numerous prescription drugs, and a compromised lifestyle that caused them to be dependent on others to help care for everyday activities like cooking, showering, and running errands. I believe that my dad would still be with us and he and my mom would be enjoying their golden years and retirement savings by traveling and having the energy to maximize each day. Witnessing these choices, led me to wanting a different lifestyle for myself and others. (more…)
I witnessed a mini miracle this week. It’s been difficult to get mom to all the specialists she needs to see since my dad passed away seven months ago and we moved mom into her assisted living. Hearing aids was next on the list. Part of the reason it’s been a chore to get her to her appointments is that I have a full time job and my appointments and many of my kid’s appointments were set aside so we could help care for mom, dad, and my husband’s mom who passed last December. Appointments got backed up and oh by the way, I missed a ton of work. So we slowly chip away at the list.
Mom’s hearing has been really bad lately. One of my dad’s last requests of her was that she get her hearing aids checked. She’s probably had her existing ones for about 10 years. I know they were the best at the time and they cost a pretty penny. When someone you love can’t hear what you are saying it frustrates everyone. Mom has difficulty talking over the phone, staying awake during movies, engaging in meal conversations, and understanding her caregiver’s instructions. It impacts all relationships because the third or fourth time someone shares something it certainly doesn’t come across like the first time. This is when we get accused of being disrespectful. (more…)
First, let me start by saying that there is no perfect assisted living. Afterall, I don’t know of one person who has chosen to live their twilight years in an assisted living. The phrase assisted living simply means you have lost partial control of your daily activities.
When we started looking for an assisted living last summer, my dad was in the hospital and we were focused on a place for a couple. Frankly, we didn’t know the timing or the details, but we were confident that my dad was no longer going to be able to help care for my mom and my brother and that they needed to be closer to family.
Once my dad had passed, we had to change a focus to just a place for mom. (more…)