Caregiving for the Caregiver
Being a caregiver is a stressful and demanding job. There is usually very little, if any opportunity to prepare for a new caregiving situation. The well-being of the caregiver requires priority consideration. Thought must be given to the fate of the care recipient if the caregiver becomes unable to continue with caregiving responsibilities. Caregivers are susceptible to depression, illness, physical exhaustion and emotional exhaustion. Any of these conditions will easily interfere with a person's ability to be an effective caregiver.
The following are suggestions for maintaining caregiver well-being:
* Become informed about the care recipient's health issues and any expected changes in behavior.
* Accept the facts and deal with your situation the best that you can.
* Seek professional help whenever necessary.
* Share the burden of caring and caregiving with family members and other interested persons.
* Talk about your problems with a trusted person.
* Don't be too shy, proud, or afraid to seek help with caregiving.
* Become aware of the limits of your caregiving abilities.
* Maintain social activities and important relationships.
* Get away from the responsibilities from time to time.
* Pace yourself. You may be responsible for caregiving for many years.
* Work off anger with physical activity.
* Plan ahead to avoid crises where possible.
* Live one day at ta time.
* Recognize the worst-case scenario, but hope for the best.
* Join a family support group.
* Keep your sense of humor.
(Taken from Caregiver Corner)
Weight control tips
Managing Weight Gain:
* Use nutrition labels. Don't guess how many calories you're eating.
* Watch your portions. Value-size servings aren't a bargain if you're eating too much.
* Cut the sugar. Don't let sugary soda or other sweets crowd out healthy foods and drinks
* Don't eat out of habit. Mindless eating can pack on the pounds.
* Think about the whole meal, not just the main course.
* Use smaller dishes and containers. Larger ones encourage you to eat more.
* Keep reminders of how much you're eating.
* Get enough sleep. Less sleep is linked to higher rates of obesity.
* Get active. Look for opportunities to add physical activity in your daily routine.
* Do it together. Family, friends and coworkers can all help each other make healthy changes.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT FALLS
Four things YOU can do to prevent falls:
* Begin a regular exercise program. Exercise is one of the most important ways to lower your chan es of falling. It makes you stronger and helps you feel better. Lack of exercise leads to weakness and increases your chances of falling.
* Have a Health care provider review your medicines. As you get older, the way medicines work in your body can change. Some medicines, or combinations of medicines, can make you sleepy or dizzy and can cause you to fall.
* Have your vision checked. Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. You may be wearing the wrong glasses or have a condition like glaucoma or cataracts that limits your vision. Poor vision can increase your chances of falling.
* Make your home safer. Remove clutter and throw rugs from stairs and places where you walk as they are potential trip hazards.
* Keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool.
* Install grab bars next to your toilet and in the tub or shower.
* Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
* Improve the lighting in your home. Hang light-weight curtains or shades to reduce glare.
* Have handrails and lights put on all staircases
* Wear shoes both inside and outside the house. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.
(Information provided by NYS Dept. of Health Bureau of Injury Prevention)
TEN TIPS FOR CAREGIVERS
* Caregiving is a job and respite is your earned right. Reward yourself with respite breaks often.
* Watch out for signs of depression, and don't delay in getting professional help when you need it.
* When people offer to help, accept the offer and suggest specific things they can do.
* Educate yourself about your loved one's condition and how to communicate effectively with doctors.
* There's a difference between caring and doing. Be open to technologies and ideas that promote your loved one's independence.
* Trust your instincts. Most of the time they'll lead you in the right direction.
* Caregivers often do a lot of lifting, pushing, and pulling. Be good to your back.
* Grieve for your losses. Allow yourself to dream new dreams.
* Seek support from other caregivers. There is a great strength in knowing that you are not alone.
* Stand up for your rights as a caregiver and a citizen.
(Taken from The National Family Caregivers Association)
Much work is being done to try to better quantify the benefits and risks of screening in older women but in the meantime Dr. Raptis recommends that they continue with regular mammography as recommended by their physician.
(Taken from Women's Health Reporter)
If you have a Low Income Subsidy (also known as Extra Help) from Medicare and are having problems getting your medications, you can change your Part D plan at any time. If you have any questions or need assistance switching your Medicare Part D plan, please contact your local Office for the Aging for assistance. To contact the Essex County Office for the Aging, please call 873-3695 or 1-877-464-1637.