Caregivers’ Corner: Take Time to Care for the Caregiver

Joan Jackson
By Joan Jackson June 15, 2015 19:35

women walkingWhen you’re taking care of another person, stress, depression, anger and fatigue can take a hefty toll on your health, well-being and self-worth.

While there is no panacea for what you’re experiencing, finding ways to get even small amounts of much-needed exercise will lift your mood, support your health and help you feel better about yourself.

This may sound impossible, especially if you’re caring for someone 24/7. But there are little ways to get more movement and activity into your life. The consensus among health experts is that “some is better than none.” If you can only get five minutes, grab it.

A slow and easy start will help keep you safe. Making an exercise schedule and making it fun will help keep you going. Write exercise “appointments” on your calendar and treat them with the same respect you treat a medical appointment.

While getting at least 30 minutes of exercise each day is ideal, it can be broken down into 10-minute chunks.

  • Schedule walks or other activities with a friend. If the person you’re caring for is mobile, you may want to walk with him or her. A short, slow walk is better than no walk.
  • Trick yourself into being more physically active. Park on the far side of the grocery store parking lot and walk. If you have stairs in your home, take a couple of extra trips up and down each day. Ask to have the newspaper delivered to the far end of your driveway.
  • Make it fun. Turn your favorite music on and dance around the living room – with or without your loved one. Bicycle around the block twice and breathe deeply. Dig in the garden. Invest in a mini trampoline or pedal exerciser and bounce or pedal during a favorite TV program.
  • Add some oomph to your household chores. Do 10 bicep curls with the soup cans before you put them in the pantry. Tango with the kitchen broom as you sweep. Scrub the tub to a cha-cha. Use your imagination.

If you can safely leave your loved one, consider joining a tai chi or yoga class through Area 12 Agency on Aging (532-6272). Or see what the closest senior center offers.

If you can’t leave home, the National Institute on Aging has a great exercise website called Go4Life (go4life.nia.nih.gov) that offers good information and a free exercise DVD.

If you have any concerns about getting started, check with your doctor. Then, get moving.

Joan Jackson is a partner with Peter Carrillo in Practical Dreamer (588-1835), whose services include free caregiver support groups sponsored by Area 12 Agency on Aging.

Copyright © 2015 Friends and Neighbors Magazine

Joan Jackson
By Joan Jackson June 15, 2015 19:35
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