Being a caregiver often means that you’re focused on what your elderly family member needs in order to be happy and healthy. But it’s equally important for you to be happy and healthy. When you aren’t, everything becomes more difficult, including caregiving itself. You never want to put yourself in a position where you’re forced to stop caring for your senior because of your own failing health if it’s at all possible to avoid.
Meet Your Social Needs
It’s very common for caregivers to find themselves feeling isolated and lonely. You may be spending a lot of time with your senior family member, but that’s different than what you might be used to in terms of social engagement. It’s important that you notice what you need in terms of social engagement and then do what you can to maintain your friendships and other important relationships.
Check Your Diet
Dietary choices matter for everyone from your senior to you as her caregiver. The foods that you eat give you energy, help you to keep yourself strong, and help your immune system to keep you healthy. That’s why it’s important that you eat foods that have lots of nutritional benefits instead of relying on fast foods or other processed options.
Moving and exercising might seem like activities you don’t really want to do, but they can be incredibly helpful for caregivers. For starters, when you keep moving you are able to stay strong and keep yourself healthier. That’s important because someone else is relying on you to be there for them. But you’re also able to manage your stress much more easily through exercise. Find something that’s easy and that you enjoy so that you can be consistent.
Consider a Support Group
Caregiver support groups can be an important addition to your self-care plan. These groups are typically made up of other caregivers, which can be a group of people you’ve never really been able to spend time with before. Other caregivers know what it’s like to be where you are now and they can help you to find solutions to problems that you might fear can’t be solved.
Keeping yourself healthy as a caregiver ensures that you’re around to be there for your senior when she needs you the most. That means really looking at how you’re taking care of yourself and making changes when that makes sense for you to do.