Be A Healthy Caregiver


      by Lisa Meinecke, Resident Services Director As a caregiver, you may find yourself with so many responsibilities that you neglect taking good care of yourself. But the best thing you can do for the person you are caring for is stay physically and emotionally strong. Here's how:  Visit your physician regularly (at least annually): Any exhaustion, stress, sleeplessness, or changes in appetite or behavior should be taken seriously. Ignoring these symptoms can cause your physical and mental health to decline. Get moving: No doubt you know that exercise is an important part of staying healthy — it can help relieve stress, prevent disease and make you feel good. But finding the time to exercise is another story. Start small. While it is recommended that you get 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week, even 10 minutes a day can help. Fit in what you can, and work toward a goal. Eat well: Heart-healthy eating patterns, such as the Mediterranean diet, are good for overall health and may help protect the brain. A Mediterranean diet includes relatively little red meat and emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, olive oil and other healthy fats. Try new recipes and involve the person with dementia. Manage your level of stress: Consider how stress affects your body (stomach aches, high blood pressure) — and your emotions (overeating, irritability). Find ways to relax. It's normal to lose patience or feel like your care may fall short sometimes. You're doing the best you can. For support and encouragement, join ALZConnected, the Alzheimer’s Association’s online caregiver community. Take a break: It's normal to need a break from caregiving duties. No one can do it all by themselves. Look into respite care to allow time to take care of yourself. Here are 50 ways to take a break!                   For more information on caregiver tips and resources visit : http://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-healthy-caregiver.asp#ixzz2Q4QMtvd3