Friday, March 1, 2013

The Heart of a Caregiver.

The Healthy Living magazine from Sam's Club had an article on 'Heart health and the caregiver'. Caring for anyone, be it a child, spouse, or elderly parents, lets people's heart grow with the time involved, challenges, and responsibility. Not only does their heart grow in love with this caregiving but it also may grow in its experience with emotional and physical stress. So caregivers need to take care of their own hearts.

In this article. according to "The Family Caregivers Alliance", caregivers are more at risk for developing of cardiovascular syndromes such as high blood pressure or heart disease and women who care for spouses are more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes and high levels of cholesterol. I looked around their site to find some of this information, I could not BUT there is a lot of information here - so it probably is there but just takes awhile to see it. What this site does mention is that caregivers tend to have more clinical depression than others. Plus they take more prescription medication, like for anxiety & depression, than their peers.

You, as a caregiver, need to make sure you are in the best physical shape you can be in. I know I felt stress between taking care of Will and wanting to have time with my other guys and making sure mom was OK and had what she needed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has a variety of topics for women to help them stay healthy. The Sam's Club magazine highlights some of their advice for the folks you take care of:

* Be informed -- learn about your family member's condition and needs. Talk to their doctors/healthcare providers. Check your local housing and health services. That way you can make good decisions.
* Get support -- the Red Cross, local hospitals, or non-profits may have support groups or have classes to stay to be informed.
* Be an advocate -- learn your legal rights. Check the Americans with Disabilities Act & the Family Medical Leave Act. Keep a documented history of medical issues so other family members and any other caregivers know your loved one's needs.
* Be empowering -- celebrate your loved one's accomplishments and milestones. Focus on positive things.


* Take care of yourself -- be reasonable with your own expectations. Set time for yourself and take breaks. (picture from Caregiver Alliance)

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4 Signs of Caregiving Stress Overload

ElderCarelink email posts 4 signs that should not be overlooked by you, the caregiver, or a close family member or friend. They report that even though the immediate caregiver may not be helping in direct care, the mind is never far from the needs of the older person, thinking about meals, falling, medications. Take the opinion of a family member or friend if they are telling you that you are stressed. Four signs: you skip your own physicals; you isolate yourself from others; you eat and/or drink too much for good health; you are short tempered with the elder, your spouse or your children. If any or all of these sound familiar, take a break no matter how short in order to recharge. For more information on caregiver stress see ElderCarelink


You can check out my ranting and stream of consciousness writing about looking at adult service providers with Will.

A Caregiver's Poem

I was looking through a 'Caregiver's Blog: Senior Care Support' and came across a poem that was shared by a writer, Dana, from the blog. The poem was written by Becky Netherland and Dana's grandmother shared it with her. I thought it was great and there is not much to say about it - just read!!! Enjoy!!

Grandma’s Pearls of Wisdom:
(picture from Caregivers Blog)

I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom of my life
I’m blessed to share with you
Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad
Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side
Walk softly when you’re angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter’s power is immense!
Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold
Keep hope right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it’s near, you’ll find a way
Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart
The world is far from perfect
There’s conflict and there’s strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life
And so I’m very blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my granddaughter
And I believe in you.

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