Being a family caregiver for your elderly loved one can be an exceptional benefit to your life. This is a great way for you to spend extra quality time with your elderly loved one, make memories that you can treasure well into the future, and feel as though you are giving back to them by giving them the care, love, and support that they deserve. While you are caring for your elderly parent, however, it is extremely important that you do not overlook your own health and well-being. Taking care of yourself is a vital part of not only ensuring that you remain at your best, but making sure that you are the best quality caregiver possible for your senior.
Protecting your health is also critical to ensuring that your loved one remains healthy. When you are caring for your parent, if you are ill or have an infection, you can spread this to your parent. Because elderly adults tend to have immune systems that are lower than younger people, they have a more difficult time resisting illness and infection, and have a harder time fighting it off if they do develop one. Struggling with poor health as a caregiver can also mean that you are not able to fulfill your care tasks as effectively or safely, meaning that properly caring for your health is critical to making the most out of this chapter in your life.
Use these tips to help you protect your health in your journey as a caregiver:
• Get enough sleep. While it might seem like your schedule is too busy to take the time to sleep, it is critical that you get the sleep that you need. Sleep is when your body heals, rebuilds, and handles vital tasks. Without enough sleep you can suffer exhaustion, cognitive functioning decline, increased susceptibility to illness and infection, and other complications.
• Eat a balanced diet. Avoid the urge to rely on convenience foods and fast food to save you some time in your schedule. Eating a balanced diet is critical to giving your body what it needs to function properly and thrive. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein to make sure that your body can handle its tasks, fight infection, and have enough energy.
• Avoid contact with ill people. Avoid interacting with people who are sick, have been sick recently, or are caring for sick people. Remember that many illnesses are contagious before symptoms ever appear so you could contract an illness and pass it to your parent without realizing it.
• Practice aggressive germ control. Fighting the germs that you encounter on a daily basis is essential for preventing illness and infection and keeping yourself and your parent safe. This includes washing your hands regularly, using hand sanitizer to kill germs when you are not able to wash your hands, using germ killing wipes on hard surfaces throughout the day, and keeping the home environment clean.
• Consider home care. Rely on a home care provider to take on some of the care tasks that your aging parent needs. This relieves your stress and allows you more time to take care of yourself and your own needs, get more sleep, care for yourself if you become ill. This ensures that you can give your parent the care that they need while also protecting your own health and well-being.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering caregivers in Haddonfield, NJ, please contact the caring staff at TLC Home Care Services today. Call (856) 234-8700 for more information.
Kelly C. McCabe is a founding partner and co-owner of TLC HomeCare Services.She and her business partner,Patti Maltese founded TLC HomeCare Services in March of 2009.In addition to management, marketing and sales, staffing and recruiting, Kelly holds her New Jersey producer’s license in Health and Life insurance and is also a New Jersey Certified Home Health Aide.Kelly is the proud mother of two daughters and is a resident of Moorestown, NJ.