Women's Health Week: Caring for the Caregiver

 

Women's Health Week :: May 12-May 18

As more and more women find themselves in the sandwich generation, caring for both children and aging parents, it has never been more important for women to take care of themselves. Our own longevity depends on healthy and consistent habits and good self care habits. During Women's Health Week, we take time to remind ourselves of the simple steps we can take everyday. We must take good care of ourselves if we are to take good care of others.

Michelle Obama Inspires Women to Take Good Care of Themselves  

 

from Michelle Obama for Women's Health Magazine 

"National Women’s Health Week is a great time to think about our health, the health of our families, and the changes we’d like to make to our fitness routines and our meal choices. The truth is, as women, all of us are busy juggling jobs and family responsibilities and everything else, and it’s easy for things like healthy eating and exercise to fall to the bottom of the list.  However, we all know it’s just as important to focus on our own health as it is to focus on the well-being of our spouses and, if we’re parents, our kids. After all, we are our kids’ first and best role models, and by setting a good example, we can help them lead healthier lives as well. There’s no better day than today to start making those healthy changes. You can start small.  Maybe just take a walk with a friend or your family after dinner or try a new class at the gym.  Spend a few extra minutes planning healthy meals. Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work. It’s time for all of us to take that extra step, run that extra mile, and reach out and get our kids and our communities back on track toward healthier, happier living." 

Care for the Caregiver

by the Mayo Clinic 

 

Strategies for dealing with caregiver stress

The emotional and physical demands involved with caregiving can strain even the most resilient person. That's why it's so important to take advantage of available help and support. These strategies have helped others manage their caregiver stress:

  • Accept help. Be prepared with a list of ways that others can help you, and let the helper choose what he or she would like to do. For instance, one person might be willing to take the person you care for on a walk a couple of times a week. Someone else might offer to pick up groceries or even to cook for you.
  • Focus on what you are able to provide. Don't give in to guilt. Feeling guilty is normal, but understand that no one is a "perfect" caregiver. You're doing the best you can at any given time. Your house does not have to be perfect, and no one will care if you eat leftovers three days in a row. And you don't have to feel guilty about asking for help.
  • Get connected. Organizations such as the Red Cross and the Alzheimer's Association offer classes on caregiving, and local hospitals may have classes specifically about the disease your loved one is facing.
  • Join a support group. A support group can be a great source for encouragement and advice from others in similar situations. It can also be a good place to make new friends.
  • Seek social support. Make an effort to stay emotionally connected with family and friends. Set aside time each week for socializing, even if it's just a walk with a friend. Whenever possible, make plans that get you out of the house. Many have identified that maintaining a strong support system is the key to managing the stress associated with caregiving.
  • Set personal health goals. For example, set a goal to find time to be physically active on most days of the week, or set a goal for getting a good night's sleep. It's also crucial to eat a healthy diet.
  • See your doctor. Get recommended immunizations and screenings. Make sure to tell your doctor that you're a caregiver. Don't hesitate to mention any concerns or symptoms you have.

 

Further Resources for Women's Health Visit: 

 

http://www.cdc.gov/family/tips/index.htm

http://womenshealth.gov/

http://womenshealth.gov/nwhw/

 

 

 

Published on May 15, 2013.