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About a year ago I wrote a guest post on this topic that you can find here. It is on Mandy Farmer’s blog, so I can’t put it up here. That post is written in more detail. Here, I’m touching on some high spots.
Obviously, if you have chronic health problems, you need to consider if you need to be closer to family support. It may sound like a drastic move, but staying far from family support (if that is where you are) is not wise when you are the primary caregiver. I realize I am assuming your family is your primary support system…and that may not be the case.
You are wise to consider many options including moving when you realize you are dealing with a caregiving situation that may last a long period of time, particularly if you also have health issues yourself. It’s a decision you need to make in consultation with your family. Don’t make it in isolation because you don’t know what the plans of other family members are. I do know that assuming how other family members feel about the situation, assuming what their plans are for the next five years, assuming much of anything that is going on in their minds is rarely figured out by texting or even talking on the phone.Don't ignore your own mental and physical health while you care for your loved one. Click To Tweet
Talking face to face with the group is much more beneficial. you pick up a lot of cues from body language that you can ask about. Hesitations also give clues to pursue. There is a saying about assuming that generally proves true. Don’t do it. Ask questions that come to mind no matter how trivial they seem to be. The answers will often give you insight into the whole situation and how best to serve your loved one in the context of her family.
Don’t ignore your own health while you care for your loved one. This includes mental as well as physical health. It will cost you dearly if you don’t care for yourself.
The other thing you need to do is put your own health as a high priority. Make sure you are having your blood pressure treated and under control. You may need to purchase a blood pressure cuff to monitor your own blood pressure. The complication of poorly controlled blood pressure can be heart attacks, strokes or kidney disease. By keeping your blood pressure in the range your doctor recommends, you will be caring for your health. This may also include maintaining a proper diet/weight as well.
The same goes for diabetics. Keeping your blood sugar under control means eating the proper diet and maintaining your weight at proper levels. If you do this, you can minimize your complications considerably. There are more and more discoveries being made re diet now, so if the diet you have been following isn’t working, check out what seems to be working these days. Keeping carbs low is a must. The more carbs you eat, the hungrier you will feel. It’s protein and fat that keep down your hunger and cut down on insulin spurts. I’m being simplistic of course, but a good dietician can be very helpful to you in understanding your diet and getting it stable.
Keeping your weight under control by diet and exercise is a must for basic good health and feelings of well being. They are essential for the lessening of depression and anxiety as well. I’m not telling you this to give you an overwhelming list of more things to do but letting you know some things that are essential to working into your schedule.
I have discovered that when I have less sugar and carbs in my diet, I am less sore and achy. It really surprised me to discover this. Lately, I have cheated more on my diet with Halloween candy and the aching started up again! So not wise!
If you are on medication, be sure you are actually taking your medication as it is ordered.
Needless to say, finding ways to take your medication is absolutely important. You can have medication ordered, but if you don’t take it, it won’t do you any good! Use containers that you load up a week at a time. Each day you can see if you have taken the medication for that day.
The airplane warning that we need to take oxygen for ourselves first, then help children after, is applicable to our caretaking lives.
I still remember the warning they have on airplanes when it comes to the oxygen. Take the oxygen for yourself first, then help your children or those who need to help near you after. It is such a valuable warning. It holds true when we are caretakers too! We can’t help them if we are sick or not up to par.
So for those of us with health conditions, we need to take care of ourselves as a high priority so that we can give the good care we need to, to our loved one.
Don’t be overwhelmed with the changes you need to make. Start changing in the 3 basic areas first and increase the changes as the habits become ingrained
Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed. Just start moving in a healthier direction than you are now. Start exercising more than you are. Start eating healthier food than you are now. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Those 3 categories are basic to everything else.Start exercising, eating healthier food than you are now, and make sure you are getting enough sleep. Click To Tweet
From there, you need to make extra considerations based on your specific health issues so you can stay as healthy as possible so you can care for your loved one.
So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.
But I discipline my body and keep it under control,
lest after preaching to others
I myself should be disqualified.
I Corinthians 9:26-27