One of if not the most common side effect of being a family caregiver is not properly caring for them self. This happens because the caregiver is so focused on the health of their loved one, that they forget to care for themselves and their health needs. It is important for every caregiver to understand that the better they care for themselves the better they can care for their loved one.
Because February is American Heart Health month, we will discuss some ways the caregiver can care for their heart. Heart health is not just a condition that seniors need to worry about, it effects people of all ages but does become more of a challenge as we age.
Below are some of the best ways adults with elderly parents can improve cardiovascular function during American Heart Health month and in the future.
Eating a Better Diet – Eating a better diet is easier said than done, especially if you’re are a family caregiver. Between a full-time job and looking after their loved one, there might not be much time for a nutritious meal on a daily basis. However, with a little bit of education and extra planning, a nutritious diet can be obtained.
Lowering Stress – Being a family caregiver can be one of the most stressful task a person faces in their life. The daily challenges, constant concerns about health, and the ongoing balancing act of a normal life get lead to high stress levels. Though it's a challenge, family caregivers should make a point to lower their stress whenever they can because it can have a serious impact on their heart health. This can be done by doing at least one thing each day that appeals to them, whether that is reading a favorite book, starting a project or listening to music. That short burst of relaxation can help relieve stress and in turn improve their heart health.
Don’t Skip the Gym – Along with eating well and reducing stress levels, exercise is a priority for all family caregivers. Exercising does not have to be anything too strenuous, but it does need to be something that raises one’s heart rate. Activities like swimming, jogging, walking, biking, Pilates, yoga and weight lifting are all great ways to get the heart pumping. Just a couple minutes everyday can have a lasting impression on your heart, lower stress levels, and make you crave a healthier diet.
Maintaining a healthy heart is important for family caregivers because it ensures they can continue to look out for their loved ones. When it comes to heart health for family caregivers, there is no one secret solution. As is the case with most health concerns, a well-rounded approach that includes eating right, keeping stress levels low and exercising is the best bet.