Every year, we celebrate the life of our caregivers, and we take this chance to show gratitude to millions of them. We honor them since they support the health and well-being of elderly folks, people with disabilities, and other loved ones. This year, the workload was heavy and difficult for family caregivers. Whether their loved ones are living with them or alone in their own house or senior assisted living facility or under a home care service, family caregivers have been shuffling to keep these seniors connected and safe. Many older parents or seniors have had less assistance this year and have been practically alone as other families get quarantined and could not visit them. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, family caregivers often overlooked their healthy lifestyle and medical care recommendations- and this year has been more difficult.
One thing that can drop to the bottom of a to-do list of a family caregiver is exercise. Many research shows that the workload and stress of family caregiving increase the chance of having heart disease, depression, diabetes, dementia, and even early death. Exercising can lower the risk. And yet, the busy day of a caregiver can go so fast that there is not enough time for the workout.
The following are the seven tips that can help a caregiver:
1 Make workout vital.
Schedule your workout routine. Create a motivational reminder and post somewhere visible, like the refrigerator door or bathroom wall. Customize it based on your preferences. It might appear like this:
I must exercise today:
- For my overall well-being and health.
- For my emotional stability and balance.
- To help control my disease such as diabetes.
- To keep a healthy and reasonable weight.
- To protect and boost my brain.
- To bring back the joy in caregiving.
2 Have a home exercise area.
If it is difficult for you to leave the house or your loved one alone, exercise while watching a workout video. You can also ask your doctor for home exercises perfect for you. If feasible, install a modest home gym with proper equipment and weights. According to the research study of Cynthia M. Castro, Ph.D., exercising at home can provide effectiveness for caregivers. It is a type of approach that gives many things to offer. It is convenient. It allows them to work out in their schedule.
3 Make time for “exercise snacks.”
We get advised to get at least 150 minutes of low-moderate intensity workout every week- but, say, professionals, we can use time out even if we need to. For instance, make a point to walk down and up the stairs in your house many times every day. Do quick sets of workouts, like squats and jumping jacks. You can also march in place or lift weights as you watch television with your loved one. Every movement counts.
4 Find ways to be physically active with your senior loved one.
The person you are looking after has some kind of prescribed workout routine. Doing those exercise routines with your loved ones can encourage them and give you more exercise snacks. Does your senior loved one use a wheelchair or a motorized scooter? Find easy and accessible paths and trails in your community and go on rides/walks together. Some caregivers say that pushing the manual wheelchair of your loved ones gives an excellent workout for them and a pleasant recreation for loved ones. But make sure the wheelchair of your loved one is in excellent condition, with tires inflated well. Also, use body coordination- both during the walk and when assisting your loved one in and out of the wheelchair.
5 Combine socializing and exercising.
Even if you use too many hours every week on caregiving, it is essential to spend time with your family and friends, too. Double the health benefits by going for walks with your other half or attending exercise classes with a close friend. These days, there are several walking groups that help each other and walk together as they share their experiences and thoughts.
6 Have time for solitary workouts, as well.
Working out alone can provide us time to meditate and clear out our heads. We call it the ultimate me-time. You can also do high-intensity workouts. A research study from Purdue University discovered that when two individuals work out or walk together, the quicker the person often adopts their speed to match the slower friend. Yet, it is pivotal to understand that any physical activities or walking-regardless of motion or speed- is better than doing nothing.
7 Get help.
When grinding out time to go to the gym or for pleasure, you might wave to ask other friends or family members to be with you. But ask them anyway. It is not over to ask. Share that your physician has prescribed a workout for you. And if your family has in-home care to assist your loved one with their supervision and personal care, use some respite time for your workout routine.
If your loved one needs an in-home caregiver to be with them 24-7, Senior Buddies can help you. In this way, you will have plenty of time to look after your well-being and overall health. Together with our professional in-home caregivers, we got your back. Call us to learn more.
Remember: Caregiving requires hard work and compassion. Working out helps strengthen your stamina and resilience to be a better and more efficient caregiver for your loved one.