With the changes in governmental programs and the health care  system the need for more care  given by non-professional care givers will be a reality.  Even if you are a strong resilient person, the stress of being a caregiver can take a toll on your health and well-being.  Stress management techniques will be an important part of your daily routine.

Some of the signs of stress that you may not even notice because you are concerned about those you are caring for are:

  • tired all the time
  • overwhelmed and irritable
  • either sleeping too much or not enough
  • losing or gaining weight
  • loss of interest in activities

There are a variety of things that can help you deal with the stress of being a caregiver.  If someone is willing to help, accept the offer.  If they want to pick up some groceries, cook for you, stay with the person you are caring for or even take them for a walk, allow them to provide help.  It will be a wonderful way to give you a break.

As a caretaker, it is normal to feel guilty about many things.  Focus on those things you can control and remind yourself that you are doing the best you are capable of.  No one is perfect.  If you recognize a need for help, you will want to seek it out.  There are many organizations, associations and support groups to help with specific ailments.    These affiliations can offer encouragement and advice.

You will want to make time for yourself.   Get out and socialize with friends and family members.  It is important to maintain a strong support system to help manage the stress associated with being a caregiver.  It’s also important  to stay healthy.  Walking, getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet are all things that promote good health.

Utilize respite care.  Respite care found at a nursing home, such as Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, has become a great option for both the one receiving care and the caretaker.  Though families take great joy in allowing their loved one to remain at home, the physical, emotional and financial strain for the caregiver can be overwhelming.  The family may choose to have their loved one stay at a nursing home where emergency access and professional assistance is provided for a few day or a few weeks.   It allows the caregiver to get a break, go on a much needed vacation or attend a function that would normally restrict them from attending.

Taking time for yourself actually makes you a better caregiver.  It’s hard for you to provide quality care for others if you are not caring for yourself.

Programs for Healthy Weight

One of the most important considerations in maintaining good health is to continue to manage a proper weight.  This is true in children and continues throughout life until we are seniors.

However, as everyone knows, it seems to become harder to maintain a proper body weight as the years go forward.   Slowly, the pounds may sneak onto your body and before you know it you aren’t your ideal self anymore.

But, if you have put on some extra weight, you are not alone.  In fact, the studies suggest that while ⅓ of the American population is of normal weight, ⅓ is overweight, and ⅓ is considered medically obese.

 To make matters harder, it becomes more difficult for the senior population to lose weight for a variety of reasons.  First, they are often less mobile and regular exercise becomes more difficult for them.  Second, with slowing metabolism in the senior population, it becomes much easier for weight to be put on.  Finally, a seniors diet may not be the best if they are not being looked after by someone on a frequent basis.

At Maplewood of Sauk Prairie, we take this issue into consideration with our senior residents.  We feel that it benefits the overall well being of the resident when they can exercise, have nutritious meals and can be monitored when they have certain dietary needs.

Exercise

Our facility has a wonderful rehabilitation department to assist our residents with remaining physically active and also to manage any specific therapy needs that may be required on a medical basis.  From stretching, to cardiovascular, to strength development, our rehabilitation team is always ready to assist.

Nutritious Meals

Our dining experiences are exceptional for our residents.  Our dietician and team prepare an ongoing variety of nutritious meals that help to foster good health for our residents.

Additionally, if a resident has special dietary needs, our dietician will develop a meal plan, taking into account those special requirements.

A Loving Environment

I want to also mention that good health also comes from a warm and loving environment, which is provided.  From our incredible staff, to our wonderful residents and the loving families that surround us, we are indeed blessed with a truly caring and nurturing environment for good health.

It is vital for seniors to maintain good health and our program focuses on many aspects of health and wellness, including proper weight.

sauk city nursing homeYour bones.  An adult has 206 of them and they are needed for structure, protection, movement and more.  So, it’s important that you take care of your bones, just like you try to take care of your eyes or your heart.

As a person ages, it is not uncommon for bone loss to occur.  In fact, bone fractures in the senior population are often the result of weakness within the bones.  There are two common conditions that can occur:

  • Osteopenia – When bone mineral density (BMD) is lower than normal, but not low enough to be considered osteoporosis

  • Osteoporosis – The “fragile bone disease” that is characterized by decreased bone mass due to a deficiency in calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D, and other vitamins and minerals

There are many causes of these conditions, but one main cause is the aging process in general.  You see, our bodies are constantly making and replacing bone.  As young adults, we make bone faster than we reabsorb the the existing bone.  However, that process slows down as we age and therefore the reabsorption of bone is faster than we can make it, leading to bone density loss.

As stated above, one of the common issues with bone loss is the increased risk of fractures.  In fact, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis causes approximately 2 million fractures per year.  The most common fractures in the senior population are the hip, spine and wrist.

To determine if you may have osteopenia or osteoporosis, you should speak with your doctor.  They may recommend a test that measures the amount of bone density that you currently have.

Three factors to keeping your bones healthy throughout your life include:

  • adequate amounts of calcium

  • adequate amounts of vitamin D

  • adequate exercise

Take your bone health seriously and work to ensure that your bones remain strong.  Take care of them and they will take care of you.