Author: Roger Alexander, LNFA
Keeping a balance of all the good that life has to offer is what keeps us vital! Our lives are made up of so many parts. The variety of activities and the various people in our lives is what makes our lives interesting. It’s the same for you as a caregiver as it is for the one you are caring for.
We are all social creatures. Even if your loved one is suffering from dementia or a physical ailment, they still need the stimulation of people in their lives. That is more than true for caregivers (who tend to neglect this part of their lives while caring for an aging loved one). No matter how busy you are, take the time to connect with friends and family. It’s absolutely vital to your physical and mental well-being.
Learning new things, reading, and partaking in creative endeavors are also vital to everyone. Our brains are a muscle that needs to be exercised. Art is now used as a therapy tool at many assisted livings. Even elders who’ve never painted or drew before are finding joy in the creative process. Creativity can come in many forms, and it’s important that we all try our hand at something new to stimulate our brains and to keep us from becoming dull people!
Do you consider exercise a priority for your elderly loved one? You should. Staying physically active stimulates the brain, helps us sleep better, think better, eat better, and live longer. Make sure you take care of your exercise needs, also. While your elder may have physical limitations, there are so many different kinds of exercise that can accommodate anyone’s fitness level.
Emotional connections are always an integral part of our lives. We need to know that we are loved. We need the touch of those who love us. We need to remember good times spent with loved ones. We need that as much as we need sunlight, food and water. If your loved one has cognitive problems, connecting with them can be as easy as a looking through the family photo album. While they may not remember what they had for breakfast, they will remember when they were young and active. Talk to them about the happy times. Let them reconnect with their whole being. They are more than what they appear to be today. They are an accumulation of all their experiences, their accomplishments and their tragedies. They have survived. Remind them of how strong they really are. And remember who you come from.
Here are just a few of the things that make our lives worth living:
- Physical Touch
- Remembering the past
- Connections with children and nature
- Good Food
- Restful sleep
- Exercise and fresh air
How do you care for your loved one and yourself? Do you connect with them on all these levels?