Part of a healthy lifestyle, one that may prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other diseases, involves consuming a nourishing diet. According to a recent study, one way to obtain these nutrients is through the MIND diet.
Dear Carol: I’m wondering if other male caregivers feel like they’ve lost their sense identity. My wife has multiple sclerosis which has worsened during the time I’ve been retired. I love her very much and am happy to provide care for her. I take part in a spousal support group, but I still feel like all I do is take care of her needs. My wife appreciates me, yet I was once a well-respected businessman and I miss that sense of belonging. Now I’m not sure of my purpose other than being a caregiver. Maybe I’m whining over nothing, but I feel that I’m missing something important to my wellbeing. H.K.
Family members and friends who are clueless about the realities of caregiving often add to the stress by offering "advice," which sounds to you like criticism rather than help. You're a good person and likely they are, too, so you stuff your irritation, bite back a sarcastic response and let the comments or actions pass – this time. One day, however, you are extra stressed, tired and frustrated by the enormity of your caregiving duties. Your friend happens by at a bad time and offers just a bit of well-meaning advice. You snap.
It's a human tendency to get stuck in a rut as we carry out life's demands, and caregiving is no exception. With spring nearly upon us, it's a good time to take a fresh look at our caregiving lives to see if there are areas that need improvement or at least a fresh approach.
...Eventually, though, we may find ourselves edging dangerously close to a meltdown over a situation that would have been simply a mild irritation not long ago. The future looks bleak and our responsibilities endless. That's a danger point. How do you spot and extinguish the small fires that, left smoldering, can eventually lead to burnout? What do you do if you already feel fried?
As a family caregiver, I’m intimately acquainted with difficult days and responsibilities that seem endless. Always aware that I love the people I’ve cared for, there’s still considerable stress and fatigue involved, to say nothing of an occasional pang of “what about me?” I’m assuming most of you can relate.
According to an AARP survey, the vast majority of boomers have stated that they want to stay in their current homes rather than move to another setting for their later years. This attitude has been the springboard for many aging in place advocates as well as businesses like contractors and high tech companies.
Some readers worry that their personality changes are negative. Yes, that can happen. There's a sneaky side of caregiver burnout. Stress, exhaustion and responsibility can take its toll. Yet, many of the changes to a caregiver's personality will be positive and hopefully become lifelong attributes.
Dear Carol: My husband has short-term memory loss that indicates an early stage of Alzheimer’s. He’s retired and gets along quite well on his own with just some reminders around the house. Our children live around the country and one of our daughters is fighting melanoma. Even though her husband is supportive, I’d like to be with her during her first round of chemotherapy.
Whatever your relationship with your spouse's family, as his or her parents age and some responsibility for aging parents creeps into your lives, you will likely be needed for emotional support, at the very least. Ideally, you and your spouse will be part of a family team of caregivers for both sets of aging parents, supporting each other through it all. Sharing the joys and sorrows of family caregiving.