Many of the baby boomers find themselves in the position of ‘caregiver’ to one or both parents. This role reversal has many negative and positive aspects. If the parent suffers from dementia, it can be difficult and stressful. Some of my patients and friends are caring for parents in a long distance commute. Many of them feel guilty that they are not living close by.
Caregiving can be a burden which causes stress. The stress can then be manifested in symptoms of fatigue, insomnia, depression, diminished immune system, and increase risk of chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease and COPD.
So first and foremost – take care of yourself. Eat healthy foods and take thirty minutes every day to exercise. I know many of you say ‘I don’t have time to exercise.’ But, time is all we have. It is how you use the time and how you prioritize it that makes the impact on your life – today and your health tomorrow. If you truly cannot block out 30 minutes – do the exercise in chunks of 10 or 15 minutes until the total adds up to thirty. Keeping yourself healthy and fit is a number one priority if you want to be helpful in caring for aging parents.
When you come into the center if you are caring for an aging parent, let me know. I have some resources that may be helpful.
Pain is a subjective measurement of something gone wrong with our bodies. We measure the severity in numerical values. For example, on a scale of 1-10 with ten being the worst; where is your pain level? We do this because each of us has a different pain level threshold and a ten then means our worst pain and is not in comparison to someone else’s level.
An important thing to remember about pain is that it is a symptom of something gone wrong. If you take medicines to mask the pain or dull the pain, be sure that first you understand where it is coming from and if it needs further investigation. If you fall or are hit by a tossed ball, you can correlate the pain with the act. If the pain is more severe than the act would predispose it to be – there could be underlying damage that needs to be investigated. Or if the pain increases over the next few days rather than abates, that could indicate a more serious problem. The rule is to listen to your body. Pay attention to where the pain is, how severe it is, if it changes and if it radiates to other parts of your body.
Some pain needs to be taken very seriously and there should be no delay in seeking help Two examples are a sudden headache never experienced before and crushing chest pain.
Any pain that you cannot correlate to a reason or an action should be brought to the attention of a health care provider. As we become more active in the spring and summer months – many of these aches are to be expected. Moving muscles that were inactive all winter can cause discomfort. But if you are calmly trimming the bushes and get a crushing chest pain that sends you flat to the ground…that is not to be expected.
If you do experience chest pain that you think is your heart, take two aspirin and call for an ambulance. Do not attempt to drive yourself to the emergency room. Statistics show that those who survive a heart attack are the ones treated by paramedics on the way to the emergency room.
The rule for muscle sprains and strains is to use RICE therapy. Rest Ice Compress Elevate. Always use ice for the first 72 hrs of an injury – not heat. Ice will reduce the swelling and the inflammation. If possible wrap the injured muscle in an ace bandage, elevate and put ice on. And Rest…let the muscle heal.
All that said…enjoy the outdoor and take some long walks in our beautiful park system.
Our 1st ‘wrap party’ was a success! Several of our weight management patients have signed up to use the It Works products.
I am excited to be participating with the It Works products. These products are all natural organic ingredients. I am personally using several products. I cannot believe the new energy level I have using the ‘greens’ The ‘Greens’ give you your daily eight servings of greens and an unwarranted amount of energy. Check out these products at ItWorks.com and you will be amazed.