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Mental Well-being

If you provide care for someone, you are not alone. In 2007, 2.7 million Canadians aged 45 and older – 1 in 5 – provided care or assistance to an older family member or friend. That works out to $24 to $31 billion worth of informal support. * As a caregiver you may provide practical support (e.g. driving, getting groceries), personal care (e.g. washing hair), emotional support and companionship, and provide information. You may feel satisfaction in providing care, and your emotional bonds and affection are likely strong and meaningful.

Burden of care – personal

But you might also feel anger and resentment about the situation, and stress can lead to burnout. Guilt is common, because caregivers often believe they should do more, and think they could provide better care than they do. 

Almost any move will likely entail de-cluttering and may include down-sizing. Even if you stay in place, think about the unfairness this would create for your children if you don’t de-clutter and they have to do it. Sort through closets and drawers, as well as attics and basements if you have them.

People fear dementia* much more than physical disability as they age. The thought of our mental faculties failing us is deeply disturbing, but in many cases we can reduce the risk, and delay or slow the development, of cognitive impairment.

1. Be physically active

Moderate aerobic exercise at least four times a week – e.g. going for a brisk walk, swimming, dancing, gardening – helps to improve circulation, which brings more blood and oxygen to the brain. Nearly one quarter of the blood and oxygen from every beat of your heart is meant for your brain. You don’t have to go to extremes – just enough to increase your breathing and heart rate to a moderate level. Aerobic exercise also helps reduce the risk of anxiety and depression.