Dogs have many things to teach us, if only we follow their example.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstacy.
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.
If you want to have more positive feelings about caregiving, reduce your risk of becoming depressed and anxious, feel less frustrated or burdened, and feel better physically and emotionally, consider if some or all of the following tips might help you move in a more positive direction.
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.
Memory lapses are a normal part of aging. Knowing the kinds of memory we use can make it easier to understand which ones cause glitches for us, and what adjustments we can make to better manage our memory.
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.
The thought of developing dementia is disturbing to just about all of us. Understanding normal changes in cognitive functioning as we age, particularly those pesky memory lapses, can help to calm our fears.
We learn better when we learn in sequence, rather than jumping back and forth between two or more sources of information. That is why I have chosen to put any links in an article at the end, so that you can more easily read, learn,...