Giving Your Caregiver a Game Plan A Guest Post by Maggie Drag

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Nothing makes me happier than hearing about the way our caregivers bring a smile to their clients’ lives. In fact, that is what makes us so dedicated to our work- the men and women that are genuinely excited to spread joy and love wherever they go. After celebrating our 6th Annual Caregiver Party with our most dedicated staff members and caregivers, we felt that it was necessary to bring some inspiration to their daily routine. Here are some tips for each and every caregiver to feel empowered, valued and dedicate themselves to working in “me time” to each and every day.

Better Diet, Better You!

No matter if you are a live-in caregiver or an hourly caregiver, be sure that you are dedicating some time to prepare a hearty, balanced breakfast for yourself each morning. Enjoy your mornings- don’t dread them. You are what you eat, so look up some healthy recipes that you’ve never tried before. Regardless of what others may say, there are so many easy ways to prepare healthy dishes for yourself (especially salads ) that will lift your mood while filling you up with plenty of nutrients. Try preparing rice and different vegetables to have nearby to fill up your lunchbox quickly and to avoid eating junk food on the go.

Get moving!

The best way to stay motivated after getting through your week is to get moving (trust me!) If you love to dance, go to Zumba classes, swim, job, bike – anything, make sure you aren’t putting it off! Not only will you feel better after fitting in a short workout into your day, but you’ll be able to take on the week with much more confidence! If you hate the idea of going to the gym, try this: buy yourself a pair of light weights (preferably 2-5 lbs), soft workout mat and sleek new workout outfit. You can find a great variety of workout gear in fun colors and designs at TJ Maxx or Marshalls. This, plus any workout video on YouTube (from kickboxing to Pilates) = your best workout routine yet. And did we mention that you can do these while you’re on break from your caregiving assignment in the comfort of your own room?

Reach out to your Support Team

Always set some time aside to let the people who care about you know how you’re doing. Make a list of friends and family that you can count on for anything. It can include former clients and even some of your client’s family members that you bonded with over the years. Last but not least, don’t forget the staff at your agency. We, as well as any agency should live for caring for their caregivers.

Embrace your inner and outer beauty

Nothing boosts confidence more than the simple act of taking care of yourself. Of course, putting yourself first takes a bit of time and effort. Whether you have a job or are looking for a caregiver job at the moment, here are some simple ways to rediscover what you love about yourself- inside and out.There’s nothing better than a free makeover at your favorite beauty counter, or a refreshing swim or workout at your local gym. These special moments are known as, “me time”, and you should know that you deserve every minute of it. Besides getting a massage or spa treatment, there are countless ways to pamper yourself at home if you’re on a budget. Since you are on your feet most of the day like many caregivers, treat yourself to a soothing bubble bath try looking up do-it-yourself face masks on YouTube and video guides to meditation and yoga.

What are some ways you as a caregiver or agency motivate yourselves to care for yourself? Comment below, we’d love to hear some of your ideas!

BIO:

Maggie Drag is the owner and founder of a homecare agency located in central Connecticut. With over 27 years of experience in the industry, Maggie shares her knowledge and tips about care at home.  Visit homecare4u.com  to learn more about Maggie Drag.

 

Cardinal Tips For Caregivers of Senior HIV Patients A Guest Post by David Beeshaw

Elderly woman and young female caregiver at home

In 2014, people aged 55+ accounted for 17% of Americans living with a diagnosed HIV infection.

Even if this age group has the same risk factors as young people, they might be less aware of them – especially since most awareness campaigns don’t target older adults. Most of the time, they don’t think HIV is an issue for them and may be less likely to protect themselves. That’s why it’s older Americans that are most likely to learn about their HIV infection later in the course of their disease.  As a result, they start the treatment late and might suffer from more damage to their immune system.

These are the basic facts every caregiver should know before starting to provide care for senior patients with a diagnosed HIV infection.

However, that’s not everything. Here are 4 critical tips for caregivers of senior HIV patients.

Be aware of the stigma

Patients diagnosed with HIV often face social stigma and might be suffering from lack of support from others in their circle of family and friends who in turn might lack knowledge about HIV. Older people might already feel isolated because of their illness or loss of friends and family.

Social stigma might affect their self-image and quality of life. It often discourages these patients from seeking care or disclosing their status to others. Adults diagnosed with HIV are 5 times more likely to experience depression and be at risk of suicide than HIV-negative adults.

HIV and aging

Aging with HIV infection is challenging because the disease increases the risks that come with aging: particular cancers, thin bones, or cardiovascular disease.

That’s why care providers should make sure to maximize their efforts to prevent these conditions and look for signs of illness early on. Caregivers should also pay attention to the potential interactions between medication used to treat HIV and those used by the patient to treat common age-related conditions such as obesity, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, or hypertension.

Antiretroviral treatment allows patients diagnosed with HIV to achieve a near-normal life expectancy. However, senior patients are more vulnerable to infections and illnesses because of their age. Caregivers should minimize their exposure to common illnesses such as the flu that could bring about complications (like pneumonia) for patients with a compromised immune system.

Research the disease

Caregivers should educate themselves about HIV and AIDS. Knowing how the HIV infection is spread is a helpful measure against social stigma. Caregivers should also know how an HIV infection develops and when it might lead to the patient developing AIDS. Being aware of what different treatment regimens entail is helpful as well.

Follow these rules while providing care

Caregivers who provide care to senior patients diagnosed with HIV should know how the infection is spread and what they can do to prevent it.

Here are some tips on how to prevent the spread of HIV infection while taking care of a diagnosed patient:

  • Always wear vinyl or latex gloves if you might have contact with bodily fluids or blood from a person infected with HIV. Wear such gloves when cleaning articles soiled with vomit, feces or urine to avoid infection with other germs. Remember to wash your hands after any contact with blood, even if you wore gloves.
  • Flush all liquid waste that contains the patient’s blood down the toilet.
  • Items that aren’t flushable (sanitary pads, paper towels, wound dressings) need to be placed in a plastic bag. Close the bag securely before throwing it out. Remember to check in with your local health department about the disposal of such items.
  • Cover all breaks, cuts or sores in your exposed skin.
  • Wash all clothing and linens together – those worn by the patient don’t need to be separated.
  • Dishes used by the patient don’t need to be separated and can be cleaned using regular methods.
  • Be positive!

Follow these 4 tips and you’ll be on your way to providing top-quality care to a senior patient who has been diagnosed with an HIV infection.

Author’s Bio:

David Beeshaw is a staunch advocate of regular exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle. He is also a writer at raTrust, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those at risk of STIs and HIV. Verify raTrust on BizDb.

12 Dietary Choices That May Lead to Restless Sleep A Guest Post By Megan Crants

 

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Healer’s outstretched open hand surrounded by random wise healing words on a rustic stone effect background

Sleeping and eating are both critical elements of recovery, but not necessarily in quick succession. Many healthcare providers will encourage putting away all food at 8pm because eating causes the body to go into an arousal state and devote energy to digestion, when ideally it should be settling down for sleep. If you’re starving or hypoglycemic, a small snack is acceptable before bed to avoid mid-night awakenings, but otherwise it’s best to avoid food and drink right before lights-out. Try to plan out your eating patterns so that your last meal falls well before you fall asleep.

In fact, planning out the foods you eat throughout the entire day is not a bad idea either in terms of assuring a good night’s sleep. Certain dietary options have been linked to decreased sleep quality and can have effects on the body that last well into the night:

  1. High Fat/Fried Foods. Fatty foods stimulate digestive tract contractions, which can either cause your stomach to empty slowly, worsening constipation, or they can cause your stomach to empty rapidly, leading to diarrhea. As a result of this gastrointestinal distress, you are more likely to experience fragmented sleep.
  2. Caffeinated Beverages. Caffeine is a stimulant that causes temporary alertness by increasing adrenaline production and preventing certain sleep-inducing chemicals from taking effect. It’s best to avoid caffeine after 2pm, because it has a tendency to alter the body’s sleep/wake cycle for a long time after consumption. If you’re going to consume caffeine, we recommend drinking a shot of it before a 20-minute power nap. This strategy has been scientifically demonstrated to enhance the napping experience, since caffeine takes about 20 minutes to cause arousal.
  3. Cocoa beans naturally contain caffeine so any source of chocolate is going to harbor some form of the stimulant. Darker chocolate contains a higher percentage of cocoa beans, and therefore a higher percentage of caffeine. In addition, chocolate contains theobromine, a compound known to increase heart rate and cause arousal. To learn more, click here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/13/health/13real.html
  4. Tyramine-Rich Foods. Foods such as aged cheeses, eggplant, soy sauce, and tomatoes contain an amino acid called tyramine. This compound causes the brain to release a stimulant called norepinephrine, which causes wakefulness.
  5. Fruits and Vegetables with a High Water Content. Celery, cucumbers, watermelons, etc. are chock-full of water and therefore natural diuretics. Waking up multiple times throughout the night with a full bladder is sure to disturb your sleep cycle, so try to avoid these foods close to bedtime.
  6. Sugary Foods. Candy, or other treats high in sugar, will likely cause spiking blood sugar levels and rapid release of insulin to control them. The spiking blood sugar levels may cause a “sugar crash” that may make it easy to fall asleep, but ultimately the fluctuations will make staying asleep a difficult task.
  7. Studies have shown that the scent of peppermint may increase alertness, decrease fatigue, and work as a central nervous system stimulant. To learn more, click here: http://www.wju.edu/about/adm_news_story.asp?iNewsID=1484&strBack=%2Fabout%2Fadm_news_archive%2Easp
  8. Sorbitol-Rich Foods. Sorbitol is an artificial sweetener that is not only added to gum and diet foods, but is also naturally found in prunes, apples, and peaches. Sorbitol commonly causes digestive problems such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea so try to avoid it when possible.
  9. Citric Fruits. Citric fruits, such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits, contain large amounts of citric acid, which can cause gastrointestinal distress and/or heartburn. In addition to the pain they cause, these ailments may also exacerbate asthma or previously existing sleep breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea.
  10. Spicy Foods. Spicy foods stimulate the digestive system, which can potentially cause gastric distress while you’re trying to sleep. Try to stick to bland foods as bedtime approaches.
  11. High Fiber Foods. Comfort is key for ideal sleeping conditions, so neans, broccoli, cauliflower, and other high fiber foods should be avoided. These dietary additions are likely to cause bloating, gas, and general discomfort which can prevent you from falling asleep or can cause you to wake up during the night.
  12. Many people believe that alcohol serves as an effective sleep aid, as it initially has a sedating effect, but it is ultimately a detriment to high quality rest. Alcohol disturbs rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, meaning that sleep quality is significantly lowered after drinking. This lack of REM sleep negatively affects daytime memory, concentration, and motor skills, not to mention mood. It can suppress breathing, triggering sleep apnea and other breathing difficulties that cause nighttime awakenings. Additionally, alcohol damages the lining of the stomach and changes liver metabolism, which can cause indigestion and other health problems that may keep you up at night.

For more information, check out our tips for high-quality sleep at https://twodreams.com/holistic-health/sleep-hygiene

Megan Crants is a staff writer at Two Dreams (www.twodreams.com) and can be reached via email at mcrants@twodreams.com.

 

Sources Cited:

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20628881,00.html

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/16-best-worst-foods-sleep/story?id=19404975

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural Healing Methods For A Family Member With Alzheimer’s Disease: A Guest Post by Katrina Jane Rice

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First of all it is important to note that no cure has been yet found for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Unfortunately science has not yet identified any definite medical treatment that can halt the progression of this disorder. For now all we can do for our loved ones is to give them a better quality of life while doctors and researchers continue to look for a  cure to this lethal disease.

Because there is not a single cure for it right now, doctors are gearing towards fighting the symptoms of the disease and the different ways of managing them. The main goal is to improve patients’ quality of life and it can be achieved by incorporating traditional and alternative treatments.

While most supplements are not approved by the FDA, some members of the medical community have supported their use.

These natural treatments are not just here to help a patient deal with the Alzheimer’s Disease, they are also utilized to stave off diabetes, strokes, and other age-related health problems that can cause more discomfort to your loved one.

If you are interested in alternative medicine, below are some of the natural treatments that a patient can use to improve his or her condition. Make sure to consult with your physician first. They know the true scope and the severity of the disease and they will help you identify which of these alternative treatments can be the most effective.

Herbal Medicine

Most herbal medicine claiming to treat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s are effective due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and one good example is ginkgo biloba. A number of clinical studies were conducted on this herb and its benefits on cognitive impairment among Alzheimer’s patients.

But this herb could also hinder or interact with other prescribed medication and instead of improving their health, it can possibly pose a threat to it. So make sure you talk to your doctor about taking herbal supplements.

Though the research on ginkgo biloba have proved a positive connection with the disease, there are still some people in the medical community who are not convinced by it.

Bright Light Therapy

One of the symptoms many Alzheimer’s patient suffer from is their disrupted circadian rhythm. It causes them to stay awake at night and wander around. This problem is due to the disruption of the portion of the brain that regulates the sleeping and waking cycle of the body. And one popular therapy to correct this problem is bright light therapy.

Studies state that the use of bright lights help restore the balance of patients’ circadian rhythm and improve their sleeping pattern. It also helps reduce evening agitation and daytime wakefulness.

Acupuncture

It is a traditional Chinese alternative medicine known to promote self-healing by the use of fine and sterile needles. This treatment is known to stimulate and improve the energy flow in your body.

According to some medical studies, acupuncture helps improve a person’s energy levels and mood swings. It also has the ability to relieve pain and improve cognitive functions.

It is advised that you get this treatment from a licensed practitioner who has experience in using this method to other Alzheimer’s suffering patients.

Since it also has other health benefits that can assist in improving a person’s quality of life, it may be worth trying this for your loved one.

Omega-3

You can get omega-3 from eating nuts, healthy oils and fish. A recent study found that consuming omega-3 fatty acid regularly improves one’s cognitive function. If you are worried of the mercury content from eating fish every day, you can give fish oil supplements to the patient instead.

CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 is an important antioxidant to aid healthy body functions. It is also known to help prevent and slow Alzheimer’s disease. This supplement is quite easy to find as it is sold in most drug stores.

Coconut Oil

The fatty acid found in processed coconut oil is called caprylic acid. It is broken down in the body into a protein called ketone. A similar protein is used in a drug for Alzheimer’s called Ketasyn.

According to recent research, Ketasyn is used to improve the patient’s memory performance and prevent cognitive decline. Some people utilize coconut oil as an alternative to this drug.

Coral Calcium

Coral calcium is sourced from sea life and seashells. Though some believe that it is an effective alternative treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease, its claimed benefits are not yet proven by science.

Before you try this, ask the patient’s doctor first and know his or her thoughts about it. There was a formal complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commision against companies that strongly promote its healing properties for Alzheimer’s and you might want to read about it first..

What you can do now is research thoroughly on the different alternative treatments that can help heal Alzheimer’s Disease. No, they cannot cure the disease but they can definitely improve the patient’s overall health and quality of life.

After all, their treatment plan is their choice and you can help them make an informed decision by reading on different yet reliable research, reviews and testimonials about alternative medicine.

Once you and the patient make a decision, talk to your doctor right away to prevent any interactions caused by mixing prescription meds with alternative treatments.

For Further information Katrina can be reached at katrina.earthwell@gmail.com 

Assisted Living Could Mean Better Quality of Life for Seniors: A Guest Post by Paul Birung

the best vision is insight phrase  on a vintage slate blackboard
the best vision is insight phrase on a vintage slate blackboard

When our parents retire, we are so busy with our jobs to care for them at home. It is tempting to put our folks in homes where they can receive round the clock care but mostly, they are against the idea. We may bend to their wishes and keep them at home but as time goes by, their needs increase and it can be quite daunting for the family.

Why Assisted Living over Home Care for Seniors?

Seniors can definitely enjoy security, contact, and support in a residential community. In such an area there is access to nutrition, wellness services, and personal care tailored to each one of them. All this is achievable without having to compromise their independence.

Assisted living is different from a nursing facility where seniors receive medical care 24/7. For example at assisted living in Hilton Head, the elderly can receive any help they need even if their family is far away. These are the reasons you should think about assisted living for the sake of your loved ones’ quality of life.

  1. Opportunities for Physical Fitness

As assisted living communities there are group exercises, top notch gym facilities and personal trainers who do more than a caregiver would at home.

  1. Chances of Social Contact

It can be quite lonesome for a senior lying alone at home where they cannot reach their friends. Assisted Living offers common areas, planned trips, and activities that make it inevitable for seniors to socialize with peers.

  1. Safety

You must senior-proof and make modifications at home to make sure that your loved ones are safe. Such changes are definitely expensive and needs keep adding up as physical health wanes. Assisted living centers are designed for the seniors with keen attention to mobility, avoiding accidents and accessibility.

  1. Monitored Nutrition

Family members may not be able to keep up the nutrition demands of seniors who may not be able to make their own meals. There are chances of better nutrition in an assisted living facility where meals are prepared according to each resident’s needs.

  1. Help with Daily Activities

Bathing, dressing or feeding a loved on may be stressful for family members. With assisted living, residents get help with these activities. This is one of the basic offerings for assisted living and it, therefore, saves families the cost of a homecare assistant. This way, older adults can keep their independence.

  1. Housekeeping

The task of caring for seniors at home leaves families with extra chores to do. It isn’t easy to keep the house clean, weed the garden or cook with a senior in need of care. When these adults reside in assisted living, this burden is relieved so family members have more time to focus on themselves.

  1. Transportation

The facility will be responsible for residents’ transportation needs to the hospital, social engagements, and other appointments. With this taken care of, family members can enjoy more free time on their daily activities.

Assisted living certainly offers more independence to the seniors and their families. By giving each individual a chance to live life to the fullest, assisted living ensure that families stay happy, and this is the hallmark of quality living.

Unknown Facts How Diet Affects Mental Fatigue & Burnout A Guest Post by Katrina Jane Rice

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When you first think about fatigue, what usually comes to mind is the physical kind. But there is another form of fatigue that potentially wreaks havoc on your thought processes, motivation and overall success – it is called mental fatigue.

Mental fatigue is usually a result of carrying out extensive and difficult cognitive tasks. One good example to mention is studying for the bar exams. If you put your body in this kind of stress day in and day out, you will start to feel a strong case of mental fatigue. They call it burnout.

Karla Ivankovich, professor of psychology at the University of Springfield, Illinois said that a key sign of mental fatigue is the difficulty in initiating and sustaining cognitive performance and voluntary activities.

Typically, mental fatigue is a normal thing. It usually disappears after you take a break from tedious cognitive tasks. But if you do not rest, you potentially jeopardize your efficiency in every task you perform. It means it could feel too difficult to go to the gym, go back to work or even buy some groceries..

According to Ivankovich, mental fatigue affects your motor control and coordination and it is normally expected that mental fatigue can truly impact your optimal performance in every aspect in life.

Your body can only take so much stress until it starts to burn out. 

In serious cases, mental fatigue can become extremely draining that the associated health problems become chronic or irreversible. As per Ivankovich, employing effective coping mechanisms can be helpful to combat mental fatigue, and this starts with living a healthy lifestyle and eating a balanced diet.

Anybody who is experiencing mental fatigue or burnout has surely not followed a healthy eating pattern. If you feel like you are headed down this path, there are a number of dietary reasons behind it. Below are only some of the common causes that you can immediately reverse making changes your diet.

Lack of Magnesium

Magnesium helps support your nervous system.

It can alleviate stress levels by boosting your energy production and improving your quality of sleep. You can help reverse this lack of mineral in your body by eating more nuts, seeds, legumes and tofu. It is also found in whole grains, wheat bran and leafy vegetables.

Lack of Vitamin C

The adrenal gland has a huge responsibility in regulating your stress.

And when you do not get enough vitamin C, it cannot produce the stress hormones, particularly cortisol, your body needs. Cortisol helps regulate your metabolism, control your blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation. It also assists memory functions which are vital when you are feeling mentally fatigued.

Increase your vitamin C intake by eating more fruits like oranges, mandarins and kiwis. some vegetables like broccoli and other green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin C too. For most people who do not have the time to eat right, they source their vitamins from dietary supplements.

Lack of Vitamin B

Your adrenal gland has a huge responsibility in regulating stress and it needs vitamin B to maintain its optimal function. The B vitamins are considered to be your friends in helping fight stress and supporting your energy levels. You can get more B vitamins from fish, milk, legumes, whole grains, chicken and red meat.

Too Much Caffeine

Every stressed person probably has a love for caffeine. It stimulates your fight and flight response and helps generate cortisol which gives you that temporary energy boost. But drinking too much caffeine can ultimately contribute to sleeping problems and anxiety.

Reverse this problem by swapping your morning coffee to a decaf tea. Watch out for other caffeine sources like chocolate, sodas, and black tea. Drinking green tea is preferable as it contains lower levels of caffeine but ranks high in antioxidants.

Adding an exercise routine to your lifestyle can also help you relieve mental fatigue and burnout.

Try to lose the fat you have gained from all the stress you just went through. After cutting out the other stressors in your life, get a gym membership or join a fitness club. This will also help your body release endorphins – a “feel good” hormone responsible for that happy feeling you get after every workout session.

The lack of vitamins and minerals is not just the only source of your stress. Though getting that in check will help you reverse mental fatigue, you also need to learn how to delegate your work.

If you are in the position to give away some of your tasks to other, do it for your own sake. If not, find the main source of your mental fatigue, prioritize what needs to be kept and cut out what you can. Know where your limits are so that you can alleviate and prevent mental burnout in the future.

Email Katrina at katrina.earthwell@gmail.com with any questions.

6 Easy Ways To Stay Organized and Productive as a Caregiver A Guest Post by Maggie Drag

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Being a caregiver is arguably one of the most noble professions out there – but it can also take a serious toll on your personal life. Here are 6 work-life balance tips to help you reduce stress, and ultimately make you the best caregiver for not only your clients, but for yourself, too!

1.) Plan Ahead

If you have multiple clients, or work as a live-in caregiver, keeping track of their favorite foods, interests, and medications may seem like a job in itself. Keeping a daily planner can help! If you’re constantly on your phone, try downloading an app like Fantastical, ReQall and Evernote. They are super easy to use and will allow you to set up alerts and various notifications in case you’d like to be reminded of their doctor appointments, and even your own appointments with your caregiving agency, for example. At the end of the day, keeping on top of your clients’ needs and preferences will save you a lot of stress and in the future.

2.) De-Clutter

From old receipts and grocery lists, you may have trouble remembering which documents belongs to who! Here are some easy ways to help both yourself and your client, and try doing it together and make it fun while you’re at it! First, organize your bills and clients’ bills in a binder for safe-keeping. Next, divide up your coupons into a handy coupon organizer for easy access. Finally, keep track of your own caregiving documents, from contracts, care plans and emergency contacts in a folder. Try organizing each folder by client if you have multiple, and keep a small notepad to jot down any other helpful information.

3.) Think Ahead

As a caregiver, you know that life as you know it may change in a second, whether it be your client’s health, a sudden re-assignment, and not to mention changes in your personal life. First, make sure you have a list of emergency contacts (including your agency) prepared in case you are unable to help your client or need to be relieved at any point. Next, be sure you have a plan set up for a medical emergency based on your client’s health history. Keeping track of their food allergies for one is a simple but critical step to preventing emergencies in the future.

4.) Reconnect with Loved Ones

If you’ve lost touch with a close friend, since you started another assignment, remember this: Caring about your job is one thing, but caring about your relationships is far more important in the long run. Call your distant relative via Facetime – you could even plan a day where you help your client Facetime their grandchildren after you connect with your own family!

You carry a great responsibility as a caregiver, and while your friends and family should understand that you are often very busy, don’t forget to show them some appreciation and keep in touch!

5.) “Me” Time

Being a caregiver takes a lot of work, but it is incredibly rewarding and allows you to build meaningful relationships and touch so many lives. However, as much as you may love your job, don’t forget to carve out some time for yourself each day– even if for only an hour, to do some gardening, watch some old movies, surf the internet, and even go out for a relaxing day at the spa. If you are a live-in caregiver, ask your client if they’d like to join in on the fun! This will help you stay productive and engaged in your assignment in a much more meaningful way.

6.) Take Care of Yourself

As much as you care about your job as a caregiver, don’t forget that the first step to being an amazing caregiver is taking good care of yourself. Keep up with exercise, eat a balanced diet but make sure you’re getting the necessary rest between assignments first and foremost- especially if you work overnight. Sleep allows your body and brain to replenish, not to mention stay alert on important assignments and throughout the day if your client needs extra supervision when taking medications, for example. Losing sleep can ultimately take a serious toll on your health in the long run, so don’t be afraid to ask your agency about rescheduling your assignments or for tips on how to manage your sleep schedule to help you be your best for your clients.

About the author:

Maggie Drag is the owner and founder of a homecare agency located in central Connecticut. With over 27 years of experience in the industry, Maggie shares her knowledge and tips about care at home.  Visit homecare4u.com  to learn more about Maggie Drag.

Nutrition and Meal Planning For the Hurried Caregiver a Guest Post by Breanne Fleat

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A caregiver has a vital responsibility of safeguarding their recipient, be it a family member, a friend or as part of their job. Diet and nutrition are some of the basic needs for people requiring such care, in an effort to keep the body strong and energetic. However, diet and nutrition isn’t just important for them, it’s important for you, the care provider too. With our current lives full of deadlines and schedules we usually don’t have the time to design a reliable meal plan or even stick to conventional eating patterns.

Looking after your own health is vital. Being in tip top condition will not only help you feel more energised but you will be encouraging your care recipients to wake up, shape up, eat up and try to live their healthiest life possible.

We all know how easy it is to skip meals, grab the first ready meal in the shop or neck back some energy drink because you just don’t have the time or energy. But, the fact is you will either gain excessive weight or completely ruin your metabolism and health from living this way.

Unfortunately, most conventional meals, do, require adequate preparation and cooking times, which may be almost  impossible in your situation. Fortunately, the following tips are here to help you maintain a healthy life, with consideration of your RDI (Recommended Daily Intake):

Nutrition Shortcuts
your aim is to get all the required nutrients in the day, within a tight schedule. This means that your choices have to be easily digestible and assimilated in the body. The issue you have is that foods such as bread, grains and some proteins require the body to be resting, in order to digest suitably and you just don’t have that time.

As much as I recommend eating whole foods where possible, you can get supplement snacks that contain either one or a combination of nutrients. Instead of picking up a chocolate bar and energy drink, why not head to your local health food store and pick up one of these healthier snacks instead? You may even be able to buy them online. Most meal replacement and supplement snacks are filled with nutrients, lots healthier than normal snacks and reduce the need for spending hours in the kitchen, combining meals.

Micro is Important
For a busy caregiver, you rarely have time to rest and recover. Throughout this time your body stands very high chances of catching infections and a strong immune system is needed. This is where micronutrients come in.

Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals which help keep your body ticking along as it should.  Minerals such as Magnesium and iron, and Vitamins E and C help to detoxify the body, reducing the intensity of fatigue and lowering your risk of infections.

Quick Micro Tip: Try replacing your morning coffee or energy drink with a multivitamin tablet, or better yet add spinach to your usual breakfast, for a hit of iron and vitamin c then have almonds as a magnesium and vitamin e filled mid-morning snack.
Smoothies and Juices
you only need a couple of minutes to create a vitamin packed smoothie consisting of bananas, avocados, strawberries or even melons. The best thing about them is that you can carry them around with you during the day.

In addition, one glass of fruit juice or smoothie can contain at least 3 of your 5 a day, making it a reliable source of micro and macro nutrients, which you need for coping with the day’s commitments.

You can even include fruits with exceptional benefits such as thorn melons, to boost your immunity, especially when attending to a person with communicable diseases.

Quick Smoothie Tip: Try adding spinach to your smoothies – it may sound strange at first, but it’s practically tasteless, yet filled with loads of nutritional benefits.

Meal Planning
Planning what to eat, when and why is hectic for anyone, let alone a caregiver. Not only do you have to try and plan what you and your family will be eating, but it’s highly likely you will have to plan something entirely different for your recipient.

However it’s important to remember the phrase “prior planning prevents poor performance” and don’t we know it. Planning helps you to eliminating the decision-making process, which, for me, ends up in opting for empty snacks or fast foods.

Quick Planning Tip: Buying raw foods in advance will create a reasonable timetable to help you organise around. Plan your fresh meals for the days post shopping trip and plan tinned or frozen foods in the run up to your next supermarket trip

Cook for Freeze
No matter how busy you are, there is ALWAY a little free time, whether it’s early in the morning, late in the evening or on the weekends. This is the best time for batch cooking.

Some people advocate for a cook one-freeze three concept, where you cook an excess of a particular meal and freeze the remainders (usually another 3 servings) while others will cook one main ingredient as use it for 2 or 3 different meals.

Quick Freezer Food Tip: Make sure you set a reminder to get food out of the freezer to defrost ready for the next day otherwise you’ll be more tempted by grab and go snacks.

Change how you cook
Just because you’re personal time is sparse, shouldn’t mean you have to give up on the things you love. Food is a necessity but it’s also there to be enjoyed. Just because slow cooking sounds time consuming, doesn’t mean it is.  Using a slow cooker is a great way to ensure your meal is thoroughly flavoured and cooked with minimal time or effort.

Don’t let your lack of time take away from the enjoyable experience of cooking and eating.

Quick slow cooker tip: There’s usually a slow cooker version of most meals – got something you particularly love? Look up how to slow cook, you may find you love it even more after.

 

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BIO: Breanne is a writer, blogger and chief editor, at ProteinPromo.com. She is keen on providing readers with nutrition and wellness hints and tips to ensure readers are living their healthiest possible life.