Episode 010: Day 1 – Are Y.O.U. Prepared To Be A Caregiver? Your well being is important.

Episode Description:

Host Zack Demopoulos launches his 30 day preparation plan to care for an aging adult.  In Day 1, it is all about Y.O.U. as the caregiver.  “Y” stands for “Your Well Being” and Zack shares how important it is to ensure your physical, mental, emotional and social well-being are in a good place so that you can be the best caregiver possible.

Show Notes:

  • Day 1: Will you ever be a caregiver and are YOU prepared?
    • Will you ever be a caregiver for an aging adult—such as a parent, relative, neighbor, or even a spouse? And if you do become one, are YOU prepared?  We’ll cover these two topics on Day One of the 30 Day Preparation Plan To Care For An Aging Parent.
  • Welcome to the Raising ‘Rents Podcast. This show is sponsored by ComForCare, a national home care provider that will help you live your best life possible.  Day One of the 30 Day Plan is the first step in preparing a plan to become a caregiver. Throughout this process, remember that the goal of family caregiving, regardless of circumstances, is to provide a loved one with a comfortable, caring environment in which to grow old.
  • The first question is—do you think you’ll ever be a caregiver? You may already be one now, or you might be seeing the early signs of the possibility, or you’ve never really considered it.
  • Here are some things to consider in whether or not you will one day be a family caregiver:
    • One out of every 3 U. S Adults has provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the last 12 months.
    • Half are adult kids caring for Mom. 17% are wives caring for an ailing husband.  10% taking care of their Dad and 7% a husband cares for their wife.
    • What are the usual reasons why someone needs care? They vary—Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, surgery, even an injury sustained in a fall.
    • Alzheimer’s/dementia is the #1 reason—little over half of all care. General aging issues (i.e. frailty, hearing loss, mobility problems) is about ¼; Parkinson’s is 8%; Stroke is about 5%.
    • Does it matter if you are the first born or the baby among your siblings?   It usually is where you live — 67% percent of adult children who are caregivers live less than 10 miles from their aging parents.
  • Okay….so let’s say you are or may become a caregiver in the near future. Let’s get prepared for the best outcome.  Do you feel prepared?
  • Well, the first step is actually all about YOU.
    • Let’s break it into three critical areas. We’ll use the letters O.U. as the acronym that of course spells YOU.  “Y” is for Your well being,  “O” is for Overall financial situation yours and your parents,  and the letter “U” is understanding your parents’ needs.
  • On today’s episode, we’re just going to talk about Your Well Being. “Well being” can be defined as a good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterized by health, happiness, and prosperity;
  • You have to believe me when I say that you will not be able to care for someone as well as you can, and as well as they need you to, if you are not first taking care of yourself. Let’s face it, we all have good days and bad days.  But what would you say is your overall status month to month when describing your physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being?
  • Physical well-being is critical—and sounds straightforward but thing about everything you can use? Exercise, nutrition, relaxation, even fresh air.  You need these things to replenish the energy depletion you will inadvertently experience through caregiving.  Ask yourself, honestly, do you get tired often during the day? Are you as exhausted in the evening as you are when you wake up?  How well are you eating? Getting regular check up’s?  Keep this in mind when you consider that on the average a caregiver spends over 20 hours per week providing care.  Some do it on an average of 4 years, others significantly longer especially with someone who has dementia.  That is a lot of time you are spending on someone else in addition to YOU.
  • Mental well-being is equally as important. Having the right mindset will create a positive environment.  A positive environment benefits you and the person you are for.  You must know when you need a “mental break”.  Mental breaks are easy to do—you just must have enough self-awareness to know when to take them.  They can be simple things like laughing—either a giggle or so hard your face hurts, take a hot shower or use hot towels out of the dryer, take a drive on a scenic road, listen to your favorite music, make chocolate chip cookies, watch the sunrise, getting out of bed every morning and thank God for another beautiful day….you get the jest.   Unfortunately family caregivers say that positive activities in their respective daily lives are reduced by over 25%  as a result of their caregiving responsibilities. Hey you are as much human as the caregiver next to you—super heroes are only found in comic books.  You have to be aware that there are undesirable effects of caregiving like depression and anxiety —in fact studies consistently report higher levels of depressive symptoms and mental health problems among caregivers than among their non-caregiving peers.
  • Then there is your emotional well-being. Caregiver burnout, caregiver stress, and compassion fatigue are also unwanted outcomes of caregiving.  I’ve seen these situations put strains on relationships, making it tough to have communicate and exercise patience, and not fun to be around.  Be on the look out for warning signs like exhaustion, irritation, sadness, anger, too much or too little sleep, weight gain,weight loss, frequent headaches and bodily pain, and losing interest in enjoyable activities. Some turn to drug and alcohol abuse. Other medical problems will arise due to insufficient nutrition, exercise and sleep.
  • Finally, there is your social well-being. Caregivers feel that they must dedicate every free hour to the person they are caring for but that is not true.  Your parent doesn’t even want it—trust me on that.  It is important that you have a life outside of your caregiving responsibilities.  Regardless if it is going to work, hanging out with friends and family, getting involved in your community, and having fun—doing things you enjoy with others.  This will have a positive impact on you—help you feel less guilty, get more control of your life, and increase the chances of having a happier and prosperous well-being.
  • So, that’s Day 1. Join us for Day 2 as we go to the letter “O” in the word YOU—Overall Financial Situation.  This means yours and your parent’s.

Thank you for listening to the Raising ‘Rents podcast.  This was Episode 10.  If you have any questions or feedback, please go to our website www.raisingrents.com and click on the “Contact” tab.  You can also find the show notes and references to anything we talked about.  Until we talk again, remember that our parents raised us, the least we can do is help raise them. Talk to you later.

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