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.
Annandale Women and Family Center – Walk-in Clinic Alexandria VA
2839 Duke Street Alexandria, Virginia 22314