Wednesday, November 24, 2021

National Family Caregivers Month: Taking Care of The Caregiver

Welcome to National Family Caregivers Month. What is a caregiver? Basically, if you're someone with special needs necessary for living a normal life, you will need someone to help you meet those needs. That is a caregiver (also called a carer in some parts of the world).

While our blog focuses on disabilities, particularly mobility deficiencies, most of it is written by a caregiver with input by the one cared for (for the perspective of the person being cared for, you can check out Tim's series of posts called Cerebral Palsy Stories).

During this month, we'll be posting some articles about caregiving, what it is, how to do it, and how to pay for it. Our focus will be on persons needing help due to mobility issues.

As we've noted before, caregiving is an all-consuming 24/7 affair. The temptation to give into that would be easy to fall into but if the caregiver has a problem, everybody has problems.

I often remind Tim he needs to be an active participant and help me out. If I fall, he falls. If I get hurt, it's likely he will to. If I'm sick or out of action, he suffers because he no longer has my help.

One thing I try to do is take care of myself and stay in shape so I'll be healthy enough and strong enough to help him for as long as possible.

I admit that I don't always have the healthiest of lifestyles. I like to eat. I like to eat foods that aren't considered healthy. I like a cold glass of beer, a sublime sip of wine, or even a nice cocktail at a friendly little dive bar and I'm paying for that lifestyle by being overweight and dealing with type 2 diabetes.

That, of course, has to change so I've been eating and drinking less, trying to be healthier when I do (usually just one big meal a day and another very light meal). I've also increased my exercise considerably.

I walk just about everyday. My quota is 15 miles a week and most weeks I exceed that by several miles. I've gotten it to be such a habit that many in my county now know me as "that walking guy from Ione."

Tim goes with me at least once a week and he's now developed a liking for hiking when we go on trips.

He also joins me for a weight training workout session twice a week.

While I'll never be mistaken for a bodybuilder, I have gotten noticeably healthier and stronger. I've lost over 40 pounds...and cholesterol has dropped 80 points, and my blood pressure is consistently normal now. Yes, part of that is due to medication but I'll take it.

It's also helped me mentally and shedding of stress is a big part of my lifestyle and philosophy these days. 

If I can stay healthy mentally and physically, I should be able to take care of Tim for some years to come and keep pushing the day where we'll have to rely on someone else back to the future.

If you are or become a caregiver, make sure you put time aside for yourself and keep yourself healthy.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2021 - All Rights Reserved

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