Caring for Your Health as a Caregiver Is Vital


Caring for Your Health as a Caregiver Is Vital

MissAngieWhile caring for my mom who has had dementia for over 15 years I have put on some pounds. My sister says she wishes she was my size but for me it is about health not how I look. You can look fine but still be unhealthy. I rarely exercise, I don’t eat right and although I know better sometimes I am just too tired to put forth the effort to take care of myself. All that changed this last November 2012 when my mom's doctor was blunt with me about how my caregiving was bringing my health down.

My mother’s primary geriatric doctor told me that my mom was in perfect health except for her dementia. She said, “I shouldn’t say this to you because I am not YOUR doctor, I am your mom’s doctor, but over the years you went from being petite size ten to whatever you weigh now. You look exhausted and you need to take care of yourself as well as you take care of your Mom.”

At first I was angry. I thought easy for you to say, you are married with only one kid and you don’t rely on others to give you a much needed break. She suggested that I see my own doctor and get a check up. She told me that I had managed to bring my mom's cholesterol, high blood pressure and weight within normal range and I needed to do the same for myself. She was right.

I went to see my doctor. Good thing I did. I was in danger of going blind in my left eye from some fatty deposits, my BMI was way out of range, I have sleep apnea, and I was borderline diabetic. Not what I wanted to hear, but it was a wake-up call.

This January 2013 I started eating oatmeal just like I give my mom. On Saturdays I still make my naughty breakfast of bacon, eggs, and pancakes. I managed to lose 10 pounds so far and I feel better already. I drink soy milk instead of regular milk and I  actually like it better. I started walking my dogs more (well they walk me really, one of them is HUGE! ). I have a chihuahua and a pit bull terrier so walking them together stops traffic and I get lots of questions.

My mom told me I look better and she said I look more like her now, lol, even though sometimes she still calls me my other sister Jennifer but that’s OK. I also got new glasses except that back fired because I think when I started wearing wear them my neighbors started asking for more advice.

So please take care of yourself even if it’s little things and it will help you and your caree live healthier and less stressful lives.  I better go I am also a graphic designer and I am past due on a project. Next time I will talk to caregivers about managing a home businesses while your patient is sleeping. Yes, Virginia, it is possible as long as you have alarms on the doors. Until next time.

(This was taken from my blog on caregiver cafe.)

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Hi--So interesting that your mom's doctor said something. Honestly, I would have been mad, too. It's hard to take care of all the people you take care of. You really are doing your best.\r\n\r\nKudos to you for those 10 pounds--that takes diligent and commitment. \r\n\r\nAnd, consider joining our VRide. We keep track of our physical activity, convert the activity into miles and the make virtual visits. We're heading cross country so would like to make a virtual visit to see you. :)\r\n\r\nHere's more about the VRide:


I too give you sincere Congratulations!! It is so hard to take care of yourself in the midst of caregiving! We found our exercise routine cut out because Grandma won't allow a TV in the living room which is the only space big enough for our Wii Fit exercises. I am glad you listened when your mother's doctor stepped out and took the risk to address his concerns!


Hi, Miss Angle -- Congratulations on losing 10 pounds and Kudos for all your hard work, not only as caregiver to your mom but as caregiver to yourself. Like Chris, I identify with your experience completely and have been working on getting back in shape and healthy again. My partner loves that I am taking care of myself, too, so it's a win-win. :-)\r\n\r\nI work at home, too, and am thankful for the flex time! :D

Chris MacLellan

Thanks for sharing your story Miss Angie! I can get in touch with your experience 100%! Congrats on losing the 10lbs! I am looking forward to your next post on running a business from home while the Caree is sleeping!