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BPC #6: BEING AN ACTIVE PARTICIPANT IN WELLNESS

BPC SERIES: A 9-Part Series on BEING a PRIMARY CAREGIVER (BPC)
Approximately 43.5 million caregivers have provided unpaid care to an adult or child in the last 12 months. *
This series is dedicated to the heart and soul of this informal, unpaid, caregiving group, the primary caregivers. Silver Lining is dedicated to a healthier Delaware by using our expertise to empower a group of incredible people to give their loved ones the best care possible.

What is a Primary Caregiver?
A primary caregiver is the title given to anyone that is primarily (first-up) responsible for caring and providing for another living thing. A primary caregiver could be:the sole available person caring for anotherthe person who cares for another in the primary role (and has additional support people)the individual who lives with the person that needs cared forUltimately, a primary caregiver is responsible for making sure that the person they’re caring for gets the support and care they need. Our goal with the BPC Series is to support this amazing group of primary caregivers with resources, shout outs and access. We see you and we are here for you.
* National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2015). Caregiving in the U.S

First, if you haven’t read our blog post on the difference between health and wellness, check it out here

Wellness is multidimensional and holistic, encompassing lifestyle, mental and spiritual well-being, and the environment. Wellness contributes to your health. Wellness often requires intention, education and awareness. Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness; it is a dynamic process of change and growth.

So how can you be an active participant in wellness for yourself and your loved one? As a primary caregiver, taking care of yourself goes hand in hand with caring for your loved one. You can’t care for them if you’re not caring for yourself.  

Imagine that you have a “bucket” for each facet of your life–emotional, relational, spiritual, mental, physical, occupational, financial and environmental. Wellness looks at all the buckets contributing to your life. Maybe your spiritual bucket is always full, but your physical bucket is often empty. If you’re being an active participant in your wellness, you’re aware of how full your buckets are and are taking steps to improve or “fill up” those that are lacking. Sometimes one bucket is fuller than another and sometimes you find one or two buckets empty. That’s real life! A focus on wellness doesn’t mean having all your buckets filled at the same time or even having them filled exactly the same; it’s understanding what wellness looks like for you and being intentional with one step at a time to fill your bucket to a point that feels good to you. There is no formula or perfect “balance” that you will ever achieve, so set your expectation that you care deeply about doing your best. Start with these questions:

Emotional:

  1. How often do I feel joyful? 
  2. What are the things that make me feel joyful? 
  3. If I could have my dream day, what would that day look like? What do I need to do to make a dream day happen? 

Relational: 

  1. Who do I spend the most time with? 
  2. Is there anyone I want to spend more time with? How can I make that happen? 
  3. When I hang out with people, do I leave feeling uplifted or depressed? 
  4. How often do I see people that don’t live in my own home?

We often hear: “I don’t want to go to a senior center. That’s for old people.” Many senior centers are 50+ or 55+ in age, meaning younger people go and participate. In our opinion, they should just be considered “clubs!” They’re a great place to meet people, attend events, participate in meals or exercise classes etc. And most are quite cost-effective. Check out the Modern Maturity Center in Dover as an example of a place with great programs where everyone can find something!

Spiritual:

  1. When is the last time I took the time to practice my spirituality? 

Mental:

  1. What really bugs me throughout the day? How can I change that thing so it doesn’t bug me all the time? 
  2. When I’m really stressed, what helps me destress (this is a good one to talk through with a significant other so they know how to best help!)?
  3. When is the last time you played a game? Scrabble, sudoku, solitaire? Something to get your brain stimulated and thinking? 

Physical: 

  1. Am I happy with my self-image? 
  2. How often am I physically active?
  3. On a daily basis, am I getting the vitamins, minerals and nutrients I need to eat?

Brittany Stoltzfus of Simply Nutrition and Wendy Flannery of Contemporary Nutrition are both Registered Dieticians (not just health coaches) who can meet with you remotely to help you establish a healthy relationship with food and exercise. Visit their websites or call to set up a consult. 

Occupational: 

  1. What is something I used to love doing that I don’t do anymore? Is there a way that I can either get back to doing it or adapt it so I can have it in my life? 
  2. What hobbies do I have? 

Financial:

  1. Do I have the finances I need for the quality of life I want? 
  2. Have I seen an elder law attorney to discuss power of attorney, living wills/advanced directives, trusts, and long term care planning? 

Getting a Daily Money Manager like Janis Harlow of Paper Tigress, or consulting an elder law attorney can set you up for daily and future success without the stress. 

Environmental:

  1. Are things clean so that I can easily navigate my own environment? 
  2. Do things smell good? If not, what is affecting the smell? Common things include the fridge not being cleaned out and the carpet not being deep cleaned or shampooed.
  3. Is there any place in the house that I’m scared of going because I don’t feel safe? 

Cleaning services like Merry Maids can ensure your home environment is where you need it to be, while Aging in Place Specialists like Kat Cieniewicz, PT of Aging in Place Specialists or Debra Young, OT of Empowerability can help you adapt your home to work for you. 

Visit our YouTube channel for talks around aging topics and to watch our Coffee Chats with Tiffany where RN Tiffany Rubin talks about matters you care about.

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Call: 302.724.7902
Email: jackie@silverlininghealthcare.com
Address: 24 Hiawatha Lane
Dover DE 19904