Caregivers aren’t non-human. This may seem like a terribly obvious statement, but the reality is that many people who start providing home care for their aging loved ones take on a feeling of invincibility because they don’t feel that they have the time, or even the right, to be sick or tired because it is necessary that they devote all of their time and energy to making sure that their aging loved one is healthy and happy. This can only last but for so long. Eventually a lack of taking care of yourself will catch up with you and you will find that your physical and psychological health is suffering.
One of the first areas of taking care of themselves that caregivers abandon is eating a well-balanced diet. It can often seem as though you simply don’t have the time or the energy to prepare and eat nutritious meals. Instead, you fit snacks and fast food among the various responsibilities of providing home care for your loved one. Taking the time to eat nutritiously will make you feel much better, enabling you to provide better care for your aging loved one.
Here are some nutrition tips for caregivers that help them to offer better care for the long term:
- Nuts are true nutritional powerhouses. They contain both healthy fats and protein that satisfy your hunger and help support healthy digestion and strong muscles. Fill several snack-size zipper bags with a handful of nuts each so that you can carry around a perfect portion for whenever the hunger pangs start.
- Smoothies are fast and easy to consume and can be an incredible source of nutrition. Don’t choose the premade versions. Instead, make your own with frozen berries, fruit juice, plain Greek yogurt and protein powder. For an added kick of nutrition consider adding silken tofu, wheat germ or even powdered greens.
- There is no need for a salad to be boring. In fact, it is when you add a bit of interest to your salad that you are likely to add the most nutrition. The vitamins and minerals that are present in vegetables are fat-soluble. This means that the only way that your body can absorb and utilize these nutrients is with the help of fat. Don’t make a lunch of an anemic plate of iceberg lettuce and fat-free dressing. Instead, create a masterpiece of mixed greens, crumbled bleu cheese, dried cranberries and walnuts and drizzle it with an olive oil vinaigrette. This combination is not only filling and interesting, but contains a wealth of nutrients that will keep you feeling your best.
For more information on the VA Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit that helps senior veterans pay for in-home care services, or if you have a general question about VA Home Care, please don’t hesitate to call Veterans Home Care at 888-314-6075