Nutrition for the Caregiver Presented by Tamika Forkner, MS, RD, LD November 8, 2013 The Caregiver • Caregiving • to give Care • to take Care of • to Care for • to provide Care What do these terms/phrases mean? Consider this…. • More than 50 millions Americans are caring for family members, partners and/or friends. • Studies show that caregivers are twice as likely to suffer from depression than the general public. • Caregivers are also more likely to have high levels of stress hormones, inhibited immune systems, slow wound healing, hypertension and coronary heart disease. Consider your Care • Do you often skip and/or delay meals? • Are you drinking enough water/liquids? • Are snacks/fast food/junk food replacing full meals? • Do you forget to take your own medication? • Have you started medication since becoming a Caretaker? Mealtime A time to slow down and nourish yourself mentally and physically. • Enjoy a meal with your loved one(s). • Take time to enjoy a meal alone. • Accept the offer of someone making a meal for you. The Basic Food Groups • Fruits • Vegetables • Dairy/Milk • Meat/Protein • Grains/Breads • Water Do you get these daily? Poor Nutrition • • • • • • • Fatigue Blood Sugar spikes – Low/High Dehydration Unintentional weight changes Moodiness Digestive problems Interrupted sleep patterns Proper Nutrition • • • • • • • • Energetic Hydrated Blood sugar regulation Weight management Cognitive function maintenance Good digestive health Mood boost More restful sleep Helpful Tips • Goal: 3 meals & 2-3 snacks o This goal should include ALL food groups & water. o Reality: This may not happen. o ALSO - Accept that “full course meals” may not happen every day. • Be prepared!!! o o o o Pick one day to cook for the week. Shop for yourself as if you were a child – snacks, juices, fruits, etc. Set your phone to alarm every 2-3 hours and eat something. Stay hydrated - Always keep water with you. • Your food choices should be as nutrient dense as possible. Take time for your Care The health & well being of your loved one/client depends on how well you take Care of yourself. • You must nurture and nourish yourself. • Take the time: o Exercise – talk a walk, schedule this with a friend. o Meditate – wake up 10-15 minutes earlier for this quiet time for yourself. o Sit down and eat – whether it’s a meal or a snack. o Ask for help if you can’t find the time. Resources • Family Caregiver Alliance o www.caregiver.org • Today’s Caregiver o www.cargiver.com • AARP – Caregiver Resource Center o www.aarp.org • Caregiver Stress - Nutrition o www.caregiverstress.com • Alzheimer’s Blog – “Taking Care of the Caregiver” o www.mayoclinic.com Thank You Any questions?