Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 17th 2018 Contents health B7
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
our day starts probably
if not earlier and this
is your 7 days a week
routine. You start to
organise breakfast for the care
recipient, making sure it’s a
breakfast specific to their diet.
Then you wait for them to wake
up. In some cases you then have
to help them out of bed, get them
dressed and ready for breakfast.
By this time it is now
8:30/9:00am. Breakfast is done
and you organise the med-
ication. Wait we are now at
10:00/10:30am. Guess What?
You haven’t had any breakfast.
Probably grab a cup of coffee that
has to be reheated at least 3 times
before you can complete it, if at
all. Hold on, still no breakfast. No
Time. You have to start to prepare
for lunch and probably organise a
snack just before.
And this continues for the
rest of the day. Perhaps it’s now
4:30/5:00pm you feel dizzy, irri-
table, hungry because you hav-
en’t eaten and probably topped
up on 3 more cups of coffee to
keep you going.
This is your daily routine, 7
days a week. No stopping. You
don’t feel healthy. Your body feels
tired. Your mind is always racing
along with your heart. Your body
aches, not to mention those head-
aches. The thought of exercise or
going out and taking a break is
like pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
When will you start taking care
of yourself ? When the care recip-
ient passes on? Or when you Col-
lapse? No, that call all be avoided,
if you learn to set goals for your-
Why should I set goals?
Setting goals or deciding what
you would like to accomplish in
the next three to six months is an
important tool for taking care of
yourself. Here are some sample
goals you might set:
Take a break from care giving.
This may sound crazy or even
impossible. But trust me if you
don’t do this or find a way to, you
may be forced to, due to medical
issues or worse.
• Start with 30 minutes. A family
member or friend can stay with
the care recipient. You can try
going outside or just take a walk
around the block. Nothing too
fancy as yet.
• Read a book - at least cover one
• You can watch a television show
which is about 30 minutes long.
Get help with care giving tasks,
like bathing and preparing
• Instead of the battle of a bath,
choose a sponge bath which
is easier. You can have other
Setting goals or
deciding what you
would like to
accomplish in the next
three to six months is
an important tool for
taking care of yourself.
Goals for self care
family members commit to days
where, they will handle this.
• Prepare meals that can be frozen
such as lentil, callaloo or dhal,
and packaged in small contain-
ers and reheated. Remember to
put the date it was made and use
as quickly as possible.
• Sandwiches can be made and
it can be the same menu for
breakfast and dinner. So you
don’t have to spend all this time
preparing an entirely new meal.
For example boiled egg, can
be used in a sandwich and in a
salad. Tuna can also be done in
a sandwich and then tossed in
• Have other family members
commit to providing meals on
certain days. For example Sun-
day lunch can be dropped off
which can consumed that day
and also the following Monday.
Engage in activities that make
you feel healthy. Such as
• Dancing while you do chores
or prepare meals.
• Singing at the top of your
voice. Doesn’t matter if you
don’t have a voice like Whit-
• Music is very therapeutic.
• Scented candles like laven-
der relaxes and soothes the
• Read a good book that stimu-
lates the brain and takes you
to another place.
raises, get the blood flowing.
Remember goals should be set
in small increments, as you do
not want to feel overwhelmed if
they are not accomplished. De-
cide which goal you are going to
start first and when. Remember
have SMART goals.
S - specific or significant,
stretching, stimulating, simple,
self-owned, strategic, sensible
M - measurable or meaningful,
motivating, manageable, main-
A - achievable or attainable,
R - relevant or rewarding, re-
T - time based or time-bound,
time- lined, track-able
1. Here’s a goal that you set out
to accomplish this week, dental
The possible action steps for this
are, first call the dentist and get
available dates and times, find out
who will be able to stay with the
care recipient based on the availa-
ble dates and times you have, call
back the dentist’s office and make
appointment, remind the person
2 days before your appointment
so that there are no disappoint-
ments, prepare meals for the care
recipient and let everyone know
the appointment make take time
so you don’t feel rushed or have
ample time in the event there are
What are your short term goals
for April 2018? Write them down
and set out to accomplish each
Asha Mungal is
the sole family
caregiver for her
Director of her
Health Plus Presents:
Self-Care for family caregivers
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