What You Need If You Are a Caregiver

PersonholdingHandofCaregiverNovember is National Caregiver Month. Caring for an older, ill or disabled person can be challenging. Daily and long term tasks can seem overwhelming. As with other things in life, staying organized can help alleviate some of the stress. So can seeking out the help of others.

After learning about the disease, condition or illness faced their loved one, caregivers will need to figure out what they will need to do to adapt to their new role. This should include a game plan for becoming acquainted with the condition of your loved one’s health and reducing stress. Government agencies, houses of worship, healthcare institutions, and the Internet and books can provide information about diseases and resources available to caregivers.

Finding support is important. Once specific needs such as transportation to and from doctor’sappointments or bathing and meals are identified, friends, family and neighbors can provide the extra helping hands needed. Besides a schedule for providing care, it’s a good idea toorganize documents that will be needed for doctor visits, any hospitalizations, and legal and financial planning issues that may arise. Some caregivers find it easier to get organized with the help of technology such as computers and smart devices, but a pen and paper do the job too.

Here’s a list of some of the documents, papers and information you’ll want to have at the ready:

  • Name of illness
  • Names of medication/s and doses
  • Names of doctor/s, phone numbers and addresses
  • Medical insurance cards/information
  • Bank account statements
  • Insurance policies
  • Household bills
  • Originals and photocopies of all important identify cards such as social security card and driver’s license
  • Living will
  • Power of attorney form

Social workers and case managers, some of whom work as consultants or as staff athealthcare institutions, can provide guidance with managing the care of a family member or friend.

Among the services provided at the Saint Peter’s Adult Day Center, is a support group for caregivers.  The Center is located at 200 Overlook Plaza, Pondview Plaza, Monroe Township. Visit our website to learn more about adult day center services, including medical and social programs, provided in a beautiful homelike setting.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          


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What Can I Eat for the Holidays

Thanksgiving-2013Few things bring people together like food, especially during the holidays when meals are often shared. But if you aren’t careful, this time of the year can sabotage your healthy eating habits. With everyone serving extra helpings of your favorite comfort foods and desserts plentiful, planning what you eat and how much of it you eat will help you avoid unhealthy weight gain.

Whether you are eating in or out, keep the following tips in mind. Think of them as ground rules for healthy eating.

  • Never hungry. To avoid overeating, never, ever sit down to eat when you are hungry.
  • Low, not high. Have plenty of low carbohydrate vegetables during the day such as broccoli and string beans. Not only are these low in calories, but they don’t raise your blood sugar.   It is best to enjoy them steamed.
  • Got drink? Stay hydrated throughout the day; drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Four cups of your liquid intake can come from decaffeinated drinks.
  • Lean & Bake. Cook or select menu items that are lean cuts of meat, fish and poultry.  Avoid eating anything fried; instead bake, broil or grill your meat.
  • Eat fiber. Increase your intake of fiber-rich foods such as whole grain breads, peas and beans. Talk to a nutritionist about how best to eat them, particularly whole grains which can raise blood sugar.
  • Fruits in moderation.  Fruit should be a part of your diet, but eat them in moderate portions because like whole grains, this food can raise your blood sugar, which is of particular concern if you are coping with a chronic condition such as diabetes.
  • Bring your own and share.  If you are going to a party, bring a healthy dish to share with family or friends. This way you will have something healthy to pick from and so will everyone else.
  • Take a tour. When you get to the party make the rounds as if you were taking inventory of all there is to eat.  Decide what dishes would be best for you to eat and then before you start serving yourself.
  • Quality versus quantity. And observe one of the golden rules of healthy eating: portion control.  Consult with a nutritionist about the correct portion sizes; if you have diabetes, consult with a nutritionist who is a certified diabetes educator.
  • Challenge yourself to have just one.  That dreaded but delicious table of dessert selections might be calling your name, but here too portion control is very important. If you really want to sample the holiday cookies, only have one.

So don’t forget – plan ahead, and not just during this time of the year, but always – in order to maintain good eating habits. Oh, and make sure that exercise is a part of your life.  Your healthcare provider can help you to determine what level of exercise you should engage in and what your exercise goals should be. If you have time for nothing else, walk.  A brisk walk will get your heart pumping!

Now, enjoy the holidays and the pleasures of the food you eat.

This post published courtesy of Beverley Waithe, MA, RD, CDE, a registered dietician and certified diabetes educator with the Thyroid and Diabetes Center at Saint Peter’s University Hospital. Contact the Center’s nutrition staff at 732-339-7630 or (877) 977-5767




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