Important Nutrition Family Caregivers Need

By Patricia Schumacher, 9:00 am on

Getting proper nutrition isn’t just important for aging adults. It’s also essential for family caregivers. Caregiving can be stressful and physically exhausting, so consuming nutrient-dense foods is crucial. Here are the most important types of nutrition family caregivers need to effectively fulfill their caregiving responsibilities.

Vitamin C

If you take care of a senior loved one, especially if you have other personal and professional obligations, you may experience caregiver burnout, which can cause fatigue, anxiety, and a suppressed immune system, raising your risk for bacterial and viral infections. Eating foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, grapefruit, and green leafy vegetables, can boost immune function so you stay strong, healthy, and resistant to infections. If you don’t enjoy vitamin C–rich foods, consider taking an over-the-counter supplement to fulfill your recommended daily allowance for vitamin C. Make sure to avoid megadoses of vitamin C because taking too much can cause heartburn, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

Fiber

Caring for a loved one may mean caregivers skimp on themselves when it comes to nutrition. Make sure you consume enough fiber-rich foods, such as legumes, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, and grains. Failure to do so may result in constipation. In addition to eating more fiber, make sure to drink plenty of water, because increasing fiber intake without drinking enough fluid may result in abdominal pain, excessive gas, and bloating.

Family caregivers don’t have to risk their own wellbeing to make sure their loved ones continue to receive high-quality care. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Rhode Island, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential element every single cell in the body benefits from. This important mineral is sometimes called “nature’s beta blocker” because of its beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. Consuming magnesium-rich foods, such as almonds, avocados, and dark chocolate, can help caregivers stay calm even in the most stressful situations. Consuming more magnesium-rich foods may also prevent high blood pressure, stabilize blood glucose levels, support a healthy immune system, and keep anxiety and depression at bay. You may also notice better sleep patterns when you eat foods high in magnesium. If you’re the primary family caregiver, consider increasing your magnesium intake. If you don’t enjoy eating magnesium-rich foods, an over-the-counter supplement may satisfy your recommended daily allowance for this heart-healthy mineral.

Family caregivers are often at high risk for burnout, and hiring an in-home caregiver can provide a much-needed source of support. When you search for a professional caregiver, you’re looking for someone with experience in senior care who’s compassionate and trustworthy. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide home care services. Rhode Island families can turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.

Protein

Family caregivers need to stay strong to effectively fulfill their caregiving obligations, so they need to consume a protein-rich diet. Protein keeps muscles and joints strong, and it also enhances concentration, stabilizes blood sugar levels, and prevents fatigue. Eating lean sources of proteins, such as low-fat dairy products and lean meats and fish, should be included in your meal plans. It’s important to note that while protein is an excellent food choice for caregivers, eating too much may not be recommended for those who have kidney disease or gout, a painful form of arthritis.

It’s crucial for family caregivers to take good care of themselves, and if you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed by your caregiving responsibilities, remember you don’t have to manage everything all on your own. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Rhode Island in-home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families aren’t able to provide. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner in caregiving for your loved one. Contact one of our experienced Care Managers today at (401) 284-0979 to learn more about our reliable in-home care services.