Sam Bauman: Caregivers need care too; senior fun out there



Many seniors are involved in the caregiver world of tending to someone’s problems, physically and mentally.

They do their patient no good when they are under caregiver stress. Caregiver stress could be defined as anything that puts your life on hold or in disarray.

RSVP in Carson City offers home caregivers period of respite on a regular basis. This helps keep caregivers in good mental condition and able to help their charges. If you’re a caregiver and feel he need for some respite time, contact RSVP at 687-4494. The volunteers are trained and able to do stand-in time with care and consideration. I know, I’ve done it.

Meanwhile, here are symptoms of caregiver stress from the Alzheimer’s Association (they have a printed guide along these lines; call 800-272-390 to get one).

1. Denial about their charge’s disease and its effect on the patient. Such as “I know mom is going to get better.”

2. Anger at the person with dementia, anger that no cure exists, and that people don’t understand what’s going on. Anger is a stress-giver almost always.

3. Social withdrawal from friends and activities that once provided pleasure. “No, I don’t want to go to that birthday party.”

4. Worry about facing another day, about the future, what happens when the patient needs more care than I can provide? “I’m critical to my charge’s health all by myself.”

5. Depression that begins to break your spirit, affects your ability to cope. “I don’t care anymore.”

6. Exhaustion. Being too tired to do this anymore. Even after rest tiredness continues.

7. Sleeplessness triggered by an endless list of worries, “What if my charge wanders out of the house?”

8. Irritability, moodiness, negative responses. “No. I just don’t want to.”

9. Weak concentration, making it tough to do regular tasks. “Now, what was I going to do?”

10. Loss of vigor, mental and physical, “I can’t remember when I last felt good.”

Caregivers don’t need to suffer all of the above, just one or two is an indication of caregiver stress.

Here is what the Association suggests for caregivers:

Get a dementia diagnosis early for your patient who displays signs of dementia.

Become a smart caregiver. Learn the new skills needed to help your patient.

Get help. Doing it all can be exhausting, so ask the association, RSVP, friends and family for aid.

Take care of yourself, check the Internet for respite care tips.

Manages your stress, use exercise and systems such as yoga to be able to accept changes as they come.

Accept realism. Know what you do with the patient is making a difference.

Take credit for your aid when you lose patience when you’re unable to do it all. Don’t feel guilty when you can’t do more for your patient or loved one.

And don’t skip seeing your doctor regularly, don’t ignore your symptoms that should be taken seriously.

Caregivers can learn from the recent death of Robin Williams, whose suicide shocked us. He apparently was suffering from dementia in the early form of Parkinson’s disease. Williams had plenty of help but apparently not the kind that he really needed, Seniors who remember the TV show “Mork and Mindy” certainly could identify with Williams, the delightful alien who charmed Pat Dawber.

Dinner on the ski slope

I enjoyed again the elaborate afternoon dinner served on a ski slope at Homewood Resort on Highway 89. It was just as stunning as last year, five courses and matching wine, with Lake Tahoe gleaming over the slope. Aug. 30 will be a repeat if anyone is interested it’s a unique dinning experience, Just check for details. Riding the Quail chairlift up and back down adds something to it all.

Tahoe Star Tour

The star tour takes place between 8:15-10:45 p.m. Saturday. Learn about the Sierra Nevada’s constellations, stars, planets, and vast celestial map during the tour, which includes a guided narration of the sky. View the sky through high-powered Celestron telescopes and relax with friends and family while sipping cocoa and roasting S’mores. Reserve tickets at

Nuggets for senior health

Consumer Reports offers these shorties from its On Health publication:

Oranges have the power to control the negative effects of sodium on the body. They are rich in potassium that helps regulate sodium. An orange a day may help lower blood pressure, reduce risk of a stroke and help keep the heart healthy and strong.”

“Is olive oil the only healthy oil you can buy? No — safflower and sunflower oils provide heart protection as well and cost less.”

“Stay steady on your feet … Accommodations people make to prevent falls such as restricting their activities and adopting a slower rate can actually increase the risk. Best way to prevent falls is to built muscle strength in the legs and improve balance. Tai chi is one form of exercise that can help develop balance, body awareness and confidence.”

“Got heartburn? Don’t drink milk… it can stimulate the secretion of stomach acid, worsening he problem.”

And the hike I did Thursday really wore me out. Gotta get out there more on those hills.

Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal.


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