Caregiver, What Are You Doing For You? 3 Tips to Feed Your Brain and Heart

January 8, 2010 at 3:15 am Leave a comment

I know caregivers get tired of hearing “take care of you.” I always felt like slamming back, “And how do you suppose I do that?”

In little bitty ways, that’s how.

I know you can’t go to Disney, take a 10 day cruise, or even slip away for a half day at the spa for that matter. But you can incorporate new ideas and fun things to do into your caregiving day.

For me, I need color, new ideas, things to learn, and a stead dose of laughter. What do you need?

I was essentially homebound with my mom. Her Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s had gotten to the point to where I felt it was too much to ask my husband or children to watch her for too long, and although I occasionally found home health care who could pitch in, fit in, and not drive me crazy–it never seemed to last too long. So had to learn how to sneak a little zest into my life.

Three Tips to Feed Your Brain and Heart:

  • Buy magazines at the grocery store–books, DVD’s, whatever they’ve got. You don’ t have time to make a separate trip so pay the little extra and come home with some new material. You may only have the time and energy to look at the pretty pictures, but maybe during the course of a month you might actually finish an article–or two. Step out of the norm and buy a magazine on travel, knitting, photography, or gardening. Dream a little.
  • Expand your cable. It’s not like you’re spending boo-coo money on going out to dinner and movie, and I bet you no longer have symphony tickets for the season–so spend twenty extra dollars and get some channels you like. I’m not in love with the Smithsonian Channel, Travel HD (high def), and Style (‘m a girl, indulge me). I also love the food channel, TLC, and the Movie Channel. You can escape for a few minutes with Anthony Bourdain, sipping wine spritzers in Peru–right in your livingroom or watch Casablanca on A&E.
  • Search the ‘net for some new sites. My new favorites are that has lectures from prominent professors from Yale, Harvard and Berkley on everything from Brit Lit to philosophy to world religions and physics. Expand your brain. Get a cuppa joe and sit in on a class you would love to take but never did. I also love the You can tour the galaxy via the Hubble right from your laptop. I also like,a site that teaches you step by step how to make things. Or if you’ve had a bad day, hope on over to or YouTube’s top picks and just enjoy yourself.

I can’t make your caregiving challenges, frustrations, and heartaches go away, but I hope you’ll begin to surround yourself with great ideas, literature, movies, and interesting sites that expand your brain and your heart. There were so many days when I had a “woe is me” attitude about staying home with my mom, but when I turned it around and realized it wasn’t all bad, that I could incorporate some pretty cool things into my day…I found that caregiving had (much to my surprise) a few perks.

Entry filed under: brain fitness, caring for parents, elder care, family caregiving. Tags: , , , , .

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This Blog

Hi, I'm Carol O'Dell. This blog will include stories and lessons I've learned while caring for my mom, and now as I speak to caregivers around the country. I hope to offer suggestions, ideas and insights that will help others.

While this blog is supported by Dakim Brain Fitness, I’m not blogging to promote the Dakim company or products. Instead, I’m writing about how caring and being cared for affects your life and your family. My hope is that this blog gives you a place to learn, reflect, gain new perspective to make it another day.

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