Are you fit enough (physically) to be your parents caregiver?

Today I offer you a GUEST BLOG POST from my friend Stan, and Maturity Matters. An excellent post, if I do say so myself.

Are you fit enough (physically) to be your parents caregiver?

A few of the major issues of caregiving I hear about are burnout, anger, frustration, exhaustion, boredom, of course love and loneliness.  Many caregivers have aches and pains from the constant on their feet running here and there, lifting, bending, carrying, cleaning and all the other movements associated with the daily grind of assisting an older person.  The older and more fragile, the more work involved of course.

My question is, how do you keep yourself in shape for this kind of work. It is physical and much moreso for the older population who are normally the ones doing the caregiving for their loved one.

  • Do you stretch at night and in the morning to loosen up?
  • Do you do any form of exercise to burn off the stress that can wreck havoc with your body?
  • Do you eat right to keep your system functioning properly
  • Do you remember to drink enough fluids so you don’t dehydrate (or do you run on coffee alone to keep going?)

If you currently are a caregiver I would ask you to step back and assess your approach.   Luckily I was able to help with some of the heavy lifting and spot checks and shared cooking duties and house chores at both homes.   This gave my wife enough time for her to get in some treadmill work to burn off some stress.

Remember, although you choose to do this, you should not have to take the full brunt. Get get your family to help and allow you some personal time.  Any muscle needs recovery from overuse and most of yours both physically and emotionally will be beyond overuse.

If you see this coming in your life, what are you doing to prepare for it? You very well may want to consult your physician and see if you should take on a roll of this magnitude.  (remember, it will be way more than you think)

I would recommend some Tai Chi, Qigong or Yoga and an occasional massage to help with your overall well being while undertaking the giving of care.

Who wants to add to this post? I am curious to see what other caregivers have to say on this topic.

About the Author:

Stan founded – a network of whole senior fitness and lifestyle providers, resources and information.  Stan is also the creator and teacher of ChniForLiving, amovement, balance, flexibility and range of motion program for Independent and Assisted Living seniors.

Also, check out Stan’s blog at

About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked with the elderly and their families for over 30 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes". As an ElderCare Expert and Keynote Speaker, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and passion, to educate and promote self-care values to family caregivers and the community at large.
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7 Responses to Are you fit enough (physically) to be your parents caregiver?

  1. Nurse Tim of the Yukon says:

    Hey, this photo caption has is my absolute FAVORITE stretch bar-none! My back is trashed from years of lifting big patients in and out of planes, ambulances and beds, and this stretch is the only one that works for me- I got it from an othopaedic book called, “Treat Your Back” by some Australian Physical Therapist. It’s a safe stretch and really works- try it!


    • Tim, that’s so cool to know! Man, sounds like you have had your share of back pain and then some! By the way, I have a friend who is trying to help a friend who has a spouse that is 500 lbs. and refuses to stop over eating and is afraid if they need to get them out of the bed and the house, how to ever go about it! Any suggestions?


      • Nurse Tim of the Yukon says:

        Yea- call the fire department!
        Sounds like a Hoyer lift might be too small for the job, but a team of firefighters have special equipment for that task- leave it to the professionals. Using proper body mechanics is so important- plan every part of the move ahead of time!


  2. Your points are very well taken. I struggle with this every day. Not only do I care for my mother, I also have 4 children ages 3-12 which makes it even harder to find time to take care of myself. I recognize it as being very important, but sure do have a hard time working it in to my routine. Thanks for the reminder!


    • Hi Amy, you definitely are in the new “Sandwich Generation” I say new because it’s a new term, not a new era and several folks before us have done the same thing. I’m sure you are overwhelmed at times. Please make sure you find some kind of time for yourself. You have to be be healthy to carry that load of responsibility. Thanks for your comment.


  3. Pingback: Do you have enough Insurance Coverage? | Health and Finance

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