February 2013


Are You a Family Caregiver?
If so,
don’t forget to take care of yourself

Donna Barrett, MSW, LSW



At some point in your life, you may become a caregiver or maybe you already are. If so, you are not alone. The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP found that “44.4 million Americans ages 18 or older are providing unpaid care to an adult.”  Typically, the adult is a family member over age 50 who has been diagnosed with diabetes, cancer or heart disease. One-quarter of all caregivers provides support for a family member who has dementia. For many, caregiving is a 24-hour, seven-day-per-week job. On average, a family caregiver spends 20 or more hours providing care for a loved one. It is important as a caregiver to take care of yourself.

Caregiving can lead to caregiver stress or burnout. Below are signs:

  • Feeling tired most of the time
  • Feeling overwhelmed and irritable
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Gaining or losing a lot of weight
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy

Strategies to manage caregiver stress:

  • Accept help. Be prepared with a list of ways that others can help you and allow them to help you.
  • Focus on what you are able to provide. Feeling guilty is normal, so don’t give into it.  Remember, no one is the “perfect” caregiver. You are doing the best that you can. Don’t feel guilty about asking for help.
  • Get connected. Find out what other organizations offer regarding caregiving classes and tips. Organizations such as AARP, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging and Southwest General Health Center, to name just a few, are good starting points to obtain resource information on respite care, personal care assistance, transportation, government benefits and other community options.
  • Join a support group. Support groups provide much needed support,  including encouragement and advice from others in similar situations.
  • Seek social support. Stay connected with family and friends. Make sure you set aside time for yourself each week to do activities you like such as going to a movie or having a lunch with a friend. Having a strong support system is key to managing the stress associated with caregiving.
  • Set personal health goals. Set a goal to exercise several times a week or get a good night’s sleep. Eat a healthy diet.
  • See your doctor. Tell your doctor that you are a caregiver. Get the recommended immunizations and screenings. Make sure you mention any concerns or symptoms you are experiencing.

For more information on resources available for caregivers, contact Southwest General Health Center’s Geriatric Services Department at 440-816-4065 or Caregiver Support Group and Resource Center at 440-570-1557.

Feel Great, Look Great
FREE Health Series
Your Monthly Exercise
& Nutrition Tip

Bariatric Surgery and Weight Loss
Thurs., Feb. 21, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Brook Park Rec Center
17400 Holland Rd., Brook Park
Join Craig Eyman, DO, as he talks about the pros and cons of bariatric surgery.
Registration required. Please call
440-816-4210 for more info, or email seasons@swgeneral.com

Relationship with food … Are you satisfied with life or hungy for more?
Thurs., March 28, 7-8 p.m. 
Berea Library
7 Berea Commons, Berea
Join Marlene Kurz as she discusses the psychological aspects of weight loss and the roadblocks that stop us from losing weight.
Registration required. Please call
440-816-4210 for more info, or email seasons@swgeneral.com

Nutrition and Weight Loss
Thurs., April 11, 7-8 p.m.
Strongsville Library
18700 Westwood, Strongsville
Join Judy Steffes as she discusses portion control, healthy food choices and dining out options that will not sabotage your weight loss goals.
Registration required. Please call
440-816-4210 for more info, or email seasons@swgeneral.com

Save the Date
2nd Annual Fight Like a Girl Wine Tasting
Thurs., March 7
Additional details to come.

Fancy Nancy
Sat., April 13
For girls, aged four to eight.
Additional details to come.

Seasons Annual Event 
with Linda Edgecombe
Thurs., Oct. 17
Additional details to come.



When is the best time of day to exercise? 
You may have heard that exercising early in the morning burns more fat or that you shouldn't exercise too late in the evening so as to avoid disturbing your sleep patterns.  The truth is, you should exercise when it works best for you!  The key is to find a time that works so that you will be more likely to stick with it.  Consistency is the key to success!

Need a good rule of thumb for avoiding unhealthy, processed junk foods?  Do not eat anything out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that has more than five ingredients listed on the label.  Also, stay away from items with ingredients you cannot even pronounce!