I checked the worldwide web for observances in March just for fun, but there were so many that I decided to focus on National Nutrition Month, in the area of caregivers.
Caregivers have to be very resilient to do the jobs they do, day in and day out. Caregiving can take its toll, therefore, good nutrition is very important in their lives and the people they care for. Let’s take a moment and look at a couple of scenarios in what could be part of a caregiver’s life:
• Bob is so worn out by caring for his wife who has dementia that hot dogs or a can of soup are all he can manage to put on the table for dinner.
• Judy cares for her parents each day after a long day’s work and helps them with dinner. By the time she gets home, she is so tired, she skips dinner.
How can you as a caregiver take better care of yourself, not just during the month of March, National Nutrition Month, but every day?
Nutritious eating promotes good health and builds strength and stamina needed when you are a caregiver. Sometimes just getting through the day takes extra effort. Did you know that the Senior Center provides wonderful, nutritious meals every day? Yes, even on holidays — 365 days a year!
You can choose to come into the Senior Center and select from the regular meal or from the soup, salad and sandwich bar (Mondays through Fridays) and then take dinner home from our “grab and go” station.
We have homemade wonderful soups from our kitchen. Or, if you are unable to come in for your nutritious meal and you qualify for home-delivered meals, you can enjoy the same delicious meal that is being served at the Senior Center in your own home.
Our souls need a good dose of nourishment, too, so coming to the Senior Center and visiting with friends and staff will add Vitamin F to your daily need of supplements.
Never heard of Vitamin F? Dr. Oz calls your friends your Vitamin F and counts the benefits of friends essential to our wellbeing. Research shows that people in strong social circles have less risk of depression. If you enjoy Vitamin F (the warmth of friendship) along with nutritious meals from the Senior Center, I guarantee your stress level will decrease.
Lack of hydration can wreak havoc on our systems and this is an area that I hear caregivers always concerned about. Maybe not as much concern for themselves but certainly for those they care for. Most of us do not get the recommended eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
My dad always tried to count his morning coffee and the coffee he drank with his meals as part of the recommended daily intake. Unfortunately, coffee does not count because it is a diuretic. Sometimes we need a little bit of advice on how to make the best of our liquid intake.
The Senior Center’s registered dietitian, Georgia Boley, is available by appointment here at the Senior Center. She can offer support for you and your loved one. She can also offer ideas for eating a balanced diet, selecting healthy snacks and overcoming barriers to healthy eating.
Enjoy all that March brings — St. Patrick’s Day (corned beef and cabbage are delicious here at the Senior Center), Daylight Savings Time and spring, which begins this month. Does that mean no more snow? Probably not, but stop by for your dose of Vitamin F and enjoy a meal with us.
Guest columnist Stella Montano is the director of family caregiver services at the Sheridan Senior Center, a program that supports those of all ages who are caring for others. Center Stage is written by friends of the Senior Center for the Sheridan Community. It is a collection of insights and stories related to living well at every age.