Beauty is Upbeat Exercise, Smiles, & Literacy
UPBEAT EXERCISE & SMILES
Caregiving and Exercising on the job.
If the person you care for needs to engage in physical activity and a doctor has indicated what type of activity is appropriate, then, if you can, you should do the exercise with your care recipient. Make the activity memorable.
For many care providers making an exercise activity memorable means playing music in the background while including a word of praise here and there. Most caregivers naturally say words of praise to their care recipients when they do a job well done. However, while exercising, carefully placed words of praise bring about necessary cooperation from a person that for various reasons may not want to exercise.
Music 💽 that lifts your mood in combination with smiles and words of praise should help you accomplish exercise goals. Saying words like "good! "better!" and "excellent!" can help you and your care recipient accomplish important exercise goals.
Do you need to exercise?
Yes, caregivers need to exercise because when we exercise we become more capable of handling the stressful demands of the job. According to Selected Caregiver Statistics from Family Caregiver Alliance approximately 30 % of caregivers report elevated levels of stress (Family Caregiver Alliance, 2006). The stress drains your ability to solve difficult problems and leads to physical problems, anxiety, and depression. Health problems settle in when we stop moving our bodies. Just ask any couch potato.
Whatever type of exercise you engage in, make sure it has the ability to make you feel good about yourself. The exercise should nourish your body, mind and soul. According to Time magazine, in the Special Edition titled "Mindfulness," nourishing these 3 elements of your life are very important to keep you motivated to become healthier (Lombardi L., 2016). Not only does your body need strength to fight off disease, but your mind must get stronger because as a caregiver you are required to solve difficult problems on an everyday basis. And, to further strengthen your ability to thrive, your soul needs enrichment to keep you happy about being alive. 💝
Solving too many difficult problems daily can lead to anxiety and depression if you're not prepared to keep the negative states of being at bay. According to health investigators working for U.S. News & World Report, participating in moderate exercise for 30 minutes three times per week is a proven way to prevent depression from taking a foothold in your life (Kotz D., & Hopt A., 2012). In addition, the authors stated that practicing the calming focused exercises of Yoga a minimum of three times in a week reduces the symptoms of depression and anxiety (Kotz D. & Hopt A., 2012).
As always, check with your doctor first before you start any exercise program.
Supporting Different Types of Literacy Skills
Shining a light on your care recipient's best literacy skills is an excellent way to lift self-esteem, promote self-expression and increase overall well-being. Your recipient's ability to demonstrate and gain knowledge with minimal assistance from caregivers is very important to the recipient’s emotional state. To do an exceptional job assisting your recipient, find and support their best literacy skills.
Inclusive World View About Literacy
Upwards of 100 countries officially acknowledge that people experience different types of literacy. In the United States of America (USA), the nation has moved away from the traditional English meaning of literacy, to have knowledge of literature (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, 2012, p. 148). The country has moved towards a more inclusive 21st century meaning of literacy. Currently, the USA supports the ability to use Language Arts to communicate effectively, particularly in reading and writing. Currently in Language Arts, there are four areas in which to develop literacy skills. The emphasis on reading and writing continues to be important and the areas of listening and speaking have been added to the requirements.
Next, there are the Creative Arts, which includes the disciplines of:
These four literacies give us a more detailed look at the greatness of human thought as it flowers into beauty to experience.
Then, there are 21st Century literacies courtesy of the Computer and Information Technology (CIT) revolution. This age has presented us with opportunities to provide equal access to information and to help lighten our environmental footprint on the planet. The literacies in CIT are:
To become literate in CIT means that a user's ability to learn about the technology has to fall within a range (Thoughtful Learning, 2017). The skill range is from familiar to master user in the following list of Applied Sciences:
Today's view of literacy is inclusive. This way of looking at literacy makes it possible for anyone to be very good or masterful in at least one and possibly multiple literacies. To make your caregiving exceptional find and support your recipients' best literacy skills. The ability to do something well and share that knowledge with others are very important elements in a happy healthy life. Lifelong learning activities are important elements in our world today. According to UNESCOPRESS' Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, 2012, p. 148), "124 countries consider that Adult Learning and Education (ALE) has had a strong impact on health and well-being, active citizenship, social cohesion, diversity and tolerance."
Great activities are the product of a caregiver or group of caregivers intentional thinking combined with actions to reach realistic goals. To create and participate in great activities with regularity, plan out what you’re going to do. An Activity Plan is one of the best ways to create a written record of your plan for success. The plan’s questions focus on the who, what, where, when, and how information in your activity. When a great idea for an activity comes to your mind, think about your recipient and write out an Activity Plan.
Planning A Better Way To Care
Two Best Practices for caregivers are to write out an Activity Plan and to reflect on your practice using an Evaluation Plan. The reason these practices are important is because they are critical to your becoming a better caregiver. When you take the time to set your course and then recognize your progress, you are on your way to creating a better caregiving practice.
The activity plan is not created all at once because "inspired ideas" are at its core. Inspiration comes at unexpected times and you must document these thoughts quickly. Record the information in your notes using your phone or on paper. Gather your notes and transfer the data to an Activity Plan. File the plan in a folder and put it away for safe keeping. Make sure the folder is easily accessible because it holds your treasured ideas.
The Evaluation Plan takes less than five minutes to fill out. The evaluation is where you and your recipient acknowledge what was good about the activity and what parts of it need improvement. The plan promotes collaboration between you and the recipient to make improvements and enjoy success. To download your free Activity and Evaluation Plans click on the link below.
Sample Activity & Evaluation Plans:
To download your free documents click here.
Making Communication Less Stressful
One of the best things a caregiver can do for another caregiver is to share information that helps make the job easier and more satisfying.
Here, at Care Your Blues Away, we include methods from education, healthcare, and business in our work to assist you in becoming more organized at your job.
Most patients that require care up to 24 hours per day have more than one caregiver. If the patient goes out during the day and requires 24 hr. care, there should be at least two caregivers working different shifts with the patient at home. Communication between multiple caregivers is one of the most challenging areas of caregiving because the communication flow is important and must be ongoing.
There is a requirement for an on-duty caregiver to debrief about what has already been happened during the shift so that a subsequent caregiver can make informed decisions about what needs to happen next. Whenever possible, utilize writing or texting and visual communications when communicating. The information can be referred to later.
In the home the atmosphere is relaxed compared to the work environment at a day health center or hospital. However, there are some methods of communicating in those environments that we can include in the home environment with the patient's permission.
Simplifying communications between multiple caregivers is very important because the simplification will help you stay a few steps ahead of potential problems. For example, creating a Label system for caregivers that use kitchen cabinets or storage closets on a daily basis is very important because you don’t want to waste time locating items and you don’t want your colleagues to waste time either.
The Label System is a written and visual reminder of where items should be located. You can create a system by writing on labels yourself or printing labels using a Label Maker. The printers are low-tech and low in price. After printing the labels place them onthe objects where they will easily be seen.
A Label System cuts out a lot of the guesswork that happens every day when there is more than one caregiver in the home. Remember to ask your patient for permission before you start work on a Label system and inform your group about the upcoming changes. The positive effects of a Label System on your group of caregivers will occur over time, as they become familiar with using the adjusted system.
For more information about simplifying communications and the Label System, please watch the video Creating Communications to Simplify Care: Producing a Label System. And once again, thanks, for visiting Care Your Blues Away A Better Way to Care.
Grace in Work Exercise
Caregiving can be rewarding yet difficult work. It requires caregivers to help people who may not be feeling well or who may not necessarily want assistance, even though the assistance is necessary. Because of this inherent job difficulty, a caregiver must have advanced level skills in lifting a patient's mood. This caregiving duty requires a lot of positive focused energy and dignified interaction with a patient. So, it follows that caregivers need to re-center themselves at some point in time during the workday. The re-centering break is necessary so you can replenish your positive energy, restore focus, and bring back grace and dignity to your workplace. Be prepared to take 10 minutes of time during your work day to be a better caregiver.
My 10 minute re-centering exercise is a reminder of how I should conduct myself with gentleness while I'm working. The activity also provides me with a bonus, a cardio aerobic lift. I developed a Dance-Exercise featuring a port-de-bras or carriage of the arms, which reflects the arm movements that caregivers do while working. The repertoire begins with a Mindfulness breathing exercise then stretching, reaching, lifting, and sweeping movement that can be performed while seated or standing with your feet facing forward, shoulders distance apart. In addition, there is an advanced soft lunge movement that allows you to travel when standing and performing the sweeping movement with your arms.
This is the first in a series of short Dance-Exercise videos about keeping grace and dignity in caregiving. We would love to have you come along with us on our movement journey and your feedback would be very much appreciated. As always, consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. For more information about the Dance-Exercise video series, please watch Grace in Work Exercise: Episode 1.