Just a Closer Walk with the Parents

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Being a caregiver (new phrase in life’s cycle ) has proven to be stressful beyond anything I could have possibly imagined prior to 2016. I wrote candidly last year for Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less about physical activity with my parents, not realizing that this physical activity would become even more minimal at the onset of this year. Deteriorating health amidst family is never easy—those who know, know. Those who have yet to know shall one day know exactly what this paragraph entails. Caregivers don’t have to explain to other caregivers, for we have an unspoken language all our own.greg-parents-blog_lightened-768x1024

My joy now comes in the rare moments that my mom/dad tell me that they have walked to the end of the driveway or just to the end of the hallway, much less that they have walked the exercise track at their church. Recently, these miraculous church laps have occurred when my sibling and I least expect it. For this, we are extremely grateful.

Speaking of gratitude, I am thankful for parents who still understand that any minimal activity, whatsoever, is something for which to aspire for overall healthy benefits. Both parents surprisingly welcomed the addition of Rusty, my newest canine family member, during a very rough spot medically for both of them. Walking Rusty at their home during my visits is a welcomed distraction, especially for my dad.  Additionally, each seemed to understand Rusty’s importance for my mental health as a key support system to enable my continuing care-giving for them.

I am eagerly anticipating the teaching of Stress Management as an emphasis in our new Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes program.  I have consistently emphasized the need for physical activity as a key tool for stress management. I have also now realized that reaching out for peer support is instrumental as well—especially for caregivers.  I have found needed resources available here and encourage you to reach out should you find yourself as caregiver in your familial dynamic.

Embrace the moments you walk or dance or cycle or swim with those you hold dear. For in those moments, life’s blessings abound.  {More thoughts on family, both chosen and canine, to follow in weeks to come.}