Author: Anne Bogardus, (Founder and former caregiver)

Still life with autumn vegetables

A well-balanced diet keeps caregivers healthy

Caring for elderly, and often ill, parents leaves little time to make sure we are maintaining our own health.  It can be a real challenge to do things for ourselves, but ignoring our own basic needs doesn’t serve anyone–including the elderly parents we love–not to mention our own families.

How can caregivers eat well given the many demands on their time? 

The Wellbeing Program of Washington State University prepared a downloadable .pdf report, Nutrition for the Caregiver, that provides basic reminders for us to maintain our own health in the midst of caring for an aging or elderly parent.

Here are some highlights:

  • Space your meals throughout the day.  Don’t have time for a big sit-down lunch or dinner?  Eat smaller meals throughout the day.
  • Eat a healthy combination of carbs, protein, and fats to make sure you get enough nutritious food.
  • It’s important to avoid, as much as possible, the “quick and easy” meals that tempt us when we are rushed, including frozen meals and anything high in fat or sodium. 
  • Drink enough water!  At least 64 ounces and up to 96 ounces keeps you hydrated and benefits your joints, digestion and other body needs.

For tips on how to eat healthful meals that are portable, easy to prepare, and budget conscious, download the report.  It also gives some ideas for preparing meals for the person you are caring for.