The Caregiver's Guide to Health

Use this easy guide created by Mel Robbins, author of Stop Saying You're Fine to take care of others while still finding time for yourself.

Step 1: Organize Your Caregiving Tasks Like You Do for Your Children's Schedule

Every caregiver needs to own the role of caregiver the same way you do as a mom, daughter or other title. You become the manager. If you're caring for a parent, you have to leave your former role as the child. The same way you wouldn't give in to a child's every want, you can't give in to your parents or the person you are caring for every need. Print this chart and take five minutes to fill it out. It will help you get the responsibilities out of your head and written down in an organized way.

Step 2: Shift Your Focus From Quantity to Quality Time

Make sure you're being productive where it matters, like the workplace. At home, when you're caring for a parent or children, make sure you're spending time with them, not working for them. And if you must, double-task priority quality time with a productive task, like folding laundry as you watch a movie together. When all is said and done, you will look back and remember the time you spent together, not if the dishwasher was emptied.


Step 3: Ask for and Accept Help

Caregivers often feel out of control, which makes them overcompensate by controlling everything. Let go of the idea of perfection. You can't be the doctor, the driver, the nurse, the cook, the cleaning person and the accountant. When you try to do everything, you end up tipping the scales. Instead, make a list and ask someone which items he or she is able to take off your plate. This lets them choose something that utilizes their skill set. For example, someone who has to go out to run errands won't mind making one more stop to pick up a prescription for you. 

This plan was created for Dr. Oz's Truth Tube. Find out how Lorine found time to take care of herself and get past Truth Tube plans here.

Your Parent Has Dementia: What to Talk to Their Doctor About

Make sure all their doctors are aware of all the medications she is taking.

Q: My mom is 94 and has dementia. She is taking a whole medicine cabinet-full of medications and I think they actually make her fuzzier. How should I talk to her various doctors about what she is taking and if she can get off some of the meds? — Gary R., Denver, Colorado

A: Many dementia patients are taking what docs call a "polypharmacy" — three or more medications that affect their central nervous system. And we really don't know how that mixture truly affects each individual person.

A new study in JAMA Network that looked at more than 1 million Medicare patients found almost 14% of them were taking a potentially harmful mix of antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiepileptics, benzodiazepines such as Valium and Ativan, nonbenzodiazepine benzodiazepine receptor agonist hypnotics such as Ambien or Sonata, and opioids. And almost a third of those folks were taking five or more such medications. The most common medication combination included an antidepressant, an antiepileptic, and an antipsychotic. Gabapentin was the most common medication — often for off-label uses, such as to ease chronic pain or treat psychiatric disorders, according to the researchers from the University of Michigan.

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