Holistic care is increasingly popular among caregiving clients. If you’re a caregiver, learning more about this form of care can help you better serve your clients. So, what is holistic care?
Holistic care is an approach to health that focuses on the whole person and their overall well-being, not just their diagnosis or symptoms. Holistic care considers a person’s physical, social, mental and spiritual needs. The thought behind holistic care is that when one of these areas is unwell or out of balance, it affects a person’s overall well-being.
For example, a physician who practices holistic care may consider their patient’s lifestyle, social support network, stressors and mental health when treating a symptom or disease. With holistic care, health care providers utilize more tools to help patients feel better. They may not only prescribe medication or surgery to treat a health condition, but perhaps also exercise, yoga, nutritional coaching, counseling, massage or acupuncture.
Helping your clients with holistic care
As a caregiver, you support your client’s activities of daily living, such as meals, bathing, dressing, exercising and transportation. In this role, you can help them have a more holistic approach to wellness. As always, check with your client, their family or their physician before encouraging any lifestyle changes.
Help them stay active. If their health and mobility allow it, encourage your client to be active. Perhaps you can go for a walk in the park, window shop at the mall or go for a swim at the community center. Exercise releases endorphins, which can help with stress and improve their mood. Regular physical activity also helps them stay active and mobile.
Encourage them to eat well-balanced meals. Your client’s diet depends on their health concerns, but, in general, most people benefit from eating more vegetables, fruit, lean protein (like chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, beans or tofu), whole grains (like oatmeal, quinoa or brown rice) and healthy fats (like avocado, olive oil, avocado oil, nuts and seeds). Eating a well-balanced diet can help them reduce the risk of serious health issues like heart disease and diabetes and keep chronic issues under control.
Support their mental well-being. Ask your client what they like to do for fun. If they love to read, take them to the bookstore or library and choose a book to read together. If they enjoy painting, set up easels, paint and canvases or take an art class together. If they like to cook, prepare a meal together. Taking time for hobbies can help them relax, reduce stress and get more enjoyment out of life.
Help them stay social. If their health allows for it, help your client get out of the house. Perhaps you can go for a drive and look at homes in nearby neighborhoods, visit a coffee shop, stroll through a museum or see a movie. Or you could drive them to visit a friend, neighbor or place of worship.
Encourage them to get enough sleep. Sleep is a significant part of the wellness puzzle. Encourage your client to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, limit screen time an hour before bed and talk to their health care provider if they’re having trouble sleeping.
As a caregiver, you play an important role in your client’s life. By encouraging them to take a holistic approach to wellness, you can help them live a more fulfilling life.
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