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Sensory Caregiver Stress Relief: Taste

Family Caregivers in Mamaroneck NY

Caregiver and Elderly WomanYour senses are how you engage with the world around you and can be a powerful way for you to influence your emotions. As a family caregiver, you can use your senses as a highly effective way of managing the stress that will come up throughout your care journey with your aging loved one. While smell is the emotion that is most closely linked to memory, taste is also a strong trigger for memory and emotion. Using taste as a means of stress relief is one of the simplest, yet most effective, ways that you can keep your stress under control when you are going through difficult times in your care efforts.

Use some of these ideas to inspire you for ways that you can utilize your sense of taste to help you relieve and manage your caregiver stress:

  • Conditioning. Conditioning is when you teach your mind to react a certain way to a specific stimuli. That way each time that you are exposed to that stimuli, you can experience that reaction. When it comes to relieving caregiver stress, you can condition your mind to feel relaxed, calm, and happy in response to specific flavors simply by enjoying that flavor consistently when you are feeling happy. You can also enjoy the flavor in conjunction with relaxation exercises. Choose something that is easily accessible and easily consumed such as a piece of hard candy in a distinct flavor. When you are feeling relaxed and happy, or when you are going through your relaxation exercises, put that flavor in your mouth and really focus on it. Over time this conditioned response will develop and when you are feeling stressed you can simply put that piece of candy or whatever your conditioned flavor is in your mouth to promote a sense of calm.
  • Flavor memories. Just as smelling something familiar can trigger many fond memories, so can tasting something familiar. Smell and taste are very closely linked, so when you are tasting something, your sense of smell is also being utilized. This means that you can bring up favorite memories that make you feel happier and calmer just by tasting something familiar. Think of some of your favorite memories or experiences, and come up with flavors that remind you of those. A candy cane, for example, might remind you of Christmas, while a specific type of cake could bring up memories of birthday parties when you were a child, and a certain drink may remind you of being at your favorite vacation destination. Let these flavor memories comfort you whenever you feel like you need a few moments “away” from the stresses that you are experiencing.
  • Special treats. As a family caregiver most of your time and attention is likely focused on your aging loved one and the efforts that you need to put forth for them. If you are a member of the sandwich generation, you are also caring for your children, which takes even more time and attention. This means that you are likely the last one on your priority list, and that can leave you feeling neglected and set aside. Giving yourself an occasional special treat is a fantastic way to ensure that you still feel appreciated and acknowledged, even if it is just you that is appreciating yourself. When you are feeling stressed, choose a small special treat to indulge in. Select something that you really enjoy but that you only have rarely so that it really does feel special and take the time to savor it.

If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Scarsdale and Yonkers, NY, call Griswold Home Care and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (914) 768-9065