Shades’ here with a recap of this year’s Climb for Alzheimer’s. The weeks leading up to this year’s Climb were a personal challenge. Family illness kept me off work and out of the gym. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make the Climb. This dilemma is similar to the situation caregivers of someone with dementia face on a daily basis. They ask themselves, “Is it safe for the person I am caring for to be left alone while I work, shop, exercise, see a friend?” Never being quite sure, many caregivers carry a low grade stress as they go about their tasks. On the morning of the Climb I was fortunate enough to be able to hop in my car and drive off. I wanted to do the Climb for those for whom it is not so easy to break away for 4 hours on a Sunday morning. My hope is that these efforts will lead to more supports for this group of caregivers so they can get out to exercise when needed.

We had a great turn out this year, with a team of 9, lead by myself and co-captain Quicksilver.  Six of us met at the gym and 3 more joined at the mountain base. Our team was comprised of gym folks, myself, Tamahock, Danya from Athletics and Quicksilver and her friends, three of whom were her pals from high-school (shout outs to Kristin McDougall, Suzanne Christenson, Karen Tugwell, Nona Navin and Julie Galla)! A fabulous bunch. Awesome work Tamahock for tackling her second Climb ever and making a new memory for herself. Last year’s Climb in the monsoon and with a cold left her sick for days and was disastrous. In true CrossFit spirit she came back to tackle it again, way faster and stronger!

The day was clear and crisp. We decided on an every woman for herself approach and loosely timed ourselves with a rough finish range of 52 minutes to 1:09. We started the Climb a bit ahead of the pack and had the trail to ourselves for the most part, with only the odd person to dodge and no real congestion. Coffee and a tasty breakfast awaited us at the top. Too cold to eat outside, we scored a great table inside with a view of our fabulous City.

As I climbed up the mountain I thought about what it is like to be a caregiver and the extra challenge people face to maintain healthy habits while caring for another. The stress will make it harder to eat well and get out to exercise if caring for someone who can’t be left alone. It is a really tough go and there is much work to be done in this province to support caregiver health. Know someone who is a caregiver? Not sure how to assist? Here are 3 quick ways to lend a helping hand.

Caregiver Climb Tips.

  • Listen up. Ask the person how they are doing and offer a non-judgmental ear. Trust that if the person feels like elaborating they will, if not they won’t. Asking shows caring. Keep in touch.
  • Offer help. Avoid making assumptions about what the person needs. Take your lead from them by asking how you can help or making a concrete offer, i.e., I want to take Joe for a walk this afternoon vs asking the caregiver if they need a break.
  • Applaud positive steps. Encourage caregivers to look after themselves in whatever form that takes for them. Many suffer guilt about taking time for themselves but it is essential for them to maintain their health and well-being in order to be there for another. As they say on the airplane, put your oxygen mask on first and then help the person next to you.

    We would like to give a big thank you to our team donors! Due to your generosity we raised $1,478.00 for this important cause. We greatly appreciate your support.

Yours in health,

Quicksilver and Shades