Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease may have its unique challenges—but it also can have its positive, enriching moments. Love, trust, and a shared goal for better health can bring you closer to the family member or friend you are helping.
Staying positive is important—even when care giving becomes stressful or overwhelming. A positive attitude can help you cope, reduce stress, and make it easier to get through those tough days. It can even lead you to a greater sense of well-being and improved health.
To help you keep a positive outlook, consider the following:
First, accept the situation for what it is. Try not to focus on the way things used to be; try to accept the current situation and think of ways to make the best of it. For instance, while a medical condition may not improve, environments can be manipulated to make life more manageable and enjoyable for your loved one. Your situation may be as simple as not being able to leave your loved one alone for any period of time or may be as complex as buying hospital beds, oxygen equipment, wheelchairs, commodes, grab bars, and other medical equipment, scheduling occupational therapy, physical therapy, and home health visits. Remember that this too shall pass and concentrate on making the present as best as you can.
Second, be proactive in your loved one’s care. Learn about your loved one’s condition. Attend physician, legal, and clinic appointments when possible; enroll in classes (either on-line or in the community). Yes, this requires more of your time initially, but ultimately, it will take up less of your time because you will understand when an occurrence needs immediate attention, when it can wait, or when it is just part of the disease process.
Finally, give yourself a “Me Day”. I bet you’re wondering what it is. The idea is to take a personal day of celebration and gratitude for the joys that life brings. Yes, there are other days that we celebrate thankfulness as a culture, but sometimes the idea gets lost during the hype or just the busyness of those days. Caregivers absolutely need at least one “Me Day” a month to celebrate themselves, their accomplishments, the fact that they have positively impacted another life, and the fact that they have survived another year.
Focus on the positive—realize the valuable help that you are providing, and the close connection that you are building with the person in your care. Choosing a positive approach can go a long way toward helping you be a happier, healthier, and more effective caregiver.
To learn about more ways to stay positive, consider joining one of our support groups. We offer many caregiver support groups at different times and days. To register for our next support group, call us at (561) 588-4545.