2015 has arrived. It’s been a long, challenging 2014 full of ups and downs. Forget the trendy resolutions such as losing 10 pounds and cleaning out the junk drawer- those can be put on the back burner for now. As a caregiver of someone with memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you have a unique opportunity to shape your own and your loved ones’ experiences this year. Our 8 New Year’s resolutions for caregivers can help you do just that. We know… nothing in this role you are in is easy. These are no exception. Go for it!
Resolution #1: Accept reality
I am not going to waste time mourning losses of who my loved one was and what has been stolen by dementia. I am going to accept the reality of the present stage we are in and look for positives, what is spared, and how can I use it to carve out dignity for my loved one and joy for us together and with others.
Resolution #2: No martyrs
My loved one needs me to be strong, calm and rested. I will seek out help and match my superhuman needs with available resources. I know people want to help and I will be candid and resourceful in allowing them to do so.
Resolution #3: Patience
I will be kind and patient with my eyes as well as with my words. I know I can say words that my eyes betray. As my loved one forgets who he or she is, it is my job to remind them how special they are and always will be.
Resolution #4: Laugh
I vow to laugh every day- watch a funny movie, read a chapter in a comedian’s novel, find “I love Lucy” on demand. Laughing is the best medicine.
Resolution #5: Health (mine)
I will schedule an overdue health visit for myself. I will make a list and check them off one by one. Colonoscopy, dermatology screen, mammogram, cardiology check-up. Let’s go. Preventing bigger health problems by taking care of current ones will allow me to be more present in 2015. How can I take care of anyone else who needs me when I am not doing so for myself?
Resolution # 6: Confide
I will confide in one person about my “carer” role- the demands, stresses and laughs that it brings- they may be or will one day be in this role and then I will be there to listen to them.
Resolution # 7: Talk
What do you resolve to do this year for you, or for your loved one?