When your loved one has dementia, you may feel life is getting out of control. You spend all your time putting out fires, and never have time to relax and enjoy your hobbies.
I gave some thought to some of the ways I dealt with Jim’s dementia and shortened the list to five items that I found most helpful.
- Prioritize. Important things at the top of the list. Of course, you will need to allocate time to spend with your loved one with dementia, but you need to schedule breaks too. Put aside time to spend with your family and friends. You can become so wrapped up in being a caregiver that you neglect the other people you love.
- Adjust Your Attitude: You are not able to control the disease, or your loved one, but you can take control of how you react. I think some of the best advice I ever received about how to deal with behaviors was “So what?” When something happens, and no one is in danger, ask yourself “so what?” you might be surprised at how many times it isn’t really important at all.
- Spend time with hobbies or pastimes you love. If you can’t find a relative to stay with your loved one, check into hiring a caregiver. If you don’t have respite from caregiving, you will become so stressed that you won’t be the excellent caregiver you want to be.
- Allow downtime every day. Take a walk, go to the gym, read—schedule at least an hour a day to indulge in relaxation.
- Write. Make lists: to-do lists, wish lists, lists of your loved one’s medications and symptoms to help you during your doctor visits. As important as making lists is to keep a journal where you can write about your emotions. Writing is therapeutic and helps mend the rifts in your soul.
Be thankful for the time God has given you and regain control of your destiny, one day at a time. Have a great Thursday! May today be the beginning of a new era for you.
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