1. I will practice gratitude. When a friend or family member spends time with my loved one I'll send them a quick thank you note. (Besides making me feel better, it’ll encourage them to help more in the year ahead.) And I'll thank myself when no one else does. Even if my LO doesn't say it out loud, I know they are thinking it...or would if they were able to.
2. I will take at least five to ten minutes of "me time" each day. I know my emotional health is a important. I will do some deep breathing, meditate, read some inspirational literature or enjoy a hobby for that time.
3. I will join a support group where I can learn, share and vent.
4. I will find a way to exercise that fits with my schedule and my preferences. And then, I will truly make an effort to do it regularly.
5. I will find a way to get enough rest. This might be moving to a different bed if my loved on is a restless sleeper, or even hiring a nighttime caregiver. I know that I can't be a good caregiver without adequate sleep...or a healthy one either.
6. I will take care of my physical health. I will keep my doctor's appointments and follow through on the doctor's advice. I will get my flu shot and take my medications regularly.
7. I will ask for help. I will remember that asking for help is caring and smart. It is NOT selfish or a sign of failing. I will start by learning about local resources and support that may be locally available. I will make up a list of activities to give to people who ask "How can I help?"
8. I will work to see the world from my loved one's point of view, so that I can "join his reality" let him know I recognize his feelings and thus, defuse his anxieties.
9. I will let go of the "shoulds" of life and look for the positive in everything I do, and in everything my loved one does...even if it is smearing feces on the wall I just cleaned yesterday.
10. I will view the professionals in our lives as partners, not adversaries, and until proven wrong, will assume that they want the same good care for my loved one that I do. I will remember I am my loved one's advocate and that most advocacy requires diplomacy.
For information about Lewy body disorders, read our books:
A Caregivers’ Guide to Lewy Body Dementia
Managing Cognitive Issues in Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia
Helen and James Whitworth are not doctors. As informed caregivers, they share the information here for educational purposes only. It should never be used instead of a physician's advice.