The Whitworths of Arizona, bringing science to you in everyday language.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Constructive Caring, #5: Staying On The Path

Blogs in this series have been discussing ways to be a more constructive care partner, how to work towards being more positive. This isn't something that stops. It gets easier, but it still requires vigilance. Staying in that pleasant valley of positivity is not automatic. Roadblocks like stress and isolation still lurk just around the bend, ready to push you back up that mountain of negativity, where the terrain is steep and rocky, the air is thin and the weather uncertain at best. But don't despair, the closer you get to being positive, the easier it is to stay that way. Ways to do that are the focus of this blog.

First a very quick review of some of the stuff in previous blogs:
  • Keep on monitoring your stress, surrounding yourself with positive people, making conscious choices, and turning negatives thoughts into positives ones.
  • Live a healthy life, where you take care of your own health, psychological and social needs as well as you do the PlwD's.
Next, here are some more from one of my favorite bloggers, Eric Barker:
  • Foster optimism. Care partners cam get caught up in irrational expectations, wanting life to go back to how it was. This keeps you stuck in failure and disappointment. Accept what is and you will be able to see many more possibilities.
  • Face your fears. Hiding from fear makes it worse. Face it and you overcome it--and that is a euphoric feeling!
  • Practice spirituality. Whatever your spiritual beliefs, practice them actively. It will give you strength and joy.
  • Use role models. Find people you want to be like and imitate them. If you know some you don't want to be like, use their behavior as a guide for how not to live.
  • Be a lifelong learner. Take time each day to learn or experience something new. Keep your brain sharp and it will give you solutions when you need them most.
  • Be cognitively flexible. Humans tend to find a way to do things and when that doesn't work anymore, they simply try the same thing but with more effort. Be willing to try something else. Step back and look at the problem a different way.
  •  Have meaning in your life. It is easy to get mired in the exhausting, time-consuming work of caregiving. However, the job can also be very rewarding. Take a deep breath and look for the rewards and the purpose. Remind yourself why you are doing this. How does this job have meaning for you? How do you find it rewarding?
It does get easier. With time and dedication, making conscious choices to be positive become habits that seem almost effortless. Well, maybe not THAT still have to continually deal with all those care partner roadblocks, but that gets easier too. The further out of the bad weather and rocky terrain of negativity you get, the easier the load is, even though you have the same tasks.

Next week: Overcoming the external stuff.

Helen and James Whitworth are not doctors, lawyers or social workers. As informed caregivers, they share the information here for educational purposes only. It should never be used instead of a professional's advice.

We love and welcome comments but we will not publish any that advertise a product or a commercial website. This is especially true for testimonials about miraculous Parkinson's cures and marijuana.

* Acronyms:
AD: Alzheimer's disease
BPSD: Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia
DLB: Dementia with Lewy bodies, where cognitive/behavioral issues occur first
LBD: Lewy body dementia, an umbrella term for both DLB and PDD
MCI: Mild cognitive impairment
MCI-LB: the form of MCI that precedes LBD
PD: Parkinson's disease
PDD: Parkinson's disease with dementia, where mobility issues occur first
PlwD: person/people living with dementia
PlwPD, LBD, PDD, AD, etc.: person/people living with PD, LBD, etc.

For more 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

No comments:

Post a Comment