Being positive is not always easy. As a care partner, you may already feel overwhelmed. And this world is even more overwhelming right now. With each of these negative situations, I've added my own positive response. What is yours?
- A pandemic is changing and limiting our lives. It can be difficult for care partners to get needed help, for singles living alone in isolation, or for out-of-work people trying to exist without a paycheck. My positive: We are a healthy, active retired couple with interests that keep us from being bored--well, most of the time!
- Several of our cities are hurting with protests and their accompanying police actions. I have a grandson in Portland. You may also have loved ones involved in one way or another there or in other cities. My positive: I am so proud of my grandson!
- The media is bombarding us with negative and divisive political ads. I often wonder how much barely skirts the truth, if that. My positive: Although we avoid many ads by taping our shows, I have fun analyzing the ones I have to watch. I look for how they are trying to convince me of their "truth." Yes, that's my psychology background--but it takes me out of the gut reaction they want me to have.
- Weather conditions have been extreme, with earthquakes and hurricanes and the like. For us in Arizona, it is record-breaking heat with very little of the usual monsoon rains. My positive: I'm so grateful for our well-functioning air conditioning--and for my new three-wheeler that I ride at 5am when it a little cooler.
Here's Pat's video.
Notice that Pat doesn’t say that staying positive easy or that it comes naturally. It takes commitment and practice. I think it also takes forgiveness, self-forgiveness, that is, because you won’t always succeed. Don’t stay stuck in your failures but look for the lesson: Ask yourself: What can I do to make it easier to be positive next time? And then, move on.
Pat tells you that being positive is a conscious choice and that the present is the only place where you have control. I’ve taught for years that guilt is mainly a futile effort to manage the past and worry is an equally futile effort to manage the future. When you let go of the guilts around what was and the worries of what might be, being positive right now gets a lot easier.
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
Responsive Dementia Care: Fewer Behaviors Fewer Drugs
Lewy Body Dementia: A Manual for Staff
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.