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

Friday, January 29, 2021

What I've Learned

This was posted on Facebook by a man in his mid-70’s. I think caregivers might be able to take some of his ideas to heart as well! I've added some comments to each one.
  • After loving my parents, my siblings, my spouse, my children and my friends, I have now started loving myself. (So easy to forget when you are so involved with providing care, but it is a MUST DO for healthy, safe caregiving!)
  • I have realized that I am not “Atlas”. The world does not rest on my shoulders. (And I don't have to be perfect either!)
  • I stopped telling the elderly (anyone!) that they've already narrated that story many times. The story makes them walk down memory lane & relive their past. (Ah, yes, reminiscing is a great mind exercise!)
  • I have learned not to correct people even when I know they are wrong. The onus of making everyone perfect is not on me. Peace is more precious than perfection. (This is one that LBD care partners must practice often with their loved ones with a different reality. We say "Do you want to be right or do you want to be peaceful?)
  • I give compliments freely & generously. Compliments are a mood enhancer not only for the recipient, but also for me. And a small tip for the recipient of a compliment, never, NEVER turn it down, just say "Thank You.” (This is another one that care partners can practice often for wonderful results.)
  • I have learned not to bother about a crease or a spot on my shirt. Personality speaks louder than appearances. (Perfection again, and how it isn't all that helpful!)
  • I walk away from people who don't value me. They might not know my worth, but I do. (This can work with a contankorous loved one too. Walk away and return and usually the air will have cleared!)
  • I remain cool when someone plays dirty to outrun me in the rat race. I am not a rat & neither am I in any race. (When your loved one accuses you of something you didn't do, speak to their emotions  in their reality and apologize. But then, let it go--don't own the hurt of their accusation.)
  • I am learning not to be embarrassed by my emotions. It’s my emotions that make me human. (Caregiving is stressful and emotions often come to the surface. Let them come--but choose to express the negative ones away from your loved one unless you want them tossed back at you three-fold!)
  • I have learned that it's better to drop the ego than to break a relationship. My ego will keep me aloof, whereas with relationships, I will never be alone. (Caregivers learn to do this when we drop our need to be right and accept our loved one's reality as the only one where we can communicate.
  • I have learned to live each day as if it's the last. After all, it might be the last. (We know this better than most!)
  • I am doing what makes me happy. I am responsible for my happiness, and I owe it to myself. Happiness is a choice. You can be happy at any time, just choose to be! (Caregiving may not have been what you would have chosen to make you happy, but you CAN choose to be happy and to find little things to be grateful for each day.)
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.

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