Caring for an elderly person is heartbreaking enough, yet when they have been stricken with Alzheimer’s disease it becomes even more difficult because it affects not only the care givers but the lives of entire family are intertwined in the journey.
Many of us are moved to become advocates for worthy causes after a personal experience or the experience of someone very close to us who we see adapting to new challenges.
I’m one of those currently going through my own experience with my mother who is in the mid stages of this slowly de-habilitating and de-humanizing disease — Alzheimer’s. Thus I am speaking from first-hand experience and from what I am learning on this journey. When I was first confronted with the fact that I was to be the one in charge of her care, I felt victimized, angry, frustrated, resentful, and questioned — why me. Why do I have to give up my life?
But let me share what has been a God sent!
Practicing Daily Mindful Living Strategies and caring for yourself first is the sacred practice that must be implemented in your life. If you don’t, you too will be drawn down into the mental darkness of despair but if you stay on top with the Mindful Living Strategies you can experience instead the feelings of love, compassion, peace, and joy as your loved one is on their lengthy downward journey; Yes I said JOY!
I cannot stress enough how important it is to practice what I’m about to share here with you. You can read and learn about these support strategies but if you fail to practice them daily, you will soon be overwhelmed, depressed, sad, and feel guilty;
· Wake up an hour earlier and give that hour to yourself by;
o Exercise (yoga, walking.)
o Meditate (breathing exercises for 15-20 minutes) focusing on your breathing and simply repeating “I’m breathing in” when you inhale, “I’m breathing out” as you exhale.
o Claim or affirm a mindset that you are having a great day.
Now, you are in control of how your day evolves as you stay mindful and adjust by simply breathing in and out whenever you feel anxious or things begin to get out of control. Leave the room and take a pause by breathing deeply — becoming proactive rather than reactive!
o Create a strong support system; find out about Alzheimer’s day care facilities, support groups, get family members and friends to help. Once you have aligned the help, coordinate it in such a way as you have quality time away from your care giver duties, house hold duties, and work duties. Time for you to regenerate.
Last tip; take a trip, mini vacation, attend a retreat; these will re-energize you and will help you to return to your care giver responsibilities with love and greater compassion. Taking care of you first not only helps you but also helps the patient and all those around maintain a good quality of life.
I realize that all this sounds simple and easy, but it is important for your sanity to practice these simple and powerful energy building routines daily. Without them you be challenged to feel whole and stay in the present throughout the day as you respond to your Alzheimer patient’s demands.. caregiver jobs