So many of my clients suffer from dementia and their loved ones are left in a state of ongoing sadness, grief, frustration, and challenge. They often struggle with the day to day aspects of life, they grieve the past and fear what they know is an uncertain future. No matter how things fold, they are inevitably forced to venture down this path and continue on this difficult journey. When your life is never stable, always changing and in the end you know that the outcome will be more grief, how do you cope? How do you continue to live and move forward in some way? How do you embrace peace, change, and daily life? This is not an easy topic to address and it is individual for each person depending upon their coping mechanisms, personality and support system. There are hundreds of books on this topic and I have recommended dozens to client families over the years.
Below are some little things that I have learned personally and professionally, that can be done daily to perhaps provide support and help throughout this difficult process:
1. Take time to appreciate the simple joys of life. Even on tough days try to stop and appreciate what is still positive in your life! Think about what you are still thankful for and what makes you happy at the core. Life is ever changing and we cannot get the past back, but we can shape our futures. Only you can change your future, the choices are yours.
2. Live in the moment with your loved one. Stop and take a a few minutes to be with them on their terms, whatever that may be at the time. Appreciate them for what still remains even if it is a simple smile or holding their hand. Be in the moment, do not grieve the past or focus on the the future.
3. Do not let things pile up or be rushed or pressured by others. You control the pace and routine no matter what is happening in your life. Many family members express feeling out of control; you can find ways to set balance and take control back. Keep things simple and take one step at a time. You can and you will feel better!
4. Take time to clear your mind and focus on something for yourself. Do not feel selfish or be distracted from this task. Even if you take 10 minutes to close your eyes, breathe and clear your mind of the daily clutter and drama, it will make a difference! You will feel refreshed and ready to move forward.
5. The choices are always yours to make. I hear family members say, " I am trapped as my wife will only let me do her care, the caregiver does nothing." Why does the caregiver do nothing? Do you allow them to do nothing and to in fact feel trapped. If the situation is dysfunctional, then change it or or get help and support to due so. Find control in a new way that meets everyone's needs. Take time to get support and guidance, so that you can make good choices for everyone, including yourself. Be true to yourself and your way of being and live...
I am available at any time to provide guidance and support along the way.