Happy New Year! Are you spending any time caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, any form of dementia or memory loss? Often, when faced with some of the challenges that being a care giver brings, our time does not seem very celebratory.
It’s a New Year! Many times we find it necessary to make New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps it is because we feel we have to conform to social and societal pressures to announce changes. Guess what? There are 365 new days every year, or most every year, with the exception of leap year. Any new day brings an opportunity to make a change.
When we declare resolutions because we feel it is the conventional action to take, often we fall short of keeping them. This new year, this NEW day, think about a change that will affect you personally. While we are talking about it, is it a change? Perhaps we should really view it for what it is, a challenge. Yes, we are tasking ourselves to do something we don’t want to, feel we can’t do easily, or might not feel comfortable doing, even though we know we will be better for it.
We often hear…this is the year I am going to lose weight, stop smoking, reduce drinking, or get out of debt! Maybe it is all of them and then some. We proclaim our actions to others, sometimes, because everyone is doing it. Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution? Have you ever kept it? If the answer is yes to both questions, I imagine you are not in the majority.
This new day, let’s be honest with ourselves. How is your mental health? There is such a stigma regarding this topic. The same is true about diseases such as depression, bi-polar, dementia, and any one you can think of regarding our mental health. We don’t want to discuss it. We don’t want to share about it. We don’t want anyone to know.
It’s funny, we share all types of ailments with family and friends…I hear about others visits for chiropractic wellness, physical therapy, reductions, plastic surgery, mammography’s, colonoscopies, and so forth. But, when we are stressed out, or having challenges coping or dealing with all that life can deliver, we keep quiet.
“Mom is losing it. I told her about something just yesterday and she already forgot. Dad left the house in his pajamas to take a walk, and forgot where he was going…” Sometimes, when caregivers are at their wits end, we will hear these shared stories. Don’t wait until you are at your lowest coping abilities.
Support is out there. There is no shame in sharing. There are studies discussing the many benefits of seeking and receiving support. You don’t have to experience and face the stress, anxiety, feelings of guilt or resentment, and/or depression, alone.
All care givers do not have the same psychological and physical response to providing care. Coping skills, personality, pre-existing conditions, and support systems all place a difference in the way we view and handle situations. Let’s be honest, time and money play a big role also.
On THIS new day, help yourself be a better care giver, help yourself have better mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health…take time to learn how to take time for you. For more information about Alzheimer’s disease Support Groups in your area, contact:
- NIA’s Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center at 800-438-4380 or visit www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/alzheimers-disease-research-centers
- Alzheimer’s Association at 800-272-3900 or visit www.alz.org
For additional information on AlzBetter, the Dementia Care Experts or if you are seeking information regarding AlzBetter Dementia Trained Home Care Agencies in your area, visit www.alzbetter.com
Wishing you a Happy New Year, and more significantly, a happy NEW day, today and every day.