November 3, 2015
If you feel emotionally burned out from caregiving, you’re certainly not alone. Members of our Caregiver Stress online community recently shared their feelings of depression, isolation and being taken advantage of by other family members.
Beneath the surface of the expressed burnout, however, a few beacons of hope shone through. Many readers related a need to “take a step back” and renew their sense of perspective in order to get back in touch with the many rewards of caring for a senior family member.
If you feel a similar need to take a step back, consider these thoughts from family caregivers and other inspirational voices for renewed strength throughout your journey.
“Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou
If you feel others in your life don’t appreciate what you’re doing as a caregiver, focus on recognizing the contributions of other caregivers you know. Sending your appreciation to another can feel as rewarding as receiving the good wishes yourself. If you don’t know any other caregivers in real life, participate in communities like Caregiver Stress.
“I have Alzheimer’s disease. It's a frightening and frustrating experience. Frustrating because I know well, what I am doing to those around me and frightening because, I also know well, where I'm going. It is with huge sense of guilt that I make my loved ones suffer, in caring for me. Please forgive me. I am not doing this on purpose and I know that you did not sign up for this job. You certainly won no good lottery. I'm sorry, I'm truly sorry!” – Dick O., commenting at CaregiverStress.com.
Find strength in knowing your senior loved ones with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia appreciate what you do, even if they can’t communicate it. Every day you alleviate their fear as they take a very scary journey.
“Let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of God.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
The caregiving life can be filled with noise and chaos. When you grab even five minutes of quiet, you can tune in to those soul whispers that remind you of all the good you are doing as a family caregiver.
"Measure yourself by the teaspoon, not the scoop shovel, and you might find more of yourself that you didn't even know you had lost till you look close and treasure the small things. ... If you're feeling lost, do not try to find your (old) self; lean forward to be the best new self you can become." – Mark, Remember for Alzheimer's Facebook community
Don’t expect or require perfection from yourself as a caregiver. Look to the small victories and happy moments hiding in each day, and watch a new, beautiful you emerge.
“Every time you find some humor in a difficult situation, you win.” – Peanuts
Go ahead, laugh. Find the absurdity of the situation. It’s good for your soul.
“We all need help one time or other... Pray for the Lord's Spirit to be with the caregiver and the person who needs healing strength” – Aileen H., Caregiver Stress Facebook community
Don’t neglect your spirituality as a caregiver. Spiritual rituals can renew and strengthen your sense of purpose.
“If you love a family member with Alzheimer’s, the love doesn't change, the coping is what changes. You love them the same as before! - Patricia W.D., Remember for Alzheimer’s Facebook community
It can be easy to lose sight of why you took on the role of family caregiver to begin with: love. Take a moment today to get back in touch with that love you still hold for your senior family member who needs you.
What words of encouragement and inspiration would you share with a fellow caregiver? Leave a comment below!
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