OK, caregiver, it’s time to relax or rather “chill-lax”.
You may question this term; I did the first time one of my granddaughters used it. It simply means to relax, rest, let go, be cool, and be peaceful and calm. To help yourself relax, you need to engage in an enjoyable activity. Sitting outside and enjoying the sunlight in moderation can help with depression; it can also help build your immune system. Sunlight increases oxygen content in human blood. Watching the sun rise or watching the sun set will certainly be relaxing. What about listening to music? My mother loved Elvis Presley and listened to his music often. It never failed to have a calming effect on her. So turn on your radio or put in one of your favorite CDs, grab a glass of iced tea, kick your shoes off and chill. Reading a book or meditation are ways people can relax. Different people relax in different ways. Find what way works for you and just do it. It will make you a better person and thus a better caregiver.
Remember to laugh!! Try to find humor in each day. You may find yourself saying, “I do not think my situation is very funny.” Living with a person that is living with dementia is not funny nor should it be look upon lightly, but if you stay in that frame of mind, well, this is what I refer to as “stinking thinking”. Stinking thinking is not good for anybody. A positive attitude is always best. Try to remember something you and your loved one once did that will make you laugh. The person you are caring for is the same person, but different. They may say something during the course of this disease that will make you laugh or make you smile. Remember the Bible passage in Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.”
Over the years I have worked with many caregivers. Some of the stories the caregivers have shared with me made us both laugh. I had a male caregiver once share with me that he and his wife went to the grocery store and made several purchases. One of the items they purchased was hamburger meat. The caregiver said he looked everywhere for that package of hamburger. His wife did not remember them buying the meat. He looked for a couple of days and finally found the package of meat in their dining room perfectly laid on the dining room chair. He said, “Instead of crying, I laughed.”
Another caregiver shared once her husband had put the eggs in their freezer. Another caregiver shared every time he and his wife went to the grocery store she had to buy chicken. After some time pasted, the caregiver said that he had so much chicken in the freezer he did not know what he was going to do!
I have said many times living with a person that is living with dementia is not easy. Sharing with others that are going through similar situations can be a benefit. I would like to invite to join our Alzheimer’s Support Group meeting on the second Tuesday of each month at 2 p.m. at the Sampson County Department of Aging. Help others live well by being knowledgeable, prepared and positive ™. Keep things simple, rest, be cool, peaceful and calm…….just “Chill-lax.”
Hope you all have a “Best Day Ever”.
Lesia Henderson is a Positive Approach to Care Independent Trainer and Sampson County Department of Aging Family Caregiver Support Specialist.