As we celebrate the beginning of a fresh new year, most of us have “resolutions” on our minds. And, yes, many of those resolutions involve losing weight or quitting bad habits, like smoking or drinking too much.
However, if you are caring for a loved one with dementia, these resolutions may seem trivial compared to the challenges you have dealt with all year and will continue to face in 2019. What resolutions can you make for yourself that will improve your quality of life and that of your loved one? Should you even try to make any resolutions? Of course you should! In fact, there are things you can begin to do today that can have a positive impact on every day of the new year and beyond. Here are three great resolutions to get you started off on the right foot.
- Get your physical health in order. No, this shouldn’t be just a “lose weight” resolution. Make it more than that. For caregivers, building healthier physical habits will improve your stamina to deal with whatever lies around the corner. You can start by getting that physical scheduled that you’ve been putting off. Make use of local respite care for your loved one, so that you can take some time to care for yourself! Also make sure you are taking daily care of your body. Get into an exercise regimen. Set modest goals that you feel you can achieve. Don’t let others set your goals. You know yourself best. And, above all, when you have a day when you eat poorly and don’t exercise, don’t give up! Get on track and don’t look back.
- Get your emotional health in order. This is challenging, as there is always a degree of nervous uncertainty with each day. Will dad have a good day today? Will mom remember to take her medications? Will she remember me? This is an area where you truly need to seek the support of others. One way to do this is to take advantage of local dementia support groups. Anthem Memory Care communities have monthly support groups, lead by qualified professionals who understand your challenges.
- Seek reasons to be grateful. Yes, there are things we can all be grateful for. Sometimes it takes a bit of work to identify them, especially after a long, tough day. Once you do, however, you will find that being thankful for special people, places and moments in your life will help you to surmount the next challenge you face. And, when you receive support and encouragement from friends and family, make it a point to pay it forward. There are other caregivers out there who could use a kind word or act as well. Reaching out to others who are in similar circumstances not only helps that person but will bring you peace of mind as well.
The holidays are coming to an end. But a new year is beginning. That means new opportunities as well as new challenges. By taking better care of yourself and reaching out to family and friends, you will be taking a big step towards making 2019 a better year for you and your loved ones.