Why Am I Thankful?

ListOur family has moved numerous times over the years due to my husband’s field of work.  Each time we needed to make a decision about whether or not he/we would accept an offer, we went through this process. We found it to be very helpful, in so  many ways.  We developed 4 lists – pros/cons for accepting the new job and a pros/cons list for staying where we were. Then we crossed off the things that overlapped and could make our decision at that point.

Caregiving is a difficult, long term commitment to a loved one or close friend.  If your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or one of the related dementias, you know you have a long haul ahead of you.  Caregivers work “overtime”(that’s an under statement) and can feel depressed, overwhelmed and totally out of control of the situation they are dealing with daily.

But in the midst of the confusion and new life experiences that come with caregiving, it helps to remember what you are thankful for in  your life.  That may sound like a naive statement, but perspective is everything.

Try this suggestion…  list the top 10-15 things that make you happy and you are thankful for in your life.  Some items will have greater importance than others, but they will all be important to you.  Post that list in a location that you pass by daily in your home or place of work.  It might be on the inside of your bathroom cabinet, the door of your refrigerator, in your car, on the front hall closet door, next to your computer or in your “lunchbox”. How about in your cell phone?  When things get “tough” and you are discouraged and feel totally overwhelmed, take a few minutes and look at that list and remember why these things are important to you.

Your list will remind you of the good days you shared with your loved one, of the places you went, the children you raised, those special moments that only the two of you shared over the years.  Those positive memories will bring smiles to your face and help lift your spirits.

Life can be very difficult, especially when you see the losses that your loved one (and you as his/her caregiver) has experienced.  Alzheimer’s and the dementias don’t just affect the patient but also those who care about them, as you know.  Your list can provide a few minutes of joy every day.  Your list won’t solve your problems, but it will allow you to take a few minutes to remember good times, laugh and think positive thoughts. I highly recommend it!

Photo Credit: technotip.org

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