“Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.” “I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.” “Old age is like a bank account, you withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories ”
These are quotes from a 92 year old blind woman – Mrs. Jones – who shared her outlook on life as she entered a nursing home.
It’s a wonderful lesson for all of us. Every person faces a life that brings concerns, family issues, joys, medical illnesses, sadness, challenges, celebrations, etc. We never know what the person sitting next to us is dealing with personally or within his/her family or work setting.
As caregivers for someone with Alzheimer’s or one of the dementias, life brings surprises, disappointments, frustrations, sadness and perhaps fear. Caregiving means long hours, lack of sleep and dealing with friends or family members who don’t have a clue as to what it is like to live in your shoes.
That’s why Mrs. Jones’ words of wisdom are so important. Life and it’s responsibilities can bring us down. But our attitude and how we approach what’s been dealt to us can be handled in a positive way or become a negative experience.
You wonder how a family whose 5 year old child has died – or the bride, whose groom of 6 months, is killed in an automobile accident – deal with the reality of their lives. Not enough people wonder how a caregiver copes with caring 24/7 for their loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.
But, there is an inner strength that comes. And identifying what makes you happy now and in the past, helps caregivers cope with their daily reality. “How do you do it?” is often asked. You care for our loved ones because you love them… you respect them… you feel it is our duty. When times become particularly difficult, think of the wonderful memories you have had with your loved one, your family, what you’ve accomplished and how you have shared your life together.
None of us is spared the difficulties of life, but how we handle them does make THE difference. Life is too short not to constantly remind ourselves of the joyous memories we have had over the years.
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