For Caregivers Taking Time for Self-Care is Vital "This Is The Age When Middle Age Actually Ends" by Yagana Shah
We can become caregivers suddenly, without warning--a husband is diagnosed with cancer, a child is in an accident or a parent has a stroke. Other times, caregiving creeps upon us--we notice Mom is forgetting things, so we slowly take on the task of more duties to help her manage and live independently.
However we become caregivers, it is often a shock and an emotionally draining experience. Often in the chaos that follows, with the reorientation of our schedules, the search for proper resources, the fears about the future and the everyday challenges, we rarely stop to think about the whole picture, taking into acount our own health and well-being.
Somewhere along the line though, it is vitally important that we do stop, take a breath and try to gain control over the situation, rather than allowing the situation to control us. We must choose to take charge of our lives and believe in ourselves. Obviously we can't control everything that happens to our loved ones or ourselves, but we can make choices about how we are going to deal with our new circumstances.
It is no secret that helping to care for a sick or dying loved one can exact a steep emotional toll. Caregiving is complicated and ever-changing, and most find their stress level is high. We can give ourselves permission to actively make choices and take the time to recognize our own strengths and limitations.
Being a loving caregiver doesn't mean you need to give up boundaries. Caregiving is a relationship between many people. Believing in yourself helps you recognize that you are one of those people, and making choices in your own best interest is often the most important thing you can do for all concerned. It's critical that you first take care of yourself. By not doing so, you put yourself at risk of exhaustion, health problems, or total burnout. As they say on an airplane, "First take the oxygen mask for yourself, then give it to your loved one." Your care recipient depends on your well-being as much as you do! Christine Beasley, LMFT
I'm excited to share the following recent article from the Huffington Post 50 website: www.huffingtonpost.com/50 !
How Having A Purpose In Life Impacts Your Brain- In A Big Way
We've known for quite a while that some people seem to escape cognitive decline well into their nineties and beyond. Intriguingly, the brains of these sharper older people often reveal the extensive abnormalities like the "Plaques and Tangles" seen in people with Alzheimer's. We think it's because they've built what neuroscientists call "cognitive reserve." Most systems in our bodies can sustain some level of damage before they start to malfunction, and the brain is no exception. We build cognitive reserve--extra neurons and the connections between them--by resisting habit and inertia and continuing to learn new things. But how does this forestall or prevent memory loss and other diseases associated with old age?
When scientists at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center dug deeper, they uncovered another, overarching factor. They examained the brain tissues of 246 people who died during a long-term study of more than 1,400 older men and women. The autopsy results, reported in Archives of General Psychiatry, were striking. People who exhibited little levels of cognitive decline often showed similar levels of damage from Alzheimer's. The brains that functioned better, it turned out, belonged to people who had indicated more purpose in life over the course of the study.
In other words, having a goal in life actually affects cellular activity in the brain. Plaques and tangles still form, but having a goal seems to increase the brain's protective reserve. Not only that, the stronger the purpose, the more it adds to the reserve. The results held up even after the researchers controlled for differences in exercise levels, education, and other factors. Other studies link a sense of purpose not only to slower rates of cognitive decline but to lower rates of disability and death.
Even if you're not worried about losing your marbles, here's another good reason to jump on the pro-aging, anti-ageism bandwagon. Over five million Americans have Alzheimer's, and their numbers will swell as the 65+ population continues to increase. It's a massive public health challenge. Several factors are responsible for the disease, and a cure is frankly unlikely, so encouraging preventive measures makes all kinds of sense. This means helping older people stay engaged and purposeful.
SOME GREAT QUOTES:
"Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath" Eckhart Tolle
"We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same." Carlos Castaneda
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou
"The best way out is always through..." Robert Frost
"You have treasure within you that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer." Eckhart Tolle
"Mindfulness is simply being aware of what if happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won't)...." James Baraz
"Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment. We also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing" Jon Kabat-Zinn
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is though everything is a miracle." Albert Einstein
"Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." Victor Frankl
"Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor." Thick Nhat Hanh