Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s comes with unique challenges. As a caregiver, you’re not only dealing with your own personal worries, but also with your loved one’s dementia-related issues, which can be overwhelming and hard to manage long term. Learn how resilience can help you overcome (and grow from) these obstacles and work to cultivate more of it.
What Is Resilience?
Resilience is the ability to adjust to difficult situations or recover from hardship, such as death, traumatic events or just the daily stresses of life. It’s a trait we all have, but some exercise more than others. While it may seem like a muscle you may not use often, there are many ways you can increase your resilience.
Ways to Build Resilience
To overcome challenging situations, below are some tools and techniques you can use in your daily life to become more resilient.
- Positivity – Find hope even in the darkest times; having a positive outlook can be the difference in your ability to keep going.
- Confidence – Know your strengths and believe that you can use challenges as an opportunity to learn, grow and develop.
- Structure – Prioritize what’s important, which can help you navigate a path forward through chaos and confusion.
- Imagination – Come up with new, unusual and different ways to address your issues, which can improve your chances of having positive outcomes.
- Balanced nutrition – Supports our immune system and reduces inflammation, reinforces our mental health and helps us process stress
- Daily exercise – Increases lifespan, oxygenates the body, strengthens the heart, boosts mood, boosts the immune system and decreases stress.
- Quality rest – Improves concentration, memory, energy levels and mood.
- Proactive health care – Regular doctor visits and preventive care can help ensure you are in good health while helping you to detect any arising issues.
Social & Spiritual
- Social support – Find a healthy outlet to process and express your emotions, like seeking professional counseling or joining a support group.
- Trusted family and friends – Delegate, whenever possible, and engage everyone who will help.
- Faith – Develop a deeper connection with your faith by praying, listening to sermons, reading religious texts, or seeking counsel from a spiritual leader.
In addition to the approaches listed above, try these resilience-building activities
- Storytelling – Foster a sense of control over how you interpret events by re-creating a healthier storyline.
- Purpose reflection – Seeking to understand how this situation has the potential to serve a greater purpose.
- Gratitude – Shift your focus from the problem to things you are grateful for.
- Humor – Find something funny to improve your mood and relieve stress.
- Silver lining – Look at the bright side of the situation.
- Self-compassion – Replace harsh judgements with kindness and grace.
- Identity statement – Recite a personalized statement that emphasizes one of your positive qualities and specifies something you want to become.
- Highlight reel – Visualize your personal highlight reel, thinking of things you’ve done well.
- Helping others – Serve as a role model and allow others to learn from your success and failures.
Reprinted with permission: James L. West Dementia & Caregiver Education
We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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