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Friday, June 6, 2008

Advice to caregivers: Judgment, Part 1: Don’t expend precious energy judging yourself.

Jack Paar once said, “Looking back, my life seems like one long obstacle race, with me as its chief obstacle.” Like him, many of us are our own worst enemies berating ourselves for our real or imagined mistakes that have been compounding since the days when we were students writing essays:
  • In biology today, we digested a frog.
  • A molecule is so small that it can’t be seen by the naked observer.
  • Our biology class went out to explore the swamp and to collect little orgasms.

We all make mistakes. Yet happiness and self-esteem must come from within, from accepting ourselves as we are. Remember that if you worry what people think of you, it means you have more confidence in their opinions than your own.

Avoid these self-criticisms:
Mind-reading. Last week I borrowed a colleague’s office to make a phone call. When she walked in on me, she gave me a withering look. Thinking I was reading her mind, I started to apologize for invading her space. Instead she told me she was late coming in because she had just been through “banking hell.” Blaming ourselves for others’ discomfort is usually ridiculously self-centered.

Viewing a negative event as a never-ending pattern. Just because your loved one has fought attending day care for three weeks straight does not mean she will never adjust or that you were wrong to send her there. Many a person has left the dock just before his ship came in.

Fortune-telling.
“Getting him to bed tonight is going to be a disaster.” If you’re going to predict the future, at least make it positive. If you cannot help worrying, remember that worrying cannot help you either.


Perhaps the most important key to taking yourself lightly is to move on. Charlie Brown once said, “I’m still hoping yesterday will get better.” It’s amazing how many of us keep trying to improve the past, when we can’t even count on doing well in the present. As Josh Billings noted, “Experience increases our wisdom, but it doesn’t reduce our follies.”

The toughest kind of mountain climbing is getting out of a rut.


(Excerpted from Wiser Now Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver Tips)

3 comments:

Bob Tell said...

Hi Kathy

Excellent advice. I could have used it many times while my mother was alive and I was deeply involved in coordinating her care. Easier said than done, however.

By the way,I noticed that you visited my new blog (The Caregiver Chronicles) on blogcatalog. Frankly, I'm new to blogging and am just beginning to learn my way around all of these sites. I've had my website (www.dementia-diary.com) promoting my memoir for some time, but I recently upgraded it and started the blog.

Thanks for stopping by. Best wishes, Bob Tell

Bob Tell said...

Hi Kathy

I am brand new to this blogging thing and, somehow, my first post here disappeared into cyberspace while I was processing it. So here's a shorter version. Your advice in this post would have come in very handy when I was beating myself up as the coordinator of Mom's care while she was alive. Great advice, but easier said than done, in my case at least. A friend told me at the time that no matter how much I do for her, when she dies I'll feel like I hadn't done enough. How true, how true!

So I'm trying to learn my way around this and other sites that deal with blogging and dementia. I hope my new blog, The Caregiver Chronicles (http://caregiverchronicle.blogspot.com/) will be helpful to caregivers everywhere. Best wishes,
Bob Tell, Author of Dementia Diary, A Caregiver's Journal (http://www.dementia-diary.com)

experienced Activity Director said...

Great tips Kathy