Hope and optimism—two important and helpful words for the family caregiver. Both are a choice. And, sometimes difficult choices, indeed.
Caregiving is both rewarding and hard work but is so much easier when interrupted by small spaces of optimism. About seeing the world realistically–both the good and the bad. This post explores how family caregivers can use hope and optimism to deal with their challenges with more positivity, grace and love.
While thinking about this topic, I came across one caregiver’s definition of hope: “Hope is defined as the inner strength to achieve future good and to continue caregiving.” This definition really resonated with me and made me realize how important it is to feed a sense of possibility. Looking at life with the perspective that the glass is half full is most helpful when it allows you to take small actions that give you the energy to move forward. When viewed this way, optimism is really the extension of hope.
During my caregiving journey, I Iearned to focus on the smaller things that made me hopeful. It was sometimes challenging but I found small ways to do it - sharing a cup of tea with a friend or walking in the garden to hear the birds sing. Now that I’m past the heavy duty caregiving phase, I’ve decided to help other folks find these small ways to anticipate the future. My therapy dog, Gizmo, and I visit an Alzheimer patient once a week. It’s a short 20 minute visit of quietly sitting and petting Gizmo but it is arguable one of the best things I do each week. When I leave it’s hard to know who feels more hopeful—the patient, caregiver or me.
It’s finding these small windows of hope that makes all the difference in a caregivers journey. Seeing the future with a positive attitude can feel overwhelming at times but that’s one of the reasons Breathing Spaces is here.
Finding the small sources of connection and optimism can make all the difference. Breathing Spaces is here to support you as you find more of those moments as a caregiver. Whether it’s connecting with other caregivers on our Facebook group or sharing a walk with folks who understand the challenges of caregiving, our goal is to help you take a deep breath and find the connection and optimism to move forward and meet the next hurdle a little more easily.