Finding Gratitude is Important for Caregivers
BY KURT SAPP, ADMINISTRATOR, SEMINOLE SHORES LIVING CENTER, NORTON SHORES
Alzheimer’s caregivers have a lot on their plate. In addition to coping with their loved one’s declining health, many of them take on additional responsibilities.
As their friend or family member’s disease progresses, their workload often increases accordingly. Their growing list of duties can be stressful and overwhelming.
These feelings can make it difficult to remember the reasons to be thankful. But finding gratitude is essential to your overall health and quality of life.
The Importance of Finding Gratitude. Finding gratitude has been linked to many benefits, including:
• Increased happiness
• Lower stress levels
• Boosted immune system
• Better outlook on life
• Improved relationships with loved ones
Despite knowing these benefits, it can still be difficult to identify reasons to be thankful when you have a lot going on in your life. Here are a few ways Alzheimer’s caregivers can cultivate gratitude.
1. Incorporate gratitude into your daily routine. The most effective way to find gratitude is to incorporate it into your daily routine. Set aside a specific time each day to think about the reasons you have to be thankful. Try to choose a time where you are least likely to be distracted.
It can also be helpful to anchor your gratitude practice to something in your current routine. For example, first thing in the morning, after you brush your teeth, or right before bed. Doing this will help you create associations and can make it easier for you to remember.
2. Keep a gratitude journal. Journaling can be an excellent way for caregivers to practice gratitude. Take a few minutes at the end of your day to write down something positive that happened. You can be as specific or as vague as you want.
A great thing about this method is that you can revisit your journal when you are feeling stressed or the next morning to jumpstart your day.
3. Spread gratitude with friends and family. Take the time to let the people in your life know you are thankful for them. You can send a loved one a text thanking them for something they did or mail a handwritten thank you card. If you are feeling extra generous, you can even give them a gift or treat them to a meal.
4. Acknowledge the little things. It’s easy to forget about the little things when identifying your reasons to be grateful. But the little things are just as important. For example, you can think about a sweet moment you shared with your loved one or a meal you enjoyed with a friend. Remember to include these small feats in your list of reasons to be grateful.
There’s always a reason to be thankful. Practicing gratitude doesn’t equate to feeling happy and thankful all of the time. Recognizing the reasons you have to be grateful is an excellent way to cope with stress and lessen its effects on your quality of life. Although it can be difficult, it’s important to remember that there is always a reason to be thankful.
Sometimes it just takes a little extra effort to find it. The more often you practice gratitude, the easier it will be for you to stay in a positive state and improve your perception of life.
If you are Alzheimer’s caregiver struggling to find reasons to be grateful, you may want to explore senior living options. Seminole Shores Assisted Living, a Heritage Senior Community, offers Specialized Dementia Care for people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of memory impairment. Contact us today to learn more.
Seminole Shores Assisted Living Center, located in Norton Shores, Michigan, gives seniors the opportunity to be independent while knowing that assistance is available to serve them whenever they need it. The center offers housekeeping, laundry, medication management, 24 hour care, three home-cooked meals a day and a full activity and event program. A pet-friendly community, Seminole Shores Assisted Living Center is owned and operated by Heritage Property Management Inc., located in Grand Haven, Michigan. Heritage Property Management Inc. is a family-owned company that operates nine assisted living homes and five independent living homes across the state of Michigan. Learn more at seminoleshoresalc.com and call (231) 780-2944 for a tour.