There is no doubt that being a family caregiver is not easy. It often comes with long days, new challenges and changing family dynamics. Even so, there may be an opportunity for you and your loved one to find moments of joy in your day-to-day routine. Our Care Consultants have compiled 10 tips to find joy as a family caregiver, in hopes that you will find one or two ways to incorporate more joy into the day for both you and your loved one.
1. Find joy in simple pleasures
Taking a moment to appreciate the little things can refresh your perspective and raise your spirits. Pause to take in the smell of fresh coffee in the morning, spare a few moments to observe the way that light dances across the ground underneath the trees outside, take a drive with the windows down. Seek out these seemingly small joys in your daily routine to refresh your mind and spirit.
2. Stimulate your senses
Share a favorite meal with your loved one and focus on savoring the textures, flavors and aromas.
3. Find support in others
Join a book club or social group, reach out to friends to establish a regular coffee or walk date, find an online community to connect with others facing a similar situation or who have the same interests, and/or seek out professional support. However you best connect with others, doing so relieves stress and promotes well-being.
4. Take a moment for yourself
You are valued – not only for being a caregiver, but for being the person who stepped into this role for your loved one. As a valued person, make a commitment to yourself to “fill your cup” – maybe this means taking a quiet moment to sit in the garden, playing cards with a friend, a walk around the block, or video-chatting with grandchildren. Whatever fills your cup, make time for it regularly.
5. Find the humor
Being able to find the humor in a tough situation can bring light into dark days. Don’t be afraid to laugh when things get ridiculous, or seek humor in puppy videos on YouTube when things get to be too much.
6. Share a memory or story
Sharing a memory or story with your loved one can be a nice way to reminisce on fond times. Recall a time that you overcame an obstacle or successfully faced a challenge; reflect on memories that shaped you. Considering sharing these stories with friends and family who also find joy in reminiscing.
7. Write down joyful memories to reflect on in tough times
Write on a notebook or create a scrapbook with fun/joyful anecdotes and revisit as needed. Use words, images, photos – get creative!
8. Get moving!
Make an appointment with yourself to exercise! Whether that be in or outside of the home. Exercise with a friend and get the added benefit of emotional support.
9. Connect with nature
Nature can bring so much joy. Bring in fresh flowers, or visit a garden or nursery. You can also plant flowers, walk outside, build a snowman, cuddle up with a pet, or go for a car ride to see the spring blooms, the snow or the fall leaves.
10. Try something new together
Try painting or creating a collage with your loved one, play their favorite music in the background. Strive for fun and not perfection.
The Alzheimer’s Association has many resources for family caregivers, including Care Consultations, Caregiver Support Groups, Educational Programs, and Conferences. We also have a 24/7 Helpline for any and all questions you may have regarding Alzheimer’s and other dementia. Our Helpline employees speak over 200 languages in order to best communicate with you and your family. The Helpline can be reached at 1.800.272.3900.