FREE TRAINING: How To Care For A Loved One With Dementia
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caregiver stress Oct 04, 2020

Welcome back, Careblazer. Today I want to share with you 3 ways that you can improve the relationship you have with your LOWD. If you have an amazing relationship already with your LOWD, these ideas will help strengthen and reinforce that relationship. If you feel that your relationship with your LOWD is strained and tense, especially if they see you as someone who tries to get in the way, treats them like a child, or sees you as someone who tries to stop them from doing what you want, then this will definitely help you start to shift into something more friendly, kind, and enjoyable. 

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The steps I’m sharing don’t require any extra time, money, or help. I’m asking you to give at least one of these ideas a chance. The more you practice these steps the better the results you will see. Also, it’s important to know that doing these steps doesn’t mean you will automatically see a benefit right away (although in some cases you might). It’s more the consistent, ongoing use of these ideas that will eventually lead to the change you want to see. So commit to at least one of these ideas and try to work them into your daily routine. 


Idea 1:

Do something every day that doesn’t involve what you would think about when you think of “caregiving.” Along the caregiving journey it’s easy for the relationship to go from person to person, mother to daughter, spouse to spouse, son to mother to caregiver to patient. It’s so easy for the relationship to turn into a caregiving relationship over time that we forget to foster the basic human to human connection. 


Ideas of things to try on a regular basis to foster that human connection include:

  • Watching a funny show together
  • Genuinely smiling at your LOWD
  • Giving a truthful compliment to your LOWD
  • Bringing up a fun memory from the distant past and share how much you loved that time with them. 
  • Giving them a hug, holding their hand, or offering a back massage
  • Telling them a joke and asking them to tell you one as well
  • Asking them to share their favorite childhood memory, 
  • Flipping through a photo album

The options are truly endless. Think of something you would want to do with someone you love that isn’t being fueled by your traditional thoughts of “caregiving” and work that into your daily life. 


Idea #2: 

Offering praise, words of kindness, and compliments daily


It’s so easy to go through our day and our relationships without taking time to share thoughtful and kind words that can mean so much and do so much to improve our relationships. This is actually a good idea for all types of relationships, but it works especially well for dementia. So much of what we do can feel like business or that status quo. For this idea, I’m encouraging you to find at least one opportunity every day to share a thoughtful and truthful kind word. 


Do this even if you think your loved one is mean. Do this even if they don’t say anything kind back. It really can make a difference over time. What you say doesn’t have to be anything earth-shattering or long. It can simply be: 

  • “Good morning.” 
  • “I enjoy having coffee with you.” 
  • “You look really nice in that shirt today.” 
  • “Thanks for eating breakfast with me.” 
  • “I love your laugh.” 
  • “You have such a nice smile.” 


The only rules here are to say something kind and make sure it’s truthful. There’s no shortage of things you can say here...even if you don’t have the best relationship with your LOWD. The great thing about keeping these steps in your mind is that you will go through your day actually looking for the opportunity to offer kind words. This actually trains your brain to notice good things that you might ordinarily miss. It’s a bonus that happens as part of this step. 

Idea #3:

So much of what you do as a Careblazer involves helping your LOWD. And this very loving and necessary act often leads to the strain, tension, or frustration in your LOWD. They either don’t think they need the help or they resist the help, or they may even feel bad that they need the help. So in idea #3, help them without highlighting your helping. This can feel hard for you sometimes because you already do so much without the acknowledgment and thanks you deserve. But this idea is really helpful for building a positive relationship with your loved one because it doesn’t continually put you in the role of someone helping them. Things just happen. So for example: 

  • Remove any obstacles ahead of time when you can. For example: automatically serving them food in bite-sized pieces if they have trouble cutting. You don’t wait to do it in front of them or for them to ask for help. 
  • Automatically serving them drinks with lids so you aren’t having to clean up spilled drinks in front of them. 
  • The clothes they have access to in their room are all interchangeable, easy to put on so you are never in the position of having to tell them what they are wearing isn’t appropriate for the weather, situation, etc. 
  • You don’t comment to them about how much help they need
  • You don’t remind them that they can’t do something. If they talk about going to work later, you don’t remind them they are retired. You offer a kind word or two and continue on with the conversation or day. You can simply respond, “You really liked working at your company. What was your favorite part?” Or you can say, “You have always been a great worker.” See how that combines the previous idea of offering a kind word to this idea of not reminding them or highlighting anything they can’t do. 
  • If there’s something you can do to help them without them knowing, go for it. 
  • If there’s something they can’t do or struggle with, see if you can help them without them knowing or ahead of time. 
  • If they tell you they can do things they can’t (and they are safe and won’t actually try to do those things), you can simply engage them in a conversation, acknowledge what they said without telling them they can’t. 


To recap,  the 3 ideas you can start doing right now to improve your relationship with your LOWD are:

1. Do something daily that doesn’t involve “caregiving.”

2. Offer kind, loving words/compliments daily (remember, make sure they are true for you)

3. Help them without highlighting your help. 


Let me know what one you plan to try first. Remember, for the best results, you want to keep doing these things on a consistent basis. You may not see immediate changes, that is okay. Keep ongoing. 


I’ll be back next week Careblazer.


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