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.
If you would rather watch the video on this topic, click here.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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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