Springtime Light

As Spring gets closer, we see changes in light. Whether it is Daylight Savings Time and springing forward or a subtle change in trees budding—our world is moving toward more light. As our care partner’s brain changes, we must change to give care. That change can bring up feelings of resentment, anger, guilt, shame, loneliness and depression. Even as the natural world gets brighter, our path may feel full of shadows.

Spring light holds a lesson for caregivers.  A gardening resource explains that light comes in colors.1 In Spring, red light provides the energizing chlorophyll to make a plant green. From a red light comes growth.

This is true for plants, and is true for growth in dementia world. Change for your loved one has to start with a red light for you.

  • A red light to ignoring signs of brain change
  • A red light to neglecting self-care
  • A red light to putting the needs of your loved one before your own

We are the change agents. Our loved ones have a disease that makes change difficult or impossible. Like plants in Spring, we need to use the red light as a filter for our change.

Research shows that caregivers are resilient and have a higher sense of well-being with education, with seeking help and with spirituality.2

  • Go to educational events, read educational books
  • Ask for help either home care or placement
  • Discover what gives you inner peace and get daily doses

Our loved one is experiencing brain change that is altering their ability to process what they once could. You have become the light of their life—which requires you to seek self-care, knowledge and grace in order to thrive.

Footnotes

1http://www.cannagardening.com/influence_of_colors

2Bull M. J. (2014). Strategies for sustaining self used by family caregivers for older adults with dementia. Journal of holistic nursing : official journal of the American Holistic Nurses’ Association32(2), 127–135. https://doi.org/10.1177/0898010113509724

About Cate

Passionate about dementia care and quality of life throughout the last days of life----sums up Cate McCarty, Dr. Cate, Dementia Coach. With close to forty years of long-term care experience in nursing and recreation, a Master's in Thanatology and a PhD in Aging Studies, Dr. Cate seizes every opportunity to translate research into quality of life for individuals with dementia and all of us who have the honor to "rub elbows" with them.
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