“Success Strategies for Parkinson Caregivers”
By MARILYN TAIT
Parkinson Educator, Motivator & Advocate
Executive Director, Parkinson Research Foundation
SPEAK UP! “Keep Talking When No One Wants to Listen”
The non-stop highs and lows of caregiving put you on an emotional roller coaster whether you like it or not. Unfortunately, the emotions often associated with caregiving are far from calming. Anxiety, frustration, anger, loneliness, depression and fear can make for a rough ride.
Uncontrollable mood swings can take the joy from the day and rob you of a peaceful night’s sleep. It’s common for long-term caregivers to feel the increased pressure of rising demands but for the good of all you must remain calm. The key is to let your feelings out a little at a time before you explode. The fastest and easiest way is to keep opening your mouth. There will never be a better time to talk too much!
- Share your thoughts with family members and friends whom you can trust with your feelings. Identify those who will listen objectively while offering sound advice and sincere concern. Gain strength and emotional support from those in your life who love you enough to listen.
- Right your feelings by writing them down. Journaling is an easy and effective way to release negative feelings the minute they pop up. Write at random. If your feelings are important enough to matter, they are important enough to write down.
- Keep the line of communication open between you and your loved one. Do not hold negative feelings in because it’s easier to say nothing. No one can read your mind. If you want others to know what you are feeling, tell them.
- Talk to yourself. Rely on the one who cares the most and is always ready to listen. When you’re down, pick yourself up with praise and positive affirmations. Always pat yourself on the back and silently take a bow.
- Seek counseling when the emotional impact of caregiving knocks you down and you can’t get up. If you try in vain to deal effectively with your feelings, do not hesitate to make an appointment with a professional counselor who can provide the necessary resources and emotional support you need.
Message from Marilyn…
If you cherish your sanity, speak up! There is no good reason to harbor your feelings. As a caregiver, think about what you are dealing with, physically and emotionally, and love yourself enough to open up and let your feelings out. Your mission is to maintain a positive relationship between you and your loved one. The caregiving challenges you face together, every day, have the ability to negate the finest relationship. To protect what you love the most, keep talking no matter what!