Friday, August 10, 2012

15 Things Caregivers Can Do to Be Joyful

The Purpose Fairy has written "15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy" and the Huffington Post (calls itself the GPS for the Soul) has widely circulated it--click here.

Joy is the term I will use here instead of happiness.  I use kind, rather than nice. Joy and kind are in the Bible. But I will look at 15 main headings from the above post and make my comments or insert Pinterest graphics after them.

1. Give up your need to always be right. Do not argue with an Alzheimer’s patient. My husband found a Renuzit Aroma room deodorant in his workshop and he took it out, saying it didn’t belong there. It’s okay with him if it is in the main part of the house, but not his workshop. Oh well! I can joyfully go in there remembering that I don’t have to argue with him. There is a reason I put Renuzit there that doesn't make sense to him in his thinking and it just isn't that important.

2. Give up your need to control. But not always with this disease. I wrote a seminary counseling paper on the authority of an Alzheimer’s husband and concluded that, at times, I need to control to be the best helpmeet I can be with God’s help.

3. Give up on blame. I do not blame anyone for this disease and certainly not God.

4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk. Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report. . . . to think on these things.  

5. Give up your limiting beliefs. Philippians 4:13 says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

6. Give up complaining.

Philippians 2:14 from the Jewish New Testament says Do all things without kvetching [Yedish for complaining].

  7. Give up the luxury of criticism. With the stress of the elections coming and the stress of daily living it is easy to criticize. I want to be a lovegiver instead—to give warm fuzzies, not cold pricklies (a ‘70’s term from Claude Steiner).

8. Give up your need to impress others. Impressing is pure pride as Scripture says: For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world (1 John 2:16).

9. Give up your resistance to change.
I realized some time ago, that this journey of my husband's Mixed Dementia would mean a lot of change. I can hide my head in the sand, react to stress by emotional eating, or whatever, or I can research how I can be a good lovegiver/caregiver and give glory to God. This means lots of change that is coming down the pike. Change is growth.

10. Give up labels. I think that dementia issues do put limits on people, but they do not have to have labels. My loved one is not a disease, but a person. There are certain limitations he has, but disable does not mean unable.

 11. Give up on your fears.  My LORD knows how this will all end.

12. Give up your excuses.  This one is a hard one for me. I have to be more responsible now. Someone has to. I cannot say I am happy about my challenges, and would like to have excuses. And it is hard to ask for help as well.

13. Give up the past. This is so true. I live for each day and am thankful for what comes my way. Yesterday my husband mowed one half of the backyard, prompted by our neighbor mowing the front yard perhaps and my suggesting to him for several days it needed to be done.

14. Give up attachment. I love the lyrics by Michael Card in his song “Things We Leave Behind”:

Every heart needs to be set free
From possessions that hold it so tight
The freedom’s not found in the things that we own
But the power to do what is right
With Jesus our only possession
And giving becomes our delight
And we can’t imagine the freedom we find
For the things we leave behind.
15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations.

I want to live so that one day the LORD will say well done, thou good and faithful servant and He won't expect me to be superwoman, just a woman abiding in Him.


  1. This is a wonderful, practical, list, and it helps that you personalized it and brought in the Biblical principles. I smiled when you mentioned the "Warm Fuzzies vs the Cold Pricklies" I remember that book too and hadn't thought of it in about 40 years! Seriously though, may we be the dispenser of kindness and love to our dear men. There is room for growth in my life in each of these areas. Thankfully, God is not finished with me yet!

  2. Good advice Carol!!! Sometimes it's really hard to abide by these wonderful principals, but with God's help, we can do our best.

  3. Excellent list. I was encouraged by several of them.

  4. Bev Mitchell had great words on #1 of this post. She wrote in reference to this blog, "Usually we don't need to be right--just reasonable." So true, Bev, and sometimes indeed I can reason very simply with my husband (one idea at a time repeated) and change the scenario rather than give up some challenge.

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