Gratitude is something we naturally think about during November, thanks to Thanksgiving – the time of year when we gather with those we love to give thanks for the blessings in our lives. However, you may not realize that November is National Family Caregivers Month, which means that this Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to show appreciation, thanks and caring for the more than 44 million family caregivers in the United States.
“Caregiving is a gift that has myriad benefits,” says Trish McKay, Executive Director of Bridges® by EPOCH at Trumbull, a memory care assisted living community in Trumbull, CT.
“It’s an act of love that should be honored every day of the year, but this time of the season allows us to really show our gratitude.”
Caregiving is rewarding but also taxing, especially if someone is caring for an individual with dementia, explains Trish. “Most caregivers in the United States are not professionally trained, which means that many of them are balancing their own lives plus the lives of their loved one,” Trish says. “This can be incredibly difficult, but practicing gratitude is an excellent way to find balance and happiness.”
Studies have shown, says Trish, that practicing gratitude helps improve well-being, reduces stress and provides a higher quality of life. “It can take some practice to really pay off, but the efforts are worth it,” she explains. “Caregivers who practice gratitude have a higher sense of self-worth and a more meaningful relationship with their loved one with dementia.”
Opportunities for Practicing Gratitude
It’s essential to note that being grateful doesn’t mean never having negative thoughts. “Gratitude doesn’t mean being a Pollyanna who’s positive no matter what,” says Trish. “It’s about finding something to be thankful for every day while also accepting your feelings, no matter what they may be.”
Here are some ways that gratitude can help caregivers have a lifestyle that’s uplifting and enjoyable:
- Think about those who are a positive force in your life. Take a moment and reflect on what your life is like thanks to those in your circle. Reach out to those individuals and let them know how much they mean to you. This will allow you to carve out opportunities to interact with people who support you and understand you. Having this in your life makes it easier for you to remain positive and thankful.
- Discover what it is that fills you up. All of us have something that has us looking forward to a new day – no matter how small it is. If reading a book for 10 minutes while drinking coffee gets you ready to tackle the day, go for it! Or, if watching a comedy sitcom relaxes you before bed, make that an essential part of your daily routine. This will allow you to find joy in the little moments.
- When you find yourself worrying about what “will be,” learn to focus on the present and meditate. This allows you to appreciate the good things in life that are happening right now.
- Start a gratitude journal. Consider keeping a gratitude journal so you can jot down things that make you happy. A list such as this can be a good memory-jogger that helps you to be grateful.
“This season is the opportunity to be grateful for so many things, and at Bridges® by EPOCH at Trumbull, we are dedicated to helping our residents and families be thankful during the holidays,” says Trish. “This allows for everyone in our community to live a happy, healthy lifestyle.”
Dedicated Memory Care
Bridges® by EPOCH at Trumbull delivers highly specialized memory care assisted living for those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Our resident-centered approach focuses on providing dignity, purpose and moments of joy in daily life for those in all stages of the disease. We offer a wellness-focused lifestyle that centers around a resident’s current skills and abilities, not those that have been lost to dementia.
Our team members take an active role in getting to know each resident on a personal level to deliver programming that is meaningful to them. We account for the preferences, interests, needs and abilities of our residents to connect with them and encourage their involvement in daily life and boost self-esteem.
Warm, Residential Atmosphere
Featuring a stunning residential design, every inch of our community has been designed to benefit those with memory loss. Attributes such as soft colors, directional cues and aromatherapy create a soothing and secure environment where residents feel comfortable, safe and at home.
Bridges® by EPOCH is New England’s largest stand-alone memory care assisted living provider.
Contact us today to learn more.