The Power of Perspective
Lori La Bey is the founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks and also a caregiver of her mother who was diagnosed with dementia years ago.
In her interview with FOLKS, an online magazine that focuses on the compelling stories of people who have overcome their health issues, she discusses the power of relationships and to change our mentality on caregiving.
In the article, How To Help A Loved One With Dementia Lori talks about her mother's journey since she was diagnosed with dementia. We want to focus on four main concepts in her discussion with FOLKS that we think are really important to think about in regards to caring for a loved one:
• The word, “care partner” is more appropriate than a “caregiver”. In most cases that take place within the family, a strong relationship has already been established with the individual before the illness has occurred and it’s important to understand that this relationship is relational. In any relationship there is give and take, so like any other relationship, this one should be equal.
• The subconscious action of “freeze-framing” is not a healthy way to think about our loved ones and can cause damage to our perception of them at the present moment. We have to accept life the way it is now, and how it was before. It is important to understand that life was not perfect before the illness occurred, and it isn’t now.
• To find joy and laughter in the little moments of life, as hard as it may be. Lori explains that she found happiness and acceptance during intimate moments and conversations with her mother while she was in the hospital. These moments can make us grateful for what we have and make us stronger.
• To understand the importance of self-awareness and the relationships with our loved ones. Lori believes that once we truly understand our true feelings and needs, then we can focus positively on our loved ones’ needs.
Whether you're a caregiver or not, FOLKS' article reminds us to step back and think about how we should think about caregiving less as a chore and more as a relationship.