Archive for January 2021

How Do I Keep It Together When Things Falls Apart?

Posted on Jan 07, 2021

processing grief

How do I keep it together in the face of loss?

Whether you’re witnessing the gradual cognitive decline of a loved one or you’re helping care for a family member with a terminal illness, you likely feel helpless. If you’ve already lost someone, the pain of mourning their passing can feel debilitating. You may be searching for answers on how to keep it together during these times of immense pain—which may be one of the reasons you found this article. So, what’s the key to keeping it together during these times? 

Simply put, don’t. 

We’ve become very good at keeping up appearances. A little too good, actually. 

Despite the apparent perfect life of your friends, acquaintances, and celebrity fascinations on social media, nobody has it completely together. Most people are very good at curating what they want others to see and think about them. However, keeping up these appearances has put undue pressure on us all to appear to “be strong” in the face of adversity. 

You don’t have to keep it together. In fact, it’s better if you don’t try. 

So, should we give up trying to cope with the gradual or past loss of a loved one? While it may be important to preserve your mental, physical, and spiritual health, it’s OK to let yourself experience the sadness, the frustration, the confusion, and the void left by the loss of a loved one. True, it will be unpleasant, but when we avoid allowing ourselves to feel these sensations, we end up feeling sad and stressed and anxious—not only about how we will end up feeling, but what other people will think about us. 

“Be strong for_____” is lousy advice. 

As we undergo loss, we feel the need to be strong for others. For our kids. For our families. For our friends. In reality, the most healthy thing we can do is be strong for ourselves. How do you do that? By allowing yourself to be vulnerable. To stop fighting grief. To let others help you. To permit yourself to process the emotions you’ve been holding back so you can begin to heal. But remember—there’s no rush.

Hospice & Palliative Care Serving the Greater Tulsa, OK Area

It can be challenging to accept help during hard times. Still, you owe it yourself to reach out for help when you need it. If you’re looking for caring hospice and palliative professionals in the Greater Tulsa, OK area, you’re invited to learn more about Cura HPC Hospice & Palliative Care today.

How Should I Correct a Dementia Patient’s Bad Behavior?

Posted on Jan 07, 2021

So, you’re helping care for a loved one with dementia. As you know, their behavior can border from pleasant to downright hostile. Most misbehavior is due to their own confusion, so it can be challenging to correct this behavior. Still, we can’t just let them act out, can we? No, but we can reduce instances of misbehavior in two ways. 

Tactic 1: Opt for diversion in place of head-on confrontation.  

While there’s nothing wrong with asking a loved one to cease an unhelpful behavior, there’s no reason why such correction should become a confrontation. Becoming stern, impatient, or visibly annoyed with a dementia patient will only escalate tensions. Instead, attempt to divert attention away from the misbehavior.

Tactic 2: Remove the factors that contribute to misbehavior. 

If addressing misbehavior to someone with dementia fixed the issue, that’s great! Unfortunately, this is rarely effective in the long term. While usually not spiteful, a loved one experiencing cognitive decline either (a) won’t remember that you asked them not to do something or (b) won’t realize that they’re even doing what they’re doing. 

So, what can you do? Remove the obstacle. 

Let’s say that the dementia patient you’re caring for has a bad habit of automatically throwing away all their mail as though it’s junk mail. Maybe they had a habit of throwing out junk mail before, but now important bills and letters wind up in the trash. Instead of scolding them about this behavior, you can make sure that all mail goes through you before it ever gets to them. By doing this, you remove the likelihood that they can throw unopened mail away and remove a potential negative encounter with them. 

Have a reason for your environmental change ready. 

If you have changed the environment to reduce the likelihood of bad behavior (for example, you get the mail from the mailbox instead of them), the person may ask why the change has taken place. Instead of telling them that you’re doing so because of their misbehavior, have another reason ready. Perhaps, say that you enjoy getting the mail or receiving something that they don’t—some form of coupons they treat as junk mail, etc. Choose an excuse to defuse any confrontations preemptively. 

Preserve the Positivity

Though we may feel more like parents to children than caregivers to loved ones with dementia, it’s important to remember that this is not the dynamic to foster. These are not children who learn from their mistakes and can be told what to do. These are adults who deserve a semblance of autonomy while likely not capable of retaining the information you give them. To preserve the positivity in their home or care center, the best approach is to reduce the opportunity for bad behaviors to occur in the first place. In this way, you can avoid difficult conversations and negative emotions.

Hospice & Palliative Care Serving the Greater Tulsa, OK Area

If you’re looking for caring hospice and palliative professionals in the Greater Tulsa, OK area, you’re invited to learn more about Cura HPC Hospice & Palliative Care today.