Weekly Newsletter

December 27, 2023

Quote of the Week:

"When you have a dream, you've got to grab it and never let go."

— Carol Burnett

The Journey of Resolution Through Reflection

The end of the year is upon us. A time for reflection. A time for resolutions to cover and correct a good many of those reflections. The "shoulda, coulda, woulda's", crowd our perceptions, even as we hopefully anticipate those new beginnings of a New Year. The prospect of a clean slate; an opportunity "do it right" can be motivational in all aspects of our lives. Never more so than at the prospect of being a "better caregiver."  

But wait! Let's take this "role" into consideration:

Whether you became a caregiver gradually or all of a sudden due to a crisis, or were given the role as caregiver by default, many unwanted emotions surfaced as you took on the job of caregiving. A reflexive inventory determined that if we were perfect, we would not feel.

Let's take a deeper, more normalizing look at this:

AMBIVALENCE:  Wanting, and not wanting to be a caregiver. Allow yourself to feel both sets of feelings; there will be good days, and not-so-good days...these feelings will not last, just as clouds passing over the sun. "They come to pass, not to stay".

ANGER:  It's not always possible to be in perfect control of your emotions...anger "just comes out" sometimes. Anger and frustration are normal parts of being around someone who needs help on an on-going basis, 

Forgive yourself. Walk away. Breathe deeply. Give yourself a time out. Call a caregiver friend who will listen to your "vent" enabling you to "get it out of your system". Anger can evaporate when we give it a "voice", while refraining from taking it out on others.

ANXIETY:  Feeling like things are out of control and not knowing how to bring them back into control can produce feelings of anxiousness. Anxiety can present as a short fuse, an impulse to run away, rapid heart palpitations, sleeplessness, an urge to cry. When anxious, STOP. Take three deep breaths, in with the nose, out through the mouth. Meditate. Take a walk, however brief, this helps recalibrate racing thoughts. Make some tea. Journal. Give yourself a hug... (really) Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can, in any given moment....because you ARE.

BOREDOM:  It is easy to become bored when you are stuck at home taking care of someone else and not doing the things that fulfill your own wants and needs. Respite can help. Taking time for yourself can serve to increase your patience and resiliency while attending to your own unmet needs. It is essential that there is time and space for you to get in touch with yourself beyond the identity of caregiver. Take stock of what is meaningful for you; socializing, being in nature, an art project, a good book.  

CRANKINESS, IRRITABILITY:  When tired or stressed, it is harder to stay in control of the things we say and feel. We can lash out because we are not centered and have no reserve. Again, it can be beneficial to take a break, get some rest, keep a journal, talk with a friend or professional. A "short fuse" can be indicative of your being close to serious burn-out" . It is imperative that you see this as an early warning signal that the need for rest and "me" time not only are called for, but essential for your own mental/physical wellbeing.

DEPRESSION/SADNESS:  As caregiver you are at risk for depression. It can evidence as hopelessness, helplessness, difficulty sleeping or wanting to get up and face the day. Depression is treatable and should be taken seriously. Professional help is available; find a counselor who understands the particular stresses and challenges of caregiving.. Ask for help from family and friends. Join a caregiver support group, it can be very comforting to know that you are not alone. Exercise, moving your body is a proven way to relieve some of the symptoms of depression.

DISGUST:  Having to toilet someone can be a difficult and challenging experience for many caregivers. Cleaning up as a result of incontinence of feces and urine can be unnerving and uncomfortable. Watching someone eat sloppily or not care for personal appearance, or having to clean up vomit can cause feelings of disgust. The hardest thing about accepting our revulsion is that the care receiver is not in control of these behaviors, and guilt can easily contaminate our already unacceptable reactions. There are resources to aid you in dealing with bathroom problems such as the webinar entitled Moving Beyond the Leakages; Practical Strategies to Manage Incontinence.

EMBARRASSMENT:  Impolite comments, making a public scene, refusal to bathe, and the resultant body odor, disheveled appearance. It is easy for us to feel responsible for the behavior of someone else while feeling that it is our fault when things happen. Some resourceful people create cards, similar to business cards, to hand out stating: "My loved one has dementia and can no longer control their behavior." Having an attendant accompany them when they go out can be very helpful. However, keeping the focus on your loved one, their comfort, and their dignity is paramount.

FEAR: "What if something happens?" Scaring ourselves about the "what if's" can be paralyzing and keep us from enjoying "what is". Contingency plans are a must. Having a back up caregiver if something happens to you. How you would handle medical emergencies. Having a DNR form completed and posted on the refrigerator. Contact information for relatives and close friends readily available. When scared, it is helpful to talk to someone who knows your situation and can give you perspective and help calm your fears. An acronym for fear: False Events Appearing Real. Our thoughts and projections can get the better of us.

GRIEF: Watching the care receiver decline, not being able to do the things that used to be easy and natural is sad. We also grieve for the person who used to be.  We grieve the altering of our relationship with that person. We need to grieve that loss and acknowledge that being a caregiver is to experience, often on a daily basis, the grieving process. However, with the presence and awareness of unconditional love, sometimes simple gratitude for what is present in the now can help allay the grief of what is lost.  

GUILT: Guilt is very common among caregivers; guilt that you are not doing enough, that you should be better at it, that you just want it all to end. We set an impossible standard for ourselves when we fear that we are not meeting our (or other's) expectations. If you fear that you aren't doing enough, imagine if you weren't there! Look at the difference you make each and every day. Be kind to yourself...

You matter; what you do matters.

Reflections and resolutions are a wonderful way to herald in the New Year. "When we know better, we do better!" However, please know that your courage, compassion, and resiliency are nothing short of heroic! 

Above all else, make your primary resolution one of mindful compassion for yourself! The role of caregiver is the hardest job you will ever have.

Karen Kelleher, MA

Family Caregiver Support Coordinator at DayBreak

As we approach the end of the year, we find ourselves reflecting on the incredible journey we've had, and we are filled with gratitude for all the support we've received. We extend our warmest wishes to you and your loved ones. May this season bring you joy, peace, and moments of connection. Thank you all for being a part of our journey this year.

We strive to build an inclusive, welcoming and supportive community of care for older adults, people with disabilities and their family caregivers, and are excited to continue to serve our community in the New Year!

Empower Change Through Giving

DayBreak is on a mission to provide essential support and services to those in need. Your generosity ensures that we can continue to make a difference in the lives of elders and caregivers, creating a community of care, and compassion.


If you know an older adult in need of our care and coordination services, or a family caregiver seeking assistance, please encourage them to reach out to us at:


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