Positivity is my single most important caregiving resource. But sometimes my tank is empty.
Starting each day with the right mindset is the foundation of my caregiving existence. Without it, my day crumbles. I go from flexible to inflexible. My surplus of patience evaporates for no reason and my blood boils when it shouldn’t. In general, I make mountains out of mole hills — when I’m supposed to be preventing mountains from being made.
Not a great caregiving recipe. If it were just me, it’d be ok every once in a while. But it’s not just me anymore. Mom can be impacted when my day crumbles and that’s not ok.
With anything less than a positive attitude, I’m not equipped to handle the ups and downs of Mom’s days–a lesson I’m thankful to have learned early on in our journey. Over time I’ve developed a playbook of tactics that help me snap out of a funk. I use them a lot. Actually, every day. But lately, I’ve been relying on the internet too.
There are some amazing caregiving sites out there. They’ve given me ideas and different ways to think about things I’m struggling with. And they always leave me feeling less isolated and more positive than when I logged in.
Here are my five favorites right now (in no particular order.)
Stumped Town Dementia
A personal blog chronicling the ups and downs of sisters caring for their mother as she lives with vascular dementia. The balance of the ups and downs is what I love about what they write. Lickety Glitz, the author, doesn’t shy away from talking about all sides of their family’s journey. They talk about the compassion and laughter almost as much as the sadness and anger. Each post I’ve read is dripping with authenticity and honesty. As a result it draws me in and gives me comfort. Posts like “Dementia is a Team Sport” resonate with me because of words like this:
I’ve only discovered the blog recently but it’s already lifted me up on multiple occasions. Even the aesthetic of the blog and the tagline “Punching Dementia In The Face One Day At A Time” refresh me.
If this sounds like your cup of tea, check it out.
Minding Our Elders Blog
Founder Carol Bradley Bursack has been a caregiver several times and has spent two decades as an author, columnist, speaker, and consultant. Carol’s knack for combining her professional experience with her personal experience and putting just the right words together is what makes her writing resonate with me. Offering a wide array of helpful services for caregivers, what’s been most helpful to me thus far is reading her ‘Candid Caregiver’ column.
I appreciate the crowd sourced nature of the questions she answers in the column but what I love more is the way she responds. Always compassionate, thoughtful, and helpful. In some cases I learn to think differently about something I’m struggling with and at the same time in other cases Carol’s writing gives me the validation I need to quickly refill my positivity tank. Take comments like these for example, from a column on facing the stigma of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia:
How awesome is that opening to her answer? Talk about feeling supported! I feel her humility and professionalism come out at once in her writing style. And it helps me more than I would have ever expected.
Founded by Denise Brown in 1996, Caregiving.com is a tremendous collection of caregiving stories. They offer much more than that, but for the purposes of this post, the stories and the feeling that permeates the site are my focus. Because they refill my positivity tank.
I appreciate the well rounded team of contributors and the variety of writing in terms of topics and voice. As a result, whenever I visit the site I find a piece of content that strikes a chord with me. And I can feel the culture of the site when I click around it. I feel like I’m with my people. People who get what’s on my mind during a given day. Maybe that sounds crazy but it’s real. I feel it. Check out the site and see for yourself.
Lastly, I love the variety of ways they engage the users of the community. It’s creative and practical. Little things like the exercise you see below.
I saw this a few days ago on a day when I was feeling, shall we say, less than positive. And in the few moments I checked this out (and submitted my headline), I felt connected instead of isolated and had a quick refill of my positivity tank.
#Carechat on Twitter
I find #Carechat to be super helpful. In some ways, it’s like sitting around a table at a coffee shop chatting about all things caregiving–challenges, self-care tips and tricks, thoughts, joys, sadness–all of it. It’s like a support group brought right to my screen.
The honesty and candor is refreshing, and so is the support offered by the moderators and participants. The supportive undertones are my favorite part and a quick visit to #Carechat has filled my positivity tank on more than one occasion. Simply seeing exchanges like the one below fill me up and I’m grateful to have found it.
Scheduling is hard for me to make the chats as they’re actually happening live but the content is always there, simply by searching #carechat in the search bar of Twitter. It’s like a drive through support group and it is amazing.
Have you ever used Google Alerts? I never thought I’d be doing so for caregiving but….never say never I guess. It’s a way to have Google send you (mostly) pertinent news on topics that you care about. I originally set them up to stay plugged into research and clinical trials news related to Alzheimer’s and Lewy Body Dementia–because our parents are living with those diseases.
What I found though was an unintended (and gigantic) benefit. Along with the research articles, it often sends me human interest stories that were published on news sites that I would never have checked out. Stories like this one from STLToday, a touching story about families living with dementia. It was sad and eye opening content, yet the story was so familiar. It’s a story that I could identify with. And through the familiarity came a refill of positivity (counter intuitive, I know) that helped me push forward.
Setting up the alerts is easy. Just Google “Google Alerts” and type in your topics of interest into the search bar at the top of the screen. That’s it. Who knows, maybe you’ll find value in them like I do. Check it out!
I’ve only found Caregivingadvice.com a few days ago but have quickly come to appreciate it. First, I appreciate the look and feel of the site. So many of the caregiving sites out there have a similar look and feel. In my head, I jokingly refer to it as the Sea of Sameness and Caregiving Advice feels different. More modern. Cleaner. And most importantly, real.
I’m sure there are lots of great caregiving sites out there and I look forward to finding more of them. But right now, these are my favorites. Because they all keep it real and their mission is clear. To help. Only to help.
They refill my positivity tank and I love ’em for it. What are your favorites?
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