Carol Howell Talks Dementia, Relaxation, and the Lopsided Snowman


Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

-Matthew 11:28

Relaxation Isn’t Easy!

I need to relax.

I tell my clients this each time they meet with me. I know this in my head, but my body might not be experiencing the benefits of relaxation. It could be directly tied to the fact that I’m not so good at relaxing!

When we are tense, our minds are not working at their optimal level. This is true in the presence of dementia or absence of dementia. We need to get space between our ears and our shoulders. We need to breathe. We need to relax our body and our mind. We need time just for ourselves.

Yesterday I had a session with my health practitioner, and she spent a little time on that subject. It seems there are a few stressful issues in my life that are causing my health concerns. Believe it or not, those stressors are not my mother’s Alzheimer’s. However, I need to learn to let go of those stressor for my own health’s sake. If I am not healthy, how can I take care of Momma in her journey of dementia?

With all this in mind, I thought of two peaceful settings I have experienced in the last few days. Yesterday, my husband and I had the privilege of walking along the banks of Lake Norman in Davidson, North Carolina. It was peaceful and serene, and I could feel relaxation taking place.

Last week we were offering private music to a hospice client, and I noticed the view from her living room door. I saw this huge tree and the green grass around it. I thought, “I would love to sit under that tree, play my ukulele, and maybe—possibly—relax.”

Think about what helps you relax and pursue those things. Your body and your loved one with dementia will be glad you did.

The Lopsided Snowman

It is a nice warm day as I write this post, but I recently scanned through my pictures and saw this snowman. It took a lot of work to build him, and he made an impression on me.

As you look at this snowman, you may notice a couple things.
1. He is a little dirty.
2. He is slightly lopsided.
3. He needs the STOP sign to support him.

Many things in life make me think about my seniors with dementia. This snowman did just that. As I compare my friends with this snowman, I find some things in common:

1. There are days my friends with dementia are not as well-groomed or clean as they would like to be. Despite the good and consistent efforts by caregivers, staying clean while eating, keeping clothes brushed free of food, and not having an occasional oh-so-unpleasant bathroom odor can be a problem.
2. Many of my friends find it difficult to move about from place to place. They feel lopsided. This feeling of unsteadiness is disconcerting.
3. All my friends (and all their caregivers) need a little support from time to time. Knowing we have loved ones who care, loved ones to call on, and loved ones to support us, makes life worth the extra effort some days demand.

So this snowman caught my attention. In many ways he is quite beautiful. I also am aware of the work that went into making him from the very small amount of snow that fell, but the family was determined. The outcome was quite remarkable. Determination in caregiving, education about the process, and lots of love will make your caregiving journey more successful.

Hope all this gives you Something to Ponder.



Carol Howell
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