Today’s offering comes directly from a book I found valuable and beneficial. Unfortunately, I was unaware of this book until a few years into caring for Mom. I wish I had these insights from the beginning. You will find the book information at the end of this blog.
For now, this quick little quiz will give you an idea of where you are with your loved one and yourself as far as your resilience goes. Resilience and self-care is one of the most important attributes we can have during this time.
TABLE 1. The Resilience Scale
Answer the following questions using a five-point rating scale. If you strongly disagree with a statement, circle, “1.” If you are neutral about the statement, circle “3.” If you strongly agree with the statement, circle, “5.”
I usually manage one way or another. 1 2 3 4 5
Keeping interested in things important to me. 1 2 3 4 5
I feel proud that I have accomplished things in my life 1 2 3 4 5
I usually take things in stride. 1 2 3 4 5
I am friends with myself. 1 2 3 4 5
I feel I can handle many things at a time. 1 2 3 4 5
I am determined. 1 2 3 4 5
I can get through difficult times because I have experienced difficulty before.
1 2 3 4 5
Self-discipline is important. 1 2 3 4 5
I keep interested in things. 1 2 3 4 5
I can usually find something to laugh at. 1 2 3 4 5
My belief in myself gets me through the hard times. 1 2 3 4 5
In an emergency, I am someone people can generally rely on. 1 2 3 4 5
I can usually look at a situation in a number of ways. 1 2 3 4 5
My life has meaning. 1 2 3 4 5
When I am in a difficult situation, I can usually find my way out of it. 1 2 3 4 5
I am resilient. 1 2 3 4 5
Now, look at the items where you rated yourself highly (score of 4 or 5). Think of these are your “resilient strengths,” ways in which you already are dealing with your caregiver role, that are helping you. Now look at the items on which you gave yourself a low score (1 or 2). Think about what would have to change in your current routine and habits, that could help you? Think of one thing you could do differently as a caregiver in the next week that would build upon your past experiences and strengths. Try it, and see what happens.
*This book, When A Family Member Has Dementia, STEPS TO BECOMING A RESILIENT CAREGIVER, by Susan M. McCurry, can be found in the Resource section of this website, or simply go to Amazon.com.
What Is True For Me: There were about a half dozen things I did my best to keep up regardless of the stress I was under. I blow it some days, yes, of course, I did. But I continued to teach my exercise classes at the gym. I walked the dogs every day, I took my vitamins, ate well, and made sure I slept well – and if I needed prescriptions to help me sleep, I got them. These things combined gave me the best chance to stay clear and open.