Developing an Attitude of Creative Indifference

accepting the unacceptable challenges of caregivingAccepting the unacceptable is something most caregivers eventually have to do, especially when you’re caring for someone with a long-term progressive and degenerative disease.

But how do you come to terms with the fact that your husband, who was once a distinctive businessman or brilliant educator can no longer figure out how to write a check or look up a telephone number?

How can you accept that your wife’s Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s Disease has progressed to the point that all of the plans you had for this time in your life are no longer possible? How do you reconcile the dreams you had with your current reality?

Yesterday I wrote about AWARENESS, which is Step One in developing an Attitude of Creative Indifference. If you missed it, click here: Grief of Parkinson’s Disease.

Step Two is ACCEPTANCE. Acceptance starts with being honest about the reality of your situation. You may want to pretend the disease isn’t progressing. You may want to believe that siblings, children and/or friends really do have legitimate reasons for not showing up when you need them most. You may wish you didn’t have moments when you felt angry or resentful toward your care receiver. You might even be ashamed to admit that there have been times that you wished their suffering (and yours) would just end.

It would be wonderful if ignoring your problems and feelings would make them go away. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

There are three steps to developing an Attitude of Creative Indifference. After you have completed Step One, which is listing the people, situations and events that are causing you emotional stress, you can move on to Step Two, which is identifying the various issues and factors that are complicating your situation and adding to your stress.

Maybe your care receiver’s needs are increasing and you’re worried that you won’t be able to continue to caring for him at home. Perhaps your elderly parents haven’t completed their essential end-of-life documents, and you’re afraid there will be conflicts within the family about how to manage their healthcare and finances. Maybe you’re concerned about your own health and financial well-being.

There are countless complicating factors that add to a caregiver’s emotional stress, and it’s important to identify them and recognize your feelings toward them. Writing them down will help you look at your situation more objectively. Accepting the unacceptable isn’t something any of us ever want to do, but when we are caring for someone who has a long-term progressive and degenerative disease, there are some things we simply cannot control or change. Being clear about where you are now and realistic about the future will help provide clarity so you will be in a good position to take the third step in developing an Attitude of Creative Indifference, which is ACTION.

Tomorrow I’ll write about the choices caregivers can make and the actions we can take when we’re faced with a difficult problem.

Your might want to watch my video that explains how my mother evolved from having a “Detached Attitude” to having an “Attitude of Creative Indifference”. Click here to watch: Meet Madelyn

If you’d like to download the Creative Indifference worksheet from my Caregiver Survival Workbook, click here: Download Workbook