The coronavirus has taken something from every individual and the social isolation and loneliness compounds situations as well as making caregiving much more complex.
For the Alzheimer’s caregiver and your loved one, the unexpected and uncertain journey with the disease has shifted, and strengthening each other’s spiritual side can aid in coping with everyday stresses. Because there’s such a connection between the mind, body and spirit, these aspects are now left unbalanced and somewhat in distress.
Thus, maintaining spirituality, i.e., nourishing the spirit, is a practice that leads to peace, especially during this COVID-19 crisis. Leaning on God or a higher power opens the door for growth in spirituality and reduces stress, which, in turn, can render a sense of calm and serenity amid the chaos.
Prayer is a natural response to feelings of insecurity and loss of control, and practicing prayer and meditation can improve overall health, as well as help you become more patient and gentler in the daily tasks and activities of caring for your loved one. These practices can also bolster joy, which can help sustain you through difficult moments.
Additionally, taking time to breathe deeply can produce more oxygen in your body, and that helps with relaxation.
While we can't gather socially, connecting with nature can have positive benefits and further a sense of spirituality and promote an appreciation of the little things often overlooked. That invokes gratitude.
Practicing gratitude, perhaps keeping a journal of things to be thankful for, is a way to reinforce the positive aspects of the day and also provides you with some forms of encouragement down the road when difficult situations arise.
Find ways to keep centered, such as reading and/or connecting with family members or friends via tools like Skype or Zoom can enhance your spirituality and help build underlying fortitude and strength in caregiving.
Your loved one’s spirituality also should be nourished during this world’s health crisis. The two of you can continue the faith and/or spiritual practices you always have had. For instance, if attending a formalized place of worship was a routine for you, then try to keep to that routine. Most places of worship offer services and special prayer times over the internet via YouTube or Facebook.
Put tangible items inside the home that your loved one can view and/or hold that reminds him or her of their faith practices. Set aside time to read the Bible or other journals or listen to audio books and music that are spiritual and uplifting.
Nourishing spirituality may mean just being with your loved one, being there to listen and ease anxieties without judgment.
During this time, accept the new reality and continue to enjoy moments together in activities you both enjoy. Try not to waste time or energy on things that do not matter. Stay away from the constant updates about the coronavirus and practice acceptance with things as they are.
Follow safety guidelines. Exercise, eat properly and rest. Pray together and often. Hope in all things good.