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Posted: July 21, 2005

Spousal Caregiving

When Did You Last Count Your Blessings?

Bill Andrew

As spousal caregivers, we have much to be thankful for -- despite the difficult caregiver role that has been thrust upon us.An "attitude of gratitude" will always outweigh an attitude of feeling sorry for yourself and your spouse.

As we enter the second half of 2005, let's take a look at the past six months in which we were handed all types of caregiver challenges filled with experiences that we were not able to embrace at the moment.Each of us has, hopefully, been moving past these fears, obstacles and challenges, and have evolved stronger in character and in person.

Take a deep breath and take time to honor yourself this day. Acknowledge all that you have been doing for your spouse, and let us "count our blessings."You and I are unsung heroes, and it is important -- in fact, it is essential -- that we accept the beauty of who we are at this moment.

It has been said that we are all energy and that we constantly emit vibrations (some people call them "vibes").When we have negative thoughts or feelings and are down in our energy levels, it affects our ability to provide quality care for our spouses.When our energy levels and vibrations are raised through positive thinking (see my Accentuate the Positive! column from last December), we open our hearts and feel more love, and are more loving, toward our spouses.We will experience more peace and joy from our daily caregiving activity as a direct result of this positive thinking.

Consider the following...

    Count your blessings instead of your crosses;
    Count your gains instead of your losses.
    Count your joys instead of your woes;
    Count your friends instead of your foes.
    Count you smiles instead of your tears;
    Count your courage instead of your fears.
    Count your full years instead of your lean;
    Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.
    Count your health instead of your wealth;
    Love your neighbor as much as yourself.

(Author unknown)

Does this poem help to generate positive thinking about your role as a spousal caregiver?It does for me!Why not take time to write down your responses to each of the lines of this poem -- you might be pleasantly surprised at the results of this inventory of your blessings.

As additional support for this "assignment," I came across the hymn Count Your Blessings while perusing the Internet. I think you will enjoy the message therein. Reflect upon that message in the following verses from this hymn:

When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Refrain

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Johnson Oatman, Jr. & Edwin O. Excell (1897)

I rest my case!

If you would like to share your spousal caregiving experiences with other readers of this column, please e-mail me at ASKBill@caregivershome.com.You can also ask any questions that concern you -- but remember, I can only share my personal experiences with you and can not provide any advice that would require specific licensure.

WORDS TO CARE BY . . .

"Blessings crown the head of the righteous."
(Proverbs 10:6)


Bill Andrew identifies himself as a former “nutritionally-empowered Alzheimer’s caregiver” who attributes the slow-down in progression of Alzheimer’s disease in his wife, Carol – and the growth of his own personal emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual capability and strength to provide quality 24/7 care for her in their own home – to the targeted nutritional supplements they both took on a daily basis. Carol went to her Heavenly reward on June 9, 2008 – Bill continues on to advocate for family caregivers. Contact Bill with your caregiving questions and comments via email at ASKBill@caregivershome.com.

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© 2005 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

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