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Posted: January 27, 2006

Spousal Caregiving

We All Need 'High Hopes' in Our Caregiving

Bill Andrew

As a caregiver, I am sure that you have "high hopes" for your spouse as you provide care for them on a daily basis. I know I do -- and I also have "high hopes" for myself so that I provide the very best care that I can given my capabilities. Sometimes, hope is all we have as we start each new day -- hope that our spouse will respond to our caregiving effort, hope that what we do for our spouse is the right thing, hope that we can make it through the day.

As I reflected on what I was going to write for this week's column, something that happened this week stuck in my mind. That "something" was a comment made by a friend that he "hoped that I would be able to physically, mentally, and spiritually continue to provide quality care for Carol as her Alzheimer's disease progresses." Of course, I always have and always will hope God will provide me with the wherewithal to do exactly that.

And that got me thinking about various methods of inspiration that I could use for myself (and for you) to help overcome the depression and let down that often affects caregivers. Last week's column dealt with high-stress and high-pressure events that often affect our respective abilities to provide care for our spouses. And "hope" is often manifested through our attitude toward the situations that confront us -- thus, reducing the impact of those high-stress and high-pressure situations. As I thought about this, I recalled that many years ago, Frank Sinatra had a song hit called "High Hopes" that addressed such situations.

"High Hopes" was written by Sammy Cahn (lyrics) and Jimmy Van Heusen (music) in 1959 for the movie "A Hole in the Head." The movie, with an all-star cast headed by Frank Sinatra, won an Academy Award in 1960 for the best music and original song in a movie. "High Hopes" was sung by Frank Sinatra (as the father) and Eddie Hodges (as his son) in the movie. Let's see how the lyrics resonate with you.


High Hopes

Next time you're found, with your chin on the ground
There's a lot to be learned, so look around

Just what makes that little old ant
Think he'll move that rubber tree plant.
Anyone knows an ant, can't
Move a rubber tree plant.

But he's got high hopes, he's got high hopes,
He's got high apple pie, in the sky hopes.

So any time you're gettin' low,
'stead of lettin' go
Just remember that ant.
Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant!

When troubles call, and your back's to the wall
There's a lot to be learned, that wall could fall.

Once there was a silly old ram
Thought he'd punch a hole in a dam.
No one could make that ram, scram,
He kept buttin' that dam.

'Cause he had high hopes, he had high hopes,
He had high apple pie, in the sky hopes.

So any time you're feelin' bad
'stead of feelin' sad
Just remember that ram.
Oops, there goes a billion kilowatt dam!

All problems just a toy balloon,
They'll be bursted soon.
They're just bound to go pop.
Oops, there goes another problem kerplop!


Think about the words of this song -- if the ant and the ram can do it, so can you and so can I! They each had "high hopes" that they could do what they set out to do -- and they did it! The song's lyrics that resonate with me are "there's a lot to be learned" which is certainly true for most spousal caregivers. We are constantly learning how to best provide care for our spouses.

And the "moral of the story" is that "all problems . . . (will be) bursted soon." Kerplop! Kerplop! Kerplop! So any time that you are feeling bad, instead of feeling sad, just remember the ant and the ram -- they had high hopes and so should you and I.

Do you have "high hopes" as you provide care for your spouse? I do. Hopefully, this column will help you to develop an attitude of "high hopes" if you do not already have such an attitude. Remember, a "positive attitude" is essential to your survival as a spousal caregiver -- it will help to melt the stress away. Refer to a previous column Accentuate the Positive for additional insight.

If you would like to share your "high hopes" with other readers of this column, write to me at


"Hope, like the gleaming taper's light
adorns and cheers our way;
And still, as darker grows the night,
Emits a brighter ray."

Oliver Goldsmith (1730-74)





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

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© 2006 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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