Overcoming sadness

you are caring for a loved one with dementia or helping a relative with cancer,
sometimes the sadness of it all feels overwhelming. Especially at the holidays.
The sadness is natural, of course. But you don’t want to get paralyzed by it.

Pivoting from the sadness
As family caregivers, we need to learn how to acknowledge the sadness. But we also need to allow for joy at the same time so we have the energy to continue providing care. It’s not self-centered to be happy. In fact, researchers have found that the “happier” we are, the more we tend to give to others.

type of happiness that nurtures our giving nature is not the thrill of winning
the lottery. Quite the opposite. It’s the little smiles and chuckles of every
day that create an internal reservoir of contentment. It’s the frequency—not
intensity—of positives in our lives that fills our personal well.


  • Be selective with your attention. What we focus
    on—or don’t focus on—has a huge impact on our mood. Ignore the things that make
    you feel hopeless and focus on what can be done. 
  • Give yourself two or three pleasure moments a

    What feeds your soul? A walk in the park? Listening to music? A relaxing bath?
    It doesn’t have to be a whoop-de-do.
  • Connect with a confidant. Research shows
    that a visit or talk with a close friend absolutely boosts mood and confidence.
    It also strengthens your immune system and improves your thinking!
  • Ease up on your expectations. Your relative
    may simply be in his or her natural decline. Provide the softest landing
    possible. Find out what they would like to do in the time that remains. Keep
    them as comfortable as you can and create moments of joy whenever possible.

Is the sadness of it all grinding away at your spirit?
That’s a sure sign you need help. You don’t have to do this alone. Give us a call at 301-593-5285. As the Metro DC experts in family caregiving, we at Debra Levy Eldercare Associates can help you replenish your well and find the strength to carry on. Let’s start the conversation.