Posted on: June 4, 2020

Times of crisis may sometimes bring out both the best as well as the worst in us. All through the coronavirus pandemic, we have heard stories of individuals hoarding items and selling them to make an outrageous profit, coupled with stories of heroes who selflessly met the needs of others despite their own fears.

The key to weathering the storms which are guaranteed to arise within our lives in a healthy and balanced way is resiliency. Mia Bartoletti, clinical psychologist for the Navy SEAL Foundation, works with families of those serving in the military, and gives recommendations that will help build resilience through any time of crisis – especially relevant for those taking care of elderly parents.

  1. Discuss your reactions. It’s normal to have an array of responses to a crisis: flashbacks to other overwhelming situations, dreams and nightmares, withdrawal and avoidance, problems with sleeping, irritability, problems with focus and concentration, and hypervigilance. What’s essential is to make sure these responses are short-term, and do not progress into long-term psychological problems. Acknowledge your feelings and express them with a reliable friend, or write them in a journal.
  2. Maintain social connections. While your reaction may be to pull away from family members during a crisis, staying in touch on a routine basis with those you care about is extremely important. Finding a support group, whether in person or online, is another good way to make sure you’re building and preserving social ties, letting you speak with others in the same situation.
  3. Take time for self-care. This means something different to each of us, but should include enjoyable activities, engaging hobbies and interests, healthy meals, lots of sleep, and physical activity. If you find it is hard to carve out self-care time for yourself due to caregiving duties, Alivity Care Advocates is always here to partner with you to help you find the resources you need. Looking after yourself allows you to take better care of those you love.
  4. Recognize what you are able to control – and that which you cannot. Letting go of what is out of your control and concentrating instead on what you CAN control is one of the foundations of resilience. Psychologist Mary Alvord, who founded Resilience Across Borders, explains, “Depression is hopelessness and helplessness, and so resilience is the opposite. No, you’re not helpless; you do have control over many aspects of your life.”

It is always smart to seek professional counseling whenever your responses to stressful circumstances are impeding your ability to maintain a sense of calm and also to tend to the essential day-to-day activities of living. And, watch out for signs that older loved ones are feeling undue quantities of stress so that you can obtain the help that they need also.

Realize that no matter what life may bring, you can rely on Alivity Care Advocates, the top Birmingham elder care advocates, to walk beside you with dependable, professional guidance and support. Call us at (248) 375-9125 for more information, and to find out if our services are available in your area.