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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Contentment May 22, 2013

What does it mean to be content? Does contentment suggest a lack of ambition, a sense of satisfaction with the status quo? Are we programmed by Madison Avenue never to be content? Do we want an iPhone6 or a new XBox 360 even if we received the last one this past Christmas?

"May contentment reign within its borders, peace and happiness within each home." That's a sentence from  a prayer for our country recited every Saturday morning during Sabbath services.

Are we not content when we are striving? As we repair the winter's damage to our homes and lawns, as we plant and weed our gardens it seems we have many feelings, but I guess we feel mostly that we have a chore to do and that we may feel content when it is done. But everything is never done. Do we take the time to become contented with the successful completion of whatever we actually do?

As caregivers we ask ourselves what did we like about our day as each day is different and we cannot expect life to be routine or remain the same. We need to cultivate a feeling of contentment from smaller and smaller accomplishments from ourselves and from our loved ones.

Anxiety is a great part of Alzheimer's disease because we all know what's coming and the afflicted person also has some awareness of what has already been lost. Some of our loved ones remain sweet, but their anxiety shows when they ask the same questions over and over again.

So it is very surprising for me that my husband who was diagnosed in 2006 and who became very anxious, aggressive and belligerent, has now become mellow, happy and yes, content.

He knows the routine under which he lives, he looks forward to the predictability of each day, enjoys company and plays relatedly--not for a long time at any one activity because he forgets, but his anxiety is gone which makes my life so much better too.

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