“You can’t wait for the storm to pass, you have to learn how to dance in the rain.”
Following his presentation at our GrapeVine Conference last month, we sat down and spoke with Martin Schreiber. Martin served the state of Wisconsin over sixteen years as a state senator, lieutenant governor and governor. Today, he serves as Wisconsin’s leading crusader for Alzheimer’s caregivers and advocates. Governor Schreiber recently completed his book “My Two Elaines” chronicling his experience as a caregiver for his wife Elaine, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.
Early on in his role as a caregiver, Martin learned the importance of “joining Elaine’s world”, meaning that he works more to understand the world from his wife’s point of view. Taking on this perspective, Martin learned that it was less important to focus on things that were factually true (example: what day a specific event occurred), and more important to work within the beliefs that Elaine had about the world. By joining her, Martin is better able to still bring happiness and joy into Elaine’s life, despite the challenges that exist because of Alzheimer’s.
Martin acknowledges that the role of caregiver involves a great deal of self-sacrifice, but wants to emphasize the importance of getting support. Getting help and practicing self-care will help you be more patient and more energized, which will make you a more effective caregiver.
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