5 Ways to Use Dreams for Support
When I was helping to care for my mother during her 10 years with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, friends and family members encouraged me to get support for myself. And I needed it! As my mother descended deeper into the disease, my stress level rose, and feeling helpless to take away her confusion and suffering, my mood plummeted.
Ironically, the person I most wanted to talk over my problems with, the person who in the past would have advised me, sent me notes of encouragement and gifts to brighten my day when she knew I was going through a hard time, was no longer able to do these things for me.
This is often the case. The caretaker of someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s is often the child, spouse, or other loved one who once counted on this person for support. When that person can no longer function in the same way, the caretaker must look to other sources of care and comfort for themselves.
This is a time of great loss, and there is nothing that can completely take away the pain and sense of isolation. But through my journey, I learned that we all have an internal support system in the form of dreams.
Engaging with dreams by journaling, sharing them with an interested friend, joining a dream group, or working with a dream therapist one-on-one, can provide a day to day form of support, that can offer new perspectives and creative solutions to vexing problems.
Tips for caregivers
– Write to wholeness. Keep a journal, including writing down what you are going through during the day as well as the dreams you have at night. On the pages of your journal, describe your experiences and dreams in detail and reflect on the messages they offer.
– Share to connect. Share dreams with a friend or therapist, to help you uncover the healing messages. If people are unsure how to respond to your dreams, just ask them to listen with an open heart, and assure them you don’t expect them to “interpret” your dream. Simple questions like, “How did the dream make you feel?” or “What does that dream make you think about?” is often all we need to open up to the wisdom of the dream and to feel connected to ourselves and one another.
– Mention dreams. Ask other caregivers (paid or friends and family) about their dreams. And also ask the person with dementia about their dreams for as long you’re able to carry on conversations. Share any hopeful and healing messages you’ve gotten from your dreams with others, too.
– A place for dreams. When you are a caregiver there’s little time to spend on sweet extras for yourself, like all the things self-help books and blogs recommend. But there is time to reflect on dreams during long waits in doctor’s offices, commuting on planes or trains to care for your loved one, or when you’re too tired event to take a bath or read a book: Just close your eyes and reflect on a dream you’ve had, or invite a nap-time dream to help you through.
– Welcome dreams. Remember that dreams can be a caring presence and an avenue for self-care and self-help. Specifically, I have found that dreamwork is ideal for caregivers to those with Alzheimers and aphasia. Even scary dreams have important healing messages, so don’t discount them.
This post is part of a series on Dreams and Alzheimers. To read the series from the beginning, START HERE.
Tapping into the Power of Sleep and Dreams for Caregivers of People with Dementia and Alzheimer’s
44 pages; Only $2.99
About Forgotten Dreams
In Forgotten Dreams Tzivia shares her story along with easy to follow tips and techniques that will help caregivers:
- Sleep better and find moments of rest in stressful times
- Learn to recall and record dreams
- Discover how all dreams, even nightmares, can be tapped for help, health, and spiritual and emotional healing