Many people in their lives come up with some version of a “Bucket List.” There are always things people want to do with the time they have left whether it is ten years or ten months. As a caregiver, you can help your loved one “re-invent” the Bucket List. Start thinking about the Bucket List in a different way. Make it a collection of positive possibilities. Just the thought of making them come true is enough to make anyone happy.
Here are some things you can focus on:
– Life goals
– Bring joy to others near and far
– Don’t just dream the dreams – live them
– Find a little joy in small things each day
– Give credit to those who make dreams come true
First of all, as you begin this list, be realistic according to your loved one’s current health conditions. If they are bedridden, skydiving would not be a good choice even though they might have always wanted to try it. However, reading the one Hemingway they haven’t read or keeping a birthday journal recording all the birthday celebrations they can remember might be within their reach.
Skyping family and friends who live far away could be on the list. Have an all chocolate day, as long as there aren’t any dietary restrictions. Be creative and make it fun! Get others involved. They can make suggestions for the list or contribute towards making items on the list become a reality. Family and friends will enjoy helping and wonderful memories will be created.
If your loved one is not confined to bed, make the most of “good days.” Pick something on the list and JUST DO IT! Aunt Jane has always wanted to see The Phantom of the Opera on stage. Get the tickets and take her. You dad has always wanted to see the Grand Canyon. If it’s possible, make it happen!
Second, the list should be divided into things that can be accomplished on “good days” and “not so good days.” This way, no matter what, each day your loved one can feel like they have accomplished something. Each day is a gift. Each day brings a smile to their face.
Finally, make sure the list includes things that have an external focus. Paying it forward can make a person feel so incredibly good inside. In other words, make sure your loved one is passing something positive on to someone else in the world. Maybe it is a note of encouragement to someone else with health issues. Maybe it is a donation to their favorite charitable organization. Donate old games to a Boy’s Club in your hometown. Perhaps they can read to children at the library during story hour.
Your Hospice of Montgomery care team has many years of experience and can assist you by helping you build the “Bucket List” or maybe even helping you make the things on your loved one’s list come true. Remember – life goals, bring joy to others, live your dream, find a little joy and don’t forget to give credit to those who have helped make it all come true for your loved one.