With the tenth anniversary of 9/11, many folks are reflecting on the events of those days.
When the 9/11 attack hit, my family and I were in shock.
We watched in horror with the nation as events unfolded. And ended up turning the TV news off. It was too stressful. The local news was worse. It either was preempted by the national events or focused on the possibilities of terror attacks locally.
Now a new study shows that watching the 9/11 attacks live in 2001 increased stress. No surprise, right?
Although it is interesting to see the medical literature studying this earnestly. According to the latest study, people who watched the attacks live on TV had a 28% increase in physical ailments over the next three years, compared to 18% for those who didn’t.
The participants in the study filled out surveys, so the results are self-reported. Many researchers prefer to have more objective data gathering for definite conclusions.
In an ideal world, that would be nice. Confirming the diagnoses and visits to doctors or hospitals would be a massive undertaking with all the legal documentation needed. Not only to get permission to see the records, but also keeping that information confidential.
And now there’s a new potential source of stress in the replay of the 9/11 attack during coverage of the anniversary. It may once again be time to turn off the TV if those images are stressful to you or your care recipient.
Why? Because many times someone you’re caring for cannot process the information. Events thousands of miles away may seem like next door. And events of a decade ago may seem live. Adding to not only your caregiver stress but also to your care recipient’s stress.
In 1963 my grandmother lived with us. Multiple strokes left her with dementia. I remember her watching TV stoically, without expression or comment.
Years later my mother told me she thought Grandma never understood that President Kennedy had been shot. It may have been a blessing that she never processed that information.
Maybe you’re thinking of projects to distract the person you care for from the TV. Or maybe you just want to turn the anniversary into a positive experience. Something to bring your family together.
Have you thought about making or adding to a scrapbook?
One idea for an inspirational project is a scrapbook. Scrapbooks are a great way to use your creativity. And they can be as individual as you. They can also be a family or group project.
How can you use a scrapbook on the anniversary of an event like the 911 attack?
- Maybe you want to share a thought or two. Or drawings. You could write down thoughts your care recipient wants to say but can no longer write. Or maybe she wants to draw something. Or help pick out photos.
- You can write poems or even a short story if that’s you. How about photos of a family get together on September 11? Or maybe you’ll be attending a local or national event, and want to remember it. Maybe your family including the children want to add something.
- Maybe someone wants to include a favorite poem, possibly written by someone else. Many Psalms in the Bible are poetry. Psalm 91 comforted many people after 9/11 and other acts of terror.
- The possibilities are endless. Allow your inspirational thoughts to flow. There are no hard and fast rules. Expressing what’s in your hearts can be very liberating. And one way to reduce your stress.
The scrapbook can be shared over and over. And can be a way of bridging the generations, especially when stories are told and retold.
Another way is to show others just how important they are in your life. This can be a great project for you and your care recipient. Together you, or even your whole family, can work on showing others how much they mean to you. No crafting skills are needed. All the information is provided for you, and it’s free.
For more information go to www.AskDrIna.com/gift.
And see how easily and quickly you can reduce stress and overwhelm while making a difference!
To your healthy caregiving,
Ina Gilmore M.D. Retired
“The Knitting Dr.”
This information is for educational purposes only. It does not replace information or recommendations from your own physician or other health care provider. Full Disclaimer and Disclosure at www.CaregivingWithPurpose.com/policies.