by Sharron Warren

Archive for March, 2015

HIDE ONE AND ALL – ALZHEIMER’S IS LURKING!!

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The problem is that we can not hide. Head in the sand as I said before doesn’t work. We all have to be proactive. Alzheimer’s does not care who’s brain in gets in to……….big, small, blue collar, white collar, male, female, 40 years old, 80 years old and even those with broken legs!!

We need to get educated and enjoy life – NOW.

Finding an activity for someone with Alzheimer’s can be a difficult task. It’s hard to gauge sometimes what memories they retain of past leisure activities and what abilities they retain as they progress through the disease. We also do not want to put them in a situation where they would feel that they have failed. But there is an activity that seems to work for most – coloring. YEP, I’m talking about coloring books. Come on, you know you like it – you sneak a little in with your grandkids and you might even do a little while watching TV. Now I found out that there are some awesome coloring books on Amazon and most are only $3.50. There is even little stained glass coloring books that you use markers on vellum paper. Do I sound excited??? Don’t tell Tom but I just ordered a whole stash – yippee. Any age can color to keep your brain active. Remember to choose a book that is age appropriate and something you/they will be interested in. Check out “Dover Coloring Books” on Amazon – these are not your childhood coloring books – they are awesome.

Who are they? What do they all do?

I know of several people with Alzheimer’s who still have a beautiful singing voice, who worked good jobs in finance, used to be a public safety leader and our volunteers are full of wonderful jobs and a wonderful past.

Our support group is growing. I’m glad to meet new people and hear new stories.
My support group ranges from 50 years to over 80 years – that’s a diverse group and so many stories. This group does my soul good.

We have one couple who are inseparable and so in love – It’s beautiful.

We have an older man who served in several wars, and changed jobs until he found the one that he loved. We’re never too old to seek a new passion.

We have a few couples where the care partners have to work. With work worry is a huge factor as the loved one with Alzheimer’s is home alone.

We have a wonderful man who writes books – Alzheimer’s does not take away our dreams of writing.

Some in our group travel. Tom and I try to travel as often as we can to see sights on our bucket list. We plan to start back up when I learn to walk again. Darn leg!

We have a retired public safety leader.

Some of our awesome volunteers: a retired marine archeologist, a member of the clergy, a person who counsels young adults, some working in the medical field.

We have an awesome, fun and interesting group. It fills my heart to know this people and I’ve missed them the past couple of months. See you soon, my friends.

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You may find these questions good to talk about if you have Alzheimer’s or if you are a Care Partner. Conversation is good for all.

Those with ALZ

Are you angry/aggressive? If so at who or what? How do you reel in that anger and aggression?
Do you feel that your feelings get hurt more now? Or you more “sensitive”?
Do you get upset when your Care Partner tells you that you did something wrong?

Care Partners (CP)

How do YOU handle your partner with Alzheimer’s when they are angry/aggressive? Coping mechanisms?

ALZ and CP’s

Do you have the support you need? Do you feel lonely?
Have your friends and family been supportive? Have any of them deserted you?
Do your friends or family email, call or visit? Do they ask how YOU are feeling and if they can help?

ALZ and CP’s

Do you sleep well – if not what are your sleeping habits?
Do you suffer from any male or female problems?
Do you have friends that come to visit? Invite you out?
Does music sooth and calm you or do you find it irritating? What type of music do you enjoy?

Story for ALZ & CP’s:

This morning I poured cold milk into a cup with the intention of putting the milk carton back into the refrigerator as soon as I put the cup into the microwave to heat. But I forgot to put the carton back and only noticed it standing there on the counter when I returned to the microwave a minute later. Before taking the cup out of the microwave, I made a definite mental note to return the carton of milk to the refrigerator as soon as I got my cup. It was only a few minutes later as I was returning with my milk to my room that I remembered the milk carton.

Twice I forgot the very same intention seconds after I’d made it, even after making a conscious mental note of the intention.

Such lapses may not seem like much but events like this happen over and over if you have Alzheimer’s.

Many people have been asking how I’m doing with this wonderful broken leg. To be honest it is terrible, the worse thing I’ve been through in my 66 years BUT it is getting better. I recently started physical therapy so as painful as that is I feel like I am finally doing something to head toward that wonderful day in May when I can start walking!! It scares me as I’ve been so dependent on walkers and wheelchairs to get around but to walk again is a dream come true.

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Thank all of you for your emails, prayers, calls, food, rides and concerns. I do believe that helps my brain…contact, yes that is it. Remember to call or write your loved one with Alzheimer’s – it will do them good. For me, I hope to be coloring real soon.

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Me in my favorite chair with some goodies a friend sent!! Love you my Amigo! Sorry but the candy is all gone!!

Oh My – I just started knitting! Thought it might be good for my brain. What a disaster!! I’ve done some face and dish clothes……but that’s as far as I’ve gone. No matter what I do I end up ripping most of it out, start again, rip again…..I’ll not give up but don’t expect to see me in a sweater any time soon. I have done some winter headbands that I like but are not good enough to give as gifts. Next winter my ears will be nice and warm and you better not laugh!!

Until next time…

Here are a couple of websites I found useful and enjoyed.

http://www.alz.org/facts/downloads/facts_figures_2015.pdf

http://seniorlifejourneys.com/
This site has a few funny stories – humor is GOOD!

https://mybrain.alz.org/overview.asp

Something to ponder……………it’s scary how the Alzheimer’s brain changes. If this picture freaks you out it should.

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ON THE MEND

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Let me tell you………DO NOT DO DRUGS! I have been home about 2 weeks since my 2nd surgery and OH My GOODNESS the pain was not something I’d wish on anyone. After a week or so of two daily doses of 30 mg. of morphine and two Percocet every four hours I decided to quit. As many know my patience runs thin so I stopped a few doses here and there then decided to just DO IT. I am telling you this for informational purposes but withdrawal is all you’ve read about or seen on TV and more. I hope to NEVER go through three days of hell again. The Dr. tells me I will need pain medication for the Physical Therapy as it will be very painful so I have more decisions to make. Maybe biting on a stick or a big swig of whisky!
This road I’m on now as I may have said before had a terrible beginning, two surgeries, horrible pain but a month has passed and I’m feeling better and ready to start the long road of physical therapy. I WILL be walking by my birthday – May 13th.
Through all this I have to wonder what, if any lasting effects this bump in the road will have on my brain. There is no way to know as the Alzheimer’s will progress the way it wants to with me not knowing if my surgeries and meds have moved it a tad bit faster. This I can not worry about. Live for the day!

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Simple, Easy and Helpful

There are two subjects I wanted to touch on briefly about Alzheimer’s patients.
Conversation

Conversation is a good example of a simple activity that is meaningful and beneficial for a person with dementia or anyone. It can be a good way for younger family members to engage with the person with dementia. The important thing is to have a connection through the social interaction. Usually in early-stage Alzheimer’s there are not a lot of communication problems but we still need that closeness and feeling of belonging and people in our lives who understand this. Conversation is most important when we get to the stage where we have more difficulty talking and understanding. Do not ignore us, do not talk around us, we can still hear and hopefully we can still laugh.

Music

Even when other abilities are severely affected, many people still enjoy activities relating to music. Musical memory is often retained when other memories are lost. Evidence suggests that music can improve someone’s mood, behavior and wellbeing. Physically responding to the music (through dance or movement to rhythm) can offer a chance for exercise and non-verbal communication. Favorite songs or pieces of music can also be powerful prompts for reminiscence.
When visiting my Mother one day at the Alzheimer’s unit her nurse came up to me and said “You need to see Miss Gerry dance!!” When her nurse turned on the music, took my Mother’s hand and started dancing I was in tears…………my Mother was singing, laughing and dancing – as beautiful as ever. For those few moments I was able to see HER – my Mother – being her self. Beautiful memory. Tom loves music so I know that will not be a problem – I love you sweetie but keep your feet to yourself!
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From my friend Ken with younger onset Alzheimer’s:

As I am awake ever morning early and I look in on the girls and wife and see them sleep so peacefully and knowing my boys are doing great I could not be happier with my life and thankful. I will not let Alzheimer’s take that away. In time I might not remember all my friends and family but I want them to know I love them and thank you for all the good and yes even the bad. Love yah all thanks.
In closing I’d like to thank my friends, family, church and especially my Villa neighbors for their love and support. Thanks to my Mother and Father-in-law for feeding us yesterday. We loved the visit.

Walk teams are already being formed for this year’s Alzheimer’s Walk to be held October 24th. Please start thinking of joining a team – my team would love to have you!! With last years fund raising and the help of my team, that included friends and neighbors we rocked! I’d love to beat last year’s total. I do not plan to start any walk plans until the end of the summer so you have plenty of time to join!

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