Tag Archives: vacations

The Tip of the Iceberg

alz-other-sx-2017

In my last BLOG I wrote about symptoms people don’t usually see so therefore they find it hard to believe you have Alzheimer’s or any form of Dementia.  After my BLOG was published I found this.  Share please with friends and family – they rarely see under the iceberg.  Pretty amazing what we can hide.

 

 

VALENTINES DAY

valentine-sticks

Another Holiday is on the way.  Valentine’s Day is one of the less stressful holidays so if you have traditions try to keep them.  If it’s not possible try something simple like watch a movie, cook something simple but delicious, go for a drive or a walk.  If you are a Care Partner these special days are going to be forgotten soon so grab what you can now.  I’m sure you can figure out what that special thing is.  Make it fun, sweet and simple.  MEMORIES.

 

The Brain and What it Controls

big-question-5feb

Plaques and tangles form inside our Alzheimer’s/Dementia brain.  Once they find their way in – the downward slop begins.  I imagine that these invaders do not take over the brain all at once but that they start in certain areas of the brain then start spreading out.  This is why one day, month or year we can do something well and then it’s lost.

People just can not wrap their mind around how this picture, with all its beautiful colors is a brain.  While our brain is amazing it is not very pretty.  When I see pictures of plaque and tangles, which are also make look beautiful, it is hard to imagine that there is room where one can still talk and communicate so well.  While it’s a worn out topic for me I’m hoping this explains it better.

This is how Alzheimer’s progresses.  For some from diagnoses to death can happen in a few years but some manage to last 10-20 years.  It depends on how fast those plaques and tangle grow.  I feel so fortunate that while I am progressing I am doing so slowly and continue to have my social skills and speech.  If you look at the little part of the brain where the speech is – I seem to be free, for now.  Oh, I also have no problem with taste!!

One thing I am so glad about is that I still have MY opinion.  My opinion should not bother you as your opinion should not bother me.  I’ve always been very opinionated but more so now and I have been known to write or blurt things out.  Most of the time it is not what I would have done a few years ago but YOU forget who is writing or speaking.  While I want to be “normal” – I am not, so shame on you for not remembering that.  This pertains to all of us with Alzheimer’s.

 

PBS Specials

I hope you have been watching the wonderful PBS Specials on Alzheimer’s.  I know they will be repeated so check PBS to find the next showing.  A big eye opener was “Every Minute Counts”.

The increase of Alzheimer’s as Baby Boomers get older and the toll it take on Medicaid, Medicare and private insurances is unbelievable.  There is a wonderful graph of the government money that is given to several diseases and while those diseases are “under control” Alzheimer’s is not getting nearly as much money and this disease to growing at an unbelievable rate.

 

A repeat of Tom’s Words from Aug. 2015

I thought this was worth repeating

“The next few paragraphs are by Sharron’s husband, Tom. This is my observations on the changes.

Very often when Sharron tells someone of her problem they minimize it, saying things like, “I forget things all the time”. “Just the other day it took me 5 minutes to find my keys.” “You seem so normal.”

Cognitive impairment is not like that. My perception is there are basic mental processing issues. Not affected are things like motor skills; the ability to see and react; and the ability to talk. Thinking processes are affected. Things like logical problem solving, and dealing with the unexpected.

When you lose something, your keys, you think back such as what I was doing when I got out of the car, trace back your steps and find those keys. Now if you have no idea what you did over the past 5 minutes, where would you look?

On the subject of communication, I remember one day in 2011 when I told Sharron she is using too many pronouns. If you cannot think of someone’s name, you can just say “she”. If you cannot think of an item, you say “pass that to me”. In 2014 I heard “pass me the flipper over thingy” and “That temperature measuring device.” Now in 2015 the word challenge is progressing to sentences. Imaging getting half way through a sentence and forgetting how to end it. The loss of words is frustrating for both of us.

We need to separate conversation into 2 different types. There is what I call ‘shooting the breeze’ like friends just sitting around chatting; then there is ‘direct’ communication, where information is conveyed to someone. When Sharron is shooting the breeze everything seems normal. Words flow; there is a normal two-way interaction. Sharron can be telling a wonderful story of our last trip, but her color commentary will have fractured some facts. I like to say she can be talking about or trip to Florida when we actually went to Georgia.

Direct communication is much more challenging. Because recall of recent events has been confounded, passing information that you have had that pain for one week becomes twisted to something like ‘a couple of months’. To address this Sharron is writing many events in her journal or day planner.

Even with the challenges we still live our lives. We have overcome a serious leg fracture, and are back to living. Last week was at the beach.  We have plans for more travel in place. We are not letting Alzheimer’s control our lives.”

 

So Sharron, How are you doing?

163

Me and a treat from Menchies

I am enjoying the monthly Memory Café.  It is always nice to see folks from our first support group.  Time is short so it’s hard to talk to everyone.

My knee is progressing and I’m able to get some walking exercise.  We go the Williamsburg Landing fitness center three times a week.  Riding the bike is great for my knee.  Pain??  Oh yes!!  I have pain most of the time, but I also have faith.

I’ve always talked to myself but it’s getting worse and now it’s really irritating me!  Yes, I do answer.  I’m coming to realize it may be a coping mechanism.  I know I am talking to myself at the time but I can not stop.  I believe we all talk to ourselves at times but all day long is a bit much.  When you start irritating yourself you’re in big trouble.

I am enjoying the sunshine days and counting the days until Spring.  I am not a winter person so anything below 50 is cold to me.

I am so happy that the election is over.  We need to put on our grown up pants and support our President.  With so much un-American spirit and hatred I’m still proud to live in America.  The rest are welcome to leave.  I know we all have our own opinions and that is what’s great about America.  The terrible words I heard and received have relieved me of a few friends.  No room in life for that.  Put on a smile and be happy you live in the land of the FREE.  GET OVER IT !!

 

 

garden4

I put on my Happy Face as I wonder around the house

trying to remember what I need to do or where to go

I am still aware that my brain misfires but I pray for a better day

I find that I’m still able to hide my fears, mistakes and tears but when will that go away?

Hang on a little longer I tell myself

I fear the time will come when I can no longer remember loved ones names or faces

But for now I know the ones I love

I pray they will remember me – I know my loved ones will keep on loving me, no matter what happens

Taking care of me is my biggest fear

This is all so scary

 

 

As always thank you for taking the time to read and PLEASE share.

warren-sign

 

 

 

 

 

O HAPPY DAY

indbeach1

“I see the ocean while crossing the bridge, my heart skips a beat. When was I here last to smell the clean air and amaze at the ocean?  It doesn’t matter as it still mesmerizes my mind….close my eyes and the sound is still there, I take a deep breath and breathe in the calm knowing that this is where I belong”. SW

 

My man Joe Friday – “Just the facts, ma’am.”

The popular social understanding is that Alzheimer’s is a disease that causes a loss of memory, but that turns out to be a cruel misrepresentation. The devastation is much more pervasive. As brain systems are progressively destroyed, behavioral and physical functioning become more and more impaired. Systems for memory, decision-making, judgement, sense of direction/location, speech, continence, walking and eating are all methodically destroyed until the disease progression ends in death.

The losses keep multiplying. Loss of partner, loss of shared decision-maker, loss of roles/functions in the household, loss of shared memories and humorous stories, loss of identity as the person no longer remembers themselves, his or her children or their spouse.

Sad but this could be your family. The average total cost per person with dementia five years before death was more than $287,000. That number compared to costs ranging from $173,000 to $197,000 among groups without any form of dementia. But, the average out-of-pocket spending for dementia patients was 81 percent higher than it was for those without dementia.

The “This can not happen to me” people had better start preparing. Think about helping with Alzheimer’s research by getting into a clinical trial or making a donation.

 

The Underused Specialist

A geriatrician is a physician already certified in internal or family medicine who has completed additional training in the care of older adults. In addition to providing clinical care, geriatricians are skilled in navigating the labyrinth of psychological and social problems that often arise in the aging population.

Geriatrics is one of the few medical specialties in the United States that the supply of Geriatricians contracting while demand increases, ranking at the bottom of the list of specialties that internal medicine residents choose to pursue.

Since the health care of older patients is covered mostly by Medicare low reimbursement rates make sustaining a geriatric practice difficult.

“Medicare disadvantages geriatricians at every turn, paying whatever is asked for medications and procedures, but a pittance for tough care-planning.

There is something wrong about our health care system – we all know it. I worked and lived that life for years with many physicians. Because of Medicare Geriatric Physicians are not practicing. Shafted by the Government, once again.

My Primary Care Physician is an internist and to me she is as knowledgeable as any Gerontologist. She treats me well, knows how to care and treat seniors (after all this IS Williamsburg!) has my medications all straightened out and the best part is that she is loving and compassionate.

 

So, Sharron……How are you doing?

  • My “bad leg” is not bouncing back as well as I thought it might. Being in pain is a lot to bear most of the time – then you add Alzheimer’s. Not a good combination.
  • I am looking for a way to increase my pleasure in living – I’m sure many are in my shoes. There are those who are happy and content no matter what life throws at them. Some of us have to dig and plan for things to make us content. I’m a digger!
  • Increase of this terrible slow mind robbing disease is just grating on my last nerve. I see myself stumbling and tumbling………..Some of you reading this will know what I mean. Either this is happening to you or you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Yes, I still hide it well.
  • A few more vacations are planned for this year – yeah!! I have many hours of driving and/or flying coming up. I’m hoping for days filled with sunshine and relaxation along with new adventures.
  • Life is good.

 

But…………………when things are bad….

86ff72cfc76c990b2ce61b2881bc2d5f

 

 

Monthly humor!

A RETIREE’S LAST TRIP TO COSTCO

Yesterday I was at Costco buying a large bag of Purina dog chow for my loyal pet, Bodie, the Wonder Dog, which weighs 191 lbs. I was in the check-out line when a woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

What did she think I had an elephant?

So because I’m retired and have little to do, on impulse I told her that no, I didn’t have a dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again. I added that I probably  shouldn’t, because I ended up in the hospital last time, but  that I’d lost 50 pounds  before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in  both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a Perfect Diet and that the way that it works is, to load your jacket pockets with Purina Nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete so it works well and I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.)

Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care, because the dog food poisoned me. I told her no, I stopped to Pee on a Fire Hydrant and a car hit me.

I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard.

Costco won’t let me shop there anymore.

Better watch what you ask retired people. They have all the time in the World to think of crazy things to say.

 

 

 

garden4

 

Oh YES, here it comes again!!!

The 2016 Williamsburg Walk to End Alzheimer’s® on Oct 22 at Matthew Whaley Elementary School. This will be my 3rd walk and I am so pleased with our Villa team.

In 2015 our chapter (Southeastern Virginia) raised over $735,000 through 6 chapter-hosted Walk events. My wonderful team – The Villas of Five Forks – raised over $4500 and we placed 5th in Williamsburg – right below all the LARGE corporate teams. WE ROCK!! My aim is HIGH for 2016. I’m sure it will involve a new car!!

I have a few suggestions for Villa fundraisers. Let me hear from you if you’re willing to help, most fun and wine of course!!  I’m ahead of myself as this will not be until September but I am excited.  I am also looking for new items to auction at several events at Brookneal (previously know as Chambrel).  I believe they were number one and were so awesome to let us participate at their fundraisers. We need store gift card (grocery stores are nice about that) or any store items.  If you’re in the know that would be great for Team Villa. If you own a business and can help us shout out to me.

I hope all of you will join me again.

 

 

lettuce

”Spring, spring is in the air.

I can feel it everywhere.”

March 20th – Halleluiah

Caregiver in the know

While I do not like repeating information this needs to be memorized. It is so important to anyone with memory issues.

  • Love me as you always did
  • Speak directly to me
  • BE with me
  • Let me be independent. Let me do as much as possible
  • Do not treat me like a burden
  • Keep me engage with family and
  • Make me feel safe – where I live now, equipment I need, falling
  • Celebrate the small things I can do.
  • Take care of YOURSELF – see friends, go out to lunch or dinner
  • Have someone you can talk to
  • Dignity is so important

 

 

download (1)

Thank you for your love and support