Objectivity & Perspective

This month has been a big month for me because I was challenged to practice what I preach. I needed objectivity for Mike, something I have none of, simply because I desire for him what may not always be in his best interest. A looming neurology apptmnt and my business coach’s reading of my last blog . . . . congealed into reaching out to a trusted professional whom Mike adores. The day of his apptmnt with his “au pair” as he calls her was both freeing for me and worrisome. I enjoyed my marketing calls without worry of rushing…

Continue Reading Objectivity & Perspective

Who?

As a business owner, a woman, an individual, a mother, a caregiver—sometimes I forget who I am. I have found the anecdote is daily time in nature, practicing mindfulness. The beauty of this is I am gentle enough with myself to allow this to not include a certain place, pose or structure. This morning’s church was at Lee’s Travel Park pool. By myself, with the company of a mockingbird. Back floating, water-bugging, floating and watching this fella belt out one tune after another. A repertoire fit for a king or queen. Perhaps he was waiting for a drink, or maybe…

Continue Reading Who?

Independence without Direction

My trip to MD is always a highlight of my month, but this one was particularly interesting due to a phone collapse. Bricked is the tech term. It was evident first by the android image on its back with a belly flap open and legos showing through. Then Nidric from Google support confirmed, yep, brick. So my marketing efforts got interesting. Even visiting family got interesting. So much so that I thought it called for a blog. I grew up in MD, have lived in FL for 15 years but have been a frequent visitor because of family and now…

Continue Reading Independence without Direction

Orchestrating Self-Care

When a caregiver first receives the news of their loved one’s diagnosis, there is already a history of compensating for behaviors and memory change.  As a caregiver, you have already been a one-man band working alone to orchestrate life as it once was. Your loved one’s cognitive changes have changed the overall harmony into discordant noise. Research shows that dementia puts caregivers at risk of overburdening. You understand this. In reality it probably was your own feeling of burden that precipitated seeking a diagnosis. Another statement that might resonate with you as a caregiver: “Caring for a relative or friend…

Continue Reading Orchestrating Self-Care

Hospitalization and Dementia

If your loved one with dementia has to be hospitalized, whole new problems present themselves. The home-like environment they have known either with you or in a memory care community has no equal in the world of hospital care. Often the very problem your loved one is admitted for is magnified by the emergency itself. Whether you drive them, or they are transported the experience is not one they can process. From gurneys to men in uniform, to people in white coats—all of these things and images can be interpreted with a fight or flight response. Most of us have…

Continue Reading Hospitalization and Dementia

Listening Tree

You may have noticed that I am very fond of trees. From childhood on, they have offered me refuge from fears and solace for racing thoughts and worries. Well this Tuesday I lost one of my favorite trees. We live in a small park sharing trees lot-to-lot. But there was one tree that I have been particularly attached to–my listening tree. This beautiful oak resided to the left of Lee’s pool and had done so for many years. Much like the Gulfport tree highlighted above. She would sprinkle the pool liberally with leaves, it is true. But that just made…

Continue Reading Listening Tree

Validate Instead of Negate

At this time of year hauntings are not just in old homes.  If you are living with an individual with dementia, you may well be faced with ghosts and imaginings that are convincingly real in presentation. Some forms of dementia are more likely to have delusions and hallucinations as symptoms. Your challenge as a caregiver is to validate rather than negate the presence of the man in the bathroom or the re-written biography that includes new players, new scenarios. It is helpful to define both a delusion and a hallucination. Delusions in dementia world are false beliefs.1 When your 94…

Continue Reading Validate Instead of Negate

School Days

Whether you have school-age children, grandchildren or none at all, you are aware that Back to School season is upon us.  Even if the summer harvest of heat and produce continues in your community, the start of school is a signal for transition. Living with dementia has its own transitions, many of which we encounter with little to no preparation or schooling. Allow the Back to School season motivate you to seek education to assist you in caregiving. Research has defined education to be key to sustaining one’s self as a dementia caregiver.1 Whether you seek education from the internet,…

Continue Reading School Days

Granny, Granny, Granny

This is the chant that I was privileged to hear during our recent visit to MD. So heart-warming. All while she worked her magic on Gramps. Folks have asked me why I chose Granny as a moniker. Granny was my great grandmother whom I never met. But I always appreciated the few stories that were shared about her. My favorite was one my mom told of walking from school to the Baltimore shop where Granny hand knotted rugs all day. Mom said Granny would stop her work, clean up her station, and then always put on a nice hat and…

Continue Reading Granny, Granny, Granny

Beside Still Waters

One of my favorite refrains, beside still waters, comes to mind when I think about our wonderful day in El Yunque, Puerto Rico. The lush peaceful feel of the cool green foilage and the magnificent waterfalls remind me of simple and peaceful times for Mike & I. Puerto Rico holds a special place in our memories and our relationship. Although we are now in the heart of Largo, and the midst of August heat, we are still beside still waters. As a couple living with dementia, things are so much better than they were even a month ago. After two…

Continue Reading Beside Still Waters