Category: Uncategorized

Exercise as a Gift to Yourself

Exercise as a Gift to Yourself As the days get shorter, you may find your desire to do physical exercise is decreasing as well. Folks have coined Oct 31-Jan 2 as the eating season. So we have less sunlight to encourage exercise, more intake of calories and an uptick on homemade coziness–a trifecta that is known to affect both mental and physical health.  Why not look at exercise as a gift to yourself?  A gift that is given long before the gift-giving season, but that will make that season more enjoyable and you healthier.  Change is in the air, so…

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Mushroom or Grape?

Many of you know me as the sunny good time, put-a-spin-on-it dementia gal. But trust me, I can be as overwhelmed with the diagnosis, or vaguaries there of, as the next person. I benefit from showing up like the sun, even when I do not feel sunny. This journey is not for the weak. I will be addressing the “Dark Side of Dementia” this Weds, Oct 23 at Arden Courts of Seminole. This seminar will give you with real strategies that can help shine light on the fading of our husbands, our parents or our friends.As a Gerontologist, I am…

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Pets and Quality of Life

With so many forms of dementia—it is increasingly difficult for caregivers to provide quality of life as their loved ones enter the final stages of brain change. Strategies that once worked, no longer do. Research shows a consensus on what caregivers’ value for their loved one at end-of-life: family involvement living in the present  pragmatic expectations autonomy and individuality1 Yet family involvement often diminishes as the loved one declines; expectations are often not realistic, and autonomy limited due to physical and cognitive changes.  Several studies found that individuals in later stage dementia were positively affected by animal-assisted interventions.2 In a…

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Fall In Florida

A recent meme beautifully stated “trees are God’s way of showing us that good things can come from letting go.” Our Florida falls are less about surrender and more about preparation. Though I think the two work in synergy. Coming off of Dorian’s energies, I realized how little I had prepared for fall in Florida. We had just changed RV’s , trading engine for size. Meaning we would not be able to hit the road with our home. I was in MD. We had not provisioned. We had no evac plans though in an A zone for evacuation. Mike was…

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Not There Yet

This is a common refrain. A caregiver asks Dr. Cate for dementia guidance. I answer a specific question and then outline strategic plans they may want to consider. The response is always “We are not there yet.” The question to ask yourself is “where is there?” When your relationship is enough overwhelmed with brain change to ask for help—where are you? As a caregiver myself, I hear myself saying “not there yet”. This is an answer that comes from my desire to be anywhere but here—and my fear of there. It is my fear of financial struggle, and my fear…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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