Category: Uncategorized

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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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…

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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…

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Hope You Dance

When you think of dance, what comes to mind?  Is it the foxtrot, waltz, tango or salsa?  Maybe you think of Zumba or Jazzercise. Or maybe you think of the weekly program, Dancing with the Stars. But did you know that dance is a great brain health strategy? In fact, a study looking at better memory over the course of fourteen years found that dance was a lifestyle factor associated with better memory. The results of this study show the importance of dance in vascular health as well as cognitive function. When eleven different types of physical activities were assessed,…

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Traditions Re-Visited

From ghoulies and ghosties And long-leggedy beasties And things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!1 This traditional Scottish prayer can well be applied to October celebrations when living with dementia. With Halloween decorating a phenomenon that increases every year, it is important to consider the impact of Jack O’Lanterns, skeletons, mummies, witches and vampires. First remember that these expressions of the holiday are more numerous and vivid than they were in your loved one’s early life. Halloween spending has grown over the years.2 With less Halloween energy in your loved one’s past, the reminiscence value from…

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Corn & Cross Pollination

I recently heard a speaker compare Redwood roots to caregiving.  Having been to San Francisco and seen California Redwoods, the comparison impacted me.  I have shared that speaker’s piece on social media.  But in reflection I wanted to share insight based on my first foray into truck gardening.  We were young parents, financially strapped, wanting to get our hands in the dirt.  So we got the landlord’s permission and began a small garden.  In that well-marked patch we planted all sorts of vegetables and one row of corn.  It was as others’ were harvesting their corn, that we realized something…

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Horton Hears a Who

A person’s a person, no matter how small!  This is Horton’s lament when he tries to get the jungle animals to realize that there is an entire civilization living on a clover.  This classic childhood philosophy book tugs the heartstrings of all professional caregivers and healthcare advocates.  We too are often trying to protect what is often misunderstood.  For Alzheimer’s advocates, Horton’s lament resonates with our own refrain, A person’s a person, no matter what stage!  We see the windows inside that most people fail to see or try to discover. Horton came to mind this week as I heard…

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