Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Why do I accept some of them and get really upset by others? My car received a recall notice this week. The warning that there is a problem is the airbag light which, when I checked, remains lit throughout the drive and does not turn off after six seconds as it should. My car had its mileage- required checkup on December 2nd. Why did no one check this and leave me at risk for brake failure or airbag deployment enroute? No problem, I'll phone and make an appointment on Monday.
But strolling past the shoe aisle at a local department store yesterday, I see a similar pair of sneakers to the ones I purchased at a discount store with a $20.00 coupon for the same price without a sale or a coupon! I feel defeated, just as I felt a few months ago when I saw that my formerly favorite coupon-loaded megastore was selling a sports bra for $46.00 which I believe is outrageous. I found the same brand at another store at regular price for $21.99. So I will now be more careful as I realize that the discount stores are selling their merchandise at the same price as the mall department stores. I will no longer follow the coupon trail, but rather I will wait for the department store sales.
Which reminds me of other shopping successes I hear about. Dr. Oz will recommend a product and masses of people will follow the trail from one store to another to find the product a bit less expensively. The effectiveness of the cream, lotion or supplement is surpassed by the feeling of success at finding the item at a lower price! I do not participate in those hunting expeditions but I did order four boxes of an all herbal product that recently received FDA approval for preventing or ameliorating the symptoms of early Alzheimer's disease. I will advise you in a few months if I feel my cognitive skills have improved. Stay tuned!
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Monday, December 9, 2013
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Friday, November 29, 2013
Validation Therapy--We use it daily. Why is it a negative with Dementia sufferers? November 29, 2013
Validation Therapy and Dementia: Pros and Cons
Dementia is a decline in memory and/or intellectual functioning severe enough to interfere with social or occupational functioning. Dementia is not a disease itself, but group of symptoms. It is characterized as a progressive decline in cognitive function due to damage or disease (such as Alzheimer’s) in the brain. Areas particularly affected include: memory, attention, judgment, language and problem solving.
Dementia is condition in which a person loses the ability to think, remember, learn, make decisions and solve problems. Symptoms may also include personality changes and emotional problems. Personality does not change with age in the absence of mental disease.
There are many causes of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, brain cancer, and brain injury. Some Parkinson’s patients experience dementia at later stages of disease The idea behind validation therapy is to “validate” or accept the values, beliefs and “reality” of the person suffering from dementia. The key is to “agree” with them, but to also use conversation to get them to do something else without them realizing they are actually being redirected. So, if an 87 year old woman says that she needs a phone to call her grandmother, validation therapy says, “OK.” Here is an example for a caregiver working with someone with dementia in an adult day care:
Older adult: “I have to find my car keys.”
Caregiver: “Your car keys…” ( Don’t mention he doesn’t have a car and he hasn’t driven for years)
Older adult: “Yes, I need to go home – lot’s of work to do!”
Caregiver: “You are busy today?” (Don’t mention he is at adult day care and isn’t going home for hours)
Older adult: “Hell, yes! I’m busy every day.”
Caregiver: “You like being busy?” (Trying to find a topic of conversation that they might accept discussing)
Older adult: “Are your kidding? I didn’t say I LIKED it. I just have to work like the rest of the world.” (He’s getting a little frustrated, but seems to have forgotten about the keys.)
Caregiver: “I know about work. I do some of that myself. In fact, I’m getting ready to fix some food for us. Care to join me?”
Older adult: “Sure, I can eat.”
I am quoting this description of validation therapy to counter the negative of "lying" to a person suffering from dementia.
Just yesterday I witnessed the folowing conversation at the memory care center.
Resident: My closet door is locked.
Worker: Your closet door is locked? Do you feel cold?
Resident: I am always cold.
Worker: Let's walk over to this comfy chair and I'll get a blanket to tuck you in with and keep you warm.
Both walked off without any more reference to the closet door which must remain loacked so she doesn't repeatedly remove her belongings.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Sunday, October 6, 2013
Friday, September 27, 2013
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Sunday, September 1, 2013
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
My friend recently returned from a direct flight, with a short stop in Houston, from Moscow to Phoenix. She reported having this experience not on the first morning back, but on the next, not even recognizing the sleep apnea-machine breathing of her husband lying next to her.
Imagine experiencing that disorientation every day, not only in the morning, but whenever you close your eyes for a short nap. You awaken with the awareness that you are alive and often with the recognition that you have a full bladder. On automatic pilot, you occasionally find your way to the bathroom. Sometimes, you re-enter your room and know where you are or you walk to the doorway and wander into the main room where there are others who greet you and call you by name . Other times, you continue to lie in bed until someone comes to help you begin the day.
You find yourself waking up seated in a recliner in front of the group television set. You watch the moving pictures. Someone comes to escort you to the lunch table and you say, "It's hard to follow," all of a sudden for a moment, you are aware that you have lost a skill.
And sometimes, during a visit from your spouse you have another lucid moment when you recognize how totally alone and lost you feel and for the moment are fully capable of expressing that feeling.
You are walking hand-in-hand with your spouse in front of the kitchen counter where you spend most of your day watching and interacting with the staff, you stop and say "I'm lost-nobody knows me."
This is the world of dementia.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Monday, August 12, 2013
Thursday, August 1, 2013
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Sunday, July 14, 2013
We all know that it is hard to break old habits; we decide not to smoke cigarettes and we reach for one anyway for a long time after we have made the decision. We decide to park the car at the end of the mall lot so we get a bit more exercise and we pull into the first open space near the entrance.
We decide not to eat after eight o'clock in the evening because we know it is better for our digestion --and our waistlines, but during the commercial break we get a snack anyway. The list goes on and on and I for one, have never associated this difficulty with the decision-making problems of those who have early stage Alzheimer's disease because these decisions are so problematic all of our lives, not merely as we age.
In the reprint of the Stages of Alzheimer's disease published by the Alzheimer's Association we see that "problems with decision-making" is listed as an early symptom of the disease--not in isolation of course, but as a pattern of behavior that we don't recognize in our loved ones until it is pronounced because we all experience these small examples of repeating habits of behavior after we have decided to change the pattern.
Last week I had the carpets in the house cleaned; it is amazing how much of the desert gets carried into the house and deposited in the carpet! I decided to change the pattern of a lifetime and to remove my shoes at the entrance from the garage and change to slippers to wear in the house. Simple solution to keeping the carpets clean longer, right?
I moved a shoe rack to the laundry room to store my outdoor summer sandals and I planned to change into a pair as I left the house. I washed the soles of my slippers which I sometimes wear into the garage or when taking out the trash.
However, one evening this week I had plans to meet some friends for dinner and I didn't realize until I parked the car in the lot that I was still wearing my fluffy slippers! The table was not ready and I had to sit in the foyer while everyone I thought was looking at my feet and wondering what was wrong because I was wearing house slippers!
For our loved ones with Alzheimer's disease it is impossible for them to learn a new repetitive skill such as placing their dishes into the sink, especially if they have never had to do so when they were working and their spouse did it for them for years. But it becomes also difficult for our loved ones to remember to perform the routine tasks they have always done, like flushing the toilet.
Once again, I remind myself and the other caregivers to reduce our expectations of ourselves and our loved ones, simplify our lives as we care for our loved ones with dementia and have patience with ourselves as we change our patterns of behavior to accommodate their reduced skills.
Monday, July 8, 2013
The Joy of Old Age. (No Kidding.)
By OLIVER SACHS
Published: July 6, 2013 New York Times
Friday, June 28, 2013
My cousin who is dying from metastasized small tumor lung cancer is traveling each day through the same process of dementia, at age 61, that our spouses have been traveling at their slow pace for the past six or seven years. First day, he lost his short term memory although he could remember everything before the day two weeks ago that the cancer spread to his brain. The next day, most long term memory was gone. On the third day, he began to hallucinate that "a man out there has an atomic bomb, but don't worry I have one, too." He was trying to make sense, I think, of the radiation treatment prescribed. By the following day, he did not know where he was or what the bathroom was for. "Why are people making me do things I don't want to do?" he asked.Since the fifth day he has been in diapers, jumping up from a sound sleep and walking out of his room into the corridor. A guard had to be hired to stay in his room. Since then, he cannot feed himself, his right hand somehow cannot find its way to his mouth. Today he sleeps much of the time, needs to be fed and his right arm seems to be hanging uncontrolled at his side.
When our loved ones are old, we feel a bit comforted they have had a full life. When fronto-temporal or other dementia hits before age 65 the loss of the still-living spouse or parent is so much harder to understand and our mixed emotions pain us caregivers so much. We want our loved ones to receive the best care possible, we feel the obligation to maintain their dignity and comfort but we also wish for an end to their suffering and our own.
Friday, June 21, 2013
What I am disappointed about however is that my husband who resides in a memory care facility due to his advanced Alzheimer's disease did not recognize me when I walked in to his room. This is the first absence from which I return to find him unrelated. He doesn't seem to be seeing not only me but the staff who address him either. He speaks mostly incomprehensible syllables, but he makes no eye contact no attempt at having the other person understand what he is saying. Except when he has a problem.
That quality is wonderful in that he gets his needs met. It sounds like a perverse joke, but a worker dressed him this morning and put his underwear on backwards, then tucked his long undershirt inside his underwear, like short-sheeting someone's bed in summer camp!
After indicating to me that he had to "go in there" he entered his bathroom, but returned soon telling me "I can't do this." No wonder. He was soon put to rights, totally accepting of assistance, showing absolutely no affect. What an awful illness this is, the loss of dignity, of independence, of thinking about most anything saddens, amazes, astounds me continually.
My husband spends his days either lying on his bed or someone else's when he doesn't remember which room is his, or following the staff wherever they go. When Steve or I come to visit, he will attach himself to one of us, following us around, and since we have no assigned tasks, he asks "What are we going to do now?" or "Where are we going?" He will play catch for a while, but then he asks, "Why are we doing this?" He is merely being compliant, not enjoying the game.
I move back into my visiting mode, talking with the staff about my husband's care and feeling so helpless that there is nothing more I can do.