Apr 30, 2014

Conditions That Mimic Dementia

  1. "More than 100 disorders -- from the side effects of medication to urinary tract infections -- can trigger dementia-like symptoms." P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D., Duke University

    That was the reason I arranged for Dwane to be evaluated at Mayo Clinic -- because I knew that other things could be the basis for cognitive deterioration.  The above doctor recommends that if you have concerns about yourself or another loved one, see a neurologist for a complete physical.  Another thing I personally recommend is a cognitive evaluation by a neuropsychologist -- that was what gave us the results that made me realize that some permanent damage was being done to some brain functions.  It actually did not help us to see a neurologist prior to going to Mayo Clinic.  The neurologist said he could not tell if anything was wrong, and there was nothing to be done if we were dealing with dementia.  He was wrong on both counts.  That is why I recommend that you go to a place, like Mayo, which uses the team approach.  It was actually the young psychiatrist in an interview of me who first recognized that Dwane has Lewy Bodies Dementia.  

    Other conditions that can mimic dementia and need to be ruled out are thyroid disorders, heavy metal poisoning, depression, urinary tract infections (or, I would say -- any systemic infection), vitamin B-12 deficiency, diabetes, alcohol dependency or addiction, and medication side effects.  

Apr 29, 2014

Facing Challenges

  1. "It is not the mountain we must conquer but ourselves." Edmund Hillary

    An odd thing for the man who was among the first to climb Mt. Everest to say; and yet, how refreshing.  Particularly in light of the recent, tragic deaths of the Sherpa who were taking supplies up the mountain ahead of climbers.  It is good for us to remember that the greatest conquering we can do is of our own self.  That means managing our thoughts, our emotions, our actions.  It also means developing ourselves to our own full potential.  I think we each have a moral responsibility to develop our own unique gifts and then to use these gifts to serve the greater good of us all.  In what areas are you uniquely gifted?  

Apr 28, 2014

A Lot More Hallucinations

  1. We are seeing an dramatic increase in hallucinations again.  He reported to me today that he broke his key off in the ignition of his car this morning when he started the car, that he was being kept with no clothes on and no food in a house they were going to sell, and that they were working him long hours.  The last time he had hallucinations to this extent was the end of January when I discovered serious cellulitis in his lower legs, but I checked his legs today; and there is no evidence of infection.  It is troubling.  He tells people on the phone that he is being kept with no clothes and no food.  It is also troubling that it is all so very real to him. 

Apr 27, 2014

Exercise Improves Mood

  1. "A mood boost can last 12 hours after a 20-minute, moderate-intensity workout." Perceptual and Motor Skills

    Since, as caregivers, we have plenty of stress in our life, and since stress can damage both our physical and emotional health, this is an important piece of information.  Just 20 minutes of moderate exercise can improve our moods for 12 hours.  Amazing!   It is certainly worth trying; and, if you do not have the time to exercise because of your caregiving tasks, I urge you to consider some type of respite care so that you can.  You are worth it!   Keeping your own health is imperative for your sake and for the sake of your loved one for whom you provide care.  The statistics are very sobering for the damage to one's health that caregiving can deliver.  Help yourself and your loved one by exercising daily, eating nutritious foods in right amounts, getting adequate sleep, and having fun in your life.  

Apr 26, 2014

Chores Improve Heart Health

  1. "People age 60 and older can reduce their chance of having a heart attack 30% by doing chores daily.  This benefit holds even for people who already exercise regularly." British Journal of Sports Medicine

    Well, another piece of good news -- since most of us have some form of chore to do every day.  Whether it is laundry, cleaning, gardening, this study shows doing chores improves our heart health. The next time we vacuum, we can remember -- we are preventing a heart attack.  This benefit might be because of the physical exercise.  It may also be because of the feelings of accomplishment for creating order in your environment.  Since spring is traditionally the time for deeper cleaning, let us keep in mind that we are benefiting our health as well as our physical environments. 

Apr 25, 2014

Exercise Helps Hearing

  1. " A resent study found that walking just 2 or more hours per week helped preserve people's auditory function. Exercise may improve blood flow to the cochlea -- the auditory portion of the inner ear -- and may also protect it against oxidative damage." Sharon Curhan, Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston

    Another good reason to keep moving.  I love exercise!  I consider the day incomplete if I have not had some good exercise.  I blend walking, with water aerobics, with yoga.  All benefit me in different ways.  Exercise has been found to improve overall health, control weight, help with sleep, increase energy -- and now, improve our hearing.  Do we need any more reasons to move our bodies?

Apr 24, 2014

Daily Weapon?

  1. "The more coffee you drink, the more you may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes." Harvard University research

    More evidence to dispel feeling guilty if you enjoy a cup of coffee.  The research covered people who drank 6 cups a day, which is a lot of coffee!!!  But, you do not need to drink that much to have some benefit, and it does not have to be caffeinated -- as it appears that chlorogenic acid is behind the benefit.  This naturally occurring chemical reduces the rate that the intestines takes up glucose.  So, cheers!  Let's enjoy that cup of coffee.  

Apr 23, 2014

When We Are In Pain

  1. "The presence of God has never eliminated pain, only made it more bearable." Mark Nepo

    Many of us humans have questioned how God lets bad things happen.  It is a mystery.  I heard a minister say once that he sees God as not causing bad things to happen, but not stopping them from happening.  Perhaps it is that God does not want to intervene with our free will, but that does not explain the bad things that happen with nature.  The tsunamis, the hurricanes, the earthquakes, the lightening-caused forest fires.  Why is there such a mix of the good with what can be perceived as bad?  I do not know.  What I do know is that we can always find comfort in the presence of true friends and in what we see as God.  I also know that these 'bad' things often bring out the best in people.  

Apr 22, 2014

Noticing the Surprises

  1. "Another name for God is surprise." Brother David Streindl-Rast
    While rushing to complete your plans, you may bump into someone who will have an important impact on your life.  When deciding what you want to do with your life, you may pick up a book and be inspired to a whole new path.  When caregiving for someone, you may find gifts within it for yourself, and they may be gifts that surprise you:  like the need to stand up for yourself and take good care of yourself - even though someone else is depending on you.  The most wondrous things that have happened to me in my life have been serendipitous.  What about you?

Apr 21, 2014

Being Happy With What Is

  1. "This is the day that the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

    Would we be living life differently if we lived every day as if it really were a day the Lord had made?  I read recently that almost no thoughts are new.  Most thoughts are negative, and we can consider that the thoughts are universal and traveling by us on a conveyor belt.  Our task and opportunity is to decide which thoughts to pick up off the conveyor belt.  That simplifies the whole thought thing for me.  If we consider that the thoughts are not original with us, but part of the collective whole -- it makes it less personal and perhaps easier to say "No thanks." to thoughts that do not serve us.  Today, on this day that the Lord has made, let us choose thoughts that support the well being of ourselves and others.  

Apr 20, 2014

Time for New Beginnings

"There is no remedy for love but to love more." Henry David Thoreau

Today is Easter for Christians.  We just had Passover for the Jewish faith.  Spring is a time for religious celebrations in the major religions.  Perhaps this is because spring is a time for new beginnings.  If we live where there is any grass, we cannot help but see it starting to green in the spring.  There are signs of hope.  Rivers start to thaw, flowers emerge.  A sure sign of hope for me is to see a blooming crocus coming out of the snow.  With this season we can consider what we want in our own lives.  New beginnings.  I listened to an Andrew Harvey class last night, and he suggested that each of us needs to be doing some sacred service.  Caregiving in the form of parenting a young child or caring for someone no longer able to care for her or himself is a form of sacred service.  Today let us honor the sacred service we provide.

Apr 19, 2014

  1. "Positive thinking helps with stress management and can even improve your health.  Practice overcoming negative self talk." Mayo Clinic

    Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:
    • Increased life span
    • Lower rates of depression
    • Lower levels of distress
    • Greater resistance to the common cold
    • Better psychological and physical well-being
    • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
    • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress   - Mayo Clinic

Apr 18, 2014

Our Blessings

  1. "The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings." Ralph Waldo Emerson

    We humans do seem to have trouble counting our blessings.  We moan and groan and notice every little perceived infraction, body ache, injustice --- but we often give far less attention to the good in our lives.  The very fact that we woke up this morning is a blessing.  In the northern hemisphere the grass is starting to turn green after a very long winter, and that is a blessing.  Each of us undoubtedly has someone who loves us, which is very much a blessing.  Even being caregiver, is it possible to consider this a blessing?   After it is all said and done, caregiving may very well have been a blessing for us.  What can you be grateful for today?  What are your blessings?

Apr 17, 2014

Living Life Fully

  1. "The age of a woman doesn't mean a thing.  The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles." Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Apparently ageism was an issue in Emerson's time, as in our own.  I have a significant birthday coming up (by significant, I mean one that is marking a decade), and I find I am reflecting on aging. Reflecting on aging comes, too, with being a caregiver.  Supporting the process of someone transitioning out of this life causes a person to reflect on mortality.  "Aging for me means not being satisfied with quick fixes, conversations that go nowhere, and relationships that are over by morning." Bob Luckin.  Aging for me also means not participating in relationships that are toxic or in any way unsatisfying.  There are so many wonderful people in the world.  It makes sense to me to spend my time with people who love and support one another, see the best in all things, see possibilities where others see limitations, and want what is best for all involved.    

Apr 16, 2014

Finding Support

  1. "To feel isolated is part of the human experience.  But when we obey the feelings of hesitation and separation more powerfully than those of love, we start to experience numbness and depression." Mark Nepo

    As caregivers we are vulnerable to feeling isolated.  We are afraid to leave the care receiver home alone.  There are often obstacles to having someone come in to give us respite.  It is difficult to take the loved one with us.  All of these can lead to isolation.  It is so important that we not become too isolated.  We need the support and compassion of others who understand what we are dealing with.  Who can you look to for love and support?  

Apr 15, 2014

Joy Brings Joy

  1. "You cannot struggle to joy. Struggle and joy are not on the same channel. You joy your way to joy. You laugh your way to success. It is through your joy that good things come." Abraham

    We are entering the season in the northern hemisphere where spring is coming, and some would say - finally coming.  It has been a long winter in the United States.  Lots of storms, and a very early storm here last fall eliminated the beautiful long autumns we usually have.  So, spring at last.  With spring comes new life, evidenced in the trees and shrubs leafing and the flowers emerging.  The baby calves are prolific, and - to me - always a sign of new beginnings.  If joy brings more joy, then let us today find things about which to be joyful.  What brings you joy?

Apr 14, 2014

Stress Techniques

  1. Adapt

    Thinking you can't cope is one of the greatest stressors. That's why adapting — which often involves changing your standards or expectations — can be most helpful in dealing with stress.
    • Adjust your standards. Do you need to vacuum and dust twice a week? Would macaroni and cheese be an unthinkable substitute for homemade lasagna? Redefine success and stop striving for perfection, and you may operate with a little less guilt and frustration.
    • Practice thought-stopping. Stop gloomy thoughts immediately. Refuse to replay a stressful situation as negative, and it may cease to be negative.
    • Reframe the issue. Try looking at your situation from a new viewpoint. Instead of feeling frustrated that you're home with a sick child, look at it as an opportunity to bond, relax and finish a load of laundry.
    • Adopt a mantra. Create a saying such as, "I can handle this," and mentally repeat it in tough situations.
    • Create an assets column. Imagine all of the things that bring you joy in life: vacation, children, pets. Then call on that list when you're stressed. It will put things into perspective and serve as a reminder of life's joys.
    • Look at the big picture. Ask yourself, "Will this matter in a year or in five years?" The answer is often no. Realizing this makes a stressful situation seem less overwhelming. 
    • Mayo Clinic

Apr 13, 2014

Accepting What We Cannot Change

  1. Accept

    Sometimes we have no choice but to accept things the way they are. For those times try to:
    • Talk with someone. You may not be able to change a frustrating situation, but that doesn't mean your feelings aren't legitimate. Phone or schedule a coffee break with an understanding friend. You'll feel better after talking it out.
    • Forgive. It takes energy to be angry. Forgiving may take practice, but by doing so you will free yourself from burning more negative energy. Why stew in your anger when you could shrug and move on?
    • Practice positive self-talk. It's easy to lose objectivity when you're stressed. One negative thought can lead to another, and soon you've created a mental avalanche. Be positive. Instead of thinking, "I am horrible with money and will never be able to control my finances," try this: "I made a mistake with my money, but I am resilient. I'll get through it."
    • Learn from your mistakes. There is value in recognizing a "teachable moment." You can't change the fact that procrastination hurt your performance, but you can make sure you allot more time in the future.  Mayo Clinic

Apr 12, 2014

Dealing With Stress

  1. One of the most helpful things you can do during times of stress is to take inventory, then attempt to change your situation for the better.
    • Respectfully ask others to change their behavior. And be willing to do the same. Small problems often create larger ones if they aren't resolved. If you're tired of being the butt of your wife's jokes at parties, ask her to leave you out of the comedy routine. In return, be willing to enjoy her other jokes and thank her for humoring you.
    • Communicate your feelings openly. Remember to use "I" statements, as in, "I feel frustrated by shorter deadlines and a heavier workload. Is there something we can do to balance things out?"
    • Manage your time better. Lump together similar tasks — group your phone calls, car errands and computer-related tasks. The reward of increased efficiency will be extra time.
    • State limits in advance. Instead of stewing over a colleague's nonstop chatter, politely start the conversation with, "I've got only five minutes to cover this."  - Mayo Clinic

Apr 11, 2014

Avoiding Stres

  1. Avoid

    Believe it or not, you can simply avoid a lot of stress. Plan ahead, rearrange your surroundings and reap the benefits of a lighter load.
    • Take control of your surroundings. Is the traffic insane? Leave early for work or take the longer, less traveled route. Hate waiting in line at the corporate cafeteria? Pack your lunch and eat at your desk.
    • Avoid people who bother you. If you have a co-worker who causes your jaw to tense, put physical distance between the two of you. Sit far away at meetings or walk around his or her cubicle, even if it requires some extra steps.
    • Learn to say no. You have a lot of responsibilities and demands on your time. At a certain point, you cross the line between being charitable and being foolish. Turn down the neighborhood sports league. Pass on coaching T-ball. Those around you will appreciate more time with a relaxed you. And you'll have time to enjoy them, too.
    • Ditch part of your list. Label your to-do list with A's, B's and C's, according to importance. On hectic days, scratch the C's from your list.   -- Mayo Clinic

Apr 10, 2014


  1. "You have been oriented that you must pay a price in order to get somewhere, and in the process, you've come to believe that getting there must be really important, therefore, it must be your purpose.  And we say, but if you're not getting to joy, then you've gotten nowhere.  Joy is really where you are going." Abraham

    If joy is our only goal, and that may very well be true, then it is important that we keep our thoughts on thoughts of joy.  Since our bodies are mostly composed of water, the water is affected by our thoughts.  Thoughts of love and joy support our health.  Thoughts of anger and judgment diminish our health.  It can become a habit -- thinking thoughts that are happy and supportive.

Apr 9, 2014


  1. "Always do what you are afraid to do." Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Fear keeps us from loving one another.  We are afraid to get close to someone else and trust them to not hurt us.  We can also be afraid of taking action in our lives.  We can be afraid to love ourselves -- society certainly teaches us it is not appropriate to love ourselves.  When we develop the courage to fully love ourselves, the love for others and the courage to do what is right for us and them unfolds naturally.  It is no wonder that many teachers tell us to develop and practice healthy self love.

Apr 8, 2014

Immune to Other's Opinions

  1. "The whole world could praise Sung Jung-Tzu and it wouldn't make him exert himself.  The whole world could condemn him and it wouldn't make him mope.  He drew a clear line between the internal and the external." Chuang Tzu

    This was written 4th century B.C.E, but still so true today.  How can we be so in tune with our inner selves that we are immune to both the praise and criticism of the outer world?   It is a daily practice for most humans, and it is equally important to be immune to the praise as to the criticism.  To rest content in our own souls is where peace resides.  

Apr 7, 2014

Releasing Thoughts

  1. "Whenever you're experiencing discomfort or sadness, rather than trying to change the thought behind your emotional state, instead just put it back onto the never ending conveyor belt of thoughts and then select a different thought." Dr. Wayne Dyer

    There are others who think that our thoughts are not really our own, but, instead, come from this big conveyor belt of thoughts that traverse the universe and from which we pick our thoughts.  So, if that is true -- and perhaps it is, then it is as simple as putting one thought back and selecting a different one.  Select a new thought which supports your health and well being.  Put the less supportive thought back onto the conveyor belt.  

Apr 6, 2014

Power of Fear

  1. "For it is in our fear that we feel the need to isolate ourselves or control others," Mark Nepo

    Fear is a very powerful emotion.  The Course in Miracles tells us that there is only fear and love.  Perhaps that is true.  It seems that a lot of anger is really a reaction out of fear.  Wars are started because we fear what some other entity might do.  In our personal lives we do isolate ourselves out of fear of someone hurting us and we do attempt to control others because of our own fear.  When someone else starts changing in personality qualities or behavior, we sometimes react out of fear and try to control them -- to get them to stop changing, because the change scares us.  What if, instead, we made our decisions and actions out of love?  What difference would that make in your life?

Apr 5, 2014

Loving Life

  1. "I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm and spring forth with a mighty faith to do the things that ought to be done by me!" Charles Fillmore at age 93

    Wow.  Do we even remotely have that kind of enthusiasm for life?!   It is a common joke that many humans wake up say, "dear God another morning." versus "Oh, God, good morning."  What if we established zeal and enthusiasm about our day and our life even before getting up in the morning.  What if we greet each day with enthusiasm?  I practice saying, "Good morning, God."  each day I awaken.  There are so many things about which to be grateful and enthused.  I am deepening my training in BodyTalk, and I am in awe of its power.  It is a safe, nonintrusive and powerful health care system.  I again got to witness its power in healing last night, and that has me enthused and full of zeal for life and what is next.  For more information about BodyTalk, www.bodytalkfoundation.org

Apr 4, 2014

Stretching Ourselves

  1. "Always do what you are afraid of doing." Ralph Waldo Emerson

    I have to confess that I am not very good at that.  It depends.  Sometimes I will do something I am afraid of, and other times I avoid it.  How about you?  Like going to events where I do not know others --- I have thought I just didn't like it, but now I realize there is probably fear involved.  So, I can look at it differently.  I do think Emerson is right that we need to not allow fear to stop us from living full out and becoming fully who we were meant to become.  What can you do today that you are afraid of doing?  

Apr 3, 2014

Reaching Your Potential

  1. "It is never too late to be what you might have been." George Eliot

    Those of us in the role of caregivers may feel it is too late to do what we wanted to do in life, too late to achieve goals or be all we can be; but the above quote is true:  it is never too late.  There are in life postponements, what may seem like delays in our journey, but I think those delays are carefully crafted situations to help us be all we can be.  Caregiving is one of those situations.  It is important to us as caregivers that we do not lose ourselves in the process of caregiving or become too overwhelmed by the responsibilities to consider what there is about this situation that can teach us yet another thing we need to learn -- about life, about how to be fully ourselves.  The lessons are within each situation -- if we are open to receive them.  What might be your lesson within this caregiving situation?  What might there be about this situation that can help you be more fully what you were meant to be?

Apr 2, 2014


"Spring, the time of year that brings hope." unknown

It hardly seems like spring here.  Snow for the third day, blizzard two days ago.  But, the rapidity with which the snow melts indicates that the sun is warmer, and spring is coming.  Beneath the snow there are crocus blooming, and daffodils have started emerging as their green stocks break ground.  I love living where there are seasons, because each one is symbolic of something.  Spring for me means hope.  Hope for new beginnings, even as some things in life are ending.

Seeing Anew

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
Marcel Proust

So, how do we see anew?  We look at situations from several perspectives.  A wise therapist told me once that in order to have sound mental health, we needed to always consider at least 3 options when making a decision.  This gets us out of the either/or dilemma.  Seeing anew also means expanding our own consciousness to more and more compassion.  We can see anew by considering what things look like from other perspectives.  We cannot know what it is like to live in someone else's skin, but we can consider what it might be like to be in their situation.  Seeing anew also means giving up belief systems that no longer, and maybe never did, serve us.  We download belief systems when we are very young, and often times these belief systems do not serve us.  We can become conscious of them, and choose to let them go.  We can see new possibilities for ourselves and others.