"The number of people living with dementia worldwide is currently estimated at 35.6 million. This number will double by 2030 and more than triple by 2050. Dementia is overwhelming not only for the people who have it, but also for their caregivers and families." World Health Organization
Sobering statistics. The road of caregiving is long, and according to statistics the need for caregiving is ever increasing. Readers of this blog, if you know someone who may be facing dementia, please tell them to check into longterm care insurance. Unless a person is either quite rich or very poor, one will need help in paying for the longterm care. Wealthy people can pay for the care themselves, and the definition for being wealthy enough to self pay according to a financial adviser is having assets of $3 million or more. People who have few assets, and I currently do not remember that money amount, might qualify to have the government pay for the longterm care in the USA. However, there is a downfall for people who go that route. I am now in the process of finding nursing home care for Dwane, and the first question every facility asks is, "Are you private pay?" There are so few options for people who are not private pay because the government pays less that the nearly $8000 a month nursing home care costs, and nursing homes are reluctant to take those people. Sad situation. I am so grateful that I had the premonition to buy longterm care insurance many years ago..
May 31, 2014
May 30, 2014
|"Scientists are just now uncovering the slimming power of gentle yoga." Hillari Dowdle|
I have been doing a gentle, meditative yoga this past winter, and I just love it. It stretches my leg muscles that sometimes keep me awake at night, the oxygenation improves my overall well being, my blood pressure -- always good - has been even lower despite the stress of caregiving, it has kept me flexible; and, although weight control is not an issue for me, research indicates it helps control weight too. If you have not tried yoga, I recommend it. There are many different types. I have gone to classes which have a person changing positions every few seconds. The class I have taken this winter is different -- the teacher has us hold every position and focus on deep breathing. I sleep amazingly well after. Yoga is well worth the investment of your time and money, and your body and overall well-being will be better by having done it.
May 29, 2014
You are perceptual beings with different vantage points and — it does not matter how much information is given — you cannot see beyond the vibrational limits of where you are standing. You cannot live or see or experience outside of your own individual beliefs.
Our beliefs can either support our well-being or diminish it. With health, with relationships, with prosperity and success -- how well we do is largely based upon the beliefs we have about our deservedness to have good health, loving relationships, and success. It takes conscious effort to become aware of our beliefs that limit us, so that we can change them. If there is an area of our lives which is not going as well as it could, then it behooves us to look at our beliefs around that area.
May 28, 2014
May 27, 2014
|"The best thing for being sad, replied Merlin, is to learn something." T. H. White|
There is much within caregiving about which to be sad. The dramatic decline in my loved one's functioning deeply saddens me. It is important to feel the feelings that caregiving gives rise to, and I am sure we have all done our share of crying. But, equally important, is to learn something from the sadness. Yes, feel the sadness and honor it, and then go and listen to music you have never heard, or take a walk in nature, or cook something delicious. Within the sadness, there is a gift of something we can benefit from knowing.
May 26, 2014
|"In truth, there are always two reasons to be who we are. It is how we find love, and it is how we keep the ways of others from sweeping us away." Mark Nepo|
It seems in life that there are many pressures to be something or someone other than what we are. Well trained from early childhood, we often opt for pleasing others in order to have a sense of belonging and being loved, and it is important for us to know that this is not insignificant. To belong is a strong basic instinct, one which has its basis in survival. Our ancestors were not likely to survive unless they were part of a group. That instinct remains in us today, and it is with conscious effort that we train ourselves to please ourselves instead of others. We cannot truly be loved unless we first love ourselves.
May 25, 2014
|"Vinegar has been used as a disinfectant since Roman times, but more recently has been found effective against some drug-resistant bacteria." Prevention Magazine|
With scary reports of newly-found viruses or forms of bacteria, it is good to know that there is something safe and perhaps effective in staying healthy. White vinegar is a cheap, nontoxic cleanser. To kill bacteria (research has found it effective in killing at least the drug-resistant bacteria which causes tuberculosis), cover surfaces with vinegar and wait 20 minutes before wiping it off.
May 24, 2014
|"The answer to almost any health problem is yoga." Prevention Magazine|
Cited as being beneficial for back pain, high blood pressure, weight loss, sleeping better -- besides it supports flexibility, strength and muscle tone. Hard to find all of that in any one other form of exercise. When I go to evening yoga, I sleep better. The deep relaxation and oxygenation I get supports my overall health. When I had a recent yearly physical, my blood pressure was 92 over 60. The nurse asked me what I was doing to be so relaxed, and I knew that doing yoga, along with my spiritual practices, was the answer. For all of us caregiving, I highly recommend yoga to help handle the stress.
May 23, 2014
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May 19, 2014
|""When it comes to saving money, we all have our quirky little habits. Some of these are clever and thrifty. Some are wasteful or silly." Kathleen Fox|
Some habits that are clever and thrifty are: buying big (if that is the better buy) on nonperishable items, do it yourself if you have the skill and tools, air-drying dishes in the dishwasher (I always open the door and let it air dry). I would also add, if your electric company has different rates for different times of day - as mine does, using the clothes dryer and anything using hot water during the time of lower rates. Some things that can be wasteful are: postponing maintenance, overstuffing the washer, doing it yourself if you do not have the skill. With the extreme expense of caring for someone with dementia, we can all use a few easy tips to save money.
May 18, 2014
|"So what if you bomb? You learn from it. You pick yourself up, try to figure out what went wrong and then move on, knowing you've given it your best shot." Billy Crystal|
Good advice, and what it is reported successful people do. We have all heard of the hundreds of attempts that Edison made on the filament of the electric light bulb before finding one that worked. I love what he is quoted to have said -- that he was not discouraged with all the attempts, as each attempt gave him one more material that would not work as filament. As caregivers we will make mistakes, we will have times when our patience is short, we will become frustrated. We are, after all, human. So, let us be gentle with ourselves, learn from what we have done, and move on.
May 17, 2014
|"If the caregiver can determine what is causing the behavior, they can often reduce or eliminate it by addressing the underlying cause." Michele Mongillo, RN, MSN|
Infections, pain, confusion, fear, dehydration, sleep deficits -- all can cause behavior problems. It is important to speak calmly with someone who has dementia and is upset. I make a policy of never arguing, nor trying to convince him of a different reality than the one he sees. When he told me recently that the scrapes on his forehead and nose were caused by him driving a golf cart into other golf carts, I merely responded, "bummer." What else is there to say? He is falling more. He is having more hallucinations, and his hallucinations are his reality. Only if it is important to decrease his anxiety level do I correct him gently. For instance, when he worried that he had left a car parked some where and he could not remember where and he was worried that he would get a ticket or it would be towed away, I offered to check in our garage to see if our vehicles were accounted for. I was able to tell him that all vehicles were accounted for and that he did not need to worry that he had left one somewhere, and it gave him great peace of mind. I could actually see him relax physically. There is no need for him to carry more worries than this disease actually creates.
May 16, 2014
|"Poor behavior can be caused by pain, lack of sleep, hunger, thirst or feelings of being lost and not belonging." Samsclub.com/healthandwellness|
I think fear is often the basis of poor behavior. As the person with dementia becomes more confused, I think they are afraid, and that fear can come out looking like belligerence. My loved one said to me recently, "The day I feared has come." When I asked him to explain further, he indicated that he feared the day he would not be able to get out of a chair. I can understand that fear, and I appreciate the times he is lucid enough to be in touch with what is fearful for him with this debilitating disease. His bringing it up did give me the opportunity to talk about the probable need for a wheelchair sometime in the future. The care facility staff and I both want him to be as mobile as possible for as long as possible, but it is sad to see how much strength and mobility he has lost in just the last 3 months.
May 15, 2014
|"One in 9 Americans 65 and over currently have Alzheimer's. Of the top 10 causes of death, Alzheimer's is the only one that can't be cured or prevented." Peter Jaret|
These statistics appear to be just for Alzheimer's Disease. Since Lewy Bodies Dementia is the second-most-often occurring type of dementia, these numbers are obviously much larger. "cannot be cured or prevented" -- sobering. But there is some good news: "A heart-healthy diet, physical activity, and social and cognitive stimulation can help preserve cognitive function." Jason Karlawish, M.D. But, these are not a guarantee. For at least the past 20+ years my loved one had those things, but he and I wonder if exposure to leaded gasoline, when he worked to put himself through high school and college at a gas station, is not the cause of his dementia.
|"Hearing that a parent, sibling, friend, or loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease may be the most life-altering event you could endure." Michele Mongillo, RN, MSN|
It is interesting that she leaves 'spouse' off the list -- because that may be the most life-altering event of them all --- when you learn your spouse has dementia. I miss having anyone with whom to discuss things and make decisions. That was always something I treasured about my spouse -- we discussed things and made decisions together. Now I am faced with some decisions about my own living situation, and it is not possible -- or prudent -- to include him. My habit has always been to seek out the best counsel I can find in any given situation, and then to make my own decision based on what is right for me. And, that is what I will do in this case. How do you make your decisions?
May 14, 2014
|"Water is your body's principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day." Mayo Clinic|
I drink a lot of water --- always have. I love good, pure water. We are so lucky if we live where we have access to good water. People with dementia run the risk of being dehydrated. Between the toileting and mobility issues, I think people with dementia cut back on their water intake and/or forget to drink. If the person for whom I provide care is particularly confused, I prepare him something to drink. He prefers cola, but any liquid is better than none. There is also always water with ice by his chair. We as caregivers also need to drink enough water. Today, let us make sure we drink enough water. I am so grateful that I have easy access to good, clean water.
Water is your body's principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water.
May 13, 2014
|"Everyone's bald underneath their hair." Susan McHenry|
We go to so much trouble to cover up who we really are. I gave a talk at church on Sunday, and some friends came to support me -- such a touching and supportive gesture, and yet, I found it made me a bit nervous, and I found myself concerned with what they might think of my talk -- as they would be seeing me in a light not familiar to them. To be nervous while speaking publicly is rather unlike me when I am at my best, but so like all of us humans sometimes. It is scary to relax and be totally and truly who we are, and those people who provide us enough safety to be completely ourselves are very rare gifts. Perhaps the reason that it is so hard to be truly ourselves in all situations is that it would be harder to accept people rejecting us for who we truly are, than being rejected for the cover-up we wear. And yet, that is folly. It is only in being ourselves that we can truly love and be loved by others. Who in your life supports you in being fully who you are?
May 12, 2014
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May 5, 2014
"I want to know God's thoughts . . . . the rest are details." Albert Einstein
May 4, 2014
May 3, 2014
- "On top of the emotional crisis of losing a loved one, multiple decisions have to be made after the death -- immediately and in the weeks ahead. ABA/AARP Checklist for Family Survivors is a guide to help deal with the personal and financial affairs of the person who has died." AARP
May 2, 2014
May 1, 2014
"It's never too late to be what you might have been." George Eliot