Jun 30, 2015

Creating Positive Thoughts

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"The greatest discovery of my generation is that s human being can alter his/her life by altering his/her attitudes of mind." William James

More and more often we are seeing this from different people. We can control the content of our thoughts, and this altering does contribute hugely to our overall health.  I once heard Wayne Dyer say he considered thoughts were universal, as if they were going past us on a big conveyor belt -- and we got the pick the ones we wanted to have.  What if our thoughts are in no way original to us?  Bruce Lipton says our thoughts are largely redundant and largely negative.  But, we can change this.  We can choose to have positive thoughts, and we - and everyone who knows us - will benefit from that choice.

Jun 29, 2015

Children in Nursing Homes

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"The importance of children to the elderly has created buildings where children and the elderly co-exist by building preschools and nursing homes together." AARP

Both children and the elderly benefit from being together.  My 2 year old granddaughter is not afraid of the elderly who are drooling, stooped over and in wheelchairs - because she has been taken by her mother to visit so many times.  Her mother is very wise and always takes something for her toddler to do.  Yesterday it was a basket with bean bags to hide in the loved one's room.  She also brought a simple board game, and she involved the loved one in these activities.  Everyone benefits.  The elderly are entranced with a well-behaved child, and the child learns compassion for those who are shunned by much of society.  Do you have children involved in the life of your loved one? 

Jun 28, 2015

Developing Self Love

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"You cannot see outside of you what you fail to see inside." Anthony de Mello

We cannot see the best in others unless we see the best in ourselves.  We cannot have compassion and love for others until we have compassion and love for ourselves.  In western society it is taboo to think well of oneself --- and, I am not talking about bragging and bravado -- I am talking about having a high regard for ourselves and all we have done.  Part of my goal in life is to reflect other people's beauty back to them, because it seems that is done so very little.  We are good human beings, and, sometimes, all it takes is for someone to see our goodness and reflect it back to us for it to flourish even more.

Jun 27, 2015

Sleep Aid

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Perhaps Marilyn Monroe's perfume-before-bed ritual might've been a good call.  The scent of lavender truly can help you sleep." Journal of Alternative Medicine

My daughter recently exposed me to information about what a very savvy business woman Marilyn Monroe was.  How did I never know that before?  How is it that what I seemed to know about Marilyn Monroe was her alleged sexual encounters, even with JFK, her suicide attempts, and I am reluctant to say - her image as an airhead.  How did I not know of her brilliance, her savvy?  The reason this is important is because it says something about human nature.  How is it we do not celebrate each other more?!  How is it we can know the negative aspects of a person more than we know the positive aspects?!  Let us change this.  Let us see the beauty and brilliance in each other.

And, Marilyn Monroe was right about the perfume too.  Placing 30 drops of lavender essential oil in jojoba oil and massaging your hands with it before bedtime improves your sleeps and soothes your hands!

And, please know how beautiful you are -- or handsome, if that is a preferred word.

Jun 26, 2015

Distressing Hallucinations

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"Success is not final, failure is not fatal:  It is the courage to continue that counts."
Winston Churchill

So well said.  We will not cure this disease of dementia in our loved one -- so success, defined as cure - is not a reachable goal for us.  We will fail many times in our caregiving.  Fail to be as loving and patient as we might be.  Fail in knowing all it might be good for us to know.  But, we can, like Churchill advises, continue on.  Recently when I visited, my loved one was consumed in a visual hallucination that was distressful for him.  He is not very verbal any more, so I had trouble making sense of what was upsetting him.  He talked about a horse and carriage, and how he had "really goofed" and something about a valve.  So, I took a leap in addressing what might be at the bottom of his distress and agitation.  I said, "Does the horse need water?"  He answered, "Yes."  So, I said, "Would you like me to be sure that the horse gets water?"  He visibly relaxed and said, "Yes."  Believing there was resolution in his visual hallucination, which was very real to him, allowed him to let it go.  How do you help your loved one with distressful hallucinations?

Jun 25, 2015

Importance of Social Support

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"Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself." Rumi

Social support for us who are caregivers and for our loved ones is so important.  Recently, in visiting my loved one, he had been incorrigible to both staff who were trying to help him and me.  Full of complaints and discontent.  Then, in walked our 2 year old granddaughter, and he transformed before my eyes.  He smiled, called her by name, commented on what she was wearing, and remained in a good mood for the rest of the time I was there.  Children.  The presence of a child can transform a nursing home and the people in it.  Let us look for all the ways we can support the well being of our loved one, and ourselves.

Jun 24, 2015

Eating Carbs Minimizes Risk for Alzheimer's

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"Three servings a day of whole grains minimizes Alzheimer's risk." JAMA Internal Medicine

But, they really have to be whole grains.  Don't be misled by labels like "100% wheat" or "multigrain".  Instead check ingredients.  Regular oatmeal is a good choice.  People who follow the MIND diet lower their risk of developing Alzheimer's by 53%.  This diet includes 3 servings a day of whole grain, berries, beans, leafy greens, poultry, nuts, other vegetables, fish and 1 glass of red wine.  The diet also recommends red meat 4 times a week or less, fast food no more than once a week, 7 tablespoons or less of butter or margarine, and sweets less than 5 times a week.  

Jun 23, 2015

Importance of Movement

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"For every hour you sit, move 2 minutes." Bruce Kelley

We are reading this in more and more places:  the importance of movement within the day, the importance of avoiding longterm sitting.  It seems that movement throughout the day is more important than a block of time devoted to exercise.  It actually makes sense.  As we get older, we can feel stiff after sitting for long periods.  I notice this especially when I am driving, because I naturally get up a lot when I am not confined to a seat.  With my loved one, when I am there I get help to rearrange him in his wheelchair or to stretch him out in bed.  He gets so slumped over when sitting that I think it affects his breathing, and he complains of chest pain.  So, different positions even for those who are immobile is a good thing.  

Jun 22, 2015


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"Uncertainty makes us feel vulnerable." Brene Brown

There are times when we will feel uncertain.  That is why I keep learning.  I went this past week to a workshop on the Ethics of Dying.  It was very good.  The speaker talked about our obligation to be there for one another, about the rights of the person who is dying, about the ethical concerns of the dying process.  It gave me good ideas.  For one thing, I am going to ask the care facility if they have an ethics committee which oversees decisions around dying.  I am sure they do not have one, so my intention will be to raise the awareness of having one.  As caregivers we have the ultimate responsibility of making decisions about life and death for another person.  Let us make sure we are on solid ground in making those decisions.  The decisions, to be ethical, MUST be from the position of what the care receiver would want.  Not what we might want, or what another family member might want.  Decisions must be made from the position of what the person with the terminal illness would want.  

Jun 21, 2015


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"If you cannot be grateful for what you have received, then be thankful for what you have been spared." Yiddish proverb

We who are caregivers might feel we have been given a very large burden, and we have; but, it helps me to look around and see the burdens others have.  We have all heard the old story of people going to a party, throwing their troubles in the middle of the room, and they could pick any problem to take home with them.  They all picked the problem they had brought with them.  I learned yesterday that a woman colleague of mine about a decade younger than me died recently from a long battle with cancer.  I know a man who is struggling with cancer.  I know people with fibromyalgia and other neurological and debilitating disorders.  No one escapes challenges in life.  Let us be grateful that our challenge is not worse than it is.