Jul 31, 2015


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We may not be cows or buffalo, but we ruminate just the same on our thoughts -- unfortunately, primarily negative thoughts.  We need to learn to turn off Radio NST (non stop thinking).  It's not good for our health to consume from our own consciousness that way."  Thich Nhat Hanh

Scientists are discovering more and more that people think all the time, and over 90% of their thoughts are redundant and negative.  As Thich Nhat Hanh says:  that is not good for our health.  One way to avoid that is to focus on gratitude at all times and in all situations.  I believe we will always be able to find something good in any situation.  Recently in visiting my loved one, I pushed the button for an aide.  She came promptly, and she was so respectful to my loved one.  For that I am grateful.  In a case like this we can focus on the negativity of the situation, or we can focus on what is good within the situation.  For what are you grateful today?

Jul 30, 2015

Eat For $4 a Day

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"Even a dozen organic eggs costs just 33 cents per egg." Leanne Brown

Other tips Brown gives us, is skip the "health" drinks and drink water with lemon in it instead.  This is a tip I have always used, although I do enjoy kombucha drinks occasionally.  Freeze cooked grains and lentils, as they are cheap, but take time to cook.  Use your slow cooker for cheaper, grass-fed cuts of meat.  Packaging is very expensive, so buy from bulk and bag your own.  It is so important that we eat well, but that does not have to mean expensively.  I make a lot of soups with meats without antibiotics or hormones and some good seasonal vegetables.  The other night I make stir fry with seasonal vegetables and organic brown rice.  When I cook, I deliberately make enough for leftovers, as that saves me time and gives me a quick, nutritious meal.  /Bon appetit,  

Jul 29, 2015


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"Enlightenment for the wave is the moment that it realizes it is water.  At that moment, all fear of death disappears." Thich Nhat Hanh

So, what then is enlightenment for humans?  Using the above analogy, it would be when we realize that we and the Source of All Love are one and the same.  Do you really believe that?  It seems most of us do not live as though we believe it.  Because we are caregivers for someone with a terminal illness, it might help us to consider that energy cannot be destroyed, according to Einstein, and the human being is energy.  Therefore, doesn't it make sense that something continues after the human body fails us?  Perhaps each of us waves is water after all.

Jul 28, 2015

Change Your Thoughts

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"Change your Thoughts; change your life." Dr. Wayne Dyer

It really is as simple as that.  Change the content of your thoughts, and your life and who you hang out with will change.  It is astonishing how negative most peoples' thoughts are, and you can tell by what comes out of their mouths.  Few people are focused on what is going right in their life, and there is support for the belief that what we focus on increases.  If we focus on poor health, we are likely to see more poor health.  If we focus on ingratitude, we are likely to encounter more things about which to be ungrateful.  Watch your thoughts.  It is a matter of health.

Jul 27, 2015

Sobering Statistics

"55% of people who have Alzheimer's disease haven't been told yet." Alzheimer's Asso.

Yike!  That is a staggering statistic!   And, I heard on the news this week that more women than men will eventually have Alzheimer's disease.  What can we do to protect ourselves?   Daily exercise, nutritious food, meditation or other practices to deal with stress, adequate sleep, and social activity that is stimulating.  

Jul 26, 2015

Taking Action

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"I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs." Frederick Douglas

I was talking to a client yesterday about someone saying they were sorry.  I reflected to her that being sorry did not mean much -- what meant something is if the person changes her or his behavior and does not do the transgression again.  We have all heard the expression, "talk is cheap".  This is in reference to how easy it is for some people to say they are sorry and think that takes care of it.  It takes care of it only if the person also changes his or her behavior. It is the action that makes the difference.  I can think I would like people to be more respectful to my loved one, but it is only in insisting on it from others and demonstrating it myself that respect occurs.  In what area of your life are you needing to take action?

Jul 25, 2015

Asking How You Are

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"When people are going through a life challenge, acknowledge that to them." Listening tips

Do you have people in your life who ask how your loved one is?  I have very few.  Even fewer ask how I am.  I have wondered why that is, because these are caring individuals who know about my loved one's dementia.  Why do people avoid the subject?  I think it is because of their own discomfort, so here are some tips.  Ask the person how they are doing.  You might also ask if she/he would like to talk about their situation, and, if so, listen.  Listen without adding some of your own story or any advice.  Just listen.  Caregiving is a lonely, solitary task.  Sometimes I just want to know someone else cares.  

Jul 24, 2015

Managing Our Thoughts

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"The habits of a vigorous mind are born in contending with difficulties." Abigail Adams

What wise words from Abigail Adams, which we can apply today in our caregiving.  Our minds become more vigorous, not less, when we contend with difficulties, and dementia is a difficulty with which to contend.  We can learn to manage our thoughts so that our minds are fertile and vigorous.  That means eliminating negative and destructive thinking, managing our thoughts so that we are thinking positive ones of ourselves and others, and remaining serene so that we can creatively problem solve.  A habit to develop is that of being positive, seeing the good in all things, and seeing the possibilities - even within dementia.  

Jul 23, 2015

Addressing Infections

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"Urinary tract infections are common in elderly." Mayo

My loved one has another UTI, urinary tract infection.  The nursing home was quick to pick up on the symptoms, and he is on an antibiotic.  UTI's are something to watch for, as our loved ones become more incapacitated and take in less fluids.  Addressing this infection will make him more comfortable, which is so important.  Symptoms of UTI's include burning when urinating.  My loved one even had a burning feeling extending down into his legs.  Other symptoms can be urge to urinate, urinating small amounts, cloudy or red-tinged urine.  

Jul 22, 2015

Living Life Fully

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"The dominant culture of North America is not being killed by global warming or too few whales or anything like that.  It just doesn't know how to live, how to take up the task of loving life, even how to grieve its own grievous history." Stephen Jenkinson

Pretty strong words, but Jenkinson is talking about living life fully, which means facing death.  He tells about talking to a couple young men, and he challenges them what they will do when their mother dies.  Will they hide out in some activity, or will they reject despair and truancy and be a faithful witness to her dying.  He, of course, calls them to witness her dying.  As caregivers, we are witnessing someone's dying.  What do we want that to look like?  I want to be gracious and present.  I want to honor his life - - - and his death.  How do you witness the dying of your loved one?

Jul 21, 2015

Caring for the Dying

"Mindfulness helps me to be with the suffering that's there and the joy that's there.  It allows me to be with reality." Sue Poloway, hospice worker

The hospice worker quoted above believes that being mindful, which sometimes means being silent, helps her help the people who are dying and the ones who love them.  She acquires mindfulness through meditation, and there are many cd's and books available to help someone with mindful meditation - with Jon Kabat Zinn being one who has research-based methods.  Poloway believes that mindfulness is what helps her see clearly and be more compassionate.  Caregivers might benefit from ways to see more clearly and be more compassionate -- with themselves and others.  

Jul 20, 2015

Finding Happiness"

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"When you look for me, look in the district of joy." Rumi

Where would people find you?  In what district?  Too often we might be in the district of indifference, irritability, distraction.  What if we decide to live from the district of joy?  That means that we find joy even in the aspect of dying.  Dying is a part of life.  Do we really treat it as such, or do we run from it in fear?  Let's practice living in joy.

Jul 19, 2015

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"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." Ecclesiastics 3:1

There is a time for birth and a time for death.  Both are a part of life.  They are natural.  That doesn't mean either is necessarily easy.  With a loved one with a terminal and progressive illness, it sometimes helps me to see the "bigger picture".  The fact that all of us will die.  I try to honor the season I am in, the season my loved one is in.  For everything, there is a time.