WHAT DAY DID YOU SAY IT WAS?
September 23, 2016 – Calendars were tricky for my mom. That was one of my mother’s complaints as she entered into her years of battling the grim disease of Alzheimer’s. “I don’t even know what today is,” she grumbled in frustration. It was Saturday and Ken and I had gone to their country home for a visit. This, of course, was long before my husband entered into his own battle with the debilitating and incurable disease of Alzheimer’s. “Why can’t I ever remember, or why doesn’t someone tell me what date it is. I don’t even know the time,” she continued to lament. I reached over and gave her a long hug, assuring her that I would try and find a remedy for her problem.
My dad sympathized with her, but grew a bit angry himself when she became so upset about not knowing the calendar as she once did. Everything that had to do with the calendar; the day, the date and what time it was perplexed her. “What does it matter,” he would ask her. “We don’t have any plans and I’m not going anywhere. When it’s Sunday, I’ll wake you so you can get ready for church, and when it’s time to leave we’ll go.” “Okay,” she beamed. “Would you do that for me.” Lovingly, he replied, “Of course, mama.”
We stayed, had a small supper with them and then returned to our own home knowing that my dad was able to care for this woman to whom he had been married for nearly 65 years. But even that was an unknown as she became more and more lost in her beginning dementia.
A CALENDAR IS THE SOLUTION TO A SIMPLE PROBLEM
Seek and ye shall find, you just have to look in the right place. We went to the mall together, as we did most everything together now that Ken had retired. It was fun spending our spare time with one another doing things we had always enjoyed. In buying gifts I never did have to coax him to go, he liked buying presents for people for birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas.
Before we left home I said that we should begin with clocks. “Clocks tell more than just time,” I reminded him. You can program them for calendar dates, days and time. There is everything she needs to hang on to reality.
Our sales associate showed us a number of different clocks with the same set up. We chose a small one which could be held in your hand. “It’s easy to program,” he assured us, and it was.
HAPPY WITH HER NEW GIFT.
On our next visit I gave her the present wrapped in birthday paper with a card. She was pleased beyond words. “See, Mama,” I explained, push this lever and you have the time. Push it again to a different notch and it shows you the day and date. It even had an alarm, but I didn’t bother with that, it would only add to her confusion. I wasn’t sure that with all of it’s levers and buttons to push that she could even program it. But Dad could, so I depended on him to keep it running, the batteries fresh, and reminded him of the alarm feature in case he needed it. I left the directions for Dad, and when the sun began to set we left.
DID IT WORK?
When she asked Dad about the day and date, he directed his wife to the new calendar clock explaining which small window would give her the needed information. I am sure, however, that as the disease became more and more evident, the clock that told all, lost it’s value to her, but not to him. I know that she would never be able to program it and all she would do, if she started pushing buttons would be to make it so confusing that it would become useless. But for the moment it was what she needed and Mama could put her troubled mind to rest for a while knowing briefly the answer to that never ending cakendar question “What day is it.?”
WAKING UP ON 9-11
September 16, 2016 – I know it’s a week after the anniversary date of such a horrendous happening which took place just 15 seemingly short years ago. I am sure we all remember where we were and what was happening in our lives on that terrible day in 2001.
Ken and I were just waking up on the West Coast of the USA. As was his habit long ago, he reached over and snapped on the TV. We both gasped as we watched a plane crash into the second tower of The World Trade Center. Here was terror and disaster happening right before our very eyes and we were witnessing it along with the rest of the world. All that day it never stopped: The news was filled with one grim report after another. It was as if the United States of America had entered into a war. And it truly was a war that has continued for more years than we could have imagined.
ATTENDING THE MARATHON IN 1996, LONG BEFORE THE 9-11 ATTACK
Before Ken was blindsided with Alzheimer’s he was a runner; not a serious runner, but a runner who competed against himself. He actually did rather well considering there weren’t many senior citizens who ran and completed a marathon, but the completion times were listed in the papers, and he was either No. 1 or earned the 2nd or 3rd number in his age group.
Part of the gift package the runners received was the defining sweatshirt with New York’s skyline which included the Twin Towers, the year and the word “Finisher” printed on the front. He wore the shirt proudly until his death in October of 2014.
Even as he battled Alzheimer’s I mended, then revamped the imaged logo onto a new gray sweatshirt so he could wear it for as long as he lived. The sad part was that as he drew near to the end of life, he no longer recognized what the shirt was or what it represented.
We told ourselves that the Twin Towers would always be there even next time. We planned to come back for another visit to the Big Apple in a few years. So we nearly passed up our promised lunch date at the Center. We did visit at night. Everyone said we must go at night because the view was so spectacular. The view was everything they said it would be, so we came back the next day for lunch to view the city during the day. Just the day before we had visited the Statue of Liberty and then on to Ellis Island where Ken’s father had been an immigrant boy of 15 in 1906 during the heyday of mass migration from Europe just after the turn of the 20th century. Our memories of the fabulous landmarks were a joy for us to remember, especially me, as he soon drifted further and further into the lost world of Alzheimer’s Disease.
And now the towers are gone, but a double beam of light reaches into the Heavens as a reminder of all those innocent people who were lost that day, and the brave respondents who sacrificed all doing their jobs.
I am blessed to remember New York City as it was when my dear husband and I were together getting acquainted with the Big Apple. Knowing that in the afterlife he now remembers us and our days spent together and the happy times we shared. Remembering 9-11, I am grateful for the years that followed when he was lost in the world of Alzheimer’s, and I able to care for him “Till death us do part.”
I still have the gray sweatshirt with the twin towers and “Finisher” printed across the front. When the days are cool I wear the now-somewhat-shabby souvenir basking in the special warmth it gives me because it once belonged to Ken and reminds me of a time when our nation had peace before that dreadful day of 9/11.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO?
September 9,2016 – The tabloid headlines have changed and I didn’t even notice. Since my husband Ken disappeared from our lives two years ago, after being kidnapped, and held for nearly 20 years, by the demon Alzheimer’s, time has flown and still it moves on and on bringing with it changes in everything. Our family has changed and now that I have time to notice, even the headlines on the tabloids at the grocery store aren’t recognizable.
During the 60s when folk music was so popular, they sang about “Where have all the flowers gone?” I would change it today to “Where have all my movie stars gone?” I do my grocery shopping at the local supermarkets, and as I stand in line I have often picked up a tabloid or two as I wait my turn with the cashier. I look them over to keep me in the loop. Glancing at the headlines the names have changed and I must ask myself whatever happened to Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, Gig Young, Doris Day and her leading man, Rock Hudson. Where is Betty Grable, Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, Bert Lancaster, Lana Turner, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby? My list could go on and on. Their time in the limelight no longer fills the gossip pages of today’s tabloids. Even the popular movie magazines from the past, which we read from cover to cover, have vanished. What’s “US” got to do with the movies anyways?
OLD HEADLINES WITH A NEW ENDING
Going online in search of the stars that filled the movie and TV screens of yesteryear I find them, at least most of them. The name pops into view with different news, birth dates and then comes the obituary. Most of the stars that Ken and I grew up and older with, seldom missing any of their movies, have left the planet.
Picking up the latest People Magazine I flip the pages and realize that not only are my stars missing, the pages are filled with photos, articles and headlines about the latest new parents, married or not, divorces of those who did marry, personal quotes from “a source” giving out guarded information about a new couple spending their shared vacations in Hawaii or some other romantic spot, while the former discarded partner laments about their once-happy life stateside all alone, and lonely.
I don’t even know these new people who fill the pages with news of celebrity comings and goings. I look at the faces and names and come to the realization they are to me, and would have been to Ken were he not lost in Alzheimer’s, unrecognizable and without importance, especially in the life of a demented patient and a full-time caregiver.
Do I feel out of the loop because I have no identification with this new breed of Hollywood? Of course, because I AM out of the loop. I have found that after years of being a caregiver other things have become much more important. BOTTOM LINE: I don’t really care who the new headliners are or who will be the next American Idol.
I would rather bring out an old LP, dust off the turntable and listen to Doris Day. Now that’s a celebrity . Hearing her fabulous voice is well worth the time invested. So, join me, kick off your shoes and listen as she sings Que Sera, Sera, (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) and don’t worry about those celebrities you don’t recognize or those unfamiliar headlines. In another 20 years, our progeny will be wondering whatever happened to Lady Gaga and “The New Kids On The Block.”
September 2, 2016 –Thoughts of the Alzheimer’s gene pool are always on my mind. My father died of Alzheimer’s as did his parents and my maternal grandmother. My mother’s generation seems to be spared. I am 65, about the age of my father when he was first diagnosed. Every time there is a lapse in my memory; I lose my keys or my car, I can’t remember a name, a word, a place, I feel a little disoriented, I wonder, is it age? Or the gene pool?
I have many health issues. Diabetes II for almost 25 years, leaky-gut syndrome, (or my father’s Crohn’s disease?) A brain scare 2 years ago. A lung, heart, and kidney scare this spring. I am not a hypochondriac, but the gene pool is always there taunting my health. But I have health in my favor too. According to my doctor, my weight and body fat are perfect for my age height and gender. I am super-conscientious about what I eat to the point where my blood sugar is in a stable and healthy range and I am easing off my diabetic medications. I exercise and I take supplements. I am a fighter and I’m not ready to leave, my life, my family, or my work. I w ill continue to fight and research as I try to push the gene pool out of my brain.
But how likely am I to inherit this disease? According to current research, unless it is early onset Alzheimer’s, occurring as young as 30 and before 65, I’m not. It seems that the best prediction is age. The older you get, the more likely you are to get Alzheimer’s. The statistics of those affected are staggering. According to the Alzheimer’s association http://www.alz.org/facts/overview.asp#state , more than 5 million Americans have it. But, Alzheimer’s is a disease of the elderly and as that Baby Boomer bump arrives at old age, the number of people afflicted will rise.
Perhaps I am looking at the prospect of having the disease, of care costs involved, through the rosy lens of a family that was prepared and a mother who was willing to give up the middle part of her life in that noble endeavor. Though caring for a person with the disease is by no means an easy or inexpensive task, it is doable for a family. My father’s mother came from a very large family of 11 and many of her siblings had dementia of some kind. I remember as a little girl visiting in Colorado and some of her siblings even then must have been afflicted. Many people have stories of their crazy aunt or uncle, cared for by family and this family was no exception.
I think as my generation and our children face a future of Alzheimer’s, whether from the gene pool or just increasing age, the responsibility of family for in-home care needs to be re-emphasised and encouraged. It is tough. It means that careers need to be put on hold and sacrifices made.The expectation that society or the government must be there to help needs to be turned around.
My children are facing a future that is full of economic uncertainty. The fact is there is not enough money in any program to care for the prospect of all of these older people getting old. I believe that perspective must change and that family, whether through blood, or relationship must begin to take a more important role in caring for the elderly. Whether a result of the Alzheimer’s gene pool, or aging in general, it is part of life. Taking the time to provide for an older generation is a task that improves the lives of everyone. It is not something that is going to go away because it is costly and unpleasant. I believe that future generations will learn valuable lessons as they find that caregiving is an important life lesson. I believe their lives will become richer and blessed as they accept the responsibility of caring for their elderly, with or without Alzheimer’s .
This is a guest post from Deborah Schultz. Ann Romick is on vacation.
SERVICE WITH A SMILE AND A GOOD APPETITE
ANOTHER KIND OF SERVICE
August 26, 2016 – As caregivers we have become conditioned to the definition and expectations that one who is a caregiver or one who gives service morphs into someone who is dedicated to helping others at whatever cost it may take from the caregiver. Caregivers for family members may not have planned on this service job which may be a “job” never anticipated and often one where the training comes through experience, reading, gleaning advice from others or any other reference which might be helpful to this “new” unexpected career.
However, there is another kind of service. I suppose I could have hooked it onto last weeks post. All people in need do not necessarily require one who is at their beck and call to run errands, clean their houses, care for wounds or even supervise a bath or shower. Needs are as individual as is the recipient.
LINKED TOGETHER BY NEEDS
There are many people in our world, who have a need, and it’s a charitable need. No matter their own health condition, often encumbered by a wheel chair or other medical aids, whose life has always been spent in doing for others: wives devoted for caring for their husbands, mothers dedicating a lifetime in caring for their children, and women, in general who volunteer in all sorts of service projects. Many volunteering their time at various agencies in caring for the disadvantaged. These people are content and are happiest in doing for others even though through aging and medical issues would fall in the category of “patient in need.”
CASE IN POINT
My friend Jayne, and I written about her in other posts, and in my forthcoming second book, “Journey Into The Fog,” is one of those people. She was a live-in caregiver for my parents. She stayed with them, when I couldn’t be there until they both passed. My mom went first and nine months later my father.
And now she has failing health. I strive to be there for her to do those small things she cannot. However, she somehow manages to get things done, and she does have an aid who comes bi-weekly to help with showers and other personal needs.
Jayne is happiest, though, when I accept a dinner invitation: for me alone, or will include my daughter Debbie when she is visiting from Utah. Jayne fusses too much, and won’t allow us to contribute even the dessert. She does ask, at times for me to heat something in the microwave which is located above the stove and beyond her reach. Her meals are delicious and often more than we can eat. So for a hug and a compliment about the food, we leave in due time and she insists on cleaning her dishes without our help. She just enjoys her ability to still do something for others. What we give her with our presence is not only our company, but the joy that comes from doing something nice for someone else: Serving others.
It’s important to make sincere allowances for all to extend loving service in a manner they can do, even if their physical abilities are limited. So, if a disabled friend invites you for dinner, go, enjoy yourself, and allow her/him to extend service in their own way. But try to help with the cleanup, no matter how much she refuses. One day I will win the battle with Jayne.
CHANGES TO WATCH FOR
August 19, 2016 – We are never the same today as we were yesterday, nor is anyone else. However, we all have times in our life when we make subtle changes. Usually changes mean nothing, or a temporary whim or experience will cause a reflective change in personality. This doesn’t necessarily indicate anything serious, but it could mean dementia, which could include any of the dementia diseases such as Alzheimer’s which is the most common of the dementias.
MY EXPERIENCE IS WITH ALZHEIMER’S
As my readers know my entire blog is made up of my experiences with various members of our two families and with my husband, Ken, who first began showing signs of AD in the mid and late 90s. His release from the torment of AD came in October of 2014. These subtle changes may not be noticed by others, but because of the close relationship of husband and wife the mate often spots the irregular change long before any changes become obvious to others – even their children.
SAYING HURTFUL THINGS TO OTHERS
Ken was known for his friendly personality, his affability and his gregarious nature. He loved people, especially family. That was why I was so shocked when my sister, Janet, and her husband, Douglas, paid us a visit. Douglas had been diagnosed with cancer and wouldn’t live another year. As we sat together in our living room Douglas mentioned that he felt cold. In his weakened condition he became sensitive to lower temperatures wherever he was. I moved toward the thermostat to click it up a notch. Without thinking of his ill brother-in-law Ken said in a loud and rather brisk manner, “I don’t understand how anyone could be cold, I’ve got the temperature turned up to 68 degrees. If anyone is cold, there must be something wrong with them.”
I felt horrified that my kind and caring husband would be so rude to this dear man who was, basically, dying. I stepped forward and pushed the thermostat up a few degrees even though for Ken it would be too warm, but I reasoned it would only be temporary. Meanwhile I got a blanket for Douglas.
Falling and loss of balance could be an indication of an approaching dementia. I didn’t notice that he fell often, but I did notice that he became clumsy, stumbling over his feet every so often. What I did notice, even more, was that if Ken filled his arms with too may objects he would drop some, if not all in an effort to keep them together, especially if he reached out to open a door or to switch on a light with the other hand. He did that one night as we were returning from a pot-luck dinner. The bowl, the salad dressing, tongs all went flying as he reached to switch on the light.
WHAT’S SO FUNNY
Ken had a contagious laugh and was always one to enjoy a good joke. As Alzheimer’s chisels away at the victim’s brain humor often goes by the wayside. His mind lost the ability to grasp the humor of a Double Entandre. In another direction, my mother always taught her girls that sarcasm was the poorest form of humor. Yet, in today’s society, sarcasm has reached great heights in the comedy world and a quick mind which uses the form is considered very intelligent even though the form can be biting or insulting for the individual to whom it is directed. Nevertheless, it is extremely popular within the populace. Those living their lives in a demented state usually miss these subtle forms of humor.
AGGRESSION AND “THIS IS MINE”
We had been visiting my sister once again, after Douglas had passed. Arriving at their cabin on the lake, a young man had been assigned to hand out leaflets concerning the coming homeowner’s meeting. Ken took the paper. Janet said, “I’ll take that Ken, it’s for me,” and reached out her hand. “It’s mine,” he glowered, “the boy gave it to me.” “But this is my house,” my sister retaliated, “it’s meant for me.” He became enraged with her reminding her that the paper was given to him.
Not having experience with a dementia patient my sister began to argue. In his anger I thought for a moment he might hit her. I redirected him to a chair on the deck and he calmed down giving me the paper, and then we went for a walk. His reaction was so unlike the man I had married.
Ken’s eyes often danced as he talked with people, yet I noticed, especially as the disease progressed, that instead of good eye movement, he eyes became blank, not looking at anything, just starring off into space.
EXPLORING THE WORLD LIKE A CHILD
We see it with babies as soon as they begin to crawl, and even before. Anything on the floor is a curiosity to be investigated. And when the object is captured in a tiny hand it immediately goes into his/her mouth. Puppies are the same and so are some people suffering from a dementia-related disease. Activities were next to impossible to introduce to Ken as everything I offered went into his mouth. Large puzzle pieces, crayons, pencils and whatever I offered he tried to eat. He once grabbed a handful of screws while my handyman tried to repair a caster on a small table.
My mother, my patient a few years before Ken became ill, tried to scrape the flowers off her dinner plate, and then chewed her flowered paper napkin in an effort to remove the printed petunias on the paper. When she could get a pencil she would pick up a book and begin correcting the grammar, punctuation or syntax on the page she was reading. She did that until she could no longer read.
UNDERSTANDING FROM ALL CONCERNED.
Apparently, that’s one of the most important keys in being a caregiver. When you have an understanding of the disease, and are able to grasp the full ramifications of what is happening to the victim, then the support system can be more prepared to cope with all that’s going on and all that the future has in store with this painful experience. Read, learn. apply and be “there” for your patient. Remember, they can’t help what is happening to them, but “we” who are “there” can help them.
A BEST FRIEND FOR A LIFETIME?
August 13, 2016 – We tend to think that way, especially women, when friends have been friends for years, actually decades, but people are people and everyone is different. Physically, we’re probably made of the same stuff, but when it comes to emotions we are definitely different. My friend and I enjoyed so much in common: living in the suburbs, children about the same age, married about the same number of years. With former farmlands converted to housing developments the returning WWII veterans and their spouses quickly snapped up the sprawling quick-fix to a severe housing shortage. Throughout America, numerous tracts of cookie-cutter houses sprang up over the countryside as if the former farmer had planted and fertilized an expansive bumper crop of single-family homes. Following the end of the war, many of us moved into our new abode on the same day or within a week or so from completion date. With so much in common, it was easy to be friendly and get acquainted before all the paint was even dry.
SPATS AND DISAGREEMENTS
Early on with our neighbors, I noticed a little something with my new best friend (I’ll call her Beatrice) that was a little out of sync (at least with me). If we had a little spat, as is often the case when families live in such a condensed environment. I believe a similar scene repeated itself many times during the next half century in every neighborhood throughout our country.
Beatrice was never one who apologized when she needed to step forward and say, “I’m sorry.” So it was always me who stepped forward, rang her bell usually holding a baby on my hip asking, “May we come in?” She welcomed us. and we picked up where we left off and just went on with our similar lives until a small break happened again which was resolved within a few weeks using the same pattern
FAST FORWARD SEVERAL DECADES
As neighbors, we were all shocked and saddened by the death of her husband Jack before he even reached the age of 50. Friends couldn’t do enough to help her adjust and begin a new life without him. The men jumped in to finish any project Jack had been working on, doing more and going beyond what may have been on Jack’s list while the women were at her beck and call. There was nothing we wouldn’t do for Beatrice. We were like family.
Life remained relatively good for a long while. Our children all grew up, went to college, or not, got married, or not. And then tragedy struck again. The daughter of one neighbor died suddenly and so unexpectedly, her demise leaving all of us filled with compassion and concern wondering about the whys and adversities of life that we all experience, yet manage to live through. I spent an afternoon with Constance, the young woman’s mother—once she was settled and had accepted her loss. The following week I asked Beatrice if she had gone to visit Constance? She had not. I suggested that it just wouldn’t right if she didn’t and she should force herself to pay the grieving mother a visit even if she felt uncomfortable. Reluctantly, Bernice finally did.
SKILLS FOR LIVING
We should all have them, or at least some. Somewhere in our life, we all need to learn not only how to show sympathy, how to be empathetic, show compassion, share a hug or two when appropriate, read up on the right things to say, or not to say, during a time of loss and learn to listen. There are times when most folks need a listening ear and a soft shoulder where they can just cry. Not forever, but for a little while. There are some, however, who just cannot, no matter how hard they try, help carry other folks’ burdens. I do believe my friend Beatrice is one of them.
NO SOFT SHOULDER, JUST SIGHS AND EYE ROLLS.
It was when my husband Ken began showing obvious signs of Alzheimer’s that I paid a few visits to my friend of 60-some years that I noticed her wandering gaze when I mentioned some of the things Ken had done because of his AD. I even caught a few eye rolls. It didn’t take me long to get the message that she just didn’t want me to talk about my husband or his devastating disease. Asking, “How’s Ken was strictly a formality?” She really didn’t want to know. Nor did she offer a hug or an invitation for me to come over anytime and the assurance that she was going to be “there” for me during this time of adversity.
Furthermore, other neighbors had mentioned to me that she was being more than critical about the need for more professional care that she believed he would receive in a all-out care facility. Apparently, she felt the care which I was providing for this truly mild-mannered man who was no danger to them or to himself was not enough. “He should be in a home,” she complained to our neighborhood community.
I know and understand that we all have our foibles and weak places in our personalities. She isn’t me, and I’m not her and that’s all right. Even if she wasn’t “there” for me with a soft shoulder, she is still my friend and I have forgiven her her apparent inability for empathy. Not everyone is able to “step up to the plate.” I have noticed that her health is beginning to fail, and she has a touch of dementia. I visited with her recently and have told her that if her son isn’t available, I’ll be “there” for her. “Just give me a call.” After all is said and done, we have been friends forever and still are.
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A FOND MEMORY OF ANOTHER TIME
August 5, 2016 – Memory is a tricky thing. “They” tell us that the past is gone, the future isn’t here, and today is where it is: reality – live in the moment. That’s why it’s called the “present.” I couldn’t agree more, but there is something about remembering the past that brings comfort when comfort is needed and welcomed. The anonymous one also says that the past may be pleasant, but you wouldn’t want to live there. I also agree with that but the gift of memory, a now-and-then visit soothes a saddened and lonely heart with a balm of happiness if just for a moment. Furthermore, memories are sometimes triggered by something so simple as a piece of fruit.
TAG, YOU’RE IT
July 29, 2016 – In the yin and yang of Alzheimer’s the question of who becomes a victim hasn’t been determined. When it’s a cold or the flu, it’s probably contagious. Not so with Alzheimer’s or other dementia diseases. Just because an afflicted victim sneezes doesn’t mean a visitor will catch it. It has been determined that it’s a genetic disease. Just like blue eyes, it’s something you may, or may not inherit. As our primary care doctor said when I told him of Ken’s symptoms and asked if he would get the same disease his parents had he said, “When conception happens, the fetus has a vast gene pool from which to draw. The answer is maybe yes, and maybe no.” So without testing, there is no definitive answer.
There is no guarantee in either direction. For me, my mother developed it as she grew older. Not just some cognitive loss, but full-blown Alzheimer’s. The jury is still out for me and my two sisters. So far, so good. We are remembering that our father was of clear mind until he passed to the other side. Perhaps we all got an overload of his genes, which would be fine with us, and if we passed those stronger genes on to our children, that would even be better.
MEANWHILE THE YIN AND YANG CONTINUES
The yin and yang of the disease continues in how it affects people. Ken and I enjoyed the company of a couple who became two of our dearest friends. The wife is becoming confused and has some mild cognitive loss, and in all probability it will develop into A.D., much to the shattering of her family. During one of our conversations, she had mentioned early on in our friendship that her mother had been afflicted with Alzheimer’s. This was about the time that Ken was slipping away into the dungeon of no return. We thought no more about it, but Carol did mention a sweet remembrance during one of those fleeting moments of clarity when her mom looked at her and said, “Carol, I love you.” The moment was long enough for the daughter to respond with her comforting response, “I love you too, mom.” I don’t recall my friend mentioning other times of clarity where she and her mom connected, but that one moment was a treasure close to her heart.
HEART ACHES AND BLESSINGS
My heart aches as I see this scene begin to appear in the lives of these dear friends. Visiting them is often like seeing my caregiving years once again only with the roles reversed. Bill, the husband, is her caregiver. In his sweet devoted face I can see the pain and sadness as he watches his best friend, his special loved one slip away into the lost world of Alzheimer’s. I just hope that she has moments of clarity when she can tell her family how much she loves them. Those are the blessings to treasure till we all meet again. The love of family and couples is the bottom line in the yin and yang of Alzheimer’s.
DO MEDICATIONS START OVER 50 OR IS IT 70?
I often think medications for most people are just something that occurs when people get older. I’m not sure of the beginning date. Thinking back I do recall how surprised I was to hear my doctor tell me that my blood pressure was a little on the high side and that I would have to start taking some medications for it. At the time somewhere past 60, I believed it was something that a few pills would correct, then I could relax until I really needed medications for one thing or another. The good doctor informed me otherwise. With hypertension the patient really needed to take his/her medicine possibly for the rest of one’s life.
I’m not sure whether Ken being a runner, managing his health by eating right and keeping in shape, but his blood pressure was never an issue. But then his illness was Alzheimer’s not hypertension.