man winking

Despite the condition of Ken’s severe Alzheimer’s, a wink is still an effective form of communication.

December 28, 2012 — Ken winked at me this morning in an all-knowing manner. He smiled too.  Interesting that in his Alzheimer’s his old way of communicating something special to me is still part of his personality. 

A wink was always his message just for me.  While others may have noticed anyone could tell who Ken was looking at when he smiled from across the room and winked, “I love you.” “Check out what’s going on,” he would say with a quick nod added to the wink. “Did you hear that,” the wink asked as Ken’s brow furrowed? He sent me countless messages with nothing more than a smile and a wink. Continue reading

Originally posted 2012-12-28 09:56:52.


August 24, 2012 – In my recent writing I referenced the Alzheimer’s family and its involvement with the patient and the caregiver.  According to the

pile of loving hands

Good family communication is essential to the welfare of both the caregiver and the loved one with Alzheimer’s.

findings of a study by Steven Zarit, professor and Department Head of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State, family member communication skills about their Alzheimer’s loved one were either poor or non-existent.


My thought about this particular study regarding communication with a family following their loved ones diagnosis was similar to an experience I recall when I was asked, after being briefed on an abstract subject, if I had any questions.  My answer was, “How can I have questions when I am yet to fully understand the subject?  Later on I will have questions.”  It’s the same situation when presenting the family with this gigantic challenge where there has been little or no experience, education or personal knowledge about Alzheimer’s, and then asking, “Let’s talk about this and how are you are going to deal with it.”  The family response is undoubtedly, “Deal with what?” Continue reading

Originally posted 2012-08-24 20:02:29.


Romick Family 68

The Romick family, long before anyone thought of Alzheimer’s.

August 11, 2012 — So much has been written about family participation in helping with an Alzheimer’s patient.  From what I have read the percentage of those willing to help and those willing to watch is way out of balance.  I don’t have the statistics; furthermore I doubt there are any truly accurate stats because involvement in caregiving is such a personal family issue.  However, I would venture to say that the numbers of those willing to watch are far greater than those willing to help.


Perhaps, the approach is all wrong from the beginning.  One article I read was a synopsis of a study done by Steven Zarit, a professor and head of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State.  The study’s main focus was communication between the family and the person with dementia.  This, I imagine, would be done soon after diagnosis and when the victim was able to communicate his or her wishes.  The study group’s consensus was that communication is either poor or non-existent between family members and the relative suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease; the problem mainly resulting from a difference in understanding the core values held by everyone, including the victim, about giving and receiving care:  The core values being autonomy, burden, control, family and safety. Continue reading

Originally posted 2012-08-11 20:14:32.



Man in Shower 2

Showers can be difficult for Alzheimer’s caregivers.


July 27, 2012 — Today was a good day with Ken even though Alzheimer’s has taken him very deep into self.  I have often wondered about the deep dark pit of self and what parts of personality might be fragmented in this lonely place.  I wonder if it’s terribly crowded there because every so often a glimmer of self slips out and pays us a brief visit.  Identifiable only that it was Ken.  Not the Ken of pre-Alzheimer’s, but Ken nonetheless.   He spoke to me and Ben in sentences, disconnected sentences, but sentences, with a few questions intermingled.  I doubt he was interested in the answers, but I was thrilled when he asked who I was. I gave him my name rather than tell him that I was his wife.  Years ago, as he faded deeply into AD, he denied being married so I felt it best to leave it that way.  My name didn’t register and that was all right too.  The best part is when he is communicating with us he is calm and very cooperative during that time period, which makes it special, and easier, because today was shower day. Continue reading

Originally posted 2012-07-28 00:00:00.

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