Family

LIFE GOES ON NO MATTER THE STAGE OF ALZHEIMER’S

family gathered at a beach

With or without Alzheimer’s, family changes are inevitable as people age.

July 1, 2016 – Sleep seems to be an ever-time- consuming activity in the last stages of Alzheimer’s. At least such was the case with my husband Ken. This is an open letter to him about all that he missed in our family, while in the process of losing his life to Alzheimer’s. During these last stages of AD, Ken no longer communicated in any form. If he was in discomfort, he was unable to verbalize that discomfort. Nor could he verbalize whether he felt too warm or too cold, hungry or thirsty. He just looked into space and reflected nothing. Meanwhile, life went on.

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Originally posted 2016-07-03 04:33:24.

CAUSE OF DEATH? ALZHEIMER’S!

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WHAT DO YOU CALL THE CAUSE OF DEATH OF SOMEONE WITH ALZHEIMER’S?

Synonyms of Alzheimer's and the disease spelled out.

The cause of death for someone with Alzheimer’s is often not listed as such.

February 27, 2015 – I know, that’s a misnomer. I know that AD is seldom listed on a death certificate as the cause of death. Complications from Alzheimer’s aren’t listed either. I am using these vague words because people who die after years of suffering from AD are listed as passing on for other reasons. Therefore, in my humble opinion, this terrible disease that is so devastating to so many doesn’t get the correct count as cause of death with the statistics listed by the CDC (Center for Disease Control). How can they possibly keep an accurate count of those afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease if it isn’t even listed as a contributing factor on the death certificate? Continue reading

Originally posted 2015-02-28 23:43:37.

FINDING THE NEW YEAR MAGIC

Happy New Year and fireworks

Photo courtesy Creative Commons Finding the New ?year’s magic has to do with finding the magic throughout the year.

January 1, 2017/January 1, 2015 — Happy New Year to all of my friends, family and readers. As we begin another new year, let’s hope for the best in having all we need in health, happiness, and new jobs. I wish all of you joy as I repost this older blog from a few years back. In my youthful search for something special happening on New Year’s Eve I found that what I thought was magic was not magic at all. The magic is what we do with what we have including the love shared with our family and friends.

SEARCHING FOR THE MAGIC

From the time I was old enough to remember hearing adults shout “Happy New Year,” I believed there was something magical happening as the clock chimed 12:00 p.m.  Furthermore, I was missing it all because I was a child and had to be in bed early. Then one year my parents went out with friends on December 31, leaving my sister, Janet, and me in the care of our older sister, Polly, who was 16. At last, Janet and I knew we could stay up until the bewitching hour because Polly was caught up in her own reverie of sadness in not having a boy friend at year’s end.

THERE HAD TO BE NOISE

The two of us knew there must be noise to welcome in The New Year so Janet fortified us with metal dish pans and wooden spoons. Polly didn’t care what we were doing, taking to her bed early. My favorite big sister planned we would march up and down the sidewalk in front of our building (the fourth floor flat being our home) banging our dish pans at the first sounds of celebration. At 12:00 we heard horns honking and whistles blowing in the distance, but that was all, so we high stepped our march and drummed our pans more vigorously. Still nothing. “Is that all?” I whined with great disappointment.

“Come with me,” ordered Janet. I followed her up the flights of stairs into the kitchen where she took one of Mama’s best cooking pots (the heaviest of her hammered aluminum cookware) and ran to the front of the flat overlooking the street. Throwing up the window and calling, “Look out below,” Janet tossed the pot into space watching it fall down and down until it hit the sidewalk. Still no magic. If San Francisco had no magic, where could it be found? Janet tried three more times with the same result, “Thud, clunk, clunk, clunk.”

We retrieved the pot (fortunate that it hadn’t taken out a drunk from the corner bar) put it back in the kitchen and we both went to bed still wondering where was the magic — the celebration — this miraculous thing that changed one year into another — where was the old bearded man carrying the sickle — and the stork delivering the Baby New Year? Continue reading

Originally posted 2015-01-03 05:52:29.

GRATITUDE AFTER ALZHEIMER’S

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A LAST GOODBYE WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE

A family gathers for Thanksgiving dinner.

Some of our family gather for a day of gratitude and Thanksgiving at my daughter’s house.

 November 28, 2014 – So many things for which I feel gratitude. At the top of my list is that I have a lifetime of wonderful memories with Ken. I only wish that the selfish disease of Alzheimer’s had allowed my loving husband a momentary return to his old self just so he could have said goodbye to me and his children. I would have asked for just one chance where I could have said to him, “Thanks for 64 wonderful years, but then we all know that AD never gives anything back once it has robbed the mind of life and living. So I won’t dwell on what might have been and go on to a Thanksgiving long ago when the children were younger and we were on our way to Grandmother’s house. You know, “Over the bridge and across the bay to Grandmother’s house we go. The car knows the way.” And on that memorable night it was almost believable that the car knew the way.

THE NIGHT BEFORE

We always packed our clothes well ahead of departure for a long weekend in the country, and set out for Thanksgiving at “The Little Farm” located half way between the town of Sebastopol in Sonoma County, California and Bodega Bay on the ocean.  It was Wednesday evening as we headed north from our East Bay home for our annual holiday festivities. Continue reading

Originally posted 2014-11-30 02:58:09.

DEATH AND DYING. THE FINAL EARTHLY GOOD-BYE

An Imminent Clue of Death and Dying

Naval guard at the burial site.

Death and dying, a Naval guard at the burial site.

October 10, 2014 — I got the first call about my father’s possible death on Monday, September 29, 2014.  The home nurse had stopped by for a visit that day. Her estimation was that the bed sores weren’t that bad and dad would be fine, but because of the constant pressure on the various parts of his body Dad would need to be turned every few hours. That afternoon he developed a fever, 100.4, he was having trouble breathing and hadn’t been eating well for the last few weeks. An ambulance took him to the hospital. It was routine they said, they would let me know. I am Ken Romick’s oldest daughter Deborah, and I live almost 900 miles away.

Tuesday was quiet and I thought, no news is good news. At 5:30 that late afternoon my sister called. The family would be meeting at 10:00 in the morning in my father’s hospital room to say their last good-byes. I took a direct flight leaving Salt Lake at 6:45 the following morning. Continue reading

Originally posted 2014-10-13 07:42:33.

ALZHEIMER’S TIME TRAVEL – SOMEWHERE IN TIME

movie poster Somewhere In Time

A romantic time travel movie has this caregiver reminiscing the similarities with Alzheimer’s.

REMEMBERING AN OLD FAVORITE TIME TRAVEL MOVIE

 January 17, 2014 —  If you saw the movie I doubt you’ll ever forget the intensity of their love.   Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour together in a time travel romantic story that became a cult film classic.  No, neither of the characters had Alzheimer’s, but their experience is a mind-blowing concept.

There he was, handsome and suave, even without his Superman costume, but instead of being Clark Kent, Reeves’ protrayed a young man named Richard Collins who was celebrating his first writing effort at the college premier of his successful play.   Moving past his friends is an old woman who says simply, “Come back to me,” and at the same time gives him an old pocket watch which she had given him during another time and at another place. Continue reading

Originally posted 2014-01-19 04:31:24.

ALZHEIMER’S AND A MELTDOWN

baby possum

Even a tiny possum can cause a big meltdown.

The wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz had a meltdown.  One splash of water and she was gone like my grandmother’s spit on a hot iron. Now that’s what I call a meltdown.  No, I haven’t had anything like that and I don’t mean to poke fun at an extremely serious medical condition. Perhaps I’ve wanted to collapse a few times and let them take me away. If only there had been more time, and I needed the respite.  But the days are always lacking in enough hours to get the necessities done and over.  Having a meltdown is not nor has it ever been on my to-do list. Continue reading

Originally posted 2013-10-20 04:55:06.

EVEN 33 HOURS CAN BE A VACATION

My grand daughter Katie and her new husband Brian

My granddaughter Katie and her new husband Brian

July 20, 2012 — Alzheimer’s is a prison for the victim and often for the caregiver.  As caregivers, especially those of us who care for our loved one at home, we struggle against the confinement.  Keeping our head above water in the never-ending stream of responsibilities and duties we must fight diligently to give ourselves the needed breaks we not only deserve, but desperately need.  I periodically write about breaks” for caregivers and the different things we can do, places to go and the importance of friends not only to keep us as a viable part of society, but to keep us sane as well.  Undoubtedly, all of those suggestions seem to work for the day-to-day functions of our busy and often stressful lives. Continue reading

Originally posted 2012-07-20 21:21:59.

REMEMBERING MY FATHER

Edwin Weeks with horse

My father Edwin Weeks

June 15, 2012 — My father was a big burley man born at the beginning of the last century. With good looks, little education, and a work ethic that wouldn’t quit he managed to attract lovely Irene, artistic Irene and scholarly Irene. Having one semester of college she continued learning nearly all of her life. Their story is another of Alzheimer’s and love and caregiving.  In spite of his dirt-farmer background with no other experience, the couple moved from eastern Utah to San Francisco where he found sporadic work during the Great Depression. The dollars were scarce, but they managed, barely keeping their small family housed and fed.

THE WAR YEARS

“Give it a try,” Irene advised her hard-working, but reluctant, husband as he read the ad for workers at Vallejo, California’s Mare Island Shipyard, “all they can say is no.” Continue reading

Originally posted 2012-06-16 06:18:22.

AFTER ALZHEIMER’S — WHAT AM I GOING TO DO NOW?

Author Ann Romick

Alzheimer’s caregiver and blog author Ann Romick

June 1 2012 — Good question.  As a caregiver, you can wonder what will happen after Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Lewy Body dementia, MS, cancer and a host of other awful diseases that are, in most cases, terminal.  Spouses, lovers and family members become caregivers, and often caregivers become shadows of their former selves.  Not to be dreary – that isn’t my intent.  It’s just that as caregivers we are duty bound and love bound to our patients, and responsibilities filling our every minute with something to do: constant busyness – an observation to be given considerable thought.

THE RAT RACE

It’s a rat race not only out there, but in here as well, and caregivers are the runners. As a spouse you soon become aware of how much the other spouse did in this partnership, and now you’re accountable for doing it all.  Coming, going, rushing in every which direction to get it done and still there is more to do.  Each day ends in exhaustion: physical, emotional – most of the time both — but before you can drop into bed you must make one more check to ensure your patient is all right: covered, comfortable and asleep. Continue reading

Originally posted 2012-06-02 02:59:27.

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