Thursday, July 20, 2017

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Storytelling as an Aid to a Caregiver

I encourage you to listen to this episode of 1A on "How Storytelling Can Improve the Care of People with Alzheimer's."  It is very interesting.

1A is the new show produced by my local NPR station WAMU and it fills the spot once held by The  Diane Rehm Show.  1A is an in-depth conversational exploration of a topic of concern in America.  Thursday's topic was Alzheimer's and the host, Joshua Johnson, led with a shorter conversation on "Women and African Americans Are More Likely To Develop Alzheimer's and Dementia - Why?"

My husband called me at work to let me know of Thursday's topics.  1A usually airs when I am in meetings but I was able to catch the show.  I hope you find these of interest as well.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Floating Memories

Sometimes, Lyn's brain allows memories to float to the surface which leave us wondering.  Did she recall the event itself?  Is she, instead, remembering hearing about the event?

This week, Lyn shared a memory with a visitor that she was once tied to a tree when the family was having a picnic by a river.

She was right.

The incident happened in 1973.  Lyn was 2 1/2 years old and had an unhealthy obsession with water.  Mom was heavily pregnant with me and literally could not get up and chase after Lyn if she decided to bolt for the river.  She did attempt it multiple times and Mom ended up tethering her to the tree to keep her safe.  The tether was long and gave her room to play but not long enough to let her reach the water.

Later in the week, Lyn recalled going up in a hot air balloon which was tethered to the ground.  Mom could only recall a particular day in 1978 in which that event occurred.  It's possible that Lyn was recalling that day.  I know I still do.

Lyn has been in several hot air balloons which have been tethered, allowing the balloon to rise a bit before coming straight back down.  When we lived in a community called Del Ray, the center of the community had large lawn areas and balloons would frequently land there.  While waiting for their ground crews, the balloons would tether and give neighborhood kids rides.  So, Lyn could have been remembering any one of those events but the last time would have happened in 1989.

It's amazing to me what surfaces from her mind from time to time.

Saturday, July 15, 2017


A quick note about reader comments.

Reader comments are welcome.  I love when you tell me your tales or commiserate with us on  a recent change.  I love when you make a suggestion, encouraging us to consider things differently, pointing us to a new resource, or a different approach to try.

Now, I recognize that welcoming your suggestions means that we sometimes receive suggestions to try non-FDA approved treatments.  I have received suggestions to start giving Lyn coconut oil or herbal infusions or take her to see a particular "healer" who can cure people of Alzheimer's.  I will always look into a person's honest or well-intentioned suggestion.  I will weigh the pros and cons of such a regimen.  If it has merit, we will approach Lyn's physician and get her to weigh in on it.  However, I've been reading about Alzheimer's disease, its progression and the current research into it for over 5 years now.  I'm pretty well informed about the current state of Alzheimer's treatment and prevention and can quickly identify a load of hooey when it's sent my way.

Normally, when I see a comment where the author claims to have been cured by an herbal remedy known only by a single guy, I quite delete the comment and move on.  Today, I've had over a dozen such comments posted by a single person.  All have been deleted and the profile has been blocked.  I've never blocked a profile from DBD before today but felt it was necessary.  Comments were scattered fairly randomly through the blog and all claimed exactly the same thing.

I get notified of every comment posted here.  Comments you submit on posts older than 7 days not only notify me but are set to be moderated.  

Here's the thing, folks; my blog is not your outlet to shill your snake oil.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

iPad Conundrum

Lyn earned her iPad recently.  It has been set up for her and she loves it.

Mom and Lyn's speech therapist are stumped.  How could she be adjusting to it so easily?  How is she able to learn new things and how to handle the device given the decline in her cognitive abilities?

I think a couple of things are happening here:

  1. Lyn's really committed to this device.  She planned and saved for it.  She's coveted the iPad since we visited last year and brought ours with us.  
  2. The iPad is honestly pretty darn intuitive.  Apple has spent a lot of time and energy on user experience testing and improvements.  Standards have been written and applications which hope to be available in the Apple marketplace have to adhere to these standards.
  3. While some may be intimidated from the initial setup of a new device, Apple has also worked to make this easy.  
  4. Once an application such as a game is installed, the user just has to touch the icon or swipe the screen to make things happen.  This allows for immediate feedback which reinforces the action just taken.
I'm glad Lyn's enjoying her new device!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Umm... Sweetie

Lyn's community access provider took as well earned vacation and was gone for 10 days.  Those days were hard on Lyn and Mom had to ensure some sort of excursion happened each day to help keep Lyn on a more even keel.  Lyn's care provider is back and they spent Saturday together.  Lyn was delighted.

They went to breakfast before going bowling.  Lyn's scores remain higher than I can manage with a 112 and 128.

When they were done, Lyn's provider witnessed Lyn walk away from the bowling area, carrying her ball.  She asked where Lyn was going and was told she was "going to put it away." She didn't remember that the ball is her personal ball.  I believe it even has her name on it.

When redirected to put the ball into her bag, she did and struggled to put her bowling shoes in the bag as well.  One was sticking out of the bag and Lyn became very confused when she tried to zip her bag closed around the shoe.  Her care provider had to intervene and redirect her again.

We'll see if she forgets the ball is hers again.

Friday, June 30, 2017


For the first time in a long time, Lyn wanted to see an episode of the Maury show.  It was a paternity episode.  When the child's paternity was revealed and the child's mother and her family celebrated their vindication, Lyn started on a rant.  She felt their dancing was "unappropriated".

She was incensed about the twerking, insisting she would never do that.  This went on for several minutes before she turned on Mom.

"Would you do that?!" Mom assured her she wouldn't be unappropriated.
"Do you know HOW to do that?"  She was mollified when Mom said she didn't know how to twerk.

The thought of Mom twerking was just too funny!