Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sharing a bit of wisdom

A friend of mine told me about Wisdo, a website for sharing the wisdom you have acquired from life's journeys.  She invited me to participate in a path about adoption.  Last night, I sat down and wrote up about 15 steps connected to dealing with dementia and submitted them for publication consideration.

I don't know what paths Wisdo plans to include over time.  Their initial offerings include adoption, divorce, coming out, coping with loss and others.  I think the concept is very interesting and has great potential.  If I can help support it, I'm happy to do so.

Check it out!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

To Light the Night

A couple of weeks ago during our Skype conversation, Lyn was very agitated.  She told us that she needed more light at night.  She didn't feel that the three nightlights were enough.

She has one in her room, one in the hall way, and one in the bathroom.  While that may be enough light for many of us, it isn't enough for her.  Alzheimer's makes it difficult for her to interpret the shadows.  Her environment looks different when it is dark and it can cause anxiety if she doesn't recognize where she is.  The request was actually reasonable when you think of it from her perspective.

Mom and I asked Lyn where she wants the new night light.  Lyn said they needed to leave to go buy another nightlight right away and then she could decide.  Mom said that leaving wasn't necessary because there was an extra nightlight in the house already.  Lyn was not pleased with that answer.

We have let the topic sit since then.

On Monday, Mom asked Lyn where she wanted the extra nightlight and received The Look.  Lyn proceeded to explain that another nightlight was not needed because they have enough already.  Mom didn't try to remind Lyn of the conversation.  It would have just made Lyn mad because she cannot remember.  Mom played it off as though she was just wondering if they needed more or if there was enough.

For now, the spare nightlight is on the shelf until it is needed.

Monday, August 22, 2016

She Doesn't Like

Lyn has reprimanded Mom on many occasions for folding her clothes, for hanging her clothes, or for cleaning her bathroom.  We can add another thing Lyn doesn't like to the list.

Lyn stripped her bed before she left to go bowling with her respite provider.  While she was gone, Mom put fresh sheets on the bed and then ran the vacuum.  When Lyn got home, she went to put her bowling ball away in her room and came storming back out, interrupting the conversation Mom was having with the respite provider.

"You know I don't like that!" she sputtered.
"You don't like what?"
"I don't like my room vacuumed!" The respite provider burst out laughing and Lyn shot her The Look.
"I didn't realize that using the vacuum wasn't allowed in your room." Mom remained calm.

The respite provider asked why she didn't like her room being vacuumed and got a response of "I don't like the way it looks."  Lyn didn't budge in her opinion when asked posed with the scenario of a stone or thorn being stepped on.

When Mom tucked Lyn into bed, Lyn reminded Mom that the next time she cleans she doesn't need to do Lyn's room.  I'm sure that Mom will conveniently forget that Lyn doesn't like her room cleaned and will do it again.  Lyn may forget that she doesn't like having the room clean and accept it.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

At the Owl

Lyn went to out to lunch with her Community Access provider this week.  She was very happy because they went to the Owl Cafe, a 50s style diner in a nifty building.    Mom asked if she had a cheeseburger for lunch.  "No." Lyn corrected.  "I had a hamburger with cheese on it."

A hamburger with cheese on it sounds better than a cheeseburger.

She's having a harder time parsing big words.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Training Legislation

On Monday, the governor of Illinois signed legislation into law which outlines the training that caregivers of Alzheimer's patients should undergo.  The law is immediately effective and applies to all types of dementias.

The law outlines how many hours caregiving staff should undergo to get initial training and annual follow up training.  This is good.  They are trying to provide a base set of guidelines for all professional caregivers.  Please note the inclusion of the word "professional" in the previous sentence.  The way this law is written, it mentions "staff."  It does not mention unpaid caregivers such as family members.

I recognize that volunteer or familial caregivers are not regulated.  However, I do feel strongly that all caregivers should have the opportunity to learn of training opportunities.  I would like to see these classes advertised and made available to the public; not just professional caregivers.  I would like to see the unpaid caregivers highly encouraged to avail themselves of the training even if the the state decides to not force them to take the classes.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Crabby and Dizzy

Lyn's crabbiness is definitely increasing.  She's actively trying to control conversations around her.  She's correcting Mom and telling her to stop talking about... well, pick a topic.  This has been going on for days.  When we Skyped on Saturday, Mom and I tried to start a conversation on one topic after another and Lyn would tell us to change the topic or stop saying what we were.  So, we asked her what she wanted to talk about and got a "Not that" in response.  She didn't know what she walked to discuss.  I asked if we should talk about a quilt I'm sewing.  She thought about it and decided that was a safe topic.

She's also struggling a bit with dizziness.  She will stand up like she wants to do something or go elsewhere, freeze and then sit right back down.  Mom has observed her putting her head on her knees as well.  When asked what is wrong, Lyn says she's "just a bit dizzy."  We're keeping tabs on it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


As Mom and Lyn were driving back to New Mexico, Mom couldn't help but notice a series of billboards advertising a male dance show called Australia's Thunder from Down Under.   They were to perform at one of the many casinos along I-40.

Mom asked if Lyn had seen the billboard.  She had not noticed it.  Mom explained it was a picture of 5 handsome men without their shirts.  Lyn saw no humor in this, saying they were not appropriately (unappropriated) dressed and should not have their picture taken like that.  So, each time they passed one of the billboards, Mom started making comments and Lyn eventually began to relax her attitude about them.

Mom suggested they stop and see what the thunder was all about.  Lyn replied "No.  We already drove through rain."

At the next billboard, Mom suggested they stop and see if the men want to come to Albuquerque to show Mom and Lyn their show.  Lyn replied "No.  They won't fit in our car."  Mom suggested seeing if just two of the men wanted to join them.  "No.  They can't."  Lyn didn't know why they couldn't but she was adamant.

At the next billboard, Mom suggested that she needed to stop.  She could run in and just grab one of them to come to the car.  They could quickly get on the highway with him.  Lyn asked "What would he do?"  Mom said he would be nice and show them the dance.  Mom would offer to fix him dinner.  Lyn rejected that scenario because "he has to go back."  When Mom suggested he could stay, Lyn flipped around and shot Mom one of the most intense versions of The Look yet.

As they approached the desired exit, Mom pointed out that was the exit to the men.  Lyn responded with "You can't stop.  We don't live here and the police will get mad."  Mom kept driving.  If I had been with her instead, we would have stopped.

I'd like it noted for the record that I'm not the only one to instigate with her.