My Friend Has Alzheimer’s

Feelings Still Remain

I’ve watched my friend change, but remain the same.

Her feelings take control since her thoughts are now fragmented and lost.

She laughs when she’s happy.

She cries when she’s sad.

She becomes angry when she feels threatened.

She feels confused when her life does not make sense.

So, I laugh with her.

I cry with her.

I give her space when she needs it.

I reassure her when she feels out of place.

Though our time together has changed, the feelings of friendship remain the same.

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Going Off Topic

Blogging Sounds So Easy

Blogging can sometimes be difficult. Especially when you are slightly ADD and suffer from dyslexia. We are attempting to come up with weekly topics and create articles and memes around those topics. Sounds easy enough, but not so when I start staring at the keyboard. I have a general idea of what I want to do in my head. Then I try to put it into a meaningful structure that can be understood by our readers. More end up in the hyperspace trash bin than onto the internet blog space.

Partners in Frustration

My blogging partner Kim had asked me this weekend to look at some articles she had started that were in edit mode. For those that are not familiar with blogging here is a screenshot of part of our blogging console.blog console

It shows how many are published, how many drafts are unpublished, and how many are trashed. Trashed here is the digital equivalent of wadding it up and tossing it at the trashcan. It is still there just not on your desktop in your face. It can be permitted deleted = shredding. Or we can restore it the digital equivalent of smoothing the wrinkles out on the paper on top of the desk.blog console2

In my case more go to the shredder than make it to the World Wide Web. Another thing for me is a lot of my articles never make it to the blogger draft console. They are still scattered across various avenues that I travel. Two computers, desktop, and laptop, then there is the tablet which is almost always with me, but the tablet is the hardest for me to compose a meaningful post on.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I often start with a simple outline of one line ideas saved in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. This is where the ADD causes issues. What format did I use? If it was word what did I name it and where did I save it. The default should be Microsoft One Drive (The Cloud). If the format was Google Docs which account was I logged into (I have 6 Gmail accounts) between personal accounts, blogging accounts, and business accounts. I try to stay logged into my main personal account but sometimes I am forced to log out of that account and to log into another account. Which account did I save it to and what did I name the file. That is not always so bad, sometimes I come across those old notes and I am off and running on something to write. Other time they are trashed during housekeeping they are just clutter taking up space.

ADD Get Back on Topic

Oh, back to Kim she had asked me this past weekend to look at some of the blogs she had in the draft. Well, three days later I looked and nothing. Found them in the trash. WHAT. She is home not feeling well today, but the jerk-in-me sent her a chat message anyway. Yes, she intended to wad them up and toss in frustration to the digital waste pile, okay I’ll leave them but I did not send them to the digital shredder.

For every word, on this blog, every meme The Meme Queen creates. They are created out of experiences, frustration, feeling, tears, anger, happiness, and laughter.

We are shearing heartfelt life experiences there are stories behind the stories. Not sure if we will ever be able to share all of the tears.

Help Wanted

If you would like to help us we are looking for contributor’s people with a story or stories to tell and editors and editor and contribute proofread and correct articles.

Volunteers Needed for Clinical Trials

Looking To the Population for a Cure

I was reading an article the other night in bed that was addressing the monumental need for volunteers that are needed for clinical trials for dementia and Alzheimer’s treatment. I am sorry but I can not locate the article but felt the need to write about it today. I will paraphrase as best I can and will be writing more about this need in the future.

The general jest of the article was most of the current studies will never materialize because there are not enough volunteers. Because tens of thousands of volunteers are needed to fill a few thousand suitable participants. That by itself does not sound so bad. However, that is for one study not the hundreds of studies that are looking for a cure.

TrialMatch

The first key is to apply to participate. The Alzheimer’s Association has what they call TrialMatch, this is a starting point to volunteer. I will repost this link at the end of the post.

Early Detection Required

The next problem is that so often dementia and Alzheimer’s is not identified until the later stages of the disease. When the person is forgetting so much they can no longer perform everyday tasks. We have to get willing participants in sooner not later, in the progression of the disease. Some early warning signs are misplacing everyday items on a regular basis, not being able to retrace their steps and actions. then finding the items in bizarre places. Forgetting recent conversations, appointments. Here is a link to 10 early signs by the Alzheimers Association. Memory loss and 10 early signs

Long-term Commitment

These are long-term studies they require a commitment, not just the participant but also an observer, generally a family caregiver. Who can document how the participant is doing, making sure that they are following the instructions, and driving them to their appointments. This brings up another sad fact over 50% of the caregivers pass away before the PLWD. These are long-term trials, not years but decades in some cases.

I found the original story that inspired this  –post https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/23/health/alzheimers-treatments-trials.html

Link to early detection  https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/10_signs

Link to TrialMatch https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/research_progress/clinical-trials/about-clinical-trials

Blood Pressure and Dementia

Dementia is a Young Person Disease

If you have followed me much you have heard me use the expression ‘What is Good for the Heart is Good for the Brain’.

Once again there is a tie linking what is ‘good for the heart is good for the brain’. You may be able to lower your risk of dementia by lowering your blood pressure. By lowering the top number, systolic pressure below 120 may reduce the risk of dementia by 19%

This is but one possible key to help in reducing dementia.

click on the link below to watch the short CBS News clip

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/research-finds-link-between-blood-pressure-and-dementia/

Heart health=total health

Mom’s Clutter

 Is It a Reason For Concern?

Your mom’s house was always clean but not spotless. There was a stack of magazines here and a pile of mail there.  As she got older you noticed the clutter seemed to take over. She would have ten bottles of dish soap under the sink. Plastic food containers piled on the counter. Plastic shopping bags overflowing on to the floor. Boxes, empty boxes stacked high in the living room. One day when the two of you were out to eat, you noticed her putting a handful of sugar packets into her purse. When you got back to her house you watched her put the sugar packets in a drawer in the kitchen. Waiting for your mom to leave the room, you opened the drawer to find it full of sugar, salt, and pepper packets.  So you open another drawer. This one was is full of used zip bags and crumpled up aluminum foil. She’s never done this before. What is going on?

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It’s not uncommon for people in the early to middle stages of Alzheimer’s to start accumulating excessive clutter. They may be experiencing a decreased ability to sort junk mail from the important mail. They may be forgetting they already have certain items at home and buy more. They may have an overall confusion about what to do with all this extra stuff. If the person lives alone these little changes can be easily overlooked.

Remember there is a reason for every action. Maybe they realize their memory is failing. As their short-term memory fails, their long-term memory may flood their mind. Memories of the Depression or wartime rations come to the surface. Triggering the need to save everyday items in case they become scarce. At their age, people they have known for a very long time are starting to pass away.  Loneliness and anxiety may begin to fill their life. How would you feel if your world felt like it was crumbling beneath your feet?  Sounds terrifying to me.

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Be compassionate. Remember they have no control over what Dementia is doing to them. They may resist the idea of decluttering. So, pick your battles. Is the clutter harmful to them? If no, then simply monitor what they are accumulating.  When the time comes to thin out their stash, get someone to help distract them with a tempting activity. Time for a trip to McDonald’s for a milkshake.

The Beginning of a Long Journey

Remember they are confused and overwhelmed by these changes. Be supportive and stay positive. It’s the beginning of a long journey. You will need to pace yourself and conserve your energy. This would be a good time to confide in friends and family members. Find support through others who have already struggled through and survived. With enough support, you too can survive and in return help others who are also walking this difficult path.

 

 

Why Women

Lack of Estrogen May Play A Role In Women and Alzheimer’s

Prior to my wife being diagnosed with dementia, and later it was confirmed to be Alzheimer’s. I knew very little about this cruel thief. A thief that slowly robs a person of their very existence. First, it injects confusion into their minds. Forgetting appointments, recent conversations, where they placed common items. Like keys, eyeglasses, eye contact cases, personal items like combs and hair brushes.

EarlyAlzMeme

Alzheimer’s a slow thief

 

Then it continues to pilfer their ability to remember common everyday facts. Like what day, month or year it is. How to follow basic instructions, both verbal and written.  Followed by stealing their ability to perform simple math. The disease slowly steals their brain. The brain actually shrinks becoming a fraction of what it was prior to taking up residence within a living soul.Brain Image

I was a reluctant student this was not a subject that I wanted to study

I have come to learn more than I ever wanted to know about this disease. One is that it disproportionally affects women more than men. Some of the factors are only starting to be understood.

Estrogen or the lack thereof may play a big part in why it targets women. I have been researching for a couple of weeks about hysterectomy’s and how that may play a role. Especially if the ovaries are removed. It appears that if a woman has an oophorectomy (oh-of-uh-REK-tuh-me). Which is the surgical procedure to remove one or both of their ovaries. A woman’s likelihood of Alzheimer’s rises considerably and the younger the greater their likelihood of being struck.

More Research Needed

I am continuing to research this topic and will write about it more in the future. What called me to the keyboard this morning was a short segment on CBS This Morning, about women and childbirth. Once again it mentions the production of estrogen or lack of production. Childbirth may actually lower the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Here is a link to the CBS segment

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/motherhood-could-play-a-role-in-alzheimers-risk-new-research-says/

 

MedicAlert + Safe Return

Help For Locating Lost Alzheimers Suffers

MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® is a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for individuals with Alzheimer’s or related dementia who wander or have a medical emergency. We provide 24-hour assistance, no matter when or where the person is reported missing.

6 out of 10 people with dementia will wander and become lost

How it works

If an individual with Alzheimer’s or related dementia wanders and becomes lost, caregivers can call the 24-hour emergency response line (800.625.3780) to report it.

To read the full article click on the link below.

Source: MedicAlert + Safe Return

Disaster Preparedness for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Disaster Preparedness for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

People with Alzheimer’s disease can be especially vulnerable during disasters such as severe weather, fires, floods, earthquakes, and other emergency situations. It is important for caregivers to have a disaster plan that includes the special needs of people with Alzheimer’s, whose impairments in memory and reasoning severely limit their ability to act appropriately in crises.Flooded road time

In general, you should prepare to meet the needs of your family for 3 to 7 days, including having supplies and backup options if you lose basic services such as water or electricity. Organizations such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross provide information about making a general disaster preparedness plan.

Gather Supplies

As you assemble supplies for your family’s disaster kit, consider the needs of the person with Alzheimer’s. Be sure to store all supplies in a watertight container. The kit might contain:

Other supplies you may need are:

  • Warm clothing and sturdy shoes
  • Spare eyeglasses and hearing-aid batteries
  • Medications
  • Flashlights and extra batteries

If You Must Leave Home

In some situations, you may decide to “ride out” a natural disaster at home. In others, you may need to move to a safer place, like a community shelter or someone’s home. Relocation may make the person with Alzheimer’s very anxious. Be sensitive to his or her emotions. Stay close, offer your hand, or give the person reassuring hugs.

To plan for an evacuation:

  • Know how to get to the nearest emergency shelters.
  • If you don’t drive or driving is dangerous, arrange for someone to transport your group.
  • Make sure the person with Alzheimer’s wears an ID bracelet.
  • Take both general supplies and your Alzheimer’s emergency kit.
  • Pack familiar, comforting items. If possible, plan to take along the household pet.
  • Save emergency numbers in your cell phone, and keep it charged.
  • Plan to keep neighbors, friends, and family informed about your location.
  • If conditions are noisy or chaotic, try to find a quieter place.

If You Are Separated

It’s very important to stay with a person with Alzheimer’s in a disaster. Do not count on the person to stay in one place while you go to get help. However, the unexpected can happen, so it is a good idea to plan for possible separation:

  • Enroll the person in the MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® Program—an identification and support service for people who may become lost.
  • Prepare for wandering. Place labels in garments to aid in identification. Keep an article of the person’s clothing in a plastic bag to help dogs find him or her.
  • Identify specific neighbors or nearby family and friends who would be willing to help in a crisis. Make a plan of action with them should the person with Alzheimer’s be unattended during a crisis. Tell neighbors about the person’s specific disabilities, including the inability to follow complex instructions, memory loss, impaired judgment, disorientation, and confusion. Give examples of simple one-step instructions that the person may be able to follow.
  • Give someone you trust a house key and a list of emergency phone numbers.
  • Provide local police and emergency services with photos of the person with Alzheimer’s and copies of his or her medical documents, so they are aware of the person’s needs.

Source: Disaster Preparedness for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

When a Person with Alzheimer’s Rummages and Hides Things

Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may start rummaging or searching through cabinets, drawers, closets, the refrigerator, and other places where things are stored. He or she also may hide items around the house. This behavior can be annoying or even dangerous for the caregiver or family members. If you get angry, try to remember that this behavior is part of the disease.

In some cases, there might be a logical reason for this behavior. For instance, the person may be looking for something specific, although he or she may not be able to tell you what it is. He or she may be hungry or bored. Try to understand what is causing the behavior so you can fit your response to the cause.

Rummaging—with Safety

 

You can take steps that allow the person with Alzheimer’s to rummage while protecting your belongings and keeping the person safe. Try these tips:

  • Lock up dangerous or toxic products, or place them out of the person’s sight and reach.
  • Remove spoiled food from the refrigerator and cabinets. Someone with Alzheimer’s may look for snacks but lack the judgment or sense of taste to stay away from spoiled foods.
  • Remove valuable items that could be misplaced or hidden by the person, like important papers, checkbooks, charge cards, jewelry, and keys.
  • People with Alzheimer’s often hide, lose, or throw away mail. If this is a serious problem, consider getting a post office box. If you have a yard with a fence and a locked gate, place your mailbox outside the gate.

You also can create a special place where the person with Alzheimer’s can rummage freely or sort things. This could be a chest of drawers, a bag of objects, or a basket of clothing to fold or unfold. Give him or her a personal box, chest, or cupboard to store special objects. You may have to remind the person where to find his or her personal storage place.

More Tips for Rummaging and Hiding Behavior

Here are some more suggestions:

  • Keep the person with Alzheimer’s from going into unused rooms. This limits his or her rummaging through and hiding things.
  • Search the house to learn where the person often hides things. Once you find these places, check them often, out of sight of the person.
  • Keep all trash cans covered or out of sight. People with Alzheimer’s may not remember the purpose of the container or may rummage through it.
  • Check trash containers before you empty them, in case something has been hidden there or thrown away by accident.

Source: When a Person with Alzheimer’s Rummages and Hides Things