PLEASE NOTE: Even though this blog is now dormant there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. Also, check out my writer's blog. Periodically I will add posts here if they provide additional information about living well with Dementia / Alzheimer's Disease.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Forks Over Knives

Interesting. We have been spontaneously "gravitating" towards more veggies, grains, and fruits and away from red meat, pork, and poultry. Not sure that we will ever be able to totally do away with "Food With Faces" but have cut way back.

This has helped me as well as Gregory. He has always eaten "healthy" and I attribute some of his slow decline to this. I have been eating more carefully over the last ten years or so and recently joined Weight Watchers to get down to my fighting weight.

Watched a great movie (on DVD) that deals with a move to vegetables and fruit and grains called "Forks Over Knives" by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. MD. (There is a companion book on Amazon.)

I need to make sure I am healthy and around for a long time to be able to be Gregory's Care Giving Partner. Thanks Zeyda.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Little Boy

Just got home from a fun day with Gregory at Michael's Museum. Our massage therapist, her husband, and our new friend Aaron (who is also using us for part of his phd research on Care Giver Relationships) visited CCM and MM today and then we all went out to lunch.

When we arrived home I settled in to catch up on e-mails, paying bills, etc. Gregory seemed a little restless and was rummaging around so I asked, "Is everything Ok?"

He said, "Well, no."

"What's the problem?" I asked.

"I don't have anything to play with," was the response.

Turns out he recently finished his jig saw puzzles, cleaned off his desk to make room for the Christmas decorations, and is almost finished with the book he is currently reading. In his mind, and as he becomes more and more "my little boy," he felt that he didn't have anything to occupy his time, in other words, "I don't have anything to play with." Do you feel the beauty in this? I do. It is one of the gifts of Alzheimer's!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Sometimes I will have a conversation with Gregory after a trying exchange. I will explain why I reacted as I did and how I plan to try to react in the future. I explain my rational. Most likely he does not remember the conversation but I cannot say for sure that he doesn't. What I do know is that I cannot bring myself to change my behavior or approach to him without trying to explain it. Possibly it is my way of explaining to myself what I need to do to be a better caregiving partner and possibly my way of holding onto our relationship as a "couple" rather than being an individual making unilateral decisions. Gregory seems to appreciate my sharing my feelings with him.

This is how one such "conversation" went last night. While he was not remembering how to put on his night shirt, brush his teeth, or swallow his pills I held back and said or did nothing. I have found that if I try to anticipate his needs, guess his needs, or intervene too soon ... I only serve as a further distraction. Sometimes given enough time he will solve his own problem. Periodically I tell him that "I am holding back to give you space." He seems to appreciate that.

I have decided (for now) and told him that I do not think it is fair or respectful to him when I take over without being asked. I reviewed that we have talked about previously about my helping often being more of a distraction and hinderance than a help. I told him that if he needed help, he needed to ask for it and I would give it freely, gladly, and supportively.

But I just need to stop jumping in too soon (especially if it isn't a matter of safety.) This is a very difficult stance for me because it is very difficult for me to just watch or see him suffer and do nothing. He may or may not remember to ask for help but I will mention this every now and then as a possible reminder. Obviously I will also be monitoring his needs and make changes as needed. For example if he continues having trouble swallowing his medications and vitamins, I have found a liquid substitute. I just don't want to assume that it is needed now.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Past the Puzzle Plateau

In a recent e-mail to our niece and nephew:

G might be past the jig saw puzzle ability phase if you were thinking of getting him one for Christmas. He sits and stares at the pieces and asks questions like, "How do I know which piece goes where?"

I just helped him finish the border on a much easier puzzle than the ones he has been doing and he has been staring at it for 30 or so minutes carefully looking at the parts of what has been assembled but didn't realize he had to compare it to the picture on the box and the loose pieces on the table.

In our discussion it then came out that he didn't realize that the pieces next to the completed rectangle border were supposed to be used to complete the puzzle. That was probably because yesterday I told him to put those pieces on the side and only find the pieces with a straight edge for the border.

He just seemed to gain some insight into the process and seems to be making some progress.

Sigh. At least I am helping him calmly instead of panicking or loosing my patience although "Take a Breath Before You Talk!" is helping.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I have previously written a piece about "Acceptance" as it relates to Gregory's dementia. I felt that while I might "get used" to his Alzheimer's diagnosis and the changes and journey we have been on, I would never "accept" it.

Several years after I had written that piece, I looked more closely at "Acceptance" and redefined it for myself. I will post my previous writing again but first wanted to post this one.

It is a look at acceptance from one of the many times that the Daily Word has "spoken" to me with words of wisdom. As usual, I have adjusted it slightly (with cross outs and red additions) to fit my point of view. See what you think.

Daily Word: Daily Inspiration From Unity
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Today's Daily Word
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I accept and bless myself and others.
Acceptance is a powerful word, for it implies a willingness to listen and be open. Acceptance does not necessarily mean that I adopt another's point of view; it means I accept the right of another to have views different from my own. I accept people of different faiths, cultures and lifestyles. 

(I would add that it deals with acceptance of things one cannot change and learning to live with love and understanding while joining the journey others are on, like Alzheimer's Disease.)

Each person is a child of God--divinely created and divinely guided.

I accept myself as well. I do not judge harshly my past mistakes or perceived short-comings. I give myself the freedom to make mistakes, to have a unique point of view and to continue to learn and grow as a spiritual being. By accepting myself and others, I embrace differences and celebrate the uniqueness of every individual. (and every situation.)
Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.--Matthew 7:11

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Today the Belt

I have been worried about Gregory loosing his cell phone because the holster can easily slip off his belt so this morning I showed him how to run the belt through the holster. That was approximately 6 hours ago.

Now after a day at painting class is needs to change his clothes but can't get the holster off and has no idea of how to make his belt work.

"Take your belt off." did not help. He just kept pulling on the cell phone holster and even on looking closely at it, could not see how the belt was looped through. I repeated, "Take the belt off." He got the belt off except for the last pant loop and the cell phone holster loops and still could not figure out what to do. I finally showed him.

He stared and replied, "I guess that was obvious." Obviously not.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Lifelong Impact of Grief

Be where you are today. Whether you are feeling extreme sorrow, anger, sadness, or even tiny flashes of happiness as you experience some blessing of being alive, be with your present state. Observe each feeling with curiosity and compassion. You will not feel this feeling exactly the same way tomorrow or a year from now. It is how you feel today, right now. Let it be, with tenderness.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


The ceiling fan smooth and silver
Circling round and round.
Smoothly, evenly, quietly.
Wish that I could.
The black framed pictures on the wall
Sitting behind the glass.
Safe, secure, protected.
Wish that I could.
The bedside table lamp
My clicking the switch.
Shining easily, brightly, freely.
Wish that I could.
The disease called Alzheimer’s
Fostering its insidious ways.
Reeking havoc each morning and evening
Wish that I could not.

Only the Loneliness

The table no longer gets set.
No knife.
No fork.
No napkin.

The water no longer gets filled.
No glasss.
No pitcher.
No ice.

I cook the dinner.
No deciding.
No help.
No support.

The table no longer gets cleared.
No washing.
No rinsing.
No drying.

Only the loneliness
Of doing it myself
With myself
For us.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How It Feels to Have a Stroke

This TED presentation deals with Jill Bolte Taylor, brain scientist who witnessed her own stroke from the point of view of her profession. Does this have implications for Alzheimer's?