FOR GREGORY

Periodically I will add posts here if the sources provide additioanl informaiton on how to think about and deal with Dementia/ Alzheimer's Disease.

PLEASE NOTE:


SCROLL DOWN FOR TEXT and BIBLIOGRAPHY from DAI WEBINAR 2/22-23/2017. You can also find this information on my website: www.horvich.com


Even though this blog is now dormant (see info below) there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. My guess is that you could spend a lot of time here and maybe learn or experience a thing or two about living with and loving someone with Dementia/Alzheimer's or maybe come away with the feeling that "you are not alone" in YOUR work with the same!


• • • • •


THIS WAS THE FINAL POST TO THIS SITE BEFORE IT WENT DORMANT.


Happy New Year 2016. With a new year comes new beginnings and sometimes endings. If I am personally progressing and if I am doing a good job in my grieving Gregory's death; if I have been able to learn my lessons in living and loving someone diagnosed with Dementia/ Alzheimer's; if I am to get on with my life ... I need to bring this Alzheimer's blog to an end since my writing has been dealing less with Dementia/ Alzheimer's and more with life after Dementia/ Alzheimer's.


Of course, I will always continue to work for and support fair treatment on behalf of people with Dementia/ Alzheimer's and may post here from time to time. Also, there are many wonderful posts here through which you may browse.


With this change, I will continue and reinvigorate my "michael a. horvich writes" blog which deals with grieving Gregory's death, life lessons, personal experiences, observations, memoirs, dreams, and humor in essay and poetry, as well as an attempt now and then at sharing a piece of fiction.


Please follow me there by clicking http://mhorvich.blogspot.com or click the link located on the right side of this page.


Finally, COMMENTS are always important to me and you can still comment on the posts on this blog! CLICK "Comments" and sign in or use "Anonymous." Leave your name or initials if you wish so I'll know it's you? Check the "Notify Me" box to see my reply to you.



Monday, April 30, 2012

Usual Demented Person vs New Catatonic One

On Friday we went to Battle Creek Michigan to visit Gregory's brother Mark Sr who had a severe stroke about two months ago while we were in Mexico. This is the first time we were able to go for a visit. Sr is healthy and slowly but surely getting back many of his abilities. He still has his "Tracheotomy" because he cannot swallow or breath on his own and with it he cannot talk. He looks healthy and happy. The visit went well and seemed cheerful even. We loved seeing both Mark Sr and Diane, Renee and Lily, and thanks to sMark Jr and Colleen's for letting us stay with them. Colleen cooked wonderful meals for us. It was fun being with all of them.

We left Battle Creek at 1:00 on Sunday and got back by 7:00 ... but when asked how things went on the return trip, I would have to say "eventful" as opposed to "un-eventful" which is what I like to say, for example, after a flight to or from somewhere.

How was the flight? "Un-eventful!" Not this time.

By the time we left Sunday Gregory had developed a major cough and cold and he felt pretty awful. The ride home therefore was difficult for him. He dozed a lot. We did stop, however, and had a good time at Grandpa's Cider Mill for a piece of cherry pie, an apple cider donut, and a cup of hot mulled cider. Then we stopped at "The Chocolate Garden" and purchased the "tasting" and bought some truffles like: Cinnamon Dark Chocolate, Double Double Dark Dark Chocolate, Red Wine Dark Chocolate, and Cayenne Pepper Dark Chocolate. Yumm. 

By the time we got home Gregory was almost catatonic on me. I could tell that he didn't know the lobby, or the elevator, or the fourth floor hall. I paused and he didn't know which direction to go in the hall. 

When we go to the apartment he was able to open the door with his key (with help from my directions) but held the door open only a little way and didn't go in. There we stood with the shopping card full of our suitcases. I literally had to take him into the unit because prompts of "open the door wider" or "go on in" or "step out of the way" didn't help.

He roamed the unit like he had never been here before. I went into my Nurse Nancy mode, took his blood pressure and temperature (normal) and made him some tea and cookies. He didn't know how to sit in his purple chair so I helped. I put the tea mug and plate of cookies on the table and he arranged and rearranged the cookies on the plate like he wasn't sure what to do with them, and didn't know how to hold the mug let alone to drink from it. 

I put on some soft Beethoven in the hopes of helping him calm down but it didn't help so I turned it off. He would pop up and wander around the unit. After a while, I would gently bring him back and this time suggested we sit at the counter. We did so but he still didn't recognize the mug or cookies. I tried to get him to lie down on the bed to rest but he didn't know how, even with my physical guidance, and didn't stay down for long.

He didn't know my name. Thought I was Greg. Wondered why we were playing cards. Etc. As you can imagine I was quite scared as I had never witnessed such a complete and speedy drop of most skills and awareness since his "Trans Globabl Amnesia" which you may remember from 2003 when I thought he had a stroke and rushed him to the emergency room.

Talked with our friend Roger and he helped me cope (he is trained in Geriatric Dementias as a social worker.) Roger thought that perhaps besides the illness and the long drive, dealing with his brother's stroke, Gregory did not having the words to process all of his emotions and that was part of the problem. Makes sense to me.

Finally I helped Gregory get undressed,  got into bed, closed the lights, and he did settle down and slept fairly well. I administered cough and cold meds and drinks of water through out the evening. I held his hand or kept my hand on his shoulder or chest just so he would know I was near. 

By this morning Gregory is much better. Seems like the usual demented person is back rather than the catatonic one. Talk about being grateful for what you have (had.) He has been napping on and off but has had breakfast and lunch and we have been interacting and laughing on and off. He is able to communicate his needs and seems quite comfortable, contented, and aware of his surroundings. The meds are keeping his cough under control.

All (enough) for now :-)

m

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why the Stress?



A question (taken out of context in a more detailed e-mail) from our friend Pat: What is the reason you get so distressed? Besides just the bother of it all, the getting up and down, the senselessness of someone staring at something and not knowing what it is? 


The beginning of an answer in the return e-mail: This is a good question in that there are many reasons why Gregory's Alzheimer's causes me stress but by now most of the reasons have been so internalized that it is hard for me to explain. I will make this a topic of my next ALZ BLOG to see if I can make sense of it again for myself and therefore you. I will send you the link when completed.


I promise, this won't be an easy read!


From Wikipedia: Stress is a term that is commonly used today but has become increasingly difficult to define. It shares, to some extent, common meanings in both the biological and psychological sciences. Stress typically describes a negative concept that can have an impact on one’s mental and physical well-being, but it is unclear what exactly defines stress and whether or not stress is a cause, an effect, or the process connecting the two. With organisms as complex as humans, stress can take on entirely concrete or abstract meanings with highly subjective qualities, satisfying definitions of both cause and effect in ways that can be both tangible and intangible. 


So let me in phrase form, try to explain why being a caregiving partner to Gregory is so stressful. 


It is dealing with someone whose take on life makes no sense to you and therefore you do not know how to respond, to deal with it, to help. 


It is like playing the game of survival but not knowing what the rules are.


It is knowing that when you think you are getting the hang of it, the rules change, get shuffles or rearranged or deleted. And then the next day things look good and then maybe not the next.


It is watching the disintegration of the essence of someone you have come to love over the last 35+ years.


It is experiencing the disintegration of a relationship that you have built over a long period of time which has been based on communication, respect, trust, loyalty, etc. Loyalty and trust still exist but communication and knowing how to respect are no longer clear.


It is trying to understand that he can no longer make connections or associations between sounds, words, meanings, experiences, actions, decisions, etc. Yet he tries to live like nothing is wrong.


It is walking the line between understanding that he can no longer function in the way he used to, being supportive of his needs, and yet continuing to respect him and not insult his intelligence.


It is being involved in interactions in which you have no frame of reference on how to react. I.E. You feel like you are the disoriented one!


It is trying to keep the emotions under control and not react with anger or panic giving the intellect time to process the craziness of an interaction and come up with a reasonable solution. 


Often what is reasonable to you may or may not be reasonable to him.


When something goes wrong, it is the inability to intelligently discuss the event.


It is having known how to relate to a person you love, or any person for that matter, and all of a sudden finding that the rules you have been playing by not only change but fluctuate constantly. Come and go without warning, sometimes never to return.


It is thinking that a person understands what you have asked or said and then having that person respond in a way that does not relate to your understanding or doing something entirely different.


It is having to function on a day to day basis anyway with no guidelines on how to function.


It is the constant monitoring 24/7 of another person's behavior for the purpose of keeping him safe.


It is juggling your reactions to a man who often behaves or thinks like a little boy, especially when that man was one of the most intelligent, thoughtful people you had ever met.


It is not having a life partner with which to make decisions and/or talk things through. It is having to live your life, and his life, unilaterally without support.


It is not being able to cry on his shoulder when you are distraught because he, inadvertently, is the one who caused your sorrow, through no fault of his own.


It is the fear of the future and your ability to continue coping as the situation goes from dismal to more dismal. It is fear of the future ability to financially meet his care needs.


It is the inability to measure the progress of the disease when "better or worse" has no relative beginning or ending (except yesterday and death.)


It is realizing that you are growing old alone, without anyone to be there or support you. If you get ill there is no one to call for help or to take care of you.


It is not knowing how to describe to others how difficult the day to day interactions are especially when you have to deal with comments like: "Oh I loose my keys now and then too." or "I never was good at remembering names."


It is not being able to trust that he knows how to toilet himself, clean up after an accident, and or recognize that what he thought was passing gas was really moving his bowels in his pants. 


It is wondering where the mail went when he decided that he thought he should clear the table after dinner. 


It is finding the sink strainer in the garbage pail. It is finding socks in the refrigerator.


It is having to shop, put away the groceries, plan and cook, set the table, and serve dinner, and then clean up afterwards. And now it begins to be the same for breakfast and lunch.


It is finding him staring at the kitchen counter instead of making his lunch when he usually makes his lunch every day.


It is getting on the elevator and his not knowing which button to push. It is his inability to walk up one floor to deliver something to Apartment 501.


It is watching him get frustrated when there are too many items on his diner plate so you have to cut the food, point out the fork, and remind him to eat the potatoes. 


It is not minding when he begins to use his fingers to eat, to push a piece of food onto the spoon, or to scoop a mouth full of rice onto his fork.


It is not being able to carry on a conversation at the dinner table unless you take full responsibility for all sides of the conversation.


It is telling your stories as well as his in social situations and then wondering if everyone thinks you talk too much. It is having to tell him what to do and then wondering if everyone thinks you are quite bossy.


It is having to watch three people (and once five people) giving him help at the same time and seeing him get more and more frustrated and/or confused until you are able to speak up on his behalf.


It is listening to him tell stories about his life or family that never happened while not correcting him. 


It is not knowing how to help with an ailment when he cannot describe what is troubling him, even if you ask specifics to help narrow it down like: Is is a sharp pain or an ache? How long have you had the pain? Did you injure yourself?


It is being asked the same question over and over again.


It is his not knowing the day or the time.


It is having to "talk him down" after his waking up in the middle of the night from a bad dream and not knowing what is real and what was dream. 


It is having him protect you in the middle of the night while you are fast asleep as he knocks something horribly scary (in his mind) off your shoulder.


It is waking up at 3:00 am and finding him fully dressed and ready to start his day.


It is telling him to get his wallet and sunglasses as you leave the apartment, and realizing that he didn't follow through once you are on the street.


It is having him loose yet another pair of gloves, hat, scarf, sun glasses etc even when you are closely trying to monitor the items.


It is your teacher-self feeling like a failure when your "student" is not able to understand something even when you have used every skill available to you to help.


It is about him trying to make decisions but based on poor judgement or none and then trying to explain to him why his decision isn't a good one.


It is about him not seeing something that is right there in front of him. He looks around but doesn't see it. You try to point it out but he doesn't know how to follow your pointing.


It is about learning that you need to give him only one piece of a direction to do something at a time while at the same hime he is waiting for the full story which if given would only confuse him more.


It is like your son pleading with you to teach him how to ride a bicycle like the other boys in the neighborhood. I mean really pleading and wanting so much for you to teach him how to ride. But the son doesn't have legs and can barely sit up in a wheel chair.


It is about him doing something for hours and then asking a question about it that shows he doesn't have any idea about what it is that he should have been doing. An example is sitting in front of a jig saw puzzle for hours then asking what is the purpose of little bumps and holes on a puzzle piece.


It is about having to decide for him what he is going to eat at a restaurant as well as what you want to eat.


It is all of these things, and more. It is some that have not yet happened which will throw you for a loop, pull the rug out from under, freak you out, make you cry, terrify you, cause you to fear for the future ... and I could go on.










Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Tough One

This is going to be a tough one to write. My life is dramatically changing. Even as we speak I do not know for sure how to proceed. I do have alternatives available to me but all of them involve difficult choices.

Mexico was difficult for both Gregory and me. Gregory because he was disoriented most of the time. Me because I was "on duty" 24/7. Simple things like getting dressed or undressed caused him difficulties. My support often caused more confusion on his part. Did I hear you say HELPLESS? Yes, both of us. He helpless with what to do next. Me helpless with how to help.

While I am not ready to admit it, I think that Mexico might have been our last major trip. I fantasize about Europe (Paris, Italy, The Netherlands, England, Scotland.) I dream about a driving trip through the eastern U.S. to see the sights and to visit family and friends. A river cruse down one of the many great rivers of the world could be exciting. We watch Rick Steves and other travel programs and imagine. But I am not yet ready to admit that these might only be fantasies.

Gregory's re-entry after Mexico has been very slow. Re-entry you would think should be easier since it is back at home and routine and the familiar. But for some reason it usually is worse than when we were away. This time it is taking longer and many of the previous cognitive and self-help skills have not returned.

About a week or so ago, I felt like my life as I know it had changed. Gregory went to return the condo grocery cart to the lobby after we had brought the groceries to our unit. He has been doing this for the last five years since we moved in. Somehow this time he ended up on the 9th floor and didn't think to call me for help. He religiously carries his cell phone but I begin to suspect that he doesn't know how to use to make an outgoing call. He didn't know how to get back on the elevator to go to the lobby. I suspect that he got on the elevator on our floor and by the time he figured out which button to push, the elevator recording began "yelling" at him to select a floor and then the elevator just took off to someone else who was calling for it. He got off when it next stopped.

I called him after I thought he had been gone too long, found out where he was and went to fetch him. I gently asked if he could tell me what happened and of course he couldn't. I didn't press it but I cannot explain the weight I felt on my proverbial shoulders. I felt like our life would never be the same. Yes I can take the cart back but that was one of the last shreds of assistance he was able to give me. And the fact that he "got lost" in the building freaked me. Since then I have been afraid to let him and he hasn't asked to go on his usual long walks. He doesn't go swimming anymore. He sits and stares more and more. He "shadows" me when I am working around the unit or at my computer. He gets bored because he doesn't have anything to do but on the other hand, he can't do much.

I guess I will begin to go on walks with him now that the weather is nice and will take him swimming. But that means my life is on hold. I have begun the process of trying to find him a "companion" who can relieve me some of the time but that takes advance planning, scheduling, money, trusting another person, etc. It is a necessary thing to do but one that I am not ready for!

Since his getting lost, things seemed to be running a little smoother. I was able to get away for an hour to go to my Weight Watchers meeting last week. This week it didn't work. He wanted to sleep in. I made sure he knew where I was going and that I would be back in an hour or so. I left at 9:00 and when I got back at 10:15 or so he was still in bed. He asked, "Why have you been gone so long?" I asked "Why are you still in bed?" He replied, "I was afraid."

I had assumed that he would get up when ready and begin his breakfast. He usually starts off with a piece of toast or a muffin. I left his "placemat aide" (which pictures his breakfast choices) out for Tuesday breakfast. The assumptions I can make continue to be fewer and fewer and change from day to day.

So how can I go to my WW meetings? How can I go to Michael's Museum for a morning? How will I ever be able to be in an Opera again? How can I leave him in bed "being afraid?" I guess I am waiting for the aftershock of these changes to settle down so I can begin to investigate what options are available to me/us. Hopefully I will find the companion to be here but honestly, I am not ready for that level of his being dependent on me. What choice do I have?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mini-Mental

Today Gregory took the "Mini-Mental Test." The test was given in our home by a representative from the Rush Hospital Memory & Cognitive Health Clinic to see if Gregory would qualify for an experimental drug study.

It is a brief, easy test used to get an approximate measure of a person's cognitive abilities. A perfect score is 30. Six years ago Gregory scored a 21. Today he scored a 10. While I was not surprised, it was a little sad to have my suspicions confirmed regarding his decline. Needless to say, he did not quality for the study.

Any score greater or equal to 25 is effectively normal. Below this, scores can indicate severe (equal to or less than 9,) moderate (10-20 points,) or mild (21-24 points,) cognitive impairment. This score may also need to be corrected for educational attainment and age so my guess is that Gregory's score was really lower than 10.

The questions included items like: What day is it? What year is it? What floor are you on? Can you name the room you are in? Can you repeat after me, "Neither if and or but." Repeat: "Penny, Apple, Flower." Spell the word "world." Take this piece of paper in your right hand, fold it in half, and place it on the table. Can you copy this design shown here onto the piece of paper. What is this called (pencil?) What is your address? What season is this? Can you write a complete sentence on the paper?

I would have scored a 29 out of 30 because I forgot the word "Flower" after three minutes when asked to repeat the three words mentioned earlier.

In follow up questions for possible future studies, Gregory was asked if he has difficulty concentrating. His response was a refreshing, "I don't have anything  that I HAVE to concentrate on, but I can when I want to."


Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Death Meditation

These ideas are taken from The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing your Business and Your Life by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally. Yes another "self help" book. But the concepts discussed within have made sense and have been working for me. The book was recommended by my nephew Mark and I appreciate him for it.

The Death Meditation


"To put it simply, you just wake up in the morning and stay there in bed, lying down, without opening your eyes. And you say to yourself: 'I'm going to die tonight. What would be the best thing to do with the rest of my time?' "

At first you will probably think of things like: I'll eat a huge piece of cake. I'll go shopping. I'll take the day off work. I've always wanted to go sky diving, today is the day. I'll watch movies all day. I'll have sex until I go blind.

The Death Meditation practice has to be done on a regular basis, over an extended period of time and that's when it has its strongest effect. One result you'll find comes pretty quickly is that you streamline your life. You cut out the things that you own or do that slow you down. This is the beginning of a new kind of freedom, both physically and mentally.

For example, how many pairs of shoes do you have? Or where are the pictures of your old vacations, the ones that you don't look at anymore? In you mind when you hear these questions you start picturing all the different shoes that you have: Your mind goes into your closet and looks at least eat the ones you use most often. And then your mind goes to a cabinet or dresser somewhere and sees a few stacks of photo envelopes; goes inside one or two; sees roughly what a couple of the photos are about.

This proves that, somewhere, on some level, you are keeping a mental inventory of all the things your own. Which also means that some part of your mind space is taken up with these details; remember that the mind is like the hard drive of a computer, it only has so much space. Why clutter it with an inventory of those things that are no longer important in your life?

How do you clean up your computer (mind?) Start throwing out or giving away things in your house that you don't need or use. If you haven't used it in the last six months or year, throw it out. Give it away!

Next you might begin examining your career or other parts of your life and cleaning them up. At the final evolution of the Death Meditation, this kind of thinking flowers into an instinctive attraction to those things in a human life which really are of the greatest beauty and meaning.

At this point you begin to "take back your life." It is a good feeling and easy to do.

Finally you realize that some of the ideas you had early in the meditation practice are not really that important, like eating cake or watching a movie. What would you do on the last day of your life? This is an important questions because it could very well be the last day of your life. Spend it well.




Saturday, April 21, 2012

Grateful Series

Although this BLOG is my place to process, rant, and share; I keep telling myself that I should write as well about things when they feel good, are going well, are successful.

Today, I am grateful that Gregory was able to get most of his breakfast together. I really mean it. He came and appropriately asked for help when he couldn't figure out how to get the fish out of the open tin and onto his crackers, he wasn't sure what was missing in his bowl of cereal and fruit that was lacking the soy milk, and he needed help figuring out that a tea bag is necessary with hot water.

But I really am grateful that he asked for help, did most everything else without my help, that I did not loose my patience, that my voice while helping was even, loving, and respectful, and that I do not feel like a train wreck. It's going to be a good day!

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Technique

These ideas are taken from The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing your Business and Your Life by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally. Yes another "self help" book. But the concepts discussed within have made sense and have been working for me. The book was recommended by my nephew Mark and I appreciate him for it.

One meditative activity the book talks about is called "Setting the Day with Silent Time." This is my version of setting the day. It actually starts the night before as you are going to sleep by thinking about the best three things you did or said or thought during that day. Then think of the three worst things and forgive yourself. Think ahead to your first waking thoughts and remind yourself to "set the day."

After you have woken up and taken care of your bodily needs, washed your face, etc, go to a quiet place in your home, sit comfortably and concentrate on your breathing. In. Out. In. Out. Deep breaths. Try to count ten of them without allowing yourself to be distracted. If you get distracted try concentrating on the next ten without distraction. It will get easier. If you would like, then try thinking about NOTHING. I continue to concentrate on my breathing but with less focus. Next think about one of the problems you are facing and think about how you might approach it differently then you have in the past. Picture the problem dissolving as you take this different approach.

For me, I have been working on being supportive and loving while in the midst the "CRAZINESS" of Gregory and my interactions which are usually informed and interpreted by his Alzheimer's. My remaining calm, clear, and helpful with a loving supportive voice that is respectful but also helpful and that does not treat him like a child or like less of a person is quite a feat and one that I am not as good at as I would like to be. PATIENCE! in other words.

So I have started "Setting the Day" with a brief meditation and then picturing how I want to behave in the above described situations. I picture myself being calm, helpful, loving, respectful, even voiced. And guess what. Today after a week or so, I began seeing results. It feels good and I am able to stay out of the "bad interaction, anger, guilt, apology" cycle and around and around. Now I will meditate and picture my being able to be automatic MOST of the time as well as forgiving myself when I am not SOME of the time.

Does any of this make sense to you? Try it. Buy the book. Read it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Call for Help





Hi. Diane. Good talking with you on the phone, you made me feel very welcome. I will try to describe my vision of what I had in mind and would appreciate your advice completely.


Gregory, my life partner of over 37 years was diagnosed with Young Onset Alzheimer's Disease. We have been coping with this for close to ten years now and while Gregory is still fairly independent, he has begun to fail enough that I feel a "companion" would help to make our life easier. At this point in time he has difficulty with language and cognition. For example I have had to begin helping him put together his breakfasts and sometimes his lunch while at other times he does well by himself. He doesn't always know what clothes to choose to reflect the season or weather. He used to go for long walks by himself, never got lost, but recently got lost in our condo building when trying to return a shopping cart to the lobby. He ended up on the 9th floor. It didn't dawn on him to use his cell phone (which he always wears) to call me. It didn't dawn on him to get back on the elevator and push "L" or "4" which is the floor we live on. Therefore I have been afraid to let him go on walks and he hasn't had the "courage" to initiate a walk for himself. Same with his going swimming in the building health club. I used to be able to send him to Whole Foods with a list of two or three items. No more. I used to be able to spend time curating my Michael's Museum which is now a permanent exhibit at Chicago Children's Museum on Navy Pier and recently have had to take him along every time. I used to be a Supernumerary, acting extra for the Lyric Opera of Chicago. I would make an easy dinner for him to warm in the microwave but do not think that I could leave him home alone now.

So with that description in place, this is my vision. Gregory (and I) need him to have a companion with whom he could spend time while I am away. Sometimes it would be for a few hours and sometimes it would be for a morning, afternoon, and/or evening. They could go places, eat out, see a movie, grocery shop. The student/companion could do his homework while Gregory is working on drawing, napping, or reading. The companion could answer simple questions, give simple directions, help Gregory on the computer, depending on the time of day help with his getting dressed or getting ready for bed. Some help with simple meal preparation might take place - like making a sandwich or salad or warming up a dinner I've prepared. The companion could be more ambitions with meals if he desired. 

The type of person who would be ideal for this position is a gay identified male, intelligent, sensitive to Alzheimer's needs, trustworthy. In turn I could offer an "interesting" experience with a kind, gentle, loving man in a clean, comfortable, attractive, intellectual environment/home setting. We would schedule ahead of time around the student's classes and needs. While this is new for me, I would have to see how to proceed and slowly the student could take on more responsibilities and therefore earn more money as we develop a relationship over time. I could envision a semester, year, and /or college career relationship that is sensitive to the student's academic and personal needs as well. I have no idea how much to pay this person.

Diane, thanks for your help with this. If you have any other questions please call.

A Reply


Michael,
Okay, you said not to answer the blog: BUT I AM NOT OBEDIENT! We get angry and loose our patience because we get tired, we get frightened and we are human. Tomorrow is another day and we will pick up the pieces and try some more because we care and we love and we are imperfect. So working, tired, imperfect person, know that you are loved by another imperfect person.
JL 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Photographs

Just in case you are reading this BLOG, I want you to know my Photography BLOG is up and running again. CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT. or go to mhorvichphotographs.blogspot.com

Why?

You are not invited to answer this. Most people do not comment anyway and this time you are off the hook. This is a rhetorical blog.

The question is why am I so angry? Why do I loose my temper? Why am I at times close to raging?

Why can't I just be accepting? Why can't I just be patient? Why can't I just be calm?

Every night G reads three words he asked me to post on his night table: SIMPLICITY, PATIENCE, COMPASSION. G is and has all three. Why can't I master that?

I am forgiving and so is he!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Scraps of Life

This comment ended a note from a friend whose Mother has Alzheimer's. The friend is an artist and is currently working on a series of "drawing the ordinary." The comment is: "There is beauty in so many scraps of life if we just take the time to enjoy."

AMEN (or in this case AWOMAN!)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Change in Plans

As Gregory's Alzheimer's/Dementia continues to progress some techniques that have worked ... no longer work. One such change deals with his being able to prepare his own breakfast. The first picture below shows a chart I devised several years ago that up until now has worked. Based on his recent inability to use the chart, I have devised these "placemats." I will let you know how we do!

OLD CHART
NEW PLACEMATS
(Monday,Wednesday, & Friday are the same
as are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. On Sunday
I make oatmeal for our breakfast together.)

• • • • •


• • • • •





Saturday, April 7, 2012

Flowers and Lucidity

Yesterday we went to Room and Board. As we walked through the parking lot we commented on the splash of spring flowers. I was able to name the "Daffodils" but couldn't remember the name of the other flower that looks almost the same but has more than one flower head per stem. I tried but couldn't come up with its name. All of my thinking was verbalized out loud, which I often do, for the benefit of carrying on a conversation for the both of us.

"Jonquils" snapped Gregory. Proud of himself.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mantra


My nephew Mark suggested this web site for daily inspirations. It has been good for me and I look forward to them every day.

A recent one was, "Anything you do to overcome or prevent, causes a spotlight on the very thing you are wanting to overcome and prevent. You cannot take enough action to compensate for the Energy that you're flowing.
--- Abraham (dailyquote@abraham-hicks.com)

I found it a little confusing so I e-mailed Mark and said, "So what's the message here? Don't try to overcome or prevent?"

His reply was simple, "Focus only on what you want never what you don't want.  I love you."

So I thought about Gregory's recent declines and tried to figure out how I could phrase what it was that I really wanted without focusing on trying to overcome or prevent.


After a progression of fine tuning my mantra, this is what I came up with:


"I am responding to Gregory's needs in a supportive way with love and respect." 


I have been using it and guess what? It seems to be working.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Checking It Out

Periodically I find myself checking out my cognitive abilities. I forgot to flush the toilet? I left the cabinet door open? I didn't start the full dishwasher after I put the soap in? I can't remember that guy's name?

No, that's not Alzheimer's or Dementia of any sort. That is just growing older and trying to do it with grace.

Tab "A" Slot "B"

Often in a conversation with Gregory he will make "Comment A" and I will respond with "Comment B" by which time he has lost its association with "Comment A" and therefore "Comment B" is confusing to him. Frustrating to me is not only having to go though this line of thought but having no possible way to get it back on track.

A variation is my making "Comment A" and Gregory showing having understood my comment.  I move on to related "Comment B" which makes no sense to him. Again frustrating. Again, no way to straighten it out.