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.



Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Swan's Last Song

For just as the swans last song is the sweetest of its life
So Loss is made endurable by love 
And it is love that will echo through eternity.

From "Call the Midwife" on PBS
Series 1 Episode 4

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Plugging In and Turning On

Every morning for I don't know how long, I have watched Gregory struggle with plugging in his electric shaver. At first I was intrigued at watching how he could not tell the orientation necessary or combination of holes in which to plug the shaver. Then I got angry. Then I resented having to "show" him every morning. Then I showed him every morning. Then I tried what you see in the photo below and voila, it worked (for now.)



The photograph below shows a similar approach to helping Gregory figure out how to turn on the heat in the bathroom while he is shaving. It doesn't work as well if only because he has to cross to the other side of the room, practice pushing the red arrow, then figure out which part of the switch below and which direction he needs to push. But most of the time he is able to succeed before he begins shivering. Maybe I'll cover the outlet to see if that makes things clearer.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ben

Today was the last day of Ben's being a companion for Gregory. He has been with us for one year, time flies, and we appreciate not only what he has done for us but getting to know what a wonderful person he is. He graduates Roosevelt next week and we wish him well.

When Ben first came on board, I had just begun playing with the idea of getting someone to spend time with Gregory, partly to give me a break and partly to give Gregory a break from me. Ben came to us via our good friends Chuck and John, Ben is their nephew.

The whole idea of having someone pick up the responsibility of making sure Gregory was well taken care of while I was away was scary to me but a necessary move. Knowing Ben since he was a little boy at Chuck and John's July 4th parties made the risk seem less.

It began as another one of our "Nobel Experiments" and the idea of having a Companion proved very successful, and a life saver.

We are grateful to Ben. Below is a photo he took of Gregory on their walk to the lake today (after going swimming at the health club.)

P.S. Ken, Gregory's other companion will be with us until sometime in June. Read about Ken's moving in with us until June.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Interesting

Tonight I thought about Gregory and my increased theater activity. During the 2012/13/14 seasons we will have subscribed to Lyric Opera of Chicago (8,) Goodman Theater (6,) Shakespeare Theatre (4,) and Light Opera Works (4.)

We have been to individual shows at Mercury Theater (1,) Writer's Theater (2,) Northwestern Interpretation Center (2,) and a few others. We have seen musicals, opera, serious drama, concerts, and master classes.

Why has there been this dramatic increase in our attendance in the theater world? So far we have seen "Sweet Charity" erroneously find and loose love, witnessed a strike for a 7.5 cents raise in "Pajama Game," saw "Cesar" killed on the Ides of March, followed a dysfunctional family as they worked out their problems in "Other Desert Cities," joined a fight for gay rights in "Teddy Farrara,"  spent "Sunday in the Park with George," learned to tell the truth at the "School for Lies," lived happily ever after in "Camelot," dreamt the impossible dream with the "Man from LaMancha," asked for more sir with "Oliver," followed the bread crumb path laid by "Hansel and Gretel," danced Musetta's waltz in "La Bohem," JUST TO NAME FEW.

Pretty quickly I realized why this increase. For both Gregory and me, it has been important to get out and enjoy ourselves. We usually go out to a nice place for dinner then the theater. More importantly I think it has helped our world continue to be larger as Gregory's abilities, language, communication skills, and experiences etc continue to grow smaller. The nature of dealing with Alzheimer's Disease is that the person afflicted can do less and less and the interaction with life becomes more narrowly focused.

Experiencing the magic of theater has, as the song goes in "Chorus Line," allowed things in our life to continue to be beautiful.


Everything was beautiful at the ballet.
Graceful men lift lovely girls in white.
Yes,  Everything was beautiful at ballet.
Hey! I was happy... at the ballet.

Everything was beautiful at the ballet.
Every prince has got to have his swan.
Yes,  Everyone is beautiful at the ballet.
Hey!... I was pretty... 
At the ballet.

Everything was beautiful at the ballet.
Raise your arms and someone's always there.
Yes, everything was beautiful at the ballet,
At the ballet,
At the ballet!!!



Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How To Tell Your Story


Sometimes it is so easy to accentuate the negative instead of the positive. How many times have you retold your sad story to friends or family members. I believe that while we cannot control what happens to us as we journey through life, how we view the things that happen is our choice. 

I am not saying that a cheerful outlook is possible all of the time, but only focusing on the difficulty of life is not healthy either. Think about it, does the retelling of your problems make you feel special? important? needed?

I adapted the following essay from an excerpt of: The Monthly Aspectarian. “Letting Go of the Need to Know.” Hale Dwoskin. November 2003. V25. N3.

The Importance of Letting Go: Four Pitfalls to Avoid
            
If you let go of having the need to figure out a problem, the answer will come. Wanting to understand or figure out why, or from where, problems arise; can be a major obstacle to healing. We unknowingly hold on to and exacerbate our problems by trying to figure them out. What you focus on enlarges. As we seek a cure for what ails us, we actually make it harder for ourselves to heal.

Think about the following four pitfalls.
            
1 - I suffer therefore I am. We identify with our problems; it is as though we justify our existence by having obstacles to overcome and suffering as much as we can bear. We become so versed in being the person with a particular problem that we fear we won’t know who we are without it. When we take a moment to reflect on our problems, we may even discover that we’ve grown so attached to these patterns of thought and behaviors that it’s hard to imagine ourselves without them. Rather than being open to the uncertainty that comes from letting go, we cling to the artificial sense of security that comes from knowing what to expect, even if that expectation is not beneficial to us. Change is frightening, and we often stay stuck because of fear.
           
It doesn’t have to be this way. Think of a problem that you believe belongs to you and ask yourself: Would I rather have the false sense of security that comes from knowing all about this problem, or would I rather be free? If you’d rather be free, you’ll spontaneously let go of your attachment to the problem and you’ll begin discovering natural solutions to it.
            
2 -But what will I talk about? Most of us base a significant amount of our interpersonal communications on seeking sympathy for our problems by commiserating with others about them. Often we become such experts at describing our problems to others that we don’t want to stop. Sharing our problems is not detrimental; but when we constantly recycle our problems to friends and family we prohibit our self from letting go of the problem at hand.

So do you want to be stuck telling the same problem over and over again, in an endless loop. Ask yourself, are you sharing your grief with friends, or are you seeking approval for your problem? Do you want approval for the old problem or freedom?

3 - It’s mine, that’s why. Pride is a shifty emotion. Just like we feel proud of our accomplishments, we also get hooked into being unconsciously proud of our problems. We feel special for having our problems. This pitfall on the path to freedom may take the form of feeling proud of having prevailed even with the problem, proud of being able to bear up under it for so long, or proud of having a problem that is unique to us.
            
If you feel that your problems make you “special,” if you find any pride in owning them, let go of the pride and you will find yourself free to let go of the problem too.
            
4 - But why, where did this problem come from? We want to understand, or figure out why, or from where problems arise which can also be a major obstacle to letting them go. We feel we must hold on to our problems in order to figure them out. We only truly need to understand a problem if we are planning in some way to maintain it.
          
Would you rather understand your problems or be free of them? If you would rather be free, let go of wanting to figure them out. Live in the now. If we dwell on the past in an effort to analyze a problem, to find our why or from where, we must leave the present moment—the only place where we can truly solve anything.

This theme comes around periodically as it did today in an e-mail from "Abraham." In this approach your telling of your story can alter your life.



Friday, April 19, 2013

Hope For The Future

Just watched a TED Talk that deals with neurological ways of helping patients with brain diseases. Amazing. Just a few tears shed for the potential, not just with Alzheimer's but for many.

CLICK HERE:
TED TALKS: Andres Lozano: Parkinson's, depression, motor functions, Alzheimer's and the switch that might turn them off

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Meditation: Round 2: Practice 7

The Intention of today's Practice was peace and calm and healing not only for ourselves but also for the world. This in light of the Boston Marathon Bombing and the poisoned letters arriving at the offices of various senators and the White House.

Some how it felt especially good to offer the Practice to something greater than just myself. The beginning of this practice felt like what prayer should be ... and it felt good. Most prayer to me feels like a form of begging or negotiating with some old, wise man sitting in judgement, who exists outside of myself, and who controls what happens to me. I feel the most successful prayer, if I need to use that word, has to do with going inside myself having faith in knowing that the answers exist within. Today, I reached a new level of understanding about how I want to define prayer for myself.

In the part of the Practice where one deals with Emotions, Corinne suggested that instead avoiding letting the emotion distract from the meditation, we work with it.We should picture ourselves in front of a door with the emotion on the other side. When the door is opened, what form does the emotion take: a person, a feeling, a word, a place? Talk with the emotion. Spend some time with the emotion. What is it trying to say to you? What does it want to show you or have you learn? What do you want to say to the emotion?

For a lot of people, spending time with emotion is difficult. Confronting it, dealing with it, embracing it, is hard to do. For me, this time, much to my amazement my mother was on the other side of the door. She extended her arms and took me into her bosom. She told me that she knows how much sadness I hold in my heart and what a huge responsibility I have on my shoulders supporting Gregory through his difficulties with Alzheimer's Disease.  She asked me to let her help me carry my load and to support me. The experience was quite beautiful and reassuring.

This was the last Practice in this series of meetings. I have decided to take a month off and then look at joining the next session. I will miss the weekly "escapes" but can listen the recorded MP3's that Corinne sends us of each Practice if and when I need to. I owe her so much for the calm, tranquility, and lessons she has helped me work through using Yoga Nidra.

http://www.corinnepeterson.com






Joyful Heart

Noticed that recently I have been in a good place. Not sure if Gregory has plateaued for the time being or if I have. I have been calm, patient, understanding, respectful. I have felt peaceful at a 9.5 out of 10 level. It feels good to feel good. Few if any apologies necessary, little if any guilt, lots if even abundant amounts of love.

Why? On one hand don't question or analyze the feelings just enjoy them. On the other hand look, learn, and grow.

Maybe things feel good because of how well our "Nobel Experiment" is working with Ken, Gregory's companion, living with us and while not needed all the time, being available 24/7.

Maybe Gregory is at a new plateau and we have learned how to deal with and accept the new challenges.

Maybe I have grown and continue to do so with the progress of my meditation and yoga classes with Corinne.

Maybe it is SPRING and the warmer weather and smell of tulips and hyacinths in the flower market air.

Maybe it is because of the renewed flow of creativity with my new endeavor at The Galleria, belonging to an artist collective, having a space in which to sell the results of my creativity, having fun with marketing and signage and display.

Whatever the reason, it feels good.




Saturday, April 13, 2013

Gregory's Meditation Session One

Yoga Nidra with Corinne Peterson has been so beneficial for me that I decided to see if it would be of benefit to Gregory. The concept was not to follow Yoga Nidra exactly, but to allow Gregory some "time away from himself." Often he is frustrated when he can't tell you what he is thinking, or he struggles to figure out how to cut a piece of meat or brush his teeth. The more time we can allow him free from pain, distraction, frustration etc the better. So we are calling this, as we have called other experiences, "A Nobel Experiment."

Corinne and I began an e-mail dialogue on what a Practice (yoga session) might look like for someone with Alzheimer's. We needed to take into consideration language and communication difficulties, Gregory's inability to focus on complicated directions, and other Alzheimer's issues. We were concerned that he would not be able to give us feedback on the process.

Following are some of the thoughts Corinne and I shared:

"We've talked a little about what the session on Thursday might feel like. Here are a few more thoughts and suggestions. I am just thinking out loud, you are the expert in Yoga Nidra, I am somewhat the expert in Alzheimer's although Gregory is the real expert in Alzhiemer's, just unable to share his expertise.

Spend most of the time in levels 4, 5, and 6.



Use less detail. Start at head and work your way down to toes but do so simply. For example "be aware of your mouth." Don't complicate it by "left mouth" "right mouth" "top of mouth" "bottom of mouth." etc. Lips-OK, Tongue-Ok, Teeth-Ok for example but leave the detail out? 

Hands - OK. Fingers - OK but leave out left and right. Leave out thumb, pinkie, ring finger, etc. Allow enough space for him to process the suggestions made. We will have to play this one by ear, maybe his face will cue us? 

For 5 breathing and noticing in and out is good. A countdown from 12 to 1. Gregory cannot count by himself. Instructive: "We will count our breaths down from 12. Breath in, breath out 12. Breath in, breath out 11. etc. Our breathing could be loud enough to guide him as you cue.

For 6: one or two emotions. Happiness and Sadness for example. After suggesting the emotion, maybe let Gregory create his own thoughts during the silence instead of complicating it by offering options or alternatives. Then go to Sadness and let him create what makes him sad. Then come back to happiness and leave it on the positive note. Maybe the word itself will be enough for Gregory to think about.

End with a guided imagery through a forest. Suggest the images leaving a lot of quiet space for him to process. Something like "Lets be quiet for a while and think about a forest." His processing is so slow that the space is important. Perhaps offering generalities of a forest and again allow space for his processing would help. Picture the trees......  Do you see the sun shining through the trees... Picture the path..... Do you see any animals.....

Allowing the right amount of space for him to process the suggestions is important. Not too much. Not too little. We will have to play this one by ear, maybe his face will cue? 

Corinne, based on our conversations the last few times, how does all this sound to you? The goal is to tailor the session to Gregory. I am just coming along for the ride so don't worry about making it meaningful for me. I will probably have as my intention to entrain with Gregory to "feel" how it is going for him. 

Looking forward to the session.


• • • • •

Corinne,
Thanks for today. I think it was a great success. Your pacing was perfect as was your simplicity of suggestion. We do not need to know exactly what Gregory experienced in detail but I think his "waking" reactions were very telling as to your success. (Two thumbs up. "Wonderful." "Amazing." I was SO PLEASED! Did you notice the tears in my eyes? Joy!
Michael

Corinne shared an e-mail that Richard Miller sent in answer to someone's query about Yoga Nidra and people with dementia.  He is the guru of Yoga Nidra and her teacher. It was interesting to see how what he had to say overlapped Corinne and my discussions.

iRest (Yoga Nidra) for this particular group is a wonderful offering, especially when delivering certain aspects of the practice that are sensate oriented, such as body sensing and breath awareness. 

These practices are focused in the here and now, and can help this population feel at ease and calm. Also imagery can be a useful aspect by bringing in images that the individuals give you and speaking them back, like you are taking them on a beautiful and present focused journey. 

I also think any way to interweave joy through things like chocolate meditations, smelling flowers, holding hands in the heart to evoke feelings of love, etc., can be wonderful elements to weave into a practice. 

Using hands on materials like we do with kids, i.e., cloth or textures to touch, things to smell (floors) or hear (bells) or see (die settling into a water vase.) 

The sky is the limit. Just our imagination as teachers as to what we can bring to enliven the senses, nourish the felt sense of being and being in the hare an now, etc.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Meditation: Round 2: Practice 6

This session provided yet another round of spiral awarenesses and growth. I set as my Intention looking at the concept of CALM. 

My Heartfelt Desire on a general level was to work at approaching everything I do in my life from a place of LOVE, and specifically to approach my life with Gregory from a place of LOVE rather than sadness,anger, fear, frustration, and lack of patience.

Through the Initial Relaxation I was able to settle in very quickly. With Intention and Heartfelt Desire set I found that the Body and Breathing Sensing was peaceful and I did not get "antsy" but continued to settle into the Practice.

During the Feelings and Emotions, I chose CALM and CHAOS. It was interesting that this time my hands got into the process. When I focused on CALM I found my thumb and first finger slowly, smoothly, gracefully opening and closing. 

When I shifted my focus to CHAOS, my thumb and first finger rapidly snapped open and closed. I only became aware of these movements after I had shifted back and forth a few times. 

As I focused on these movements I could physically and emotionally sense the feeling. CALM felt calm, slow, peaceful. CHAOTIC felt chaotic, fast, uncomfortable. 

As we looked at Beliefs and I  allowed Heartfelt Desires to come to the front, the message I received was that ALL of my being present for Gregory, GOOD or BAD, CALM or CHAOTIC, comes from LOVE. 

Some of the LOVE IS CALM and makes me feel at peace. Some of the LOVE is CHAOTIC and makes me feel sad, angry, fearful, frustrated, and impatient .... but none the less these feelings surface because of the great LOVE I have for Gregory as we travel together his Alzheimer's Path. 

The CHAOTIC, uncomfortable feelings come because I love Gregory in the first place. If I didn't love him, or care, the feelings would not occur. And the fact that sometimes I am not at my best only shows that I am human and that I care enough to work at being better.

I also became aware of the fact that Alzheimer's is like a game. A game without rules. I have known this before but on this SPIRAL look I realized that being a game without rules means I have to try various approaches, take risks. 

Sometimes my behavior works, other times it does not. This does not mean that I am BAD but rather GOOD. I continue to try to find what works, what works this time and may not work next time and what may or may not return to work again.

I came away from this practice feeling light, and calm.









Patience


Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart.
And try to love the questions themselves.

Do not see answers that cannot be given you
because you would not be able to live them and the 
point is to live everything.

Live the questions now.
Perhaps you will gradually without noticing it,
live along some distant day into the answer.

Rilke (Shared with me by J.L.)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

And he did...

We have been up for one hour.

He tried to run his shaver without plugging it in. I did not help but explained matter of factly, "You need to use the cord."

He struggled figuring out how to get the plug prongs correctly oriented into the outlet on the wall as well as into the back of the shaver. "What's wrong with this?" he asked. I did not help but just said matter of factly, "You know how to do that." And he did.

While shaving he was cold and mumbled about this and that. I did not help but just said matter of factly, "You know how to turn on the heater." And he did.

The cat arrived on the sink, as she often does, seeking water. Gregory waved his hands at the faucet. I did not help but just said matter of factly, "You know how to do that." And he did.

After he finished shaving he opened the bathroom door with the "What's next?" look on his face. The what's next is getting dressed, his clothes neatly piled on the bench just outside the bathroom door. "You know what's next." And he did.

He called me into the living room saying, "It's all fuzzy" waving his hands around the room. He pointed to the window shade that was half way up (the way he likes it while sitting at his table over the newspaper.) "That's not right."

I explained that the living room was dark because it was raining out. He wanted the shade up anyway so I opened it fully. "No, it needs to be here," he pointed half way. So I lowered the shade and explained the darkness again.

Sometimes he doesn't.







Sunday, April 7, 2013

It's Only Fair

I am still navigating around having Ken living here with us. While the purpose of his being with us for the next few months is to relieve me of my 24/7 and to provide Gregory with more activity, I still have trouble ASKING for help. So at dinner I asked, "Can you and Gregory go swimming tomorrow?" Sure enough, they are both looking forward to doing so.

Tonight after dinner I announced, "It's only fair ... since I made dinner ... that Ken and Gregory should ..." And they both chimed in, "Wash the dishes." We laughed.

I left the room, did some writing at my computer desk, and enjoyed every moment of overhearing them discuss the process of washing, drying, and putting away the dishes.

The camaraderie between Gregory and Ken is beautiful to watch. And I enjoy having someone to talk to. I only hope I'm not talking his ear off!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Companion

Gregory's companion Ken has moved in with us for three months. A while ago, he had mentioned that his lease was up in March, that he couldn't renew it because his building was doing some renovation, and that he was here for school until June. I asked him what he was going to do and he said he didn't know, he would have to find another apartment.

This caused my "opportunity light" to go on. I thought about the possibility of his moving in with us, discussed my idea with Gregory, and a few days later we presented our proposition to Ken. In exchange for a very little rent from him and more time available to be with Gregory, he could have our guest room and the guest bath as his own. We could also share meals when he was home and when I cooked.

The offer was made at two levels. One was altruistic because Ken was in need of something we could provide and we have come to like him a lot over the year that he has been Gregory's companion. Secondly it would provide me with what I have been calling, "The Nobel Experiment." How do I continue to provide for Gregory's needs as the demand increases and yet still maintain my sanity?

The idea of having someone live with us 24/7, the fact that the condo while comfortable is not huge, and with Gregory and I having to give up our guest/TV room, we had some hesitancies and concerns.  Even with Ken's being excited about the idea and his accepting our offer, I am sure he had concerns as well.

The idea was to see what having "live in help" would be like. Most likely this is the future if I want Gregory to be able to stay at home for as long as possible. As his medical and personal needs increase the person will have to be more health care oriented but that is not necessary at this point. Also, I am healthy and able to take care of Gregory's needs and while I expect to stay healthy, it is always good to plan for all possibilities.

The transition has been very smooth and most of our worries unfounded, Ken is comfortably ensconced in the guest room and besides his being supportive as a companion to Gregory and providing me a friend I can actually communicate with, he has been an excellent, respectful long term "guest.

It has been nice having someone around to let me get out to play, to run errands, have a life of my own so I can be in a better place and more emotionally available to Gregory. Most of the time Gregory and I are together but Ken's being around has given me more opportunities for myself. He has also given Gregory company when I am at my computer running the household or writing or taking a nap.

Ken has provided me with a companion in many ways as I have someone to talk to and share complex ideas which Gregory is no longer able to do. Ken can give me feedback and helps make me feel less alone.

Another thing Ken has provided is putting me in a place of "wiser adult" and almost a parent figure as he asks for my advice, as I sometimes offer it on my own, and he seems to value what I have to offer. I know Gregory needs me, but the interaction and communication with Ken meets those needs on a different level.

Also, Ken has on his own taken over house hold responsibilities like emptying the dish washer, taking out the garbage, picking up groceries, helping me with condo maintenance. He has begun to give Gregory his breakfast and goes swimming with him.

So the only problem with this "Nobel Experiment" is that both Gregory and I are enjoying it very much but it will end in June. Will enjoy it now ... and worry about loosing Ken when that comes.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Busy. Back soon.

Working on taxes and new creative adventure:


1627 Sherman Avenue
Evanston, Illinois

featuring among 30+ artists
OPENING PARTY 
Friday April 12 5:00-8:00

I am pleased to announce that I have a space (MICHAEL BEADS) showing/selling my crocheted, beaded, rope necklaces and more at The Galleria in Evanston. The gallery features some 30 artist booths with handmade jewelry, apparel and local fashion, hats & scarves, handbags, bath and body, home accessories, candles, ornaments, gourmet treats, fine art prints, paintings, photography, fair trade, and much more!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Companion Report #2 by K.C.


It’s been approximately 12 months since I first met Greg and his symptoms seem to be gradually getting worse.  Below are some changes I’ve noticed in Greg, as well as things that still seem to remain the same.  I should note, however, that my observations are highly subjective.

Things that seem to have changed:

Greg’s capability of using words has declined slightly. Words do not come out as he wishes, and he frequently makes mistakes even when they do come out.  Sometimes, the word itself is correct, but it is not the right choice.  For example, when I went painting with him, he said “red” looking at “blue”, and this happened a number of times.  Other times, he struggles saying words.  For instance, he said  “pint, pinkle…” when he meant to say “pink”.  His struggle for words is not anything new, but it seems to me that the frequency has slightly increased. 

He needs more assistance in everyday life activities (getting dressed, preparing lunch, cleaning up, etc.).  He gets confused, disoriented, and even simple tasks can tire him out.

It seems like his hands shake more often than before.  This is especially noticeable when he is trying to bring food or drink to his mouth.

His dependence on me has increased.  This has to do with him needing more help, but also his feeling more comfortable around me.  For example, he might tell me “you do it!” when I’m trying to explain how to put on his scarf before we go out.

He might get tired more easily than before.  After we go for a walk, it seems like we always speak about how tired we are. 

Some routines he had little trouble with several months ago are getting more difficult for him.  I was surprised when he asked me to make his lunch for the first time.  He used to put together a nice salad for himself, but now it seems as though he lacks the confidence to do so.  However, I would suggest that his forgetfulness has not happened over night, and it seems to do with how long it has been since he last made lunch.  Apparently, it had been quite some time since he last made his salad, which may play a role in why he forgot how to do it.  

Things that seem to remain the same:

I have never noticed any changes in his personality.  He also does not have mood swings either, and he is still the same Greg that I know.

I have never noticed Greg hallucinating.  His sense of smell, sight, hearing, still remains the same.  Perhaps delusion is not the right word, but there are certain things Greg believes, which are unrealistic.  For example, he believes that Meryl Streep lives near by (I haven’t checked whether this is true or not, but seems unlikely).  I’ve heard this a number of times from Greg.

Memories from the distant past seem to remain pretty much the same. 

He can still sympathize and understand what others are feeling.  For example, when I was talking to Michael about how a package sent from Japan was stolen, Greg knew how upset I was and he sympathized appropriately.  

Although Greg sometimes forgets to flush the toilet, I’ve never helped him use the bathroom.  He goes to the bathroom when he wants, and he has never asked for help.

Although he doesn't remember people’s names, he still recognizes them. Occasionally, we bump into somebody we know—or somebody he knows, but he always recognizes them, which is a good sign.

We can still communicate even though he cannot express what he wants to say perfectly.

His walking speed has not changed, and he has no problem swimming.

I have not noticed any decline in his appetite, and he still eats quite a lot.

Although I do not know how much he understands what he reads in the newspaper, he still sits down and reads it.