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.

Friday, August 21, 2015


12:00. In bed. White noise on. Cats settled in. Drifting off to sleep.

I engage my angels, spirit guides, ancestors, heavenly teachers, animal spirit guides, celestial masters, "Keep an eye on Gregory. Keep an eye on me so I can be there for him and help meet his needs."

Then an awareness. This is what I try so hard to do. Since Gregory can no longer express let alone meet his own needs, it is my responsibility through my love for him, to make as sure as I can that his needs are met and that he has no reason to need.

When all your needs are met, you can be at peace, not having to worry about them, or formulate what they are, or figure out what they might be, or seek to meet them. After living with and loving this man for over forty years, I am usually on target when thinking about what his needs are or might be. 

The nursing staff and CNAs at Lieberman are usually on top of the game of meeting Gregory's health needs. Often I will go to the nurse with a question and she will already have been on it. They are quick to run tests to rule out things like infection, out of balance dilantin, etc and quickly get the results and report back to me. When I inquire about something I think needs attention, they are always on the ready to support me in helping to make sure Gregory's needs are met.

The people with his hospice, Northwest, are so present to help, identify, inquire, inform, and help instigate necessary change. Keeping Gregory healthy is so important, especially because often the only way to tell that Gregory's health is out of balance is by our observations. Then the treasure hunt begins but so far the hunt is always easily won and Gregory feels better.

Manny, Gregory's private care helper (to whom I attribute "Sainthood" or "Hightly Placed Angelhood") is also always attentive to making sure Gregory is comfortable, content, not hungry, well hydrated, happy, and most of all safe!

Of course it seems like many of Gregory's needs are no longer important to him like going to work every morning, reading the newspaper, taking care of anyone other than himself, planning his day, making decisions, worrying about the future.

He doesn't have to worry about earning a living, cooking a meal, taking a bath, getting himself dressed, shaving, or doing the laundry. He doesn't have to make his bed, clean his room, dust, grocery shop, or take out the garbage. He doesn't have to remember important dates or be anywhere on a certain day, on time.

So we make sure he is not hungry, is comfortable in his wheel chair, is clean and dry. We make sure his skin is soft, that he does not itch, that he is not in pain, that he is not uncomfortable. We make sure his is cleanly shaved, nicely dressed, and feeling fresh. We make sure he is not too cold or too warm but rather, as Goldilocks, "Just right!" We keep his room orderly, with familiar objects, with fresh flowers, and scented with lavender. 

Throughout the day we offer treats of chocolate, pretzels, bread sticks, rice pudding, cold juice, milk, apple sauce, etc. Now and then we bring in food that the facility does not offer like fresh cherries (pitted of course,) an home made peach pie, fresh figs, a chocolate bundt cake from the bakery. I plan to but have yet, "ordered out" so he can have some of his old favorites like Pizza, Chinese, Greek, etc. I did bring in Sushi the other day and he seemed in heaven!

I think that between Lieberman, Midwest Hospice, Manny, and myself; we keep Gregory's needs met and I think that he would agree if he could!


  1. Yes, and I would suggest needs go beyond the physical; I blogged about it here:

    1. Thanks Susan. For Gregory; to be loved, to feel safe, to be comfortable physically and mentally seem to be the most important needs for Gregory. So in this way we go beyond the physical and do well with the mental and emotional. Many of the needs on the list presented in your blog are no longer important to Gregory at his stage of Dementia/Alzheimer's or do not apply. For Example: Resolve unfinished issues, in order to die in peace. (I believe he has done this already or no longer need to. I believe that Gregory really lives in the here and now and doesn't contemplate his death.) Live in peace. (I believe he is able to do this and we prove him with the peace to do so.) Restore a sense of equilibrium when aspects of self fail (e.g. sight, hearing, mobility, and memory). (Again, Gregory is mostly unaware of his losses at this point. This is what I mean by living comfortably.) Make sense out of unbearable reality: find a place that feels comfortable, where one feels in order or in harmony and where relationships are familiar. (He gets this from Lieberman, from visits of family and friends, from the care he receives from Manny. He get this from feeling safe, loved, and comfortable.) Be recognized and have status identity and self-worth. (I think treating him with respect satisfies this. I am not sure he "stews" abut his self-worth at this point.) Be useful and productive. (Again, I believe that Gregory's comfort and feeling safe is paramount in his needs. He led a very useful and productive life and now he needs to only deal with his very basic, primitive needs not ones like how successful he was or is.) Be listened to and respected. (Done.) Express feelings and be heard. (He can no longer express his feelings using language but certainly his responsive behaviors let us know if he is happy, sad, in pain, etc.) Be loved and feel a sense of belonging; have human contact. (I know he feels this and we give as much as possible.) Be nurtured, feel safe and secure, rather than immobilized and restrained. (Done and again probably the most important needs we can help him fill.) Have all five senses stimulated touch, sight, sound, smell, taste, and be allowed to express one’s sexuality. (All but the sexuality. He does not demonstrate any needs for that other then giving a "tongue kiss" now and then.) Reduce pain and discomfort. (Done.) 13. live joyfully, surrounded by laughter, love, music, fun and opportunities to connect with others in a meaningful way. (Definitely done!) Thanks for your blog!


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