As we all know, eating right, exercising, staying social and using tools to utilize your memory skills, will keep us feeling fit and healthy. I hope with my entire being that it will also help me to fight off Alzheimer’s Disease, a type of dementia. We have no guarantees but I feel it is worth the time and effort I put in each and every day. I start each morning with my Le-Vel THRiVE vitamins, probiotic drink (which is delicious) and DFT patch, which is full of additional vitamins and release little minions which will inhabit my body fight for me. Next I throw on my BOOMerang which inspires my competitive nature to walk as much as I can in a day. My personal goal is 10,000 steps which requires me to park as far away from the door of any place I go, and I walk my beloved pup, Kizzie Babizzie, who at ~ soon to be 7~ or 49 in dog years, enjoys immensely. I drink tons of water all day and watch how much and what I eat.
I push my memory by actually dialing phone numbers and typing in email addresses. I play Words with Friends, strangely with people I don’t know:), I work Daily Crossword puzzles, and much to my dismay try to work the Lumosity challenges. I say this because many of the challenges are based on speed, and I find them disheartening at times.
Staying social is also a huge key! My husband and I go to hockey games at the Pepsi Center, and Coors Field to watch MLBaseball. We love to go out to dinner with friends and I love to have a glass of wine with girlfriends; we throw two parties a year, one a summer party where we play acoustic music (our annual Garden Party and Alzheimer’s research fundraiser) and another is our annual “Holiday” party in December. We go to charity events and networking events on a regular basis. Date night each week is a must, and after 19 years of marriage I love him more each day, and we love playing with our grandchildren.
Keeping in touch with my family and friends and making my wishes for the future known are subjects I feel are important. Think about the important things in your life and ask yourself this question. What would you want people to know about you to keep you active and social if you develop memory loss or Alzheimer’s?
Just as important, what are you doing to keep yourself healthy, social and active? What are you doing to push your mind to the best of your ability? I would like to hear your ideas!
Please read or share your thoughts by clicking on the header above and submit your ideas!
I have a question for you. I have a friend who had to place his dad last week into a facility directly from a hospital discharge. He mentioned how hard it was to determine where to place his dad in part because they didn’t know when the hospital would discharge him and also because there are so many options for senior living. They also had not really ever researched in depth possible living options so it ended up being a rushed process. They ultimately relied upon word of mouth from friends and people in their social network. My friend mentioned how rushed they felt in making the decision since his mom for so many years refused to discuss the topic. Do you have any suggestions on how a person can better approach this process? Is there a way to not make a rushed decision when it seems loved ones are unwilling to discuss? Obviously with Alzheimer’s there reaches a point where a family member must decide to place their loved one into a facility. Any suggestions on how to determine “warning signs” that this might be necessary? Can you offer any advice on how to best determine which property might be the best fit for a loved one? There are so many options which can be overwhelming, how in the world can someone work to narrow these down without visiting them all? Or is that what they need to do, visit all of them?? That’s hard when people are crunched for time…I have many more questions but will save them for another time. Thank you for your feedback.
The situation your friend found himself in, regarding care community placement for his dad is unfortunately not uncommon. Spouses often have made a “promise to never put a loved one in a nursing home” and as an adult child we have trouble asking our parents questions about personal finances or relationship issues. One way to open this conversation is to ask if the spouse (parent) has any concerns about care that you could help with. Reference information such as my radio show or articles you have read which will provide useful tips. Recently my radio show addressed this issue with Niki Gewirtz, Executive Director of Belleview Heights, Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Denver, one of the best person centered care communities I have ever had the privilege to work with and we discussed this very issue.
Here is a link to this show: https://www.cruisin1430.com/media/audio-channel/dementia-resilence-4917
You can also click on radio podcasts link on this website and listen to all past shows, complete with a description of each shows content.
As a family member, you might use an idea to mention that you are looking in to new financial information and ways to strengthen retirement options for yourself, and ask what desires they might be considering or preset accommodations such as long term care insurance, as they age at home, which you can honor when the time comes. This is non-confrontational and can open the dialogue of the “promise.” As a person with Alzheimer’s progresses with the disease their needs will change, their cognitive ability will lessen and caring for them will often require more skilled care than families can provide. The spouse will often deal with their own health issues from a mental and physical stand point. Statistics show that caregivers often “wear out” and die before their loved one. When the promise was made, none of these issues were at hand, therefore nullifying the promise. Warning signs are wandering, incontinence, becoming non-ambulatory, leaving the stove on or catching items on fire. Not understanding dangerous items in the home could be very harmful such as cleaning products and ingesting them. Loss of motor skills is taxing and can become very dangerous for the caregiver. Behavior issues can be addressed on a different level with redirection skills I offer, but the ideas listed previously are above and beyond this care. Using a doctor as a reference is also helpful when it is time to change from home care to assisted care, and makes the news easier to deliver and possibly receive.
When choosing a community, many will tell you they provide person centered care (PCC). One way to know for sure is to use these little tips: When visiting or calling a care community, use a stern tone and ask this question, “If I move my dad into this community and I come in at 10:00 am to see him and his hair is not combed or combed poorly, his clothes are not buttoned correctly and he hasn’t had breakfast, how are you and your staff going to explain this?” If the answer is focused on stressing to you how they will ensure that he is showered 3 times a week, and they will make sure he is fed every morning, AND the staff will make certain he is dressed and groomed properly…RUN!!!!!! In a PPC approach, the correct answer would be if your dad dressed himself, or groomed himself, we will shower him with kudos as we focus on what he can still do and is able to accomplish on his own or with little assistance, even if slightly askew. We will honor his preferences for showering at the time of day when he usually showered when he was well, or after he has enjoyed a fun activity or a calming experience and is feeling content. We will try not to create a trigger for him which will turn him from a calm state to discontentment. If your loved one enjoyed a bath in the evening before bed, this should also be honored. You might even be invited to come and assist him with grooming as a bonding and/or visit experience. If he wakes up in the morning and is hungry and ready for breakfast, we will entice him with the morning menu. If he wakes up and wants to stay in his room, we will circle back until he is ready to eat, even if that is lunch time. We understand it may be uncomfortable for you, but we are working in his Alzheimer’s reality and what is comfortable for him.
Places that demand a person be bathed on a 15-minute systematic schedule or forcibly groomed can end in devastating results. Places that demand each person be moved to the breakfast room can also cause people with dementia to fear caregivers in a professional setting. Those who don’t comply are often considered “behavior problems” and are physically moved against their will or medicated so that they comply. I hear this from people who work in facilities, which I train in weekly professional caregiver classes. I also experienced it with my own mom’s care at her first facility. Professional caregivers are assigned a certain number of people and if they do not complete the systematic corralling or having, say their 12 people assigned to them, showered between 5 am – 10 am, they will lose their jobs after 3 issues. I call these TASK CENTERED APPROACHES, and that is why I call them “facilities.” These places also have high turnover. All communities/facilities offer activities. Ask if they have a log of the activities or if the activity director can tell you how many steps are involved in each activity. If they can’t answer quickly or the answer is higher than 3-5 for lower functioning residents and not higher than 10 steps for higher functioning residents, again this is a serious red flag.
One question you can ask is about the longevity of the staff. Does the Executive Director speak to you and answer your questions; give you the tour, or is it a sales person? Do they manage by walking around or by assignments? Is there an outside area for the residents? This may be important. Do they have activities, and yet also keep their people active? Do they honor the idiosyncrasies each of us have with our personal traits and routines at our deepest levels? These are very important questions to ask and will help you make this difficult decision. Also ask how they will help the family adjust to this move and life changing event. Do they offer lectures or support groups, and exit strategies after the move in? It is much harder for the family to adjust than the person with Alzheimer’s.
I hope this information is helpful and I look forward to hearing and addressing any other questions you have in the future.
Hello! Cool post, amazing!!!
Thank you and let me know if you have any questions!