Today I recorded a 2 part show. The first 1/2 hour is dedicated to living with and surviving the Coronavirus /COVID19 and what we can do to engage our people experiencing dementia and ourselves in constructive activities. The second 1/2 hour is concerning getting down to the nitty gritty of what the future holds and how to adapt to the many changes. You do not want to miss this show!
Today, March 24, 2020 As we struggle through shelter at home and the intimidating Coronavirus, I offer a view thoughts on this situation and then I had a riveting and candid conversation with my friend, Dr. Peter Pressman, about FTD. This is a difficult, scary disease that often leaves the person diagnosed and family members with a shell of the person who once was. Behaviors are off the chart disturbing, from lack of judgment and reasoning, to sexual issues, lack of empathy and extreme apathy about others feelings. The person experiencing this type of dementia (PED) generally doesn’t accept that there is a problem, and from the viewpoint of others they may appear as if nothing is wrong. Family members and caregivers will tell you this disease is even more difficult to live with than Alzheimer’s. The (PED) has a short attention span, laser focused attention on certain subjects, and loses intimacy with partners. Spontaneous interactions get lost over time and interest in friends and family relationships are often lost during this journey. They often have trouble with money, spending too much, too often, and even yours if you’re not careful. There is no cure for this dementia and we now know Aricept can be an enhanced agitator which should not be given to the PED.
Dr. Pressman is a neurologist with the University of Colorado Anschutz Rocky Mountain Center for Dementia. He came to Denver after working at University of California, San Francisco, with DR. Bruce Miller for many years. UCSF is leading the nation in Frontotemporal Degeneration studies.
A few weeks ago, I went in-depth talking about the early and mid stage of Alzheimer’s and the symptoms that come with the territory. This is a candid and hopefully optimistic look at the journey of the late mid stage and the late stage, and what we as caregiver’s can do for our loved ones when symptoms arise. Also, what do we as caregiver’s bring to the table? Our friends and family with Alzheimer’s feed off of our emotions. We set the emotional tone every time we enter the room and they are present. There are ways we can make everyone’s life easier, using strategies and techniques which I am happy to share with you during this podcast.
Today my guest was Dr. Carey Candrian from University of Colorado Hospital, discussing a new research project and study she is working on. Dr. Candrian is performing a research study, funded by the National Institute of Health, looking into the unique caregiving needs of people 55+ with dementia who identify as LGBTQ.
University of Colorado Hospital and The national Institute on Aging
Will you help us be part of improving communication and health outcomes for LGBTQ individuals with Alzheimer’s or related dementia?
Dr. Carey Candrian and team have funding from the National Institute on Aging to better understand the experience of people caring for a person who identifies as LGBTQ, is 55 years or older, and is living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia about your experience.
What to expect:
- Interviews are done in-person or by phone
- Interviews will last ~ 45 minutes
- Participants will receive a $50 gift card
Ultimately, our goal is to let the stories and experiences of actual caregivers inform the solution(s) to improving this experience for LGBTQ people.
Contact: Sue Felton
Today my show was about the alarming rate of Suicide in our country, among those who are depressed and people with various dementias. I spoke with dr. Stacey Friedenthal, an expert in this subject about what we can do to recognize signs and help our friends who are struggling.
This show, February 25, 2020 is about exploring the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, cognitive impairment and memory loss. The first signs of symptoms of forgetfulness, no longer being able to learn new information and retain it, and how fear grows that someone will see how we are beginning to struggle. I talk about Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and early stage in this show. This is one you need to listen to if you need help understanding what is happening and why!
On this show, February 18, 2020, I am talking about how we speak with physicians about memory loss and cognitive impairment. What are they looking for in terms of diagnosis, and how do we describe what we are seeing? Also, how do we work with our family and friends when symptoms start to appear? How do we keep them, and ourselves calm when it seems we are losing our grip on our situation? We will talk about all of this and more!
I am so happy to welcome my friend Val, Charles Valentine to the show this week. We have been friends for many years after my cousin, Johnny Kris Johnson introduced us in LA. After knowing Val for about 5 years I received a call from him, requesting help when he learned his beloved Mom Margarita Promponas, was having memory issues and cognitive loss. Val returned to his native New York City to care for her, and has remained by her side for years. Today we had a lovely chat about Val’s childhood, Margarita’s career, and Val’s career and how it changed when he decided to put his work on hold and return to Manhattan. Val speaks with so much love about his mom and her Alzheimer’s. He has used many techniques to learn her new style of communication. He has figured out her many nuances of smiles, the look in her eyes , and things she says to help him understand her needs. Even as her Alzheimer’s has progressed, she still loves to sing and dance.
Throughout her life, Margarita was a singer and dancer who toured the country in her younger years. She was also extremely proud of her Native American heritage. Her son soon followed in her footsteps. Charles Valentino attended classes at the New York School of Ballet and the American Ballet Theater while a student at the High School of Performing Arts and he danced with the Harkness Ballet, the work was choreographed by Geoffrey Holder. He made his acting debut in The Me Nobody Knows, – played HUD in the Australian production of HAIR, and returned to the states for the national tour of the show. He had a hit single “I was born this way,” on Gaiee Records, released by Motown. In Bill Turner’s version of the Ziegfeld Follies Valentino portrayed the legendary Bert Williams. He also appeared on Komedy Tonight, an NBC-TV special. He was the scarecrow in the national touring company of the WIZ as well as the 84 revival on Broadway with Stephanie Mills. Most recently he acted on CSI Vegas.
His more recent work was with his close friend Joni Mitchell. He is featured on her special Painting with Words and Music. He was also featured in her video Come in from the cold, He sang on Ladies Man, from the album Wild Things Run Fast, and Yvette in English from the album Turbulent Indigo.
We spoke about how Val stays healthy as a caregiver and what he does for fun. His LA family is still close to his heart. He shares information about his deep love for friends Joni Mitchell and Anjelica Huston with whom he has sang and danced with so many times over the years. Angelica Huston writes in her book, Watch Me: “He twirls me around as if I were a silk scarf. I never set down unless he was dancing with his other favorite girl Joni Mitchell.”
His LA family includes my cousin Johnny Kris, who Val calls his brother by another mother and Shell Burton. They have had a deep friendship for over 40 years. Val credits his family and friends for keeping him motivated, while caring for his mom. No matter who you are or how bright the lights shine on you, Alzheimer’s can find you anywhere. I thank my friend for being on the show and lovingly sharing their story.
Today’s show is all about embracing the changes thrown at us when a diagnosis has been given to a person experiencing some type of dementia and their family and friends. Difficult behaviors can apply to everyone involved, when emotions are running high, we are feeling down and grieving the loss of what is to come and what is lost due to memory impairment. How can we maneuver through this journey with resilience?
What if what are doing isn’t working? What then? Have we tried everything and nothing seems to work? Let’s explore options!
This podcast is dedicated to helping my Caregivernation with issues that can be very concerning to them when they are living with or caring for people with various dementia’s that present with memory loss and cognitive impairment. Driving is a very serious and touchy issue that almost all of go through during this journey. When our friends with diagnosis become scared, sometimes they wander out of the house or hide somewhere in the house and this is a very scary situation.
Other issues are combative situations where violence can occur. In many states there is a law regarding domestic violence, where if it is deemed domestic violence one or both parties may be arrested. How do you tell the dispatcher that you just need help with de-escalation? If they aren’t culpable and aware of what they are doing, should a person with Alzheimer’s go to jail? No!!!!!!
My husband Jim Lorentz, Division Chief of Police for Wheat Ridge, Colorado answer these and many other questions for us.