Monthly Archives: December 2013

New Year

This day brings an official New Year to all of us, and as the days lengthen I am thinking of my sisters in caregiving, and missing their company and laughter and ready understanding.

I am also thinking of the millions of people going through this grief and trauma without the blessed support of sisterhood like we have built (thanks to Senior Peer Counseling) here in our beautiful Valley,  

I am also thinking that my pledge to myself for the New Year will be: “Help me to not feel so sorry for myself. Help me to remember that grief and loss are part of life and joy, that I am not alone in this travail, and that there will be peace in the end.”

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Recreation for those with Dementia

At the end of November, two of the wonderful women who help me with respite (for me and for my partner!) came to a North Island College course on Activity Programming for Individuals with Dementia. I’ve been wanting to tell my friends in Caregivers about it but there hasn’t been an opportunity.

The course was just Saturday morning but Debbie Provencher, who teaches the subject and works in many care homes, could easily have kept us spell bound for a week. She interspersed all her tricks with solid information about perception and typical behaviours, and how to engage with our loved ones and those we care for. Over  ,we found ourselves looking at each other and nodding as behaviours were named and explained. I have done a lot of workshops and a lot of reading since this illness arose in our home, but this workshop was one of the best. And a lot of fun, too.  

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US report on Alzheimer’s

This is a fascinating (well, morbidly fascinating) and up-to-date report on Alz and other dementias in the United States: 2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. As well as estimates of risk of developing Alz (of great interest because probably the US and Canadian figures are similar) it also includes a look at the financial and physical cost of caregiving.

One sample

• One in nine people age 65 and older (11 percent) has Alzheimer’s disease.

 • About one-third of people age 85 and older (32 percent) have Alzheimer’s disease.

 • Of those with Alzheimer’s disease, an estimated 4 percent are under age 65, 13 percent are 65 to 74, 44 percent are 75 to 84, and 38 percent are 85 or older.

 Sure makes it clear that our situation is not unique.


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Questions When Looking for Residences

Here is a handy checklist of questions for the unhappy days when you are trying to sort out residential care

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by | December 17, 2013 · 10:42 am

On losing it

I just lost it the other night — trying to watch a no-brain light comedy and my spouse started going on and on again about how “coffee isn’t any good anymore.” It was for some ridiculous reason the last straw (heaven knows I put up with much more than that everyday with a grin, a smile, a joke!) Anyway, I blew, and he staggered off to bed looking perplexed and fell asleep. When I came in a bit later he woke, and I kissed him and said “I’m sorry I yelled at you,” and he said “what did you say?”

But this reminds me that I was supposed to post this story about losing it and gaining grace, from one of our sisters in our group.


After a very bad angry melt down with my post stroke husband, I went into the laundry room which doubles as my sanctuary from the irrational paranoia and unreasonableness and cried, yelled screamed to God as to my inability to cope and keep my sanity, I journalled my feelings and thoughts to the Lord, and feeling a little calmer, I decided to check my Email before I left my sanctuary and escaped for a brisk walk or something to get rid of the extra adrenalin coursing through my system.  A single Email from a friend who has brain injury from seizures and multiple handicaps. It was a fwd story, one of her specialties to pick the right story for the right moment without even knowing:

I trust this will It will give you time to settle your brain, gather your thoughts, calm down and finish your week off on a positive note treasure hunting for the little glimpses that become big when we take the time to focus.
> Potato Chips
> A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey.
> When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man. He was sitting in the park, just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old man looked hungry, so he offered him some chips. He gratefully accepted it and smiled at him.
> His smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer. Again, he smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word..
> As twilight approached, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave; but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old man, and gave him a hug. He gave him his biggest smile ever..
> When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?”
> He replied, “I had lunch with God.” But before his mother could respond, he added, “You know what? He’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”
> Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked, “dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?”
> He replied “I ate potato chips in the park with God.” However, before his son responded, he added, “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”
> Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime! Embrace all equally!
> Have lunch with God…….bring chips.

Lesson for me:  “ heard your anguish child, I can handle it, Look for me in the little things I am there walking with you in your day”

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