Fall is a Beautiful Time of Year

Fall, what a beautiful time of year. Beautiful weather, nature looking picturesque and holidays for everyone to enjoy. For me, this fall has been different. My baby went off to college and I became an empty nester. Well, I do have one more at home, but he’s 20 and lives his own life. I don’t see him much.

I look at Facebook and get to see all the great things people are enjoying in life. Kids are growing up and moving on. Going to prom, graduating, and heading off to college or out on their own in the working world. At that point we as parents are also starting our new life. Couples are getting to know each other all over again. Single parents start to enjoy the next chapter of life and all the freedoms of being single without being tied down.

Empty nester has a whole new meaning for me. It’s the beginning of the next stage of my life. My husband died 19 years ago and over the last 6 years I’ve lost a large part of my family. I’ve taken time to grieve but with my youngest going off to college it really started to sink in that I’m starting a whole new life.

When Halloween came along, I sat here for the first time in years by myself. I just didn’t realize it would hit me how much my life is changing. The next day was my grandmother’s birthday. She’s been gone for 2 years now and I miss her every day.

I started reminiscing about my family and how much I miss them. I was raking leaves and remembered the time that my grandmother was here and sat in a chair putting leaves in a back. Mind you, she was blind but she really wanted to help. I smile whenever I think about it. She was sick for a few years before she died. When it was time for her to go into hospice I knew I had to try to go see her one last time. I got online and found a round trip ticket for around $100. It was to go Friday and come back Saturday or the flight went up to $400. I was supposed to go see her and I’m so I got to go and say good bye. It was hard to see her like that, but I’m so glad I did. She looked peaceful laying there with her beautiful smile.

Or my stepfather who used to come and try to find things to do around my house. So many stories there. Towards the end of his life, when he couldn’t do much, I used to junk up my junk drawer so he’d have something he could do to help me. We both loved it in our own way. He used to tape all my pens together so if I needed one I’d have to pull the tape off. It always made me laugh. The last time I saw him my kids and I were visiting him and my mother in Florida. The boys and my mother went out somewhere and I stayed home with him. He said “I’ll be in bed by 8:00, That’s my bed time.” “Of course” I said, “That’s always been the case. You go to bed and watch TV.” That night he sat with me until everyone came home. We cleaned out the bag of coffee, sugar and sweet and low together. “I think I need a cup of coffee” he said. His plan was to stay up with me until mom and the kids got home so he could prove that he could stay awake.

I didn’t know that would be the last time I’d see him, but he and I were meant to spend that time together.

The holidays are a time for family and close friends. I’m lucky to have my two boys even though they have lives of their own we got to spend quality time together.

Those of you that have large families or your spouse that you’ve spent so many wonderful years together, be thankful. Enjoy each day and each moment. It’s precious time and enjoy every minute of it.

The Next Step in Alzheimer Care

Part 1

When someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia get ready for a whirlwind. The next step in Alzheimer care varies depending on a number of factors. How functional are they? Do they wander? What coping tools are they using? Are they safe? Should they drive? And the list goes on.

If Alsheimer’s suspected at all, a diagnosis is the first step in getting the proper care. Some of the signs of Alzheimer’s disease are repeating themselves, forgetting where they put things, leaving notes all around the house, having a hard time finding the right words and maybe even forgetting who you are.
As the signs start to show up it’s time to make sure everything is in place. The Alzheimer’s Association is a huge help. They can help guide you and they are available 24/7.

Your next step is to make sure you have things in order. If it hasn’t already been done start with a Will, choose an executor, and get Advanced Directives/Power of attorney for health care and for financial affairs. Check with a lawyer that specializes in elder care. The Lawyer can draw up all the legal papers and make sure someone is chosen for the Power of Attorney’s and for the executor of the will should be someone that knows the person’s wishes and can be trusted. A lawyer can help write everything out so that it is in the best interest of the elder person.

Take note of all the behaviors because it will help when going to the doctor. It’s not always easy to get the patient to the doctor. Many professionals talk about therapeutic fibbing to get them there. For example, “I need you to go with me to the doctor” and then talk with the doctor and have the doctor talk to you beforehand so you can come up with a plan for the appointment to go smoothly.

Be prepared with questions and a list of things you and others have noticed. It may be sneaky, but you have to remember that it’s for their own good.

I’m Having This Conversation Again

This is a busy time of year and for me the last week has been busy. It seems I’m having the same conversation again. Between cooking, cleaning and taking a few kids to North Carolina for a Cross Country meet you can just imagine how much free time I haven’t had. Aunt Shea is here and she has dementia. I talked about her dementia before. People with this disease can progress quickly. I’m living it.

Being so busy and out of touch I haven’t been able to keep up with my blog challenge. Having the same conversation over and over again is monotonous. Especially while you’re trying to catch up. I started a blog and couldn’t concentrate and thought I’ll never be able to do anything today. But I can’t do that I have to keep up. I’m already behind and need to figure this out.

My solution is to write about what I’m living right now. The same conversation over and over and over. If I haven’t answered the same question 50 times today than I haven’t answered it at all, no exaggeration either. The only solution, write what I’m doing right now. That way I can keep up my blogging and not worry about losing my concentration.

My lesson here is that where there’s a will there’s a way. You CAN do anything you put your mind too.

Dementia and A Fake Husband

Link

I think about Dementia and what a horrible disease it is. I’m watching a family member whom we’ll call Aunt Shea losing all quality of life. Her husband died about 8 months ago and we’ve discovered Aunt Shea has more than dementia, she has dementia and a fake husband. In some cases the fake husband might be ok, but in this case the fake husband has a girlfriend. Every day when she calls me to tell me her husband left her for another woman I ponder whether or not to tell her that her husband died. If she’s happy why bother telling her. But the problem is she thinks he’s having an affair. So I tell her. Today was the day she knew he had died but wanted to know if the fake husband died too. I had to go with the flow and decided not to say yes or no and said I didn’t know.

The hard part about this is we didn’t know about the dementia because she and her husband hid it so well. His kids helped them too, so Aunt Shea’s side of the family had no idea how bad things were. Unfortunately it is very common for people use coping mechanisms so that people around them don’t really know what’s going on. In this situation the hard part is that means we are grieving both her husband and the woman Aunt Shea used to be.

There are many coping mechanisms that people with dementia use to handle everyday life. Notes around the house, pad with reminders, shuffling papers, double, triple and quadruple checking things. Those are just a few of the things Aunt Shea has used to help her feel like she has some control in her life. She’s a very stubborn woman and won’t admit anything is wrong nor will she see a doctor. As the days go by it’s become clear to me and the rest of the family that she has been hit by the daunting disease.

Now we are working diligently to find a place for her to live where she can enjoy the part of the life she has left. She is calling me 2 – 4 times a day unless she’s with someone else. The calls are usually about her husband leaving her for another woman. Sometimes she has hallucination’s of people coming into the house and has since changed the locks. When she’s here, I spend most of the day reminding her that her husband died. When watching TV, it can’t be a show with a complicated story line because her memory is so short she can’t remember the story line. But a good comedy is great. Laughter is great for anyone, and she loves to laugh.There are lots of lessons to learn about dealing with dementia. It’s amazing! Now that I’m involved with dementia everywhere I look someone is affected by it.

There are so many resources out there. Ask people, search the internet, Call the department of aging and you can even check with the Alzheimer’s Association. They are a great resource and can give you help and direction.