Wednesday, February 22, 2017

After being absent for a VERY long time ... We are back!!  Maybe not in full swing but hopefully much more consistently.   We are still very active in elder/dementia care.  Eric has been working with Visiting Angel's in our area and has been continuing to experience and learn more and more!  Every situation is so unique, challenging and complicated but with each situation comes so much insight into the inner workings of the aging process.   I was just talking with a friend today about the importance of preemptive conversations we all need to have with our aging parents.   Of course, the subject is not fun or comfortable for either party, but so necessary!  I will be the first to admit that I hate discussing it.  Whether it's with my own parents or Eric's mom....I would much prefer to be in denial and believe that they will live forever, be happy, self sufficient and healthy..... but that is, unfortunately, not reality.  So often it is a conversation that is put off until crisis that point quick decisions must be made, which doesn't always work out to be the most effective or the right ones.   Often times....feelings get hurt, siblings fight, parents and their adult children argue and chaos ensues.  This becomes destructive and usually unproductive!  A great resource is the website Aging with Dignity... It will take you through the steps easily together so everyone can be on the same page, understand where they will contribute and it really helps to take the guesswork out of the process.  Highly recommend it! - Five Wishes® Online

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The reading of our book by Eric Andersen

If this link doesn't work please type in Eric Andersen Remember I can't remember youtube

The seemingly simple task of remembering they can’t remember will cause a paradigm shift.  Do not read anything into it.  They really just can’t remember.  Take the time to consider what that means.  It means they cannot follow your lengthy explanation of what short-term memory loss is.  It means they have lost their ability to manipulate you.  They cannot be trained or taught to take their medicine or drink their water.  They cannot remember what you just said no matter how loudly or slowly you said it.  Their forgetting does not diminish the previous value of any person, relationship, experience, or thing.  We do not want to believe that we are so easily forgotten.  We may get resentful and angry.  We have an intense need to be acknowledged and remembered.  Usually we view it as their anger lashing out with a combative spirit, when, at least in part, it may be ours.  They simply can’t remember.  How much of the Alzheimer’s/dementia struggle is about us?  How much of their struggle comes from our anxiety?   We need to be willing to move toward the unknown.
Accepting this is accepting their loss and our loss.  It represents a shift in the relationship that we may not be ready for.  That acceptance may be heartbreaking, but it is the starting point for care.
Phrases in our book are meant to be helpful immediately in a practical way, but also turns your attention to the spiritual current that runs beneath all that we do.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

My Grandma had amazing insights that would occur amidst her dementia. She would grab our hand ... her eyes would lock on us and she would give us tidbits of amazing wisdom. We tend to think these people are out of their minds. Could it be that maybe they are the only ones in their right minds or consciousness? Maybe they have just rid themselves of all that is no longer needed for the soul. Here are two quotes from Grandma.
"So often we don't see things that are right in front of us. We aren't able to se things because we weren't fully conscious of it or ready to see it. It is such a growing experience that we forget that it is all just a part of the living experience."
"We are is really a wonderful world we live in. We get so overwhelmed by things but so often when we just get into it it doesn't seem bad or difficult at all. Often it is just rewarding and fun."

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Monday, February 2, 2015

Big Books, Small Town from Liberty Bay: BEST SELLERS OF 2014!2014 was a great year at Li...

#3 Best Seller for our local and fabulous Liberty Bay Bookstore in Poulsbo,  Wa.  Huge thank you to Suzanne Droppert and her amazing staff for all their support!  Big Books, Small Town from Liberty Bay: BEST SELLERS OF 2014!

2014 was a great year at Li...
: BEST SELLERS OF 2014! 2014 was a great year at Liberty Bay Books and we have all of you to thank for that! We can't tell you en...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Remember "I Can't Remember" : Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!!!  

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!!!  .... but if it's too far gone take them to the hospital.

This is the most difficult thing for people to grasp.  When an elderly person goes from their normal demeanor to falling off a cliff, not in the literal sense, it is very likely that they may be dehydrated and could have a bladder infection.  Recently, we visited a family who's mother was declining very quickly.  Her regular caregiver had left for a short trip and on her return the woman had gone from walking and showering on her own to, terrible pain, total incontinence, fainting and unable to walk or stand.  That was in a period of just four days.  We had the family call 911 because of this rapid decline and fainting.  The paramedics came quickly and, per usual, they brought with them an amazing presence and reassurance.  They took her vitals and she seemed to be doing better.  As incredible as they are, even Dr.'s, Nurses, and paramedics don't always grasp the reality of extreme dehydration for the elderly.  It seems to us that it would be a normal response, but it is not.  They decided not to take her to the hospital.

We ended up caring for this lovely woman for the next few days and in that time she continued to worsen.  It got to the point on the last day that we couldn't even touch her, just removing her blanket caused her a great deal of pain.  Needless to say, the paramedics came back and, this time, had a difficult time even putting her on the gurney due to pain.  During her hospital stay they found that she was indeed dehydrated and had a bladder infection.

One time when my grandmother became extremely dehydrated, it was during a period when we had both come down with a horrible cold.  My trying to not get her sicker and her not eating  and drinking properly made for disaster.  Just as I thought we were both getting over our colds she became frantic and her skin seemed to hurt to the touch.  She couldn't keep her dentures in because she insisted they didn't fit (this we realized was a sure sign of dehydration)  As a couple days passed we woke up to her telling us to call the doctor.  Somehow we were able to calm her down but her frantic state continued again in the morning.  Her face was seeming gaunt, she was in pain and her speech was slurred.  Was she having a stroke?  We called 911....They came quickly and took her to the hospital.  Within an hour and a half, after being rehydrated intravenously, her skin glowed, her speech was clear and she seemed to no longer be in pain.  All just a matter of fluid.   It was miraculous!!!

Why we push this so much is because, we found, that so often people assume that it is just a natural progression to stop eating and drinking and the rapid decline is just a part of growing old.  But, in our situation, we found that to not be true.  When they are dehydrated and no longer have a lot of saliva in their mouth, eating and swallowing becomes difficult, so they stop eating and drinking.  They tend to become very constipated, their dentures no longer seem to fit., they may slur their words, their skin loses elasticity and they become gaunt.   Basically everything becomes a chore for them and instead of thinking it could just be a matter of fluid we think it is a normal part of aging.  I stress this because, especially for those with dementia, they can't always communicate what they need and how they feel.  Please don't assume that they are checking out .... assume instead they need fluid.  At a certain point they must be hydrated intravenously.  Here are suggestions for daily monitoring....

Any of these are considered liquid...pudding, Juice, icecream, yogurt ..... Though it might be the best, it is definitely not limited to just water.