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Archive for March, 2009

Another email from the Alzheimer’s Association:

The latest news concerning Alzheimer’s is in and some of it is jaw-dropping…
According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2009 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, Alzheimer’s disease triples healthcare costs for Americans aged 65 and older!

The new report not only reveals the tremendous impact Alzheimer’s will have in the near future, it also highlights the current social and economic plight of the 5.3 million Americans currently living with this devastating disease, and their families.

Download the report today to learn more.

Now is the time to turn the tide… Please stop Alzheimer’s from destroying America’s future by joining us in our fight.

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This is from an email I received from the Alzheimer’s Association:

The Alzheimer’s Public Policy Forum on March 23-25, in Washington D.C., includes a pair of media events and a moving and meaningful Candlelight Vigil on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Your support as a caring and compassionate American is critical to the success of the Forum. Below, you’ll find several meaningful ways you can be part of the activities:

Help us get the word out to America by voicing your support during the following media appearances by Association leaders:

  • Alzheimer’s Association President and CEO Harry Johns will appear on C-Span Tuesday, March 24; 8:30 – 9:00 AM, (EST) to introduce the latest frightening statistics from the new Alzheimer’s Association 2009 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report.

  • Alzheimer’s Study Group members Newt Gingrich, Sandra Day O’Connor, and David Satcher will appear on National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation on Wednesday, March 25; 2-3 PM (EST) to discuss the Alzheimer crisis.

Please check your local listings for station information.
Ask family, friends and colleagues to tune in.

 
Can’t attend our Washington, D.C. Candlelight Vigil in person? Then light a virtual candle — create a moving and lasting online tribute page!
Tonight, Alzheimer advocates will gather to share their stories and light candles in honor of their loved ones impacted with Alzheimer’s disease.  If you haven’t already, please take this opportunity to light a virtual candle to honor caregivers, those who are living with Alzheimer’s, those who we love who have been lost to the disease, or simply as a way to show your support in our fight against Alzheimer’s.

Thank you for taking part in these Public Policy Forum events and activities. Your involvement will make a significant difference in our goal to rid the world of the tragedy of Alzheimer’s disease!

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I talked with Mom briefly yesterday. She told me she hasn’t been feeling well lately because of some new medicines she’s taking.

In fact, she was rather worried and tried to explain to Dad how she was feeling and asked him in the case of an emergency, would he know what to do.

Mom gave him the scenario of if she didn’t wake up, what would he do? His reply was something along the lines of, “nothing, God would take care of it.”

Not exactly what one wants to hear! Again, Dad strikes with his religious delusions. We’re going to have to work on that one.

The truth is, I don’t know how Dad would react if he was the only one around to call for help. Would he even know something was wrong? Would he have the cognitive ability and function to realize there was a situation and to dial 911 or get help? I don’t know and that is a scary thought.

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The Hubs and I arrived in Sydney and so far we are enjoying our time back here. Jet lag still has me lagging a bit and I find myself waking up at 4am… I hope that stops real soon!

Anyway, the Hubs and I are enjoying our time together. We love visiting all of our old haunts in Sydney and the weather has been spot on- just gorgeous! It’s so very nice being back here. We absolutely love it.

According to Mom, Dad has been doing relatively well. I talked with Dad yesterday and he seemed okay when we were chatting. He’s been pestering her to go to the movies every day. They went Saturday and will go Monday. I think since Dad has been doing well, he’s eager to get out of the house and keep active. Of course going out can be expensive especially if it’s every day so we need to think of some things that don’t cost too much money. Anyone have any ideas? We usually do a movie, lunch or dinner, run errands, grocery shopping. Maybe a trip to the library? Let me know if anyone has any tips!

I’ll be sure to pop on again. Happy St. Patty’s to all!

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My Husband and I are off to Australia and then on to New Zealand for some time. It will be a long time gone from the folks but we’re looking forward to getting back to our “second home.” We miss it dearly and we’re ready for some time for ourselves.

I, of course, feel terrible about leaving Mom by herself for so long. I know it’s not going to be easy for her and I’m sure there will be many times where she will be completely burned out, frustrated and at her wit’s ends. Luckily, Sister will be coming out a few days before Easter and then staying the whole week after so that will give Mom a lending hand while we’re gone. However, I’m sure the rest of the time won’t be a walk in the park for her.

I know in the end we will not always be staying with Mom and Dad and therefore not around for constant assistance like we have been. In a way, I guess it’s like a “test” of sorts to see how things go with just the two of them. I’m afraid the reality of what lies ahead for Mom will hit her hard while we’re away. I imagine feelings of isolation, resentment, frustration, entrapment and the need for constant care and so forth may be overwhelming to handle on one’s own and really, quite depressing. I’m guess the harsh reality of Dad’s health will be even more evident while we’re away.

Dad isn’t too keen on us going away for so long. He’s asked us to cut our trip short and just go away for a few weeks, but that’s not going to happen. We’ve been telling him for quite a while that we’re going away so we’ve tried to prepare him. He tends to forget that we’ve previously told him about our travel plans so each time we mention Australia, it’s like he’s hearing it for the first time and then recalls a few bits of info. He has asked for me to bring him back some ANZAC biscuits, which I will do!

Mom, Good luck and I love you. Wish you could come along, too, as you deserve a much needed break. I’ll call you all the time time! xx

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Despite Dad continuing to do relatively well, lately, Dad has developed a strong dependency upon each one of us, especially upon Mom. His dependency isn’t necessarily because he requires the help but rather, mostly likely because he simply thinks he can’t do anything on his own.

Since Dad is doing okay, his physical and mental capabilities are in tact, for the most part. That being said, it baffles us that Dad requires us to do mostly EVERYTHING for him even though in most situations he is more than capable of doing things for himself. For instance, Dad won’t get out of bed without us standing in the bedroom. In fact, he’ll scream his head off calling for us to come in to the room just so he can get up. We don’t have to help him get out of the bed, just be in the room. The same thing goes for getting showered and changed in the morning. He could do it all on his own but he just won’t. We have to get him his Ensure and cereal every morning despite him being plenty capable of doing it himself. Every night, we have to dish him up some ice cream or get him some milk even though he can certainly do it himself. Those examples are just a few samples of what we experience every day. To be fair, when he was doing really poorly, he wasn’t able to do any of those things on his own and relied on us. Maybe he’s built in to his head that he can’t do anything himself and we must do it for him. We try to get him to do things for himself but he resists our attempts. I don’t know? But then again, when he’s doing well, he wants to do things on his own and gets upset if we do it for him. Maybe he just likes being waited on hand and foot, ha! More times than not, though, he’ll want us to do anything and everything for him even though he could easily do it himself, even if it takes him a little more time than it used to.

Then comes the constant smothering which is driving us a little mad. He is our shadow at all times of day. We can’t step out of his sight for literally one second without him yelling or following after us. If we run to the restroom, he’s right there outside the door waiting. If I visit the hubs in his work office, Dad is right there two seconds later opening the office door. If I’m folding laundry in the laundry room, he’s standing in the doorway watching. Of course I ask him to help and he says he can’t and just continues to wait for me to finish. If I go to take a shower, he’s panicked and worried that I’m out of his sight. If someone is not within a few feet of him, he’s asking where they are and he’s off to find them. He’s especially clingy with Mom. He’s always asking for her every second and doesn’t give Mom a moment for herself. It’s extremely frustrating and I’m sure it’s going to drive her mad while the Hubs and I are away on our upcoming trip. I’m sure his new smothering behavior is attributed to some sort of delusions he’s experiencing. He has mentioned a few times that he thinks one of us is in trouble and so he must find us. I’m assuming he thinks every time we’re not in his sight, something bad is going to happen.

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Yesterday was my birthday and it was a rather good one. Although, I’m not too particularly keen on the actual number of years that I am but what can you do, ha!

Dad has been doing well since last weekend and continues to do rather well. Yesterday he had a good day and was excited that it was my birthday. Mom and Dad arrived home after some shopping with an arrangement of beautiful flowers in hand. Dad was more than happy to present them to me which made me smile.

The Hubs, Mom and Dad and I all went out for a lovely dinner followed by cake and presents at home. Dad ordered a salad, a full rack of ribs with all the fixings and ate every single bit of food. He also wanted a beer and since it was a special occasion, we decided it would hopefully be okay and he ordered it. Turns out there were no problems from the alcohol, thank goodness! Sometimes it’s just so hard to say no to him. He thoroughly enjoyed his cold brew as it had been such a long time since he’s had one. I think since Dad is doing well, he remembers a bit more and therefore wants to do the things that he was once able to enjoy.

Of course, everyone was super generous with the presents and I had a lovely evening. Best of all, Dad was really alert and a bit like his old self which was a great present in itself!

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