06.21.18 Some Things I Learned About Dementia – Love them, be kind to them, be sweet even childlike sweet originally published 12.19.14

Thursday, June 21, 2018 – This was originally written in 2014.  I have to admit that while re-reading this particular blog post from 2014 it brought tears and heartache to me.  I have read so many stories and episodes that caregivers have shared of how difficult care giving is and it absolutely is.  It’s horrendously difficult to watch your loved one suffer and turn into someone unrecognizable.  A common comment from spouses of someone with dementia is that “It is so hard to grieve the loss of someone who is still living.”   I now see these difficulties from the other side and feel the importance of others understanding this horrible disease from our side as well.

10609479_773060536095512_770022682920397739_nOriginally published 12.19.14 – Nothing in today’s blog is from any source other than our experience with Mama. She lived in our home during the final stages of Alzheimer’s. While we were moving from one house to another (and doing renovations on the new house) she lived in a local Assisted Living Home. Most of the main points I make below can, and I hope will be, used in your care giving. I’ll share what we did that seemed to work and you take it from there to fit your situation.

This week’s blog started out being about two other topics. However, as I collected information to share and writing pieces to add into these blogs, one thing keeps tugging at me to be shared first.

So here it is: Love them, be kind to them, be sweet even childlike sweet. Always strive for patience and calmness. Pray often for these things. It may not be in your nature to love others, be kind to others or be sweet to others. If not, I beg that you try it during this time. fake it if you must, but be loving, kind and sweet to them.

BE LOVING

Are caregivers saints?? No, but sometimes it will feel like everyone expects you to be one and you may feel heavily weighed down with this responsibility. My solace was knowing that God is my Savior, my King, my everything and He would never leave me alone as I cared for Mama. My pastor was a great comfort during that time. My husband was my hero loving Mama like she was his own Mama and allowing our household to be completely turned upside down for a long time. Normal took on a new meaning and I can’t stress that enough. We learned to laugh a lot and be silly to break the stress that sometimes hung in the air. My sister was my primary relief and was wonderful about coming to stay with mama as often as I needed her to. She’s my only sister, so it fell on us to care for mama in her last years, as she10734192_10152473918576198_829463759479924163_n so willingly loved and cared for us during our childhood years and on into our adult years.

These Alzheimer’s patients (I’d like to call them victims) didn’t make the choice to lose themselves to this disease that eats away at their true being, a little piece at a time. They are very dependent on their caregivers for a lot during the middles stages and for everything during the final stage.

It is easy to say “They don’t know what’s what, so why even care?” Can I say strongly enough “Shut it”. Don’t even go there if you have a loved one in need of your care. Most likely they were one of your primary caregiver when you were a baby growing into a child, teenager and didn’t let go until you became an adult. They loved and cared for you then and now is your opportunity to return that love and care.

Making the decision to become the primary caregiver may not have been a choice you made. You may have gotten it by default or you were the only one available. Whatever the reason, you have in your hands the heart and well being of someone for the final years, months and days of their lives. It’s a lot like being a parent, only the roles are reversed now.

Near the latter stages of Alzheimer’s Mama didn’t always know either my sister or I was her daughter, whose house she was living in or even who she was. Then nearer the end she couldn’t speak, walk, or smile any longer. This decline occurred over maybe a month or two so I know we were very blessed at that short period of time.

She had the most beautiful smile, I just had to share that!

During this time I started calling mama “pretty girl”, touching her face lovingly with the back of my hand, and loved her like a child loves to be loved. No matter what was happening in the rest of the house or how many times she’d call me into her room for the same thing over and over I “tried” to always enter her room with a smile on my face. She responded with sweet smiles and if she had been agitated like they sometimes are, that would stop.

10606322_770140433054189_4461898516402014795_nWhen they leave the world of reality for their bizarre little world, creating peace and happiness in some form for them is key.

I had two little beanie babies that we gave Mama as her babies to pet and love, and she was so happy with them. Mama loved to be needed and be helpful to others. She took right to taking care of the babies in the same way she use to take care of us. We would talk to them and she’d tell me stories about them and the joy on her face during those times was so heartwarming.

When she’d tell me some absolute foolishness I’d go there with her to her weird little world, and we’d have a grand old conversation.

Most people benefit from the touch of another person. These wonderful people are no exception. Mama often applied hand lotion to her hands pre-Alzheimer’s and her hands were always soft. She responded so well to having that done while living with Alzheimers that we made a regular practice of doing that. Just that simple act calmed and soothed her spirit. Don’t just stop with the hands and arms (and while doing that do it slowly so they enjoy it longer) every now and then do their feet and legs. The stimulation this gives them is so therapeutic to giving them another moment of light in their otherwise darkening world.

In one of next week’s topics I’ll share more about how we tried to provide a peaceful loving environment for Mama based on her love for the Lord.

Your Alzheimer’s patient isn’t my mom, so your choices will be different, but they all deserve all our love and kindness. You will see that message in my different forms throughout the weeks this blog is written.

index Please come back next time when I’ll share two topics: Learning about your loved ones lives before it’s too late and how to use their passions from when life was good to bring some joy into their current lives If you want to get an email whenever I post a blog (I write about other things, not just Alzheimer’s) find the “FOLLOW” box which is usually to the right hand side somewhere, enter your email and respond when the confirmation email is sent to you.

If you are in need of prayer for yourself, in your role as a caregiver, or if you have any specific questions please send me a comment with whatever information you want to share or ask about. I’ll say again that I’m not expert but I probably experienced with my mom a lot of things you’re going through and will try my best to help. If I don’t know the answer I will tell you I don’t know. I’ll never judge, I’ve been judged enough to last a life time and would never do that to someone else. My email address is rosalyn@selu.edu if that is an easier way to communicate.

Until next time,

10616237_10152505699331961_4740052752099689312_n

cooltext1838781539

Click on the links below to go there!

Dora and the Explorers published randomly

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays  published every Wednesday

 

04.30.18 Metairie Neurologist and Teepa Snow videos

Monday, April 30, 2018 – Here goes with something you probably won’t believe. Remember the neurologist that I stopped going to a couple of years ago?? Well I have an appointment to see him May 22nd.  I know,  The neurologist in Hammond knew so very little that I won’t go to her any longer.  Dr. Shamsnia was hard to handle (I know that’s saying it mildly) when I left, but while he is so arrogant, he IS brilliant.  He also now has a 3T MRI machine in his new building.  The 3T MRI will give the latest and greatest pictures of what’s going on in my brain (or what isn’t going on!).  So I’m hoping he won’t remember who I am and I can have the 3T MRI and get those results without talking to him too much. We’ll see where we go from there!

These videos are by Teepa Snow. Teepa Snow is one of the leading educators on dementia and the care that accompanies it, in the US and Canada.

How Dementia Affects Language Skills – 30 minutes

What is Dementia starts at the beginning of this video. At 12:30 she goes on to Vascular Dementia. This is what I have from having multiple TIAs. 21 minutes

“I Am Sorry, This is Hard” plus 5 More Care Phrases – Under 3 minutes

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays

Some Things I Learned About Dementia

04.09.18 THE IMPORTANCE OF TOUCH AND KINDNESS IN DEMENTIA, by Bob DeMarco

Monday, April 9, 2018 – I have read Bob DeMarco’s writing on Alzheimer’s Reading Room and this one on touch and kindness was especially spot on.

Another person, Peter Berry who has dementia, puts out a weekly short video of things related to what he’s experiencing at that time, that he thinks will help others.   He is a very positive person, determined to live his life the best he can. Here is the link to his you tube channel. Peter Berry’s You Tube Channel. The latest video, his 40th weekly video, is the main one I want to direct your attention to.  At least to start off.  I’ve never thought of doing what he talks about in the 40th weekly video and I will be from now on!

Things have been a little rockier lately with my dementia than usual along with other challenges in our life.  I would appreciate prayers.  This isn’t going away but please pray that God gives me and Roy the strength and the wisdom to handle this the best way we can, the way He wants us to.  Through the rough times and the good times God is our Rock.  I am so thankful for that.

One of the biggest challenges Alzheimer’s Caregivers face is how to communicate effectively with someone living with Alzheimer’s disease. This challenge is particularly difficult when a person living with dementia becomes nasty and mean. The importance of touch and kindness should never be underestimated in Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

THE IMPORTANCE OF TOUCH AND KINDNESS IN DEMENTIA, By Bob DeMarco, Alzheimer’s Reading Room

At the beginning, my mother turned meaner than a junkyard dog.

She said mean and nasty things to me every day.

This was new. My mother had never engaged in these behaviors with me before.

I had a leg up on this one because I studied communication in college and graduate school.

I understood that when my mother said something mean or nasty that it was the Alzheimer’s at work. It was not hard to make this cognitive leap. She had never done it before, now she was. What changed? Her brain changed. It was sick.

Even though I understood what was happening, it still hurt when she said those things to me. She did make me feel angry and sad. Every day. Day in and Day out.

I knew I had to do something. I finally realized something had to change — the first thing that had to change was me. I was going to need to learn how to label my feelings so I could control what I was feeling. Instead of mad, ready to take action.

I also decided I was going to have to do something to change Dotty. I already knew that trying to reason with someone suffering from Alzheimer’s is like trying to jump over the empire state building in a single bound.

Here is a quick description of one of the things that I did start doing. And yes, over time Dotty stopped saying those mean and nasty things to me.

Everyday, early in the morning, I would bend down and say something nice and positive to my mother. While doing this,

I put my forehead on her forehead.

I tried to get her to smile and say “yes”. I call this the positive reinforcement part of the process. When I say something nice, and when she responds yes –it anchors her.

I started to do this first thing in the morning several years ago. But not before I discovered that it worked and stopped her from being mean and vicious. I do it now in the same way I do many things — before it is needed. I call this getting out in front. I also call it getting the day started on the right foot. I don’t sit around and wait for the crap to hit the fan.

This is what I started doing in an effort to make my mother feel more secure and to stop saying mean things to me. My hope was that if I could make my mother feel more secure, she would stop being a junkyard dog.

When my mother would say something mean and nasty to me like, “get out, I can take care of myself”.

I would smiled at her, put my head against her forehead, and say something positive like,

“I am here, and I am not going anywhere”. While my forehead was still attached to hers I added something like,

“We are both here to take care of each other, we need each other”.

I was hoping beyond hope that somehow my mother would come to believe we were a team.

It worked.

The instances of my mother’s meanness and nastiness have declined dramatically. Today, she is more like the sweet person I always knew.

I believe the combination of touch, positive reinforcement, the calmness in my voice, and the smile did the trick. It really wasn’t hard to do. I did need a lot of practice on the emotional side. I had to get control of my emotions. I had to learn to meet meanness with Kindness.

On the other hand, the words came easy because I meant and believed every word I said.

Over time I learned how to communicate in a new, different, effective way. This is pleasing to me, and makes me feel happy.

I relearned something I already learned a long time ago. You get more with sugar than you do with vinegar. I guess you could say, I became a better person along the way.

I could thank Alzheimer’s for this. I won’t.

Thank you, Dotty.

Don’t be afraid to try it. I’m confident it will change your life.

Image result for KINDNESS SCRIPTURE QUOTE

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Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays

Some Things I Learned About Dementia

02.17.18 We’re Moving – Some Things I Learned About Dementia!

I have been writing 3 blogs for the last few years.  My own dementia has progressed to the point where I can’t do that without a lot of frustration and even failure.  There are a bunch of people following this blog so I want you to know where the information will now be posted that would have been posted here on Some Things I Learned About Dementia.

Our personal blog is called Dora and the Explorers.  We live in a motor home and travel most of the year (until recently) Dora is our motor home, Boots is our truck we tow behind Dora and we are the Explorers of all parts of the United States.  Just wanted to explain the blog name!  Our granddaughter Madisyn helped us name all this early on in our RV planning stage.  She was only 3 when we started this and Dora was her favorite television show.  She was not real sure about having Grannie and Paw Paw gone a lot of the time so letting her come up with this helped her comfort level greatly.  She loves to say that we get inside of Dora through her ear (door) and when Dora makes funny sounds she says Dora’s tummy is grumbling!

The web address for Dora and the Explorers is http://rosalynandroy.com

I will still be sharing dementia information I find and information about my own dementia.  I’ve felt strongly from the beginning of my dementia journey that sharing and helping educate caregivers and dementia patients was something God laid on my heart to do.  I will continue doing that at our personal blog.

Some of you now receive an email when I publish this Dementia blog.  If you would like to get an email when I publish something (dementia related or otherwise) on our personal blog go to the blog at http://rosalynandroy.com and on the right hand side there is a place that says Follow Our Blog.  Enter your email and when you are sent an email, please confirm it.

The third blog I’ve been writing for a few years is Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays.  Like the web page says, my hope is to give you a midweek uplift a few giggles and lots of smiles.

I am an encourager by nature and love finding funny, heartwarming and downright silly things to share, hoping to make someones day a bit brighter.  This use to be a weekly blog but I can no longer handle that.   It’s become a whenever I can do it blog and comes out on any day of the week. Suprises!!

Our personal blog will now contain all three blogs: personal including our travels, dementia and wacky fun stuff.

Thanks for following this blog and I really hope you will follow our personal one.  Take care and God Bless Ya’ll!  Rosalyn Chauvin

 

 

02.10.18 Some Things I Learned About Dementia – Love them, be kind to them, be sweet even childlike sweet originally published 12.19.14

This was originally written in 2014.  I have to admit that while re-reading this particular blog post from 2014 it brought tears and heartache to me.  I have read so many stories and episodes that caregivers have shared of how difficult caregiving is and it absolutely is.  It’s horrendously difficult to watch your loved one suffer and turn into someone unrecognizable.   I now see these difficulties from the other side and  feel the importance of others understanding this horrible disease from our side as well.

10609479_773060536095512_770022682920397739_nNothing in today’s blog is from any source other than our experience with Mama. She lived in our home during the final stages of Alzheimer’s. While we were moving from one house to another (and doing renovations on the new house) she lived in a local Assisted Living Home. Most of the main points I make below can, and I hope will be, used in your care giving. I’ll share what we did that seemed to work and you take it from there to fit your situation.

This week’s blog started out being about two other topics. However, as I collected information to share and writing pieces to add into these blogs, one thing keeps tugging at me to be shared first.

So here it is: Love them, be kind to them, be sweet even childlike sweet. Always strive for patience and calmness. Pray often for these things. It may not be in your nature to love others, be kind to others or be sweet to others. If not, I beg that you try it during this time. fake it if you must, but be loving, kind and sweet to them.

BE LOVING

Are caregivers saints?? No, but sometimes it will feel like everyone expects you to be one and you may feel heavily weighed down with this responsibility. My solace was knowing that God is my Savior, my King, my everything and He would never leave me alone as I cared for Mama. My pastor was a great comfort during that time. My husband was my hero loving Mama like she was his own Mama and allowing our household to be completely turned upside down for a long time. Normal took on a new meaning and I can’t stress that enough. We learned to laugh a lot and be silly to break the stress that sometimes hung in the air. My sister was my primary relief and was wonderful about coming to stay with mama as often as I needed her to. She’s my only sister, so it fell on us to care for mama in her last years, as she10734192_10152473918576198_829463759479924163_n so willingly loved and cared for us during our childhood years and on into our adult years.

These Alzheimer’s patients (I’d like to call them victims) didn’t make the choice to lose themselves to this disease that eats away at their true being, a little piece at a time. They are very dependent on their caregivers for a lot during the middles stages and for everything during the final stage.

It is easy to say “They don’t know what’s what, so why even care?” Can I say strongly enough “Shut it”. Don’t even go there if you have a loved one in need of your care. Most likely they were one of your primary caregiver when you were a baby growing into a child, teenager and didn’t let go until you became an adult. They loved and cared for you then and now is your opportunity to return that love and care.

Making the decision to become the primary caregiver may not have been a choice you made. You may have gotten it by default or you were the only one available. Whatever the reason, you have in your hands the heart and well being of someone for the final years, months and days of their lives. It’s a lot like being a parent, only the roles are reversed now.

Near the latter stages of Alzheimer’s Mama didn’t always know either my sister or I was her daughter, whose house she was living in or even who she was. Then nearer the end she couldn’t speak, walk, or smile any longer. This decline occurred over maybe a month or two so I know we were very blessed at that short period of time.

She had the most beautiful smile, I just had to share that!

During this time I started calling mama “pretty girl”, touching her face lovingly with the back of my hand, and loved her like a child loves to be loved. No matter what was happening in the rest of the house or how many times she’d call me into her room for the same thing over and over I “tried” to always enter her room with a smile on my face. She responded with sweet smiles and if she had been agitated like they sometimes are, that would stop.

10606322_770140433054189_4461898516402014795_nWhen they leave the world of reality for their bizarre little world, creating peace and happiness in some form for them is key.

I had two little beanie babies that we gave Mama as her babies to pet and love, and she was so happy with them. Mama loved to be needed and be helpful to others. She took right to taking care of the babies in the same way she use to take care of us. We would talk to them and she’d tell me stories about them and the joy on her face during those times was so heartwarming.

When she’d tell me some absolute foolishness I’d go there with her and we’d have a grand old conversation.

Most people benefit from the touch of another person. These wonderful people are no exception. Mama often applied hand lotion to her hands pre-Alzheimer’s and her hands were always soft. She responded so well to having that done while living with Alzheimers that we made a regular practice of doing that. Just that simple act calmed and soothed her spirit. Don’t just stop with the hands and arms (and while doing that do it slowly so they enjoy it longer) every now and then do their feet and legs. The stimulation this gives them is so therapeutic to giving them another moment of light in their otherwise darkening world.

In one of next week’s topics I’ll share more about how we tried to provide a peaceful loving environment for Mama based on her love for the Lord.

Your Alzheimer’s patient isn’t my mom, so your choices will be different, but they all deserve all our love and kindness. You will see that message in my different forms throughout the weeks this blog is written.

index Please come back next time when I’ll share two topics: Learning about your loved ones lives before it’s too late and how to use their passions from when life was good to bring some joy into their current lives If you want to get an email whenever I post a blog (I write about other things, not just Alzheimer’s) find the “FOLLOW” box which is usually to the right hand side somewhere, enter your email and respond when the confirmation email is sent to you.

If you are in need of prayer for yourself, in your role as a caregiver, or if you have any specific questions please send me a comment with whatever information you want to share or ask about. I’ll say again that I’m not expert but I probably experienced with my mom a lot of things you’re going through and will try my best to help. If I don’t know the answer I will tell you I don’t know. I’ll never judge, I’ve been judged enough to last a life time and would never do that to someone else. My email address is rosalyn@selu.edu if that is an easier way to communicate.

Until next time,

10616237_10152505699331961_4740052752099689312_n

cooltext1838781539

Click on the links below to go there!

Dora and the Explorers published randomly

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays  published every Wednesday

02.09.18 Some Things I Learned About Dementia – You’re Loved One is Changing. The Question is, are you? by Rick Phelps

Rick Phelps, founder of Memory People on Facebook published the following article this week.  Remember , when reading it, that he has had Early Onset Alzheimer’s since 2011.  His point of view is very valuable for caregivers to hear and learn from. 

You’re loved one is changing. The question is, are you? I have often said that you as a caregiver have to come into my world as a patient. I cannot come into yours. That world no longer exists for me.

In other words we sometimes get all worked up on what works, what doesn’t, what to do, what not to do. The thing is what works today for whatever situation may not work tomorrow. And may not work ever again.

So what do you do? This is where coming into our world comes into effect. It’s obvious that you cannot actually know what is happening and understand what we as patients go through. I’m a dementia patient and I don’t know what’s happening most of the time.

But you as a caregiver have to learn to adapt. Change with the changes. I hate to compare dementia patients to children but here is a very good analogy.

If you have a child say a year old and are giving them scrambled eggs for breakfast. They love their scrambled eggs. Then one morning, all of a sudden they don’t. They spit them out. Won’t eat them. Just won’t.

Instead of trying to figure out why a year old suddenly won’t eat eggs if futile. What you do is don’t feed them scrambled eggs anymore.

Same goes with a dementia patient in so many ways. If one morning your loved one for whatever reason refuses to get dressed, it is not in anyone best interest to make them or to try to figure out why one day all of sudden they refuse to get dressed.

If they for whatever reason decide one day they don’t like the television on, you better not have it on. If they decide their not going to the doctor, all the coaxing in the world isn’t going to change their minds.

In other words in all these scenarios there is one constant thing. Don’t try to make a dementia patient do anything. Now, if it of course has to do with their safety or the safety of others of course you must intervene.

Trying to explain to a dementia patient why they can’t or can do something is also futile. They don’t understand. We sometimes forget this.

It’s normal for us to get a shower or bath every day. But for a dementia patient the water coming out of a shower can be devastating. Could be the fact that the shower doors are shut and they feel confined. Could be that the water hitting them scares them. It could be dozens of things.

The main thing is you have to change your thinking that your loved one must bathe everyday when or if this happens. Now that doesn’t mean that you never see that their hygene isn’t taken care of.

You can easily wipe them off with a wash rag, hit the main spots and baby powder works wonders on body odor. How dirty are they getting anyways?

The point I am trying to make is I cannot help some of the crazy things that happen. No dementia patient can. You will read on here how some caregivers feel that their loved ones can do somethings, they are just not doing them because they want to upset the caregiver.

This is just making excuses for the caregiver not being able to accomplish what they want their loved ones to do. From the smallest things, to huge things.

I tell people all the time that this thing about patients hoarding things is crazy for example. First off, to hoard something you have to have a plan. Plan to take whatever it is you are hoarding, plan to put whatever it is somewhere, and plan to get it later. And remembering all the while where the thing is.

This simply doesn’t happen in the world of dementia. People call it hoarding because that is how it is easily explained away. When in fact what the patient is doing is simply putting things where they think they belong.

Once again, we make things much more difficult then they need to be. I can’t tell you the number of things I have put where they don’t belong. Does that mean I’m hoarding things? Hardly. It means if you find the bread in the oven, for whatever reason that is where I thought it went.

If my wife finds things where she knows they don’t belong, she simply puts them where they go. Many times not even mentioning to me why they were where they were.

I can’t begin to tell you the number of things I have thrown away. From silverware, to glasses, to toothpaste, to full jars of peanut butter. Why? Who knows. I don’t realize I am doing this. It’s not normal to throw away beaters after mashing the potatoes but I have done it many times and will again.

What I’m getting at as a caregiver no matter what any of the “experts“ tell you, you can’t figure out why patients do what they do. Try to figure out why your loved one has a hard time especially during the winter months when it gets dark so early. You can’t.

There will be people who will tell you turn all the lights on in the house. As if this is going to “fix” the thing we call sundowners. It isn’t and it doesn‘t.

I can tell you from someone who suffers from sundowners that if we turn all the lights on in our home about sundown, I will still be confused, nervous, anxious, and even scared, I will just be all these things in a well lit home.

Someone came up with the idea of turning on all your lights, thinking that is the lack of sunlight that causes sundowners. I can have issues of sundowners in the middle of the day. I can have it first thing in the morning. It has nothing to do with sunlight or the lack there of.

That’s me. Your loved one could be just the opposite. Again, what I am saying is we are all different. And what works for one may not someone else. Or what works today, maybe won’t tomorrow.

Think about this, today as bad as it is for your loved one, this could be the very best day they ever have again. We simply don’t know. There are good days and there are bad.

Most of my days anymore are bad. With a little bit of good throughout each day. But all in all, I know what is in store for me today, tomorrow, and the next. I just don’t know if I will ever have a really good day ever again.

And nothing can change this. You as a caregiver can help by coming into our world as I said. We simply cannot function in the world you live in. The one we use too.

It’s not there anymore. And it never will be….

© Rick Phelps 2018

cooltext1838781539

Click on the links below to go there!

Dora and the Explorers published randomly

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays  published randomly

02.05.18 Some Things I Learned About Dementia – Devoted Son Finds A Clever Way To Help His Dad Battle Alzheimer’s originally published 02.23.17

Monday, February 5, 2018 – When I saw the neurologist last, she put me on the lowest dose of Galamantine, a dementia medicine.  It is not making me lightheaded, well it is just a tiny bit, but not like the others started doing.  It does seem to be helping a little with remembering what things are called.  I’ll take any amount of help. The dosage can be increased each month to a maximum of 24 mg per day.  We’ll see what the neurologist says when I go back next.

 

Original blog 02.23.17 – As Alzheimer’s took hold of Ted McDermott, he started forgetting his family. He also started getting violent. His family watched on, heartbroken. But then his son, Mac, had a brilliant idea. Ted has always been a talented singer. So, his devoted son uses music to battle his dad’s Alzheimer’s!

God gifted Ted with a beautiful singing voice, something he’s always treasured. There was a time when Ted traveled around Britain, singing in night clubs and pubs. When he finally settled down and started working in a factory, he continued to sing on the side.

An Awful Diagnosis In 2013, Ted and his family got terrible news. Ted was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It progresses over time, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior.

As the disease took hold, Ted started forgetting his family.

“In the last few years his memory has deteriorated a lot – often not recognizing me as his son,” his son Mac explained. “It’s a horrible illness.”

The memory loss was tough. But the outbursts only made things worse.

“The more the Alzheimer’s kicked in, the more Dad became violent – both physically and verbally. It was incredibly difficult to manage, and terrifying at times,” Mac said.

Then, one day, Mac had an idea.

“My dad’s been a singer all his life and entertainer all his life,” Mac explained. “He’s a real character and he loves singing. He’s got a good voice.”

Ted has music in his bones. So, Mac reason that maybe it would reach him in a way no one else could.

When Mac noticed Ted starting to zone out, he put on some of his favorite songs. Just as he’d hoped, Ted sang along, remembering the lyrics!

Mac was on to something. And now the devoted son uses music to battle his dad’s Alzheimer’s!

An Internet Star Is Born

Mac found that listening to music with his dad works wonders.

“When we’ve got him singing again he’s back in the room. It’s these moments that we treasure,” he said.

Ted became known on Facebook as The Songaminute Man. Mac started filming these special moments in a James Corden Carpool Karaoke style.

Listen to Ted sing by clicking HERE:

The videos of the sweet son driving his beloved dad around while the two belt out melodies together quickly went viral. Ted was officially a singing sensation!

Thanks to all the hype the father and son duo received online, a dream came true for the pair. Record executive Alexander Van Ingen spotted the videos and quickly signed Ted as an artist. He described Ted as “truly remarkable for any singer, let alone one 80 years of age.”

Ted will soon release his first single, a cover of Frank Sinatra’s You Make Me Feel So Young, to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society. And Mac can’t believe it.

“It’s amazing to think he has a single coming out,” he said.

Music is a gift from God, and it’s amazing to see this gift used to heal!

From GodVine at http://www.godvine.com/

17

Please come back next time when I’ll share more topics about dementia. If you want to get an email whenever I post a blog (I write about other things, not just Alzheimer’s) find the “FOLLOW” box which is usually to the right hand side somewhere, enter your email and respond when the confirmation email is sent to you.

If you are in need of prayer for yourself, in your role as a caregiver, or if you have any specific questions please send me a comment with whatever information you want to share or ask about. I’ll say again that I’m not expert, but I probably experienced with my mom a lot of things you’re going through and will try my best to help. If I don’t know the answer I will tell you I don’t know. I’ll never judge, I’ve been judged enough to last a life time and would never do that to someone else. My email address is rosalyn@selu.edu if that is an easier way to communicate.

I am creating my own graphics with scriptures.  When I can, those will be the ones I’m sharing here.  Another way to help expand the use of my brain to keep it ship shape!

Until next time,

psalm-95-1

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02.01.18 Some Things I Learned About Dementia – Caregivers Prayer

A Caregivers Prayer
Beautiful, simple, inspiring.

I don’t normally like scripted prayers because I believe that you pray to God from your heart. I am sharing this prayer below not necessarily for you to use to pray but because it gives some great insight into what being a good caregiver is like.
I’m going to need a lot
of help to become a good caregiver.

I’m counting on you, God, for that.

Help me grow patience for this journey.
Help me forgive myself for all the ways I fail.

Show me how to see that heart within
that longs for unconditional love,
just like me.
Show me how to know that soul
that shines in the light of divine love,
just like mine.
Show me myself in this person.
Show me this person in me.

Help me listen to a thousand repetitions
without getting angry.
Help me to say, “Uh-Huh,” instead of
“I already told you that!”
Help me not be frightened or repelled
by a grown-up needing guidance
and help like a child.

Help me laugh when
I find sheets in the oven,
socks on hands,
underwear over pants,
someone undressed and back in bed
I just spent an hour getting up.

Help me be kind, to myself and others.
To say, “Oh well!” when I lose my temper.
To say, “I’m sorry” when I owe it,
To say, “Never mind” and mean it,
To say, “Oops” and not scold.
Help me remind myself that,
next to the end of civilization as we know it,
this really isn’t so much.

Help me forgive this person’s illness.
Help me forgive my lack of empathy.
Help me remind myself that
I don’t have to be perfect
and, as you know, God,
that’s a good thing,
considering.

Help me to journey to the place where
it’s enough to be the people we both are.

Help me be amused instead of judgemental.
Help me stop blaming someone for their illness.
Help me be kind
instead of angry and frightened.
Help me give more than I ever got.
Help me grow into the person
who can love everyone exactly as they are,
including me.

Help me be willing
to become my parent’s parent
instead of resisting with anger.

Help me learn how to have fun,
how to travel into different time zones
with my parent
who thinks this is 1928 in South Dakota.

Help me understand
that when my 88-year-old mother
asks me when her mother is coming home
it means she needs a mother.
Help me be that mother.

Help me think about the fact
that sometimes everyone feels
like a motherless child.
Help me feel that gap.

Help me know and understand that
as I become what others need
I become that for myself.
I’d be really grateful, Lord,
if you could do all that for me really fast.
Or maybe at least,
you could rush me some patience.

Thank you.

SOURCE:
(c) Frena Gray-Davidson
Author of “Alzheimer’s 911”
Help, Hope, and Healing for the Caregiver
Robert D. Reed Publishers
http://www.rdpublishers.com
Until next time!

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01.26.18 Some Things I Learned About Dementia – Learning about their youth and Knowing their Passions to help them cope – originally published 12.26.14

Friday, January 26, 2018 – I know I say about a lot of these dementia blog posts that they are important. These two  projects  covered below are something I’m working on while I still can, so they are very important to me right now.

More important than these two are my Living Will, Power of Attorney, and Medical Power of Attorney which Roy and I have had in place for years.  When we took care of preparing and having my mom’s documents signed we did our own also.  Everyone should have those three documents and your actual will prepared and signed. I just tried to look up the law on these three documents but it was more than I could do right now.

The first thing I share below is “Learning about your loved one’s younger lives before it’s too late.”  I have really taken this project seriously.  A couple of years ago I started writing about my life.  If I can remember it now then it’s probably a good thing for loved ones to talk to me about in the future because I have a better chance of remembering them when only long term memory is left. In addition to me writing down what I can remember, I asked friends and family to share memories they have of times with me.  If I remember their memories it goes in my document.  The document is now eleven pages long.  About half of it is just bullet points of memories but half is complete.  I’ve given the file to my youngest son to add memories of he and I, or his family and I .  I wrote some of it but he’s filling in the details.  I’ll send it to my oldest son soon.

If any of my friends or family have memories about our relationship, please send them to me!  Several friends did this when I first started putting this together and it was wonderful.

I’ve read a lot about when visitors bring up old memories with a patient it brings the patient out possibly being able to communicate when they seem to have lost that capability.  I really want to stay as communication able as long as I can.  The file is on my computer and I add a little bit to it each week. This document will be available for anyone who visits me in an effort to help me and them be able to communicate.

In addition, if you have this information, you’ll be prepared to know if they are having hallucinations or real memories.

The second topic below is “How to use their passions from when life was good, to bring some joy into their current lives.”

Reading books and my Bible are important in my life.  We’ve purchased two Wonder Bibles in the King James Version of the Bible.  Most of the Bible scripture I learned was in my younger days was in the King James Version. When I can no longer read my Bible (I’m not there yet!!) I will be able to have it read to me and am hopeful I’ll make a connection with the verses I’ve learned and be able to continue to have God’s Word communicated to me!

Listening to music and singing with them is something that makes me very happy and stirs my heart as I remember the words.  We have recorded a huge library of music from several genres.  Our church’s choir and solo specials, Christian gospel, Christian contemporary, Christian hymns, rock and roll of the 60s and 70s, acapella singing, Christmas songs and hymns, Patriotic, R & B, movie themes, and more!  I am moving these songs to one place on my computer so that it can be turned on and played for hours on end if need be. I know I’ve shared articles about how important music is to reaching down deep in a dementia patients mind.

Old TV shows like Bonanza, Andy Griffith, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeanie, Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street, old cartoons, Moonlighting, Little House on the Prairie and lots of other movies or TV shows are shows I hope to collect and keep for watching at a time that would help me.

I’ve learned to paint and hide rocks this past year and I hope that is something I’ll still be able to do at some point.  I love sharing them with people so as silly as it may sound if I paint a rock for you it means I love you a lot! I just finished making personal rocks for four of my grandchildren and I certainly love them a lot!

When the time comes that none of these brings me to a communication place, you’ll know that if it is at all getting in it is making my soul and heart happy.

Original Blog published December 26, 2014 – Merry Christmas to everybody from my husband Roy and I! relxmas1We really hope everyone had a blessed Christmas day! Continue reading