Parkinsons – not welcome #elderlyissues #atozchallenge #poetry

Hard to move

hands and feet are one with metal

I’m pushing my stroller

big wheels are on a wheelchair

I want to slump in fatigue

enveloped in an old body

muscles feel like jello

“Keep moving”

“Reach for the Moon”

 

There is no easy diagnosis for the elderly.

Parkinsons joins the ranks of “Not this” “How will I deal with this disease?”

I’ve been impressed by elderly men and women who have faced the disease straight on.  Astronaut Michael Rich Clifford made his third trip to space (on NASAs shuttle Atlantis) after being diagnosed with Parkinsons.

“People don’t die from Parkinson’s they die from something else.” My instructor told our class recently.

My mentor from childhood has Alzheimers and her husband has Parkinsons. At 90, he continues to work on projects and they both walk (more slowly) and climb up their 100 stairs every morning.

I have several clients with Parkinsons and a family member. I’ve noticed one attribute in each of them – they never give up.

Like every disease exercise is necessary as is a good diet and lots of water.

How do you persist in these uncertain days???

 

 

Nexus #elderlyissues #atozchallenge

 

 

For the elderly person the nexus of life can be chronic illness.

Its the one thing so many share.

My husband’s brothers all talk about the illnesses they share or how many times they go to the doctor – uggh.

 Disease (doctors) might seem like the core of life but it doesn’t need to be.

What about finding new connections? My client might never have enjoyed bingo but it’s a social connection she’s now enjoying.

My friend’s father always loved machinery but his wife (with Alzheimers) needs to connect on a different level now – they love watching birds.

 

I like the idea that nature can be one important nexus for our aging friends and family members.

 

 

The photograph “Chains and People” (at the top) was meant to convey that sense of ordered chaos.

Hopefully a connection with nature can smooth some of the chaos away.

Thanks to the A to Z challenge for giving us a blogging Nexus in April.

What’s your Nexus in your life???

Dementia #atozchallenge #elderlyissues #dragons

“Honey, I lost another one…”

“Okay, let me get my glasses on so I can find my shoes.”

“Why do you need shoes?”

“So I can help you find what you lost.”

“Are you okay? We don’t need shoes to find the word I lost just now.”

 

As I get older I cant tell you how many names and words seem to slip out of my brain when I need them. It’s easy to wonder: Do I have dementia? Am I at risk????

***

There are still soooo many things we don’t know about this condition. If anything it has broadened as a field of study.

It’s easy to get frustrated when mom, dad, auntie, uncle can’t remember me or cant remember how to put his or her clothes on.  I want to fill in the blanks when they drop a word or when speech slows.

Diet ( a happy brain has healthy oils, low sugar, fiber) and activity play an important role as we age; this also being the case with dementia. Family members struggle because there is a new normal that isn’t their normal. It can be easier for an “outside” caregiver because we are not as familiar with the way that person was.

Beyond diet and activity it’s also important to engage. Not easy I promise but it is rewarding when you can “get in” to the world of an elderly person.

***

Dementia Case #1

What are we doing?

Well a man named Isaac Newton did it why cant we? I said as I started dropping a heavy item from one hand and a light item from my other hand.

“Look you better let me do it; you could get hurt.” He couldnt hide the chuckle.

“Okay Mr. D but first you have to predict if the feather or the rock will hit the floor first. ”

“What are these again?”

“They are finger puppets.”

Mr. C walked across the room making his finger puppet fly and made a bird call.

“This is strictly for scientific purposes you know.” He said as he looked over his shoulder.

“What do you wanna bet that my paper fighter plane can fly further than yours.”

“We will have to see after all this is science in the making. ” Mr C. said as he flung his paper airplane across the backyard.

We did a great job with my science curriculum the publisher will be pleased. No telling your family what we were doing.

***

Last summer as I was preparing lessons and activities for a Science curriculum ( we published for schools in E. Africa), I used Mr. D to help practice the science activities. We made bird puppets, demonstrated gravity with different objects, made and flew planes.

 

***

 

 

Welcome to Moondustwriter’s Blog.  I am participating in the 2020 A to Z Challenge.

If you are participating how are you enjoying the challenge after the first “week’?

 

You may have an aging family member in your home.

How do you deal with your family member when they seem to be forgetting or losing a big part of who they used to be?

What are some of your challenges?

 

If you like dragons

Or

You have a child at home who likes dragons

OR

you are spending your day reading stuff and what the heck dragons are okay

“D” obviously for dragons –  https://wp.me/pDORj-6fi

It’s part of a series of children’s stories that we were finalizing when we were invited to publish science curriculum for E. Africa.

Care Givers #atozchallenge #elderly

 

She brought a fragrant rose every day. I always wanted to change Chelsie’s name to Joy.

She reminded me of a fountain that was always bubbling over with joy. She always knocked on the door at 9:55 in the morning. Mr. C would go off to do his errands. Chelsie and I would do what we called “Ms C’s Spa Treatment.”

Chelsie would sing with her beautiful voice and then a story.

“Well ladies my girl Fatima had me all in stitches. She had wanted to make homemade bread for dinner. That bread broke my knife. Well girl I think what we have is a homemade brick. No use crying cuz this bread will make a fine door stop.”

It was always like that with Ms C, Chelsie and I laughing until we were bent over on tears.

“I can’t wait for tomorrow morning.” Ms C would say as I put her to bed for the night. (“neither can I.”)

***

I cannot say enough about those who give their time to care for an elderly family member or friend. Many give up their jobs to be the primary caregiver. It can be a strain but so vital for the senior who needs conversation, assistance, hope.

Others hire caregivers to provide several hours to 24/7 care.

The care giving industry is blossoming / bulging at the seams.

 

Caregivers are essential for those who choose to stay at home and those in facilities where the nursing/cna ratio can be as high as 50 patients to 1 nurse/cna team (my first job in the 70s the ratio was 8:1)

 

Many caregivers are in their 60s and some in their 70s. They are excellent at caring for the elderly but are considered “elderly” themselves.

*** Co-Vid-19 is a major concern for the elderly especially 70-80 year olds. There are many caregivers who are also in the “at risk group” but they are continuing to provide home care. Hats off to these remarkable people!

Where would we be without caregivers like Chelsie???

Please remember to be sensitive to those (caregivers, nurses, physicians, aux staff) who are providing care for the patients especially the elderly population. They are putting themselves at risk each day while trying to keep their  at risk clients unexposed.

Thanks for coming by today.

Have you ever been a caregiver to a family member?

Alzheimers and Old Butcher Knives Part 2 #atozchallenge #elderly

“Millie came to visit…

The RAT never suspected. Never suspected a thing. Extra sugar can hide almost anything. The one thing my husband enjoyed was my home baked cookies.”

“Oh well. Thanks for your candor and for the cookie. I need to go now. Have a good day ma’am.”

I tried not to run off the unit as I spit into a hand-i-wipe what I could retrieve of the cookie.

***

“I was on a social call with your mother at the memory care unit.” I absently rubbed my hand through my cropped hair.

“How was mama today?”

“Uh, She was good. She gave me a cookie.”

“That’s nice. She changed her recipe; I stopped eating them.”

“Ahh well yes.” I felt my pulse and looked at my tongue in the mirror. ” Your mama mentioned Miss Millie. ”

“Aunt Millie… she and mama… were very close. They would always laugh about granmama’s favorite butcher knife. They said it was perfect for chickens. It hung in Millie’s kitchen.”

“Chickens??? Can you give me her contact information?”

“Millie’s? She’s in Raleigh.”

I sensed something stilted in her voice. Maybe she knew something.

“She’s in Mount Hope on Prospect… She’s been gone 7 years.”

I had started writing the address down. My eyes bugged out in surprise that my witness or suspect was dead. “How long?”

“7 years.”

“When did her husband die?”

“6 years ago from a heart attack.”

“Was she married before?”

” Umm, yes, but I don’t remember him. He ran off; no one ever saw him after that.”

I ripped the page out of my notepad. I realized people can say and think some mighty far fetched things.

Case Closed / Accidental Death was stamped on my report of a dead husband/ caregiver

 

 

Here’s a link to the first part of this post 

 

Today is day 2 of the A to Z challenge. The letter B

Most of my blogs will be info and anecdotes about the elderly.

I’d apply the letter B to elderly care this way:

Be kind

Be yourself

Be there for your family member

Be honest when you need a break.

Are you participating in the challenge?

What is your theme?

Any writing goals this year?

Alheimers and old butcher knives #short Story #atozchallenge

“Daddy was the main caregiver for mama who has had Alzheimer’s for several years. She never knows who I am when I visit. At home she always had a pattern: She would look out the window, get a plate and arrange some cookies,  sit on a chair and wait. She would do that three times. She then went to her room, turned on the light, took off her robe, crawled into bed and shut off the light. Daddy would shut the door and call “goodnight” through the door.”

“What was she waiting for?”

“I don’t know, but she never ate the cookies. I figured they were for someone else.”

***

The upscale Alzheimer’s ward was nice. That way children don’t feel guilty when they never visit.

She carried herself with such grace and was so polite.

“Would you like a cookie?” She held out a decorative plate.

“Yes, please. What was he like?” I asked her as I took a stale cookie from the plate.

“He’s a lady’s man. I knew that when we married. I thought he would settle down, he never did. He’s  better than Millie’s man though. Mama always told us ‘now girls the two best ways to keep your men in-line are with a sprinkle of that white stuff in sweet home baked cookies or the butcher knife that we keep sharp for the chickens’ necks.

“Hmm. uuuu”  I wrapped the remainder of the cookie in my napkin. I tried not to choke on the cookie in my throat.

“We knew no one would suspect two old gals.” Her smile was sincere as she fingered her strand of pearls.

“Did you ever want to use the butcher knife on your husband?” I was thinking as we talked that her mind seemed fairly clear.

“Certainly not! Millie had rat poison that she saved from daddy’s shed. She said rats came in all types and sizes.”

“Did you ever umm use it?”

 

Thanks for stopping by – you’ll have to come back tomorrow to read the finish of this flash fiction story for the letter B

 

 

 

 

***

 

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge where writers spend the month writing.

I presently work in Hospice and have a love for elderly people (I’m quickly becoming one)

Alzheimers is a hard diagnosis and as it’s constantly changing; its alot like Covid-19.

On the letter “D” I will discuss Dementia which presents in many ways like Alzheimers.

I have found with Alzheimers that a patient can have a little less stress with a few things in place:

Routine – offers stability when an Alzheimer patient feels like the floor has come out from underneath him. Getting up at the same time, eating at the same time helps the body and mind work together.

Diet – A good diet is essential and good fats (for the brain) need to be part of each day. With a generation that is used to non-fat everything this can be a challenge.

Exercise – taking safety into consideration exercise is key. Walking each day and doing some eye hand coordination exercises (make them fun) keep the mind and body in tune.

Safety – A patient can forget they are no longer an avid hiker or runner. Falls are an aged person’s worst nightmare. Identify risks before a fall can happen.

Activity – You patient will still enjoy activities that were once part of everyday life. One patient reads his book about Einstein everyday. He is more engaged in the pictures than the content but that book is an old friend.

Signs – you may laugh at this one but it worked. My male patient kept forgetting where the bathrooms in his house were. He would go in a corner of the garage or in the yard but he always could find the restroom at the store or a park. I put up a restroom sign with a picture of a man and an arrow pointing to his bathroom. it worked.

 

Most people have a family member or friend that has Alheimers. What have you seen that makes it easier to “live” with?

 

 

 

Gravel Tears #sorrow #hospice #tears #elderly

I caught up with a tear today

it was from old despair

in attempt to grasp at it

it ran away from there

*

pain’s etched upon a heart

at death we cannot grasp

it leaves on wind before we know

our hands one final clasp

*

I caught up with a tear today

mingled with old despair

again I tried to grasp at it

it ran away from there

*

no more wrinkles from this life

we smooth your silver hair

behind you it is over now

beyond all time and care

*

I caught up with a tear today

it fell with yours you see

when I tried to grasp at it

it ran away with thee

 

Hospice a word that says so little of the days the slip through our fingers as we say little goodbyes each day. Each goodbye takes a piece of my heart that I give lovingly and painfully.