eXplanation #elderlyissues #atozchallenge

Woman with mustard pot

“Can you tell me?”

“What would you like to know?”

With Dementia we often will be asked the same questions every shift or 10 times every shift.

I find the more confused a client is the more they can loop around a similarity.

“When is my friend Felicia coming?”

“We called. She’s on her way?”

“You know I’d really appreciate if you would call Felicia to find out when she’s coming.”

“We just called her.”

“I would remember if we just called Felicia. Call her”

“Let’s wait a minute I think she’s on her way…”

For family members these loops can seem frustrating.

I try to redirect my client’s focus sometimes it works while other times it just makes a client more frustrated.

So for the explanations keep them simple. Sometimes those questions are asked as our family is trying to get a grip on the last edge of reality.

 

How do you deal with frustration during Co-Vid Days????

Image attribution: Pablo Picasso “The Woman with Mustard Pot” 1910

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.

Love Hurts ( losing a friend to cancer)

Romantic at Heart

I am a romantic at heart so my poet friends tell me. I never really thought about it before. Something I do know about myself is that I pour my life into lives that are suffering, hurting. I’m a nurse so I guess it helps to have a big heart – sometimes. After a heart wrenching situation with a friend, I was reminded  that Love Hurts!

A Memory

I was taken back in time, not centuries, just a few years back. Went back to a time when I was on the “top of my game.” I was in hospital admin.  My job  was  training the hospital staff- something I love to do.  I was also required to assess the staff’s progress. I spent a lot of time on one unit because it was right next to my office. One of the patients on the unit was a gal who from outward appearances seemed hard and unapproachable. As the weeks went on and we talked, Ellie became a friend.

Same People Same Places

Ellie was a little older than me but with cancer induced dementia Ellie was living in another world. Luckily the world her dementia chose was  Ellie’s late teens. In her mind, she visited places where she snuck out at night to meet a boy or have a smoke. What we discovered was that we had grown up within a five-minute drive of each other. We had known some of the same people and hung out at the same places.

Watching Decay

Ellie and I grew close because I could go back to the world where she now spent most of her time. We laughed about our antics as teens. She was there again trying to defy her parents and I was hoping her treatments would defy the odds. Ellie would visit my office after going to the courtyard for a smoke. I hated watching her decay. I hated hearing the gasping coughs after a chain smoking binge.  Ellie had rebelled and become a smoker as a teen, she was not going to give up her smoking now.

I laughed ..She coughed

I went visiting family during the holidays- drove by her house and the park and the mall. I wanted to be reminded of where she was and where we could visit together. She told me a story of  nuns skinny dipping in her pool (you didn’t hear that from me). I reminded her of the puke green fence surrounding the yard,  of shopping at the mall, and we re-lived football games. I laughed ~ she coughed. I held her as she writhed in pain; My desk blotted out my tears.

Smiles laced with sorrow

The last days I would take a flower and a smile to my heavily drugged friend. I would carry peace in to room 416; I would carry sorrow out. The tug on my heart grew more profound as the day grew near. My staff watched my pain and feared. Then it happened; I was off that day. My teen friend left me what more could I say. I cried each time I passed 416~ expected to see smoke tendrils in the courtyard. No more.

My family asked me – was it worth it? Was it worth loving her? I assured myself – “it was  worth every moment!” I am hoping she is free now seeking out the skinny dipping nuns,basking in the sun on the other side of Eternity – waiting for me.

You would think I would have learned…

Today a friend left in another way – didn’t die just moved on.  What more is there to say – I keep giving my heart and am reminded that love hurts.

Thank you Rich Anderson for the photograph