Yesterday’s Lilac #elderlyissues #aging #atozchallenge

Hold me…

I am a broken, colorful

fragrant remnant

of yesterday

*

Remember me…

when I was alive, thriving

extracted from a beautiful

whole

*

Understand me…

for who I am today

a relic, don’t pull me

to pieces

*

Cherish me…

for what I was

what I am and what I might

still be…

Yesterday… whole

pieces… still

I pulled this drawing and poem from 2011 archives.

They speak of the heart and I think the heart of the elderly is so fragile yet so fragrant like the lilac.

No one wants to yield to old age and all the symptoms but we have little choice.

As the days grow to a sepia, let’s remember to relive yesterday with our dear parents and family members. Let’s love them for who they are today.

One of my clients a very talented musician and educator told me recently that she had been invited to tea with a world leader. And yet in all her recollections her moments now are the sweetest and she has contentment.

Art:  “Fragrant Lilac” 2012 L. Moon Designs

 

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

Our View #elderlyissues #atozchallenge

As a caregivers we may have clear ideas of what our family member needs.

After all in many cases we have known them our entire lives.

“My father only likes tuna fish for lunch. It’s all he ever eats.” My client eyes my salad so I give him some tomatoes and carrots.

Our view into elderly needs can get obscured by emotion.

Often outside help not only gives relief but new perspective.

As a caregiver I need to flexible for my client and the family. But there are a few things that I will not flex on:

Safety – My client may insist on getting out of bed but she requires two people to assist her. I have to stand my ground for her sake.

Skin care: I’m vigilant on keeping skin dry/clean and keeping bed bound (or chair bound) clients re=positioned regularly.  Skin breaks down quickly and isn’t pretty.

Keep an eye on pressure points. Heels, elbows, and the sacrum (where we sit or lay). Pillows and foam can take the weight off a pressure point. If an area is getting red it’s at risk.

So what is your view of the world today?

The view at the top is the opening that looks out to a newly dug well. There’s already a clear path to and from the well.

My friend Micah made a demo for our village children that shows the how the moon and earth revolve around the sun.

 

 

Uncovering Needs #elderlyissues #atozchallenge

I have found that working with the elderly is like digging for treasure – I am never disappointed with what I find.

There are times (especially with dementia) that we must uncover their needs or what makes them happy.

Every person has things that have meaning. It could be an activity like going to the market and remembering days gone by. With one client who was almost bed bound, I realized there were certain activities that gave her energy to get out of bed.

I first noticed change when a neighbor stopped in for a short “hello.” My client was upbeat the rest of the day.

The neighbor had brought flowers so we spent time thinking of something nice to do. We baked cookies and my client wrote a card.

The next week we made valentines for her son and her husband. Wow I noticed color in her face.

What I uncovered was she liked doing things  for people.

It’s also fun to uncover things about a person that maybe no one knows.

Here are some ideas to mix up their day and keep it interesting:

Writing his/her memoir

Writing cards to friends

Drawing/ coloring

singing together

Folding laundry ( I have lovely conversations with my clients when doing chores)

 

How have you been keeping things interesting during the Co-Vid “Stay in Place”???

Great people to meet in the A to Z challenge:

Keith is a good writer with clever themes. Expect excellence: https://keithsramblings.net/

Frédérique at https://quiltingpatch.blogspot.com/ is a talented artist who I have enjoyed getting to know

Lee is  a lady whose poetry engages the reader: https://ladyleemanilablog.wordpress.com/

Arti is a wonderful crafter of words:
https://artismoments.blogspot.com/

Searching #poetry #art #elderlyissues #atozchallenge

 

 

Boys Wading

 

so easy when we’re small

no words need be expressed

I’m wading in the mud

and now I am depressed

I lost my very thought

went through my fingertips

a momentary drop

there’s so much I have missed

 

Searching when we are young seems part of the mystery of learning.

The discovery is part of the looking.

As we age it seems we search more and the lengthy discovery crescendos in frustration

So how do we as caregivers dial frustration down?

Don’t find the word that was lost look for it with your family member.

If it’s an object secretly bring it closely to them so they can “find it”

“Oh there they are” reflects a lighter tone than “I have lost my mind with my glasses.”

My response: “I”m so glad you found them. It would have taken me the rest of the day.” I smile understanding the art of losing things.

This photo of this beautiful work by artist Winslow Homer reminds me why we do it. We do it together ….

 

Photo:  Winslow Homer “Boys Wading” 1873 Smithsonian

What do you do when you lose something???

 

 

 

 

 

Quiet and Loud #elderlyissues #atozchallenge

Its an odd pace

 elderly and sound

Some need quiet

others quite loud

With aging comes the issue of hearing loss. It is not the case with every person, however.

I also notice that hard of hearing people can hear things when they really want to hear what you are saying.

“I know you are talking about me so no need to whisper,” one of my clients hollered recently.

“The shift went well. She seemed really tired today.” I whisper to the woman replacing me.

“What did you say?”

“We were just talking about how your day went.” I say much louder.

“Well you don’t need to be huffy about it,”

 

I make an effort to speak slowly and clearly without yelling at my clients or I will soon be deaf.

Most of my clients enjoy a quiet environment. It seems as we grow older we grow less tolerant to “noise.”

Scientists believe that elderly have a harder time “filtering out noises” than younger people do. Too many sounds in a room mingle into one distracting humm.

I remember my dad when we visited (with small children) would turn off his hearing aids. I knew he was on noise overload.

So rule of thumb if you are trying to give an elderly friend or family member instructions (or want to have a conversation) mute or better yet turn off the TV or music. For someone with Alzheimers or any memory deficit, we want them to feel as clear minded as possible.

 

Thanks to the hosts for another week of the A to Z challenge.

Do like a quiet or a loud environment?

 

 

 

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???

 

 

O to be an Ostrich #atozchallenge #elderlyissues

beautiful and sleek

pulled  by the years

wrinkly neck

As women age, our eyes have lines, our hands are wrinkled and our necks sag.

So unlike the ostrich with the beautiful long neck.

The elderly need to have a good overview of their health.

But obsessing on their diseases can be a greater stress than help.

I set daily or weekly goals for each client. I don’t always tell them what they are.

For Mr. Y its 45 minutes of exercise, 2 hours out of the house and nutritional meals.

For Ms. C it’s sitting up for one hour each day. Out of bed for that time is a bonus. Fluids are a must so I will sweeten with honey if need be to hydrate her cells.

Mr. J our focus was to engage his mind with music and conversation when he was awake and to keep him pain free.

Even when we don’t get outdoors (because of the weather), I take Mr. Y on journeys through books and photos.

I’m not obsessed with Ms. C’s wrinkles but her hands still remember how to make those tiny circles as they moisturize. I obsess on reminding her muscles what their jobs are. Even tiny motions remind the Parkinson’s muscles what to do.

Mr. J spends the last few days of life remembering everything good instead of worrying about death.

When we care for the elderly we should not stick our necks in the sand like the ostrich.

We should establish an objective as caregivers.

If I am caring for family it helps me focus on a plan. Our parents/ clients sense that we have not given up.

Care giving is not an easy job. We need to remember we cannot do it alone.

We may not plan laughter into our daily objectives but it sure has a healing properties down to the cellular level.

 

Today is the letter “O” for the A to Z challenge.

 

What are you obsessing on during this Covid thing???

 

 

 

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???

Moms and Memory #elderlyissues #atozchallenge

Morning Glory Trail

sun rises with a smile

her hands still agile

***

We are fortunate my mother still has an agile mind and a healthy body.

As our moms age, we go through denial, look for the person she was, put the remaining pieces together in a way we can deal with.

Many of my clients are elderly women. From Parkinsons, Alzheimers to multiple chronic diseases each makes “mom” more fragile.

The women who tucked us in, helped with homework, fixed  the holiday dinners, never forgot a birthday, kept the grandkids for a week are now in a decline.

I notice many caregiver/kids want their parents to return. They get frustrated when their parents forget memories and forget them.

Memory is a complicated machine. We may not be able to form words around our memories but I think they remain to some degree.

When I give my client her knitting needles, her hands retain memory on the mechanics tho her hands may not be strong enough to hold the needles. I put moisturizer on her fingertips each morning and her fingers remember to make little circles on her face. I don’t care if she misses some areas her hands (and mind) are being reminded of what they do.

Patients whose families continue to provide care (it is okay to get outside assistance this is a 24/7 job) seem to have higher function and they are more content in general.

When we are close to the daily care we don’t always see the connection – but I do.

“Hi mom I had a great day at work. How are you?” A sleeping woman wakes up and a big smile covers her face.

“Hey dad how was your day?” She doesn’t see the voice recognition but I do.

Though they cant always remember names or faces they are able to make connections via their memory.

Don’t give up – your mama is still there lighting up inside each time you enter the room.

 

Do you have good memories of your mama????

How’s your memory?