Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dementia Journal - Write It Down

As you may know by now, I am a published author.  I have just finished writing my fourth book, and it is due for release in late February.  It is titled, Let’s Talk Dementia. I am excited to offer this easy to read caregiver’s guide to dementia.  In its pages you will read practical advice regarding caring for someone with dementia, along with stories and jokes that will make you smile.  After all, as I am known to say, “You’ve just got to laugh.” (Email me if you would like to reserve a copy – carol@seniorlifejourneys.com .)

Not everyone writes books, but writing can be very healing.  One of the techniques many Hospice organizations recommend for grief recovery is journaling.  My Mother went through such an experience when my Dad died.  She wrote down exactly what she was thinking.  It helped the healing process to move more quickly, and it documented for the future what Momma was experiencing.  Quite honestly, reading her journal was very emotional for me.

My brother-in-law passed away on January 2nd of this year.  I have recommended my sister journal her thoughts.  I am making that same recommendation to you as you caregive for someone.  Whether they have dementia, or not, caregiving is difficult.  Writing your thoughts can help lessen the pain that surrounds those thoughts.

Hope that gives you Something To Ponder.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Dementia and Water

I am sure you are not expecting me to suggest you drink plenty of anything except water.  You, of course, are correct.   I only drink water, an occasional cup of coffee, and an even less occasional glass of wine.

When I was expecting our daughter about 27 years ago, my obstetrician said, “I want you to go to the fawwwcet, turn it on and drink some waaaaaater.”  And, yes, he said all those “w’s” and “a’s” .    That saying has stuck with me.  So much so that I don’t purchase bottled water except to replace the bottles I run through the dishwasher and refill.

Why should you be concerned about drinking a sufficient amount of water?  If you are hydrating yourself with water instead of a sugary substance, your body will thank you.   A recent study stated drinking five glass of water a day reduces the chances of a heart attack.   Sufficient hydration helps aid in healthy skin.   It gives you energy, and it can help prevent headaches.  By the way, make sure you don’t substitute sugar-free drinks for sugary drinks.  All those chemicals in the sugar substitute are not good for you.  And, I ask you this question.  Since Americans started using all the artificial sweeteners, have we gotten slimmer?

Anyway, be good to your body and drink water.  Drink lots of it.  Your body and your brain will be healthier.  Hope that gives you Something To Ponder.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dementia Diagnosis: Grouchy-itis

Our morning was started with a not-so-pleasant phone call from an individual who was stressed.  This stress was playing out in the form of anger toward my husband.  One important fact to comprehend is my husband and I were about 400 miles away from this individual when the phone call came through.  Nonetheless, it was our fault he was experiencing the emotions which were overtaking his mood.

This is a common scenario when you are caregiving for someone with dementia.  No matter the reason for their frustration, you can become the target.  Try not to take it personally.  While this is certainly easier said than done, it is good advice.  When your loved one vents their anger, emotional distress, frustration, or any unhappy emotion, they may be communicating something very important.

Notice whether this individual may be cold.  Are they hungry?  Are they thirsty?  Have they soiled themselves?  Lastly, and potentially most important, are they in pain?  It is common for an individual who is experiencing disruptive behavior to be in pain.  The most common form of pain is a urinary tract infection.

Be aware of the non-verbal cues your loved one gives you.  Their actions speak loudly.  Hope that gives you Something To Ponder.