Monday, December 3, 2012

St. Leona has arrived.

December 3, 2012 7:30pm, Pacific time, as I sat on one side of the bed and Popcorn stood on the other, Snickers, Baileywick, Ladybug and Firecracker were in casual family conversation.  Mom’s labored breathing slowly came to a stop.  Her strained facial expression suddenly became very peaceful.  Popcorn looked at me and said, “I think she is gone.”  I stood up and bent over Mom kissing her on the forehead.  Snickers removed the oxygen mask from Mom’s face and hugged her and we all shed tears of joy knowing that Mom was absent from the body and present with the Lord.  Popcorn went to summons the nurse.  Nurse Cheryl came in with a stethoscope, and after listening to Mom’s chest for a moment, she nodded and said, “I’m so sorry.”

Saturday, December 1, 2012


I checked in at Manor-Care to see Mom today (Thursday 11-30-12) at 1:20PM.  Snickers was there earlier and was out for a hearing test.  The Speech/Swallow therapist was there with Mom when I arrived and was doing paperwork.  Physical therapy was there earlier, I’m not sure what they did with Mom, and Occupational Therapy was scheduled for Mom at 3:05PM.  Mom was sleeping and I could not rouse her.  She was that way almost all day.  The Therapist has some serious concerns that we all needed to discuss with the nursing staff.  I interacted with various other staff as they came in to check on Mom and some time after 2:30PM Snickers and Tadpole showed up again.  Tadpole had some nice flowers for Mom’s room.  I began explaining to Snickers how poorly Mom was doing today compared to yesterday, she was already aware of this, and soon - several of the staff were there to discuss where we go from here.  At this point, Hospice is OUT until further notice.  WE want all the skilled nursing staff to do everything they can to help Mom have some healing and recovery if possible. They have her on a NPO (nothing by mouth) order and are setting up for an IV to be started again.  In order to get the nutrition she needs, we discussed a surgically installed feeding tube in her stomach but opted instead for the PICC Line method.  Manor-Care has a Nurse on staff that can do PICC Line installation at bedside. If the nurse has problems installing the PICC Line at bedside, they will transport Mom back to the hospital to have it done there and bring her back to Manor Care afterwards.  Mom was also running a fever of 99.7F and they put a cold wet wash cloth on her forehead and icebags in her armpits.  Snickers had a conversation with one of Mom’s old nurses at OAR who said the deal about not holding Mom’s room for more than 21 days is not cast in stone.  So, Snickers is now holding out hope that perhaps Mom may be able to return to OAR in time if she recovers enough for that.  Today was a bad day and did not give me much cause for optimism but we are doing our best to do the right thing for Mom.  I left for home around 4PM.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Move to Manor-Care

Manor-Care - Click HERE
Wednesday was spent researching “Skilled Nursing Facilities” for Mom to be released to from the hospital.  Snickers and I did some actual eyeball-to-eyeball tours with facilities representatives and came to a consensus.  “Tadpole” came over from the other side of the state and tied in with her mom Snickers as I headed back home to prepare for services prayer meeting night.  Thursday morning I did some chores, gathered some legal paperwork and met Snickers and Tadpole in the cafeteria at the hospital.  Mom was under the care of a new Dr. at the hospital and we received information that changed our plans a little.  Mom was actually doing better and we were going ahead with the move from the hospital to the selected “Skilled Nursing Care Unit” but we have decided to postpone the Hospice care.  We learned that if we called Hospice in on the case, the Skilled Nursing Care would not be as diligent with lab work.  That being the case we instructed them that we did NOT want Hospice care at this time and would re-assess Mom’s condition in a week or two and monitor her condition closely including regular lab work until we know if she is going to go downhill or have a chance for a recovery of some sort.  At a little after 1PM they transported Mom from St. Anthony Hospital to Manor-Care room 209A (by the window).  I signed all the initial paperwork for Mom as her POA.  Snickers, Tadpole and I were there in the room with Mom as the various different “NEW” care givers came in to introduce themselves and do the preliminary tests, questions and check for vitals, etc.  Mom’s new “home” is very nice.  If she improves enough to become ambulatory like she was not long ago, they will move her to a different wing of the facility that specializes with dementia patients.  She is still on oxygen, has the catheter, is on one to one care at soft diet mealtime and still has a choke hazard but for now, is off the IV.  Many of our friends and family have been praying for Mom.  Today was a display of how God hears and answers prayer.  Thank you Lord and thank you that were praying for Mom. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tue. update on Mom

I made it over to St. Anthony Hospital Tuesday morning by around 11:30 am.  Snickers was already there since about 10:15 am.  It had been a bad morning so far for Mom.  Her blood work showed that she was back in a dehydrated condition and they had her hooked up again to an IV with saline solution.  She was also on Oxygen.  Snickers was trying to feed her some Jello.  Mom was having a hard time swallowing and chocked on it.  The nurse was able to suction everything out OK and things settled down but the coughing caused a lot of pain for Mom with her three broken ribs.  The nurse also gave Mom a half dose of pain medication about a half hour earlier than scheduled.  Things got better after that.   

The Dr. finally showed up around 1pm and said he was keeping her in the hospital for another night and was setting up an interview for us with the Hospice administrator.  Depending on the assessment of the Hospice people, his goal was to re-hydrate Mom again to a good level, keep her comfortable with proper pain medication and release her back to OAR with help from Hospice. He said he was not on hospital duty on Wednesday and there will be a different Dr. on call tomorrow to make the decision on if Mom is well enough to be discharged with Hospice care back to OAR. 

The Hospice person didn’t get to see us until about 4pm and told us that Mom was qualified for Hospice care and working with the Dr. – their plan was to get her re-hydrated so she can go home to OAR.  They will maintain her comfort level with pain medication, prescribe a hospital bed for her room at OAR, and a good wheelchair, Oxygen as needed in the room, a Hospice worker assigned to Mom working in conjunction with the OAR staff, one on one care at mealtime while remaining on the soft food diet for now.  I left Snickers there after this meeting and got back home around 5pm. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Update on MOM

UPDATE ON MOM:  She has had a rough go of it.  Thanksgiving went fairly well but Mom had her problems.  I picked her up around 11:30 am from OAR.  I loaded her walker in the back of my pickup with the folding chairs borrowed from church.  Mom had her cane with her too.  For the first time in over 30 some years, we did not have the event at OUR house this year.  EVERYBODY was invited to “Firecracker’s” place there on the property next to “Popcorn and Snickers.”  Food, Football & Fellowship was great but Mom didn’t eat very much and had to take a nap.  Everyone had a dose of reality and many wonder if this will be our last thanksgiving with Grandma.  I got her checked back into OAR around 3:30 or 4 pm I think.  She wanted to skip supper and go straight to bed.

I may not have the details of the timeline perfect but here is where we are.  Mom has been having a problem with her bladder and has been seeing a specialist.  She is constantly feeling as if she must use the rest room.  At some point, Mom got up in the night and took a fall.  OAR called Snickers to advise that they were sending Mom to ER for assessment.  Snickers called me the next morning and gave an update.  They kept Mom in St. Anthony Hospital because she was dehydrated.  The report was that nothing was broken but she was very sore. 

I spend all day Saturday with her in the hospital.  She kept insisting that she needed to get up and go to the bathroom.  The nurses and I must have told her 500 times that she had a catheter and could relax and let go with her urine and all would be well.  She would not eat.  I hand fed her some rice, chicken, one bite of veggies, applesauce, and mandarin oranges with some 7up and water to drink.  She didn’t eat much.  After she had her evening medication, she fell asleep and I went home to get ready for church on Sunday.


 Snickers stayed with Mom all day Sunday.  I was involved with the church services and dealing with a police report about property damage at church by vandals Saturday night.

They kept Mom in the hospital Sunday night again and we thought she was doing a little better.  She was re-hydrated enough to disconnect the IV saline solution. However, we found out early Monday morning that Mom actually had three broken ribs.  They have her on pain medication for that now.  She also has “Thrush” in her mouth and throat.  They prescribed a “rinse and swallow” medication for this.  Snickers and I were both there this morning to talk with the attending Physician.  He was very helpful and informative.  He is going to keep her in the hospital again tonight and decide tomorrow if she can move back to OAR or more likely, to a rehabilitation unit other than the hospital.  All vitals are good.  She will be very sore with the broken ribs and depending on a variety of things, she should heal up from them in six to eight weeks.  She is very weak due to her not eating well but it is reasonable that she would not be eating well with the urinary problem and the thrush (and possibly Alzheimer's).  They will continue to give her pain medication and treat the thrush and put her on a “one on one watch” for her meals.  She still has the catheter.  A “Swallow Therapist” tested Mom and she did well with drinking liquid, swallowing applesauce and fruit cocktail but struggled with toast.  They have her on a very SOFT foods diet now.  She is also having problems with her dentures and has a sore spot on her lower gum.  So, they are letting her leave them out.  Snickers stayed with her today and I had to go re-paint part of our church building while we had some nice weather today.  Mom is a sweetheart most of the time but when she is having these kinds of problems along with her Alzheimer’s I think the staff at the hospital are glad when someone from the family is there to be with her.

Monday, November 12, 2012

2012 Vets Day and Good Day for Mom at church.

Alzheimer's disease is a cruel illness that gradually transforms our loved ones into shadows of their former selves, eventually taking even their lives. It’s also a serious threat to public health. There are more than 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s according to the National Institute of Health, and it’s the sixth leading cause of death in America. It will continue to rise in prevalence as elderly people begin to make up an even greater share our population. For this reason Alzheimer’s research has made its way to the forefront of public policy. Researchers at laboratories and medical centers across the nation are hard at work to find strategies for detection, prevention and treatment. While there’s still no cure, the last couple years has brought us a lot of exciting research and many promising discoveries that give cause for hope for Alzheimer’s sufferers and their loved ones. 

Today was Veterans Day.  We had a good day in church.  I called OAR around 8:30am to make sure Mom was up and ready for church.  She had a rough week.  Her cell phone is missing.  Snickers took her in for a Dr. appointment to see a specialist regarding her bladder discomfort.  So far, all tests are not showing anything.  The Dr. gave Mom a prescription  and she is dealing with that.  She has another appointment this week.  I picked Mom up around 9:15am.  She was using her walker and is quite slow getting around.  I loaded the walker in the back of my pickup and got Mom all strapped in for the ride to church.  We were having the usual Washington State kind of light rain and drizzle.  All went well.  Mom had to set in the back pew today in order to have easier access to the ladies room.  One of the dear sisters in the flock sat with her.  Mom is easily confused and lacks the confidence we are used to seeing her normally display.  She didn't eat very much at the noon meal but all in all, stamina-wise, she had an excellent day.  She said she sure was glad that she was able to be in church and hear me preach again.  Today's Sermon audio clip

After services I got Mom back "home" to OAR around 2:30pm.  All the spots were taken in the great room out front in the East Neighborhood (Mom's wing).  She had to visit the ladies room right away and I waited for her and took her to her room and turned on her TV for her.  The remotes were missing and when I inquired about that, one of the attendants found them in Mom's dresser with her clothes.  We also found her cell phone.  It was totally dead and MAY be damaged.  I put it in the charger and told Mom it needed to be charged  over night and maybe it will work in the morning when I call her at the usual time.  I don't think she remembers how to turn it on however.  We will see.  She began to be a little fretful when I started talking about leaving for home but after several nice big hugs she settled down.  When I got home I called Snickers to give her an update on the day.  


Friday, October 19, 2012


Normal routine call this morning at the usual time.  Mom seemed to be doing fine.  Snickers and Popcorn visited her later today and she seemed more confused and slept most of the time they were there and Popcorn worked on getting her chair repaired.  Mom doesn't initiate any conversations but will respond as YOU make mention of things to her.  I remember one time when I called her and "Firecracker" was there.  She mentioned it and sounded like it really made her day.  

Dr. S. D. Gordon tells of an old Christian woman whose age began to tell on her memory.  She had once known much of the Bible by heart.  Eventually only one precious verse stayed with her, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."  (2Tim.1:12)  By and by part of that slipped away and she would quietly repeat, "That which I have committed unto Him."   At last, as she hovered on the borderland between this and the spirit world, her loved ones noticed her lips moving.  They bent down to see if she needed anything.  She was repeating over and over to herself the one word of the text she remembered, "Him, Him, Him."  She had lost the whole Bible but one word, but she HAD the whole Bible IN that one word!  AMEN!   

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Church Day

Called Mom a little earlier than usual this morning to check and see if she was up for church.  She said, "I don't know."  (She is starting to say that a LOT lately)  I asked her to let me talk to one of the staff.  I heard her say, "Would you talk to my son?" as she handed the phone to someone.  It was Tiffany.  I asked her if Mom was ready for church this morning and she said that Mom was all dressed in her church clothes and ready to go.  I thanked her and she hung up.  I called Mom right back and told her that everything was fine and that I would be there within thirty minutes to pick her up for church. 

Mom was in her usual spot on the couch in the front room when I arrived.  She seemed to give me a double take before it looked like she recognized me.  She didn't have her cane.  They are now getting her used to using her walker instead.  I got her signed out around 9:20am and we slowly made our way out of the East wing - down the hall - through the front waiting room - to the front door.  I had my pickup parked at the curb by the front entrance.  I got Mom secured and bucked up in the passenger seat and placed her walker in the bed of the pickup.  Rather than trying to initiate the conversation I decided to see if Mom would talk on her own.  It was a very quiet ride to church.  When we arrived, I got the walker out of the truck bed and Mom made her way up the ramp into the sanctuary.  Ladybug was already there playing the piano.  I said , "Isn't that a beautiful piano player?"  Mom just looked at me and smiled.  Ladybug told me later that she wasn't sure if Mom recognized her.  During Sunday School, Mom sat with her hands on her legs, fingers straight, pointed to her knees and often had her eyes closed. In between Sunday School and the morning worship service I helped Mom find the rest room.  After the congregational singing, Ladybug went and sit  next to Mom to help find the scriptures for her in the Bible during the preaching.  Mom said she didn't want to read them but would just listen.  

After the morning service, we had a noon meal served in the fellowship area and I got Mom all set up with a bowl of chili and a small plate of food.  She really didn't eat very much.  After dinner, I helped Mom back out into the sanctuary and after sitting there for a few minutes she seemed slightly agitated so I asked her if she needed anything.  She wanted to know why it was taking them so long to clean up in the kitchen.  I said, "Well, Mom some people just now finished eating and there aren't very many that are helping with the cleanup.  Are your getting tired?  Do you want me to take you home?"  She said, "I don't care."  It seemed to me that she was starting to get a little cranky, so, I made arrangements for some of the other brethren to take care of the duties I usually perform and loaded Mom back up in the pickup and we returned to OAR.  I signed her back in at 2pm.  

We had received word that Mom's brother Glen (who also was an Alzheimer's patient) Passed away last night.  I didn't say anything about it to Mom.  When I talked to Snickers this afternoon, she and Popcorn were headed over for a visit with Mom and planned to tell her about Uncle Glen.  Mom was the oldest of eight siblings and now she and her youngest brother are the only two survivors in the family.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Watch the medication.

Had a good visit with Mom on the phone this morning.  She seemed to be back to her old self again.  Snickers had requested that they cut back on some of her medication after the problems earlier in the week.  In doing some follow up reading about the side effects of some of the medication they have Mom on, Snickers noticed that the negative side effects coincide with many of Moms recent symptoms.  One medication actually said "Not recommended for dementia patients."  She is going to OAR today with this info and "is ticked".  (pray for them)   I'll try and get better data on this medication thing and post it here later.  One of the side effects also explains Mom's sudden weight gain. 

The following write up  explains so much.
"Ever walk into a room with some purpose in mind, only  to completely forget what that purpose was?  Turns out, doors themselves are  to blame for these strange memory lapses.
Psychologists at the University of Notre Dame have discovered that passing through a doorway triggers what's known as an event boundary in the mind, separating one set of thoughts and memories from the next. Your brain files away the thoughts you had in the previous room and prepares a blank slate for the new locale."
It's not aging, it's the door!
Whew! Thank goodness !!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Mom was having another bad morning today. She was very fearful. She said she didn't know who she was or what she was supposed to do. Snickers called her and she simply handed the phone to the staff. Staff told Snickers that Mom was having a very stressful morning and extremely anxious. Snickers said she was coming in for a visit this morning. They got Mom to take her medication and Snickers texted me for an update. When I called Mom around the usual time, she still seemed very un-nerved. She recognized my voice and settled down a little. She said she didn't even remember how to pray anymore. I told her that is why God gave us the promise in Romans the 8th chapter that the Holy Spirit would pray for us when we didn't know how to pray and asked her if we could pray together on the phone and she said yes. We had a good little prayer time and she said a hearty amen at the end. She was doing better. Unbelievers would probably say that her anxiety medication was probably kicking in but I think it was the prayer.  

Elderly Anxiety Disorders 
By Jeannette Franks, PhD

We all experience anxiety-worrying about the future is part of being human and helps us plan ahead and make better decisions. Some anxiety is normal and even productive. However, when anxiety becomes disruptive and disabling to a person's life, it is considered an unhealthy psychiatric disorder. As many as one quarter of all people experience anxiety to an unhealthy extent, and older people can be at particular risk. Seniors may experience more troublesome anxiety than other age groups for several reasons: they experience more losses, suffer from more pain and chronic conditions, are often on multiple medications that might exacerbate anxiety, and have confounding ailments such as Alzheimer's disease or depression. Some experts suggest that in general anxiety is equally prevalent in all adult age groups but perhaps is less often reported by seniors, and not as accurately diagnosed and treated as in younger people. A large study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry(1998, A. Beekman) found that 10 percent of adults 55 to 85 years of age had elderly anxiety disorders-the same prevalence as for other age groups.  

Major types of elderly anxiety disorders in older people
• Acute stress disorder: Anxiety and behavioral disturbances that develop within the first month after exposure to an extreme trauma.
• Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Symptoms of acute stress disorder that persist for more than one month.
• Panic attacks: A sudden, unpredictable, intense, illogical fear and dread.
• Social anxiety: A preoccupation with how a person is viewed by others.
• Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): A pattern of excessive worrying over simple, everyday occurrences and events.
• Phobias: Irrational fear of situations such as heights, or fear of objects, such as snakes.
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): A pattern of intrusive thoughts that assault the mind and produce extreme anxiety that can only be mitigated by an action, such as hand washing in a ritualistic way.

The latter two are perhaps less common in older people, because they can and often are successfully treated in youth or middle age. Few long-term studies track elderly anxiety disorders, so there is little information on how these problems vary with age. It is important to recognize that anxiety disorders are not because of some moral weakness or lack of character, but a genuine biochemical disturbance. There also appears to be a genetic predisposition. A recent study of identical twins found that if one twin had a generalized anxiety disorder, there was a 50 percent chance that the other twin would as well.  

Acute and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Rebecca's mother screamed frantically when the aides in the nursing home tried to give her a shower. Regardless of how kind, gentle, or persuasive the caregiver was, she began yelling and sobbing hysterically when brought to the bright, white, shower room, where the aide attempted to remove her clothes. The social worker spent an hour talking to the woman and determined that she had been raped in the high school gym shower room as a teenager. The staff changed the bathing routine to a quiet, homey room with a bath tub and soft lights and music. Bathing was no longer a battle. Acute stress disorder develops within the first month after exposure to an extreme trauma. Symptoms include: repeatedly experiencing the trauma in images, thoughts, dreams, or flashbacks; extreme distress when exposed to cues that remind the person of the trauma; avoidance of reminders of the trauma; a numbing of emotions; and symptoms of agitation, arousal, insomnia, anger, irritability, and inability to concentrate.  

When these symptoms persist for longer than a month, the anxiety is diagnosed as PTSD. Often the elderly did not receive therapy for traumatic events such as rape, abuse, torture, or war. Until a trigger such as the shower situation or dementia-which can disinhibit protective behaviors-these older people have never expressed their emotional pain and horror. The woman in the dementia care unit screaming may be a Holocaust survivor. The man who panics at the sight of the Asian face of his well-meaning caregiver may have been a prisoner of war. They may be re-experiencing horrifying events in their mind's eye over and over again. Reasoning with people who have these issues is not effective. Nor is simply demanding that someone toughen up and "get over it."

Panic attacks Margaret, a 74-year old widow, volunteered twice a week at a senior center a half-hour drive from her house, which she found very satisfying. It kept her in touch with friends, gave her a chance to contribute and feel productive, and she enjoyed the hot lunch in a social atmosphere. One day, while crossing the bridge over a large river between her home and the senior center, she experienced a horrendous feeling of dread. Her heart pounded and her hands began to shake. She thought perhaps she was having a heart attack. As soon as she got over the bridge she pulled over, sweating and weak. After a few moments, the feeling passed. She drove herself to an urgent care clinic and the doctor there could find nothing wrong. She met with her primary care physician a few days later-he assured her that she was fine. The next week, driving over the high bridge, she didn't experience another attack, but felt nervous and worried that it would happen again. She tracked down the social worker at the senior center and described the experience. The social worker asked, "Do you think that it might have been a panic attack?" After discussing what comprised a panic attack, they agreed that one had occurred. Margaret drove home, comforted by the diagnosis and the knowledge that not only might it never occur again, but if it did it would quickly pass. She never had another panic attack.

 It is normal to feel panic at a terrifying event such as an earthquake or car crash. But people with a panic disorder may experience horrific terror with no discernable trigger or cause. For some minutes they experience intense and overpowering feelings of fear that leave the sufferers helpless. Physical symptoms may include fainting, dizziness, heart palpitations, sweating, and or difficulty breathing. A panic attack can come once in a person's lifetime or frequently. Attacks can begin at any age and are twice as common in women. There is a genetic pre-disposition. If one identical twin has this disorder, there is a more than 80 percent chance that the other will. How to help someone who is having a panic attack • If you know the person's relaxation methods, do them together • Be calm and gentle • Go together to a safe, quiet place where he or she can sit or lie down • Help the person slow down breathing by slowly inhaling and exhaling together • Use imagery such as, "We are lying in the warm shade of a beautiful, tropical beach listening to the gentle murmur of the waves," • For some people the gentle contact of hand holding or an embrace can be reassuring.  

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) GAD is common-as many as 5 percent of the population experiences this disorder during their lifetime. There appears to be a genetic component. If one identical twin is diagnosed with GAD, the chances are 50 percent that the other twin will too. However, in non-identical twins, the chance is only 15 percent. People with GAD tend to be pessimists who expect the worse, and often interpret everyday mishaps as major disasters. Rather than seeing the glass as half full; it must be half empty. Simple setbacks such as a dented fender are exaggerated out of proportion and cause the person far more pain than such minor events would normally merit. GAD is often a chronic condition, with negative events exacerbating the disease. Perhaps half the people with GAD are clinically depressed and there is a tendency to attempt to self-medicate with overuse of alcohol, over-the-counter and illegal drugs, and prescription medications. Most people with GAD know they shouldn't worry so much, but are powerless to change their thinking. Symptoms include tight muscles, back pain, or headaches for which a physician can find no biological cause. People with GAD often feel restless, on edge, and are easily startled. Chronic anxiety can cause the body to feel tired, exhausted, or fatigued, all of which are made worse by the insomnia associated with GAD.  

Social anxiety disorder Many of us feel uneasy meeting strangers or speaking in public. But people with social anxiety disorder are so terrified of social situations that they withdraw and refuse many social occasions. This problem may be exacerbated in older people because of hearing impairment, issues with incontinence, or embarrassment over using a walker or wheelchair. Social anxiety occurs in perhaps 10 to 20 percent of the population and is the third most common psychiatric disorder, after substance abuse and depression. It can cause an increased spiral of isolation and inability to interact socially. Treatment All of these elderly anxiety disorders usually respond well to a combination of talk therapy and medication. While prescription drugs should be used with caution in the elderly, and often at lower doses, there are now some particularly effective medications that a physician can prescribe such as Paxil®, Prozac®, and Zoloft®. Numerous studies have indicated that for a medication to be most effective, the patient should also be meeting on a regular basis with a skilled counselor, therapist, or social worker. Other treatments effective for some people include meditation, biofeedback, massage, and acupuncture.

Jeannette Franks, PhD, is a passionate gerontologist who teaches at University of Washington and Bastyr University; she is the author of a book on assisted living and numerous articles.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Good answer for speeding

I hope my friends and family will be praying for Mom. As time wears on, she is failing. Pray also for Lady Bug and her family in the loss of her Mother, Ushi (91). Lady Bug and I visited Mom yesterday on the way home from a visit with Snickers and Popcorn. We found Mom sitting in "her" spot out in the family room of the East Neighborhood of OAR fast asleep around 1:15PM. I tapped her on the knee and said, Hello gorgeous." She smiled and laughed and said, "Hello son." We had a nice visit for a few minutes before we had to go and pick up a grandson from school. I found out later in the afternoon that when Snickers called her, she didn't remember us being there. Here is a funny story I received by email today... When asked by a young patrol officer, "Do You know you were speeding?" this 83-year-old woman gave the young officer an ear-to-ear smile and stated: "Yes , but I had to get there before I forgot where I was going." The officer put his ticket book away and bid her good day. Makes perfectly good sense to me.
Alzheimer’s Around the World
By Jeffery Anderson

September is World Alzheimer’s Month, which reminds us that it’s not only Americans who are dealing with the ravages of Alzheimer’s and other age-related dementias. Dementia knows no borders. People around the globe suffer from dementia, as have people throughout time. History of Dementia Since ancient times, people have experienced age-related dementia memory impairment. According to a June 1998 article in the Journal of Neurological Science by F. Boller and MM. Forbes, “The history of dementia is probably as old as mankind itself.” A January 2006 article from the same journal, titled Dementia in the Greco-Roman World and written by Axel Karenberg and Hans Forstl, credits the Ancient Greeks as first recognizing and describing dementia.Illustration of Ancient Conception of the Mind About 2,400 years ago Plato described an illness that “gives rise to all manners of forgetfulness as well as stupidity.”

Dementia in the Greco-Roman World also quotes the Roman poet, Juvenal, who almost 2,000 years ago characterized a phenomenon that’s easily recognized as dementia: “Diseases of all kind dance around the old man in a troop. But worse than any loss in the body is the failing mind which forgets the names of slaves, and cannot recognize the face of the old friend who dined with him last night, nor those of the children whom he has begotten and brought up.” Evidence of dementia in Ancient Egypt exists as well. A paper by Dr. Deborah Sweeney of Tel Aviv University, quotes a 25th century BCE Egyptian, Ptahhotep, describing in hieroglyphs an aging person who “every night becomes more and more childish.” This, in fact, may be the earliest extant piece of writing describing dementia.

During the Dark Ages, advancement in understanding of dementia halted abruptly. There’s no doubt that dementia continued to afflict people in the times between Antiquity and the Enlightenment, but it was hardly written about. According to a 1998 article in the Neurobiology of Aging by Berchtold and Cotman, the next notable leap in understanding of dementia after ancient times was in the early 1600s by English philosopher Francis Bacon, who authored a work called Methods of Preventing the Appearance of Senility. Bacon may have been the first to recognize dementia as a brain disease, noting, “In the posterior part of the brain occurs oblivion, concerning the saying that old age is ‘the home of forgetfulness.’”

Shakespeare’s plays Hamlet and King Lear also used dementia as dramatic device. It’s also widely recognized by historians, including Berchtold and Cotman, that many of the victims of the 17th century witch trials in Europe and the United States who were burned at the stake may have been simply suffering from dementia. Public understanding of dementia didn’t enter the modern age until the German psychiatrist, Alois Alzheimers, described the first case of what we now know as Alzheimer’s Disease in 1910, classifying it as a subtype of “senile dementia.”

A Global Problem People are living longer than ever. According to the World Health Organization the global average lifespan was just 31 years in 1900. Today the global average is 70 years. This trend means that age-related dementia has become a major worldwide problem. In a groundbreaking report, the World Alzheimer’s Association estimated that as of 2010 there were 35.6 million people worldwide with dementia and that the global costs of dementia are over $300 billion dollars. According to the report, dementia is most prevalent in the Caribbean, with 8.12% of those over 60 having dementia. The region of the world with the lowest rate of dementia is Western Sub-Saharan Africa (Nigeria and nearby countries), with only 2.07% of those over 60 reported as having the disease. But the worldwide differences in estimated dementia prevalence may actually have to do with the way we diagnose (or fail to diagnose) the illness.

A study by the National Institute of Health seemingly low rates of dementia in Africa may be due to “the hiding of cases by relatives because of stigma, reluctance to seek medical assistance, poor access to medical care, and defective-case finding techniques.” These same barriers to diagnosis could apply equally to any other area of the developing world. Memory Care Around the World Whatever the actual rates of dementia across different parts of the globe, it’s clear that all nations—especially those with a large aging population—face a difficult burden of caring for people with dementia.

A recent New York Times article describes how American-style memory care communities are beginning to sprout up in China. The article quotes an official in Shanghai who says, “We’re planning to build at least one nursing home that can care for dementia patients in every district. Every year, we’ll need at least 5,000 additional beds.” But unlike America, where memory care homes have names like “Whispering Creek Manor” or “Sunny Brooke Estate,” the new memory care home described in the New York Times article is known simply as (in classic communist fashion), “Shanghai No. 3 Elderly Home.” While Shanghai No. 3 Elderly Home may not have the most creative name, its care is cutting-edge: “He says the new facility has a multimedia room that can display images of Shanghai streets, and even images that appear to show the neighborhoods of the patients. This is supposed to make them feel at home. Many patients also wear GPS armbands that help the staff monitor their locations.”

In Europe, entire villages are now being built for people with dementia. Residents are led to believe they’re in a regular European village, but in fact they are being carefully supervised and cared for. The first of these villages nicknamed Dementiaville was built in the Netherlands 20 years ago. As of writing, a second “Dementiaville” is being constructed in Switzerland at a price of more than $30 million.

Can We End Dementia? Dementia is so ubiquitous that we could include a story from each of the world’s countries; but it’s already clear that dementia affects people everywhere, and has been basic, element of humanity since its dawn. Our blog recently reported that the Department of Health and Human Services has set a goal to cure Alzheimer’s by 2025, with extra funds devoted to research and caregiver support. The goal may strike many as overoptimistic, but a goal-setting approach is probably better than complacently accepting dementia as a part of life.

Monday, September 10, 2012

September already

Here it is September already. Mom is having more trouble with confusion and anxiety in the mornings lately and seems to be going downhill a little more rapidly. Earlier this week on my morning call, she kept asking what she is supposed to be doing now. Recent evaluations have upgraded her to a higher level of care giving. She is eating well and has actually put on about 20 pounds. Some of her clothes are too small for her now. Her roommate has moved to another facility and she has the room all to herself, at least for now. OAR is going to repaint her room and possibly install a new carpet. We could not reach her on her phone for a couple of days last week as the battery had died but they got it recharged for her and it is working OK now. At one point, she held out the phone to one of the attendants and asked, “What is this?” This morning she did not answer my morning call in but a little latter she actually called ME and said that she was sorry she missed my call. I was impressed. Yesterday I picked her up for church and she had another real good day but she was very tired when I got her back “home” again. She is not walking for exercise like she used to do. Last week was a rough week for her but she seemed to be doing better today and yesterday. It was a joy to see her singing the old hymns of faith with uplifted face and her eyes closed. It was special.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hot August Weather

Nice hot weather here in Washington this August. OAR is able to keep the facility relatively cool. Mom had another good trip to worship services at church last Lord's Day. All went well. Monday at my morning check in phone call, she remarked on how much she enjoyed being in church. We also talked about how Snickers and Popcorn are having a good time on their trip to Germany and look forward to hearing all about it when they get home. Tuesday was her "Beauty Parlor" day. She always feels so much better after her session in the Beauty Parlor and is usually the first in line for it. She is an early riser. We also helped her with her voting ballot for the Washington Primary and she was proud to send in her absentee ballot. Everything else seems to be going alright. Attached is an article on six things to think about in financial planning for seniors. Click Here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Surprise visit yesterday

Mom had a good time at church on the 8th of July. All went well. Yesterday Ladybug and I stopped in for a surprise visit with her. She was in her usual spot out in the great front room of the East Neighborhood as they call it there at OAR. We went back down the hall toward her room and sat on the couch at the end of the hall and visited. I told her I was going to mail her the outlines of the sermons last Lord's Day. She said she really enjoys getting them in the mail. Today when I called her for our morning check in, she had already been to the beauty parlor and was out in the chapel area where she said they had some kind of entertainment coming in. I told her I'd call her back later. Love ya bunches. TWO BUNCHES!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Seven Tips

Mom has had a pretty good week. I call her every morning and she seems to be doing fine. Before I hang up, I always say, "I love you bunches." and she always responds, "I love you two bunches." :) I also send her a printed copy of the Sunday Sermons at church and she enjoys getting them in the mail. She has her "spot" out in the "Front Room" and is usually already in it by the time I get through to her on the phone. I had a bit of a stressful deal going on earlier this month with her Social Security and DSHS benefits due to people not doing their job in a timely fashion but eventually got it all straightened out. No need to bother Mom about any of the details. She becomes anxious easily but also can get over it before you know it. I guess that is one nice thing about AD. Found a good article on seven tips for Elderly Caregivers that you might like to see. Click Here.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Community Living

We are planning to pick Mom up for Church again this Lord's Day. She did well last time and we pray she will feel up to it again this Sunday. Here is a link to an article that brings out some positive things about Community Living and why Seniors now a days are liking it more and more.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Yesterday was Memorial Day. It turned out to be a beautiful day in western Washington. I went over to OAR a little after 11AM and picked up Mom for an outing to our church picnic. All went very very well. We had gospel music, a patriotic DVD, games, Cost-co polish hot dogs, BBQ ribs, tater salad and all the trimmings, etc. Around 4PM I took Mom for a tour of Lakewood and we saw the Clover Park High School "Arlington Cemetery Project" where the students created a miniature cemetery on the front lawn of the school with all the little tombstones of all the fallen military personnel from recent service. Then we drove through the grounds at Mt. View Funeral Home where the drive was lined with old glory on both sides of the street and hundreds of American flags were installed all over the cemetery. It was beautiful and very moving. Mom stayed in the vehicle and I took some pictures before we headed home. Mom said, as we got under way, "Where is home? I don't even remember where I live." We got Mom "Home" about supper time and time for her evening meds. She was tired but had a great time. A little later in the evening, Snickers called to talk to Mom and she didn't seem to remember anything about the day at all.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Mother's Day

Last May 13th, Ladybug went over to OAR and picked up Mom for church. It turned out to be a great day and Mom thoroughly enjoyed the day to the MAX. She was there for the Sunday School, the morning Worship Service, the Noon Meal, and in the afternoon she was able to take the Lord's Supper. She was a little disoriented as to where things were located (like the Ladies Room) but I was careful to mention everyone's name as they came in and hugged her and she appeared to "remember" them. Ladybug, Snickers, Popcorn and I were all out of State for a few days at the beginning of the month but we called Mom routinely as usual and all went well without her getting distressed about us being gone. It helped to have a couple of visits from grandchildren during that time too. I got a letter from DSHS May 23rd that stressed me out a little. It said that they sent me an annual review form on Mom's status and did not receive it back so they were therefore going to close her account effective May 31st. (Don't you just LOVE bureaucrats?) I called them immediately and said, "Kicking Mom to the curb is not acceptable." They said they would re-send the form and I told them that I would fill it out again and FAX it to them before the end of the day that I receive it. Praying that all will go well with this and there will be no problems or disruptions for Mom.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring Brunch

Snickers and Ladybug attended the Spring Brunch last Saturday with Mom at OAR. It was a beautiful day and they all enjoyed it. I was at a Tax Day Rally at our Capital offering the Invocation for the event and was not able to attend the Brunch with "the girls". Next Saturday we are planning a special day. The family is getting together at the Olive Garden Restaurant to celebrate Mom's 89th birthday. We've done this before and Mom liked it a lot.

When I talked with Mom on the phone this morning she said how much she enjoyed the visit Saturday. The Mariners are playing ball again and now she is getting back into baseball. I told her about the services in church and she always says how much she misses being in church. She sometimes watches Charles Stanley on Sunday mornings. We are working on a way to get Mom to church one of these times on a Lord's Day or possibly at a special fellowship meeting depending on how well she feels. I am going to start mailing her info from the church to help keep that feeling of connection.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Surprise visit

It has been a while since I've made any new notes here on the "Aging Parents" Blog. Things have been going pretty good for the most part with Mom. Snickers "texted" me the other day and said there was a speaker scheduled to talk on AD at OAR 7PM Thursday and asked if I thought I would be there for it. I said, "Maybe." Lots of things going on lately. Well, Ladybug and I were able to set the time aside to be there. We arrived at OAR about 6:30PM and went straight to the "East Neighborhood" of the facility where Mom lives. Mom was out in the front family (TV) room and I snuck up next to her and she smiled from ear to ear when she saw me. We got up and found a place down the hall where we could sit together and visit without interrupting the TV viewing of the other residents. We got out Mom's Family Picture Album and visited for about an hour. We told Mom we needed to go and she wanted to return to the TV room for a little while longer. We hugged and said goodby. The meeting with the special speaker was still in session in the Chapel area and we stopped off to see if Snickers was there. She was and we joined her for the last part of the presentation. Ladybug collected some of the handouts from the presenter and we headed home. It was a very good trip.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Support Group

Hello friends and family,

I just found out about a support group that has just began meeting at Olympic Alzheimer's Residence (OAR) in Gig Harbor, which I plan to attend. It is for caregivers of friends and family experiencing memory loss, Alzheimer's, and dementia support group.

The meeting time is 7pm the 2nd Wed. of the month in the Chapel @ OAR in Gig Harbor. 3025 145th Ave. NW GH, WA 98335 for more information call 253 851 5306 OAR is very easy to get to. If you have any questions please call.

In His Grace,