Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Chrisrmas Caregivers




Christmas Blessings to all my caregiver friends and visitors.
I want to wish you the kind of joy and happiness you have given to numerous lives out there, as you have brought hope and encouragement and joy throughout the year .
May the dream that's closest to your heart be fulfilled in the coming days. Thank you for caring and making someone elses life better.

I am looking forward to a short time of rest this week until the New Year.It is the only time I get a chance to take a well deserved break


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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Alzheimers Prevention and Brain Health

First I want to assume that you are reading this because you are starting to worry just a little bit about your memory and the possibility of Alzheimers later in life. You're not the only one-there are 72 million baby boomers taking turns on line every day looking for information, help and hope for the Alzheimers prevention . You may have noticed long time friends or people at work maybe your own spouse decline right before your eyes. It's more than a little scary knowing you could be there too; so we look for answers.

Brain fog is not necessarily an indication of Alzheimers, Age Associated Memory Impairment (AAMI) or any form of dementia. But it is a good indication that your brain health needs attention. It could be that any number of things or a combination of things could make all the difference; but it is up to you to take action. Clearing up the brain fog could very well be the first step in Alzheimers prevention.

A recent study of baby boomers concluded that 62% share Alzheimers as their biggest fear of growing old. Not heart disease, not heart attack, not stroke, not cancer but Alzheimers. I found myself in that group. I also discovered that among physicians, men and women who see more pain, suffering and disease than any other segment of the population, they would prefer anything to Alzheimers.

Alzheimers is characterized by elevated levels of beta-amyloid peptides that cause plaque to build up in the brain. The plaque causes the neurons to shrivel and tangle (fibrillary tangle) which prevents the synapses from firing neurotransmitters to relay information through out the brain.

The increase in this disease among people under 65 is increasing at an alarming rate. Alzheimers prevention is the only course of action we can take at this point as there is no known cure for the disease.

So do you bury your head in the sand and hope you get to dodge this bullet or do you take the necessary steps to be healthy and mentally alert your entire life? The good news is that what you do to enhance and improve the most important organ in your body will enhance and improve your entire body. BUT if you think that this disease is just inevitable to some people keep your affairs in order it may become a self fulfilling prophecy.

If on the other hand you want to reduce your risk and increase energy, focus, concentration, memory and overall brain fitness here are several steps to take to make that happen.

First change your diet: there are some foods that do so much to create and maintain brain health they have to be included in a brain healthy diet. Eat whole grain foods that contain the bran, germ and endosperm. Eat apples, yes; an apple a day does keep the doctor away. Include more berries in your diet, all sorts, but the darker the better.

It also turns out that fish really is brain food you should eat fish 3 to 5 times per week; salmon, tuna, herring etc. And remember the tough vegetables- cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Yes I know- you hate that kind of stuff- but you are an adult now and Alzheimers prevention is your objective.

On the other hand if you have been avoiding nuts because of the fat content you can quite worrying nuts are good for you, the right fat, good slow metabolism, they help you feel full. Along with nuts include all kinds of dairy products but make them low fat when possible.

Eat more greens, the darker the better, spinach, turnip, kale etc. Yes I know.... But remember who you are and what your objective is. Add soy to your diet, it's especially good for Alzheimers prevention.

Sweet potatoes, one of natures most perfect and complete foods over all, is particularly good for brain health. So don't save then for the Holidays; eat them often.

Beans and legumes, there are many varieties and they are all very good for you and good for your brain. Tomatoes are another incredibly healthy fruit for over all health, especially the brain.

If for any reason a diet featuring these foods is difficult, consider a supplement. Brite Age Health has a formula, scientifically proven, in a large double blind placebo controlled study, to enhance and improve brain health and brain function. To reverse what we call life style assaults on the brain take Brite Smart ™ and to ensure you have enough brain specific nutrition take Brite Shield. Available at http://www.britetest.com Remember Alzheimers prevention is the only cure.

Mike Dailey

Article Source: EzineArticles?expert/Mike Dailey



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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Blog Nomination

All Glory and honor belongs to God, I bless the mighty name of God.

I am truly amazed that two of my blogs have been nominated over at BlogNet Awards for the December Blognet Trophy contest



My fellow bloggers below you will find a post that was written by the Blognet Awards team on my nomination in the Best Health Blog Category, one of my other blogs Ucanhope2 have also been nominated in the Best Religion Blog Category. Please head over to BlogNet Awards to comment and vote on my nomination


BlogNet Awards Team said...

It is with pleasure that we inform you that your blog has been nominated for the December BlogNet Trophy Contest. Before a site is accepted to our site, we do a manual review to make sure that it meets our standards for content and quality. Congratulations, your blog has passed and is now viewing on our site.

Should you win the monthly award your blog will hold a prominent position for the following month on our front page and on all the sites who display our widget, and you will be included in the year end competition for our Annual award.

This is a Free contest that is fun and will give your site more exposure and traffic! The best way to create a buzz for your nomination is to let all your readers and viewers know about this contest, from friends, family and all your contacts in the various communities and forums that you are with. To encourage people to vote and comment to your nomination, we have created a Comment Contest. People need to REGISTER to have their votes and comments counted and the benefit to them as an added bonus is that they can create a backlink to their own primary business, not to mention the cash prizes that they can win. Nominations close on the 15th of the given month, but the voting and commenting goes to the last day of the month.

Again, congratulations and best of luck!

BlogNet Awards

December 5, 2008 3:27 PM


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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What is a Health Maven?

To the right of this post you will see a Health Maven Badge that was given to me by Wellsphere. Wellsphere’s Health Mavens provide free answers to millions of health seekers

In these difficult economic times, it’s comforting to know there are medical and patient experts out there who care enough to answer health questions online for free. Dr. Geoff Rutledge, MD PhD, Wellsphere’s Chief Medical Information Officer, told reporters today about the new Health Maven Program, which connects volunteer doctors, psychologists, nurses, personal trainers, expert-patients and other experts with health seekers who are looking for answers. Anyone with access to the Internet can get their health questions and concerns answered quickly and at no cost at www.wellsphere.com/healthMaven.s.

Health mavens are carefully selected, knowledgeable, health experts who are committed to helping others live healthier, happier lives. Hundreds of Health Mavens have volunteered to join the program and answer questions, with new Mavens signing up every day. “We’re witnessing an incredible growth in the number of people using the Internet to find health information” said Wellsphere’s CEO Ron Gutman. According to an iCrossing research repot, for the first time in history people with health questions are more likely to turn to the Web for answers than to their doctor. “Recognizing this trend among our users, we assembled the world’s leading network of over 1,800 medical and patient experts to share their experiences and expertise with Wellsphere.com’s almost 3 million monthly visitors. We are humbled by the experience, expertise and genuine care these wonderful individuals share every day with people who come to Wellsphere looking for answers” said Gutman.

In addition to providing a wonderful service to people seeking answers to their health questions, the Health Maven program allows participating medical professionals and patient experts to broaden their impact by sharing their experiences and expertise with a much wider audience, and to get the recognition they deserve. Here are a few of their comments:

"Being a Health Maven gives me the opportunity to interact directly with the Wellsphere community. It's been a lot of fun and professionally it's incredibly rewarding." - Melissa McCreery, PhD

"Wellsphere has taken caring to a new level and I'm glad to be a part of it," - Kathleen Blanchard, RN

"I enjoy being a maven - it seems that doling out advice and answering questions seems to be my calling in life." - Lynn Dorman, PhD

To find out more about the Health Maven program, please visit http://www.Wellsphere.com/HealthMaven.s



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Monday, November 24, 2008

Coping as a family caregiver

When your family member has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, the long journey begins. Often times people are in the early stage of Alzheimer's disease long before they are diagnosed. You are dealing with your own issues and your plans get put on hold and suddenly you find yourself dealing with their problems and wondering when you are going to get your life back.

As time goes by things will begin to get increasingly difficult and unpredictable, You don't know how the condition would progress so you begin living one day at a time and make the most of it. Caregiving is hard work, and it will begin to affect you emotionally, mentally, physically and socially. At times you will find yourself having to deal with anger and frustration and the other emotions that go along with them.The stress and the fatigue will make you become depressed. Crisis after crisis will arise, but you can't let yourself go. If you are not taking care of your needs, and you are eating a poor diet because you are not finding time to eat, sleep deprivation becomes an issue. All of this is a recipe for sickness. there are time when you will begin to experience exhaustion.

The most difficult day comes when your loved one no longer recognizes who you are. Don't become discouraged if they seem afraid of you or treats you like a stranger, it is because they don't recognize who you are any longer and is unsure of your intentions towards them.
Remember it's nothing personal they are acting out of fear and uncertainty. Dealing with memory loss can become very trying because you will be asked the same questions over and over and they will tell you the same thing over and over. Try to have patience and be humorous and take everything in stride.


When caring for your Alzheimer's patient it is very easy to let go of your former life,
given the many responsibilities you are juggling. Shutting yourself away might seem like the best thing to do as your loved one disease progresses and requires more care and attention.
It is common among caregivers exposed to stress to isolate themselves. But isolating yourself is not good, your mental and physical health suffers. Interacting with others helps you to see things differently and you tend to find solutions to your problems much more easily. Your problems can seem worse if you don't have anyone to discuss them with.

Stay in touch with family and friends and make friends with other Alzheimer's caregivers and especially former caregivers who have traveled that road before. If someone offers to help don't say no and don't be shy about asking for help when your responsibilities seems overwhelming. Why won't you accept help offered? Are you self conscious or perhaps ashamed of your loved ones condition? As you interact with other caregivers you will find out that what seems strange to you is a norm for Alzheimer's patients.

So if you have been isolating yourself its time to change that, because it has long term effects.
When you have lived in isolation while taking care of your loved one, after they would have passed away you continue to live that way because it has become the norm for you.
It takes Herculean effort to break out of that pattern, so stay connected. its the best thing you can do for yourself.



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Monday, November 17, 2008

Caregiver Survival - Don't Be Manipulated by "Shoulds"

As the number of people diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness increases; the army of caregivers will increase. There is a continuum of caregiver roles from part-time help to round the clock caregiving. Caregivers are often family members until a time comes that the patient is too ill or too difficult to handle on a daily basis. Caregivers are vulnerable and manipulation is one of the big traps experienced by caregivers.

You would think that at the moment the patient got sick caregivers are put into a hypnotic trance abandoning their sense of free will. Everyone knows that the caregiver enters the role with one intention, helping the patient get well and maintain the highest quality of life. The manipulation comes in when the patient and the community superimposes the word "should" on the actions of the caregiver. In a never ending effort to provide the best possible care caregivers will often abandon their instinct for what is the right thing to do with an unspoken majority vote from other family member and friends.

As the primary caregiver you know the person best. You understand the illness, have probably accompanied the patient to doctor visits so you have the big picture and you make decisions based on that information.

Being a caregiver is different from parenting another person. No one needs another mother or father, but when the patient takes on the role of helpless victim, the caregiver is often expected to pick up the slack. This doesn't serve the patient or the caregiver. Part of the role of the caregiver is to be a catalyst for action. It's about helping the patient stay engaged in life, not just doing their laundry or cooking or meal.

Caregivers are often manipulated into being indentured servants. Remember this is an equal relationship. You're matching the patients need with your desire and willingness to help. Volunteer caregiving, as in the case of family members, is very different from paid caregiving. Paid caregivers, unless the patient is hostile or overly demanding are not there to have a voice, they are there to make the patients life easier. Volunteer caregivers have other motivations and sometimes love and duty are the downfall of the family caregiver.

Avoid manipulation by keeping open communication with the patient's healthcare team. Ask them what the patient should be capable of accomplishing on their own and let them do it. Don't try and "save" the patient. Manipulation needs to stop before it starts. It's a very difficult cycle to break out of and unfortunately it creates an unhealthy dependency on the part of the patient. There may come a time in the disease process when that dependency is warranted, but make it the exception not the norm.

As a caregiver you have been enlisted to be a part of the patient's journey to wellness. It's easy for caregivers to fall prey to the "shoulds" that family and friends offer as loving suggestions. If that's how friends and family feel, then allow them to provide that part of the caregiving. Stick to your guns because it's your relationship with the patient and healthcare team that should be driving the caregiving bus, not public opinion.

Caregiving is a difficult task; make it easier by receiving our special report "The 5 Pillars of Health and Healing. As a special bonus receive the multimedia program "Instilling Hope for Health" The report and multimedia program are FREE, make your caregiving experience easier and from a place of love not obligation, go to http://www.survivingstrong.com

Article Source:EzineArticles.com/?expert=Greg_Katz


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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Caregiving Etiquette - Ten Do's and Don'ts

Moving through the caregiving world with grace and ease is no simple skill. However, having good manners will carry you a long way.As a caregiver we spend our day interacting with family members, friends, and everyone on the Care Team.

Common sense tells you that the people you are closest to warrant an extra measure of consideration. It takes good manners to sustain the love and respect between caregiver and care-receiver.

Dos

1. Encourage family members and friends to show respect and deference to the care-receiver. For example, the care-receiver's visitors should be treated politely as honored guests.

Noise from the TV, radio, etc., should be kept to a minimum. The care-receiver's rest hour should be respected. Telephone messages should be carefully taken, and mail given to him/her unopened.

2. Preserve the care-receiver's feelings of independence. It is important that the care-receiver have control of her/his own money-as long as she/he is capable of managing it.

3. Use your imagination and put yourself in the care-receiver' shoes. Be understanding and find a way to harness your frustrations.

4. Focus on the care-receiver's needs and not your own. Talk to your parent. Try to understand how he/she sees it.

5. Let go of unreasonable hopes. Recognize that your parent won't or can't change.

6. Express warmth and concern toward the care-receiver. This is especially important when the care-receiver has a poor self-image and many feelings of inferiority. A good caregiver must provide reassurance.

7. Be a good listener. Many times the care-receiver may simply want you to listen.

8. Smile a lot. Be a good friend and companion.

9. Keep confidences. Avoid repeating matters that will not be welcomed by others.

10. Maintain your self-composure and avoid stress. Practice your coping skills in order to maintain your composure and balance.

Don'ts

1. Don't treat your parent like a child. Even if your parent reverts to childlike behavior, he/she always needs to be treated with respect and dignity.

As the parent's dependence increases, it is natural for adult children to find themselves unable to communicate in familiar ways.

2. Don't criticize the care-receiver for occasional forgetfulness and other signs of growing older.

3. Don't take sides with other family members in disputes or arguments. It is better to be known as someone who is fair and noninterfering.

4. Don't let an angry situation become emotionally or physically abusive. Step out of the room for a cool down. Seek outside help.

5. Don't neglect the care-receiver. Make sure your parent gets to all appointments, takes medications as scheduled.

6. Don't discourage the help of others. There can never be too much help.

7. Don't assume that the care-receiver has nothing to contribute.

8. Don't compare what you are doing to what everyone else is doing. Every job in a caregiving situation is important.

9. Don't underestimate the power of touch. As people age or their illness progresses, there is less human contact. A hug, kiss or pat on the shoulder can enhance the situation.

10. Don't treat your parent/family member like an alien. When there are several persons in the room be sure to include the care-receiver in the conversation. Do not talk about him/her in the third person as if he/she wasn't in the room.

A good caregiver is genuine and cares about the dignity, welfare, and feelings of their care-receiver. Good manners are based on good character, which translates to kindness and compassion.

Rebecca Colmer is eldercare advocate, author, speaker, publisher and caregiver. For more caregiving tools, visit Caregiving Tools

Article Source: Ezine Articles Expert-Rebecca Sharp Colmer




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Monday, October 27, 2008

Role reversal

Taking care of a parent with Alzheimer's Disease can be very challenging especially if you were dependent upon your parent. Reversing the role is never easy.

If you were always in a strained relationship with your parent, you will find it extremely difficult to take on that role as caregiver, because of the feelings you have been carrying around all these years. But it can be done if you are willing to deal with the issues.

Even though caregiving is hard work and you don't have control over the disease, you can control how you handle your responsibilities. One needs to be creative and find innovative ways to handle some situations that arise. Because you are the one in control, your patient will pick up on your emotions.
As you display certain behavior , they will behave the same way. If you are angry and impatient that is how your patient will act.

If your patient is becoming quick tempered you need to check and see if you have been displaying that behavior. There are times when they have no control and don't even know what they are doing because their memory is failing so they take their cue from you.


You might be uneasy about bathing your parent, they usually can take care of themselves until the disease becomes more advanced when you really would have to put your shyness away. Or you can hire a nurse to take care of the hygiene.part of it.
Whatever the situation you need to treat your patient with love and understanding and respect always.


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Friday, October 24, 2008

Everyday Hero

To the left of this post you will see a badge marked Yes, we care! Hero.
Its indeed a great privelege to be honored as an hero. I have been honored as an "Everyday Hero" by Wellsphere for taking the time to help and support others through my writing and personal experiences.
I want to thank Wellsphere for calling me a "Everyday Hero" and for the lives I have touched I want to say thank you for giving me that opportunity to do so.



This is an excerpt from an email I received from Wellsphere

This week, it’s all about YOU. We’re honoring you, our “Everyday Hero” with the new Yes We Care! Campaign and a new Hero badge for your blog; recognizing you on the world premiere Map of Caring; and featuring many of you in a touching video that stirred our hearts and shows the world just how much we all care.

Yes We Care! Campaign

I’m delighted to announce the official launch of the Yes, We Care! Campaign to publicly express our deep appreciation for the extraordinary efforts YOU and others like you are making to help, support and care for others. Thank you for opening your heart and mind to help others by sharing your expertise and personal experiences!

We’re proud to honor you as our “Everyday Hero”! We believe that you deserve to be recognized for taking the time to help others through your writing, and have added you to the world’s first Map of Caring. You can see yourself on the Map, by clicking
Here

Please accept this “Everyday Hero” badge for your blog, and enjoy the recognition you deserve amongst your many readers and visitors.



Take a look at the Yes We care! Video



Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Discover How To Becoming A Successful Alzheimer's Disease Caregiver

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease in which the condition worsens over time. As more parts of the brain are being damaged, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease become more severe. Patients experience frustration and grief as they struggle with gradual loss of function and fading memory. Their family members grieve as well, as they observe their loved ones losing their abilities, personality and function. Anger, confusion, sadness and depression are common reactions in families experiencing anticipatory grief.

Being an Alzheimer’s caregiver takes energy and courage. As the patient’s mental abilities decreases, the caregiver’s responsibility increases. Thus, the caring for a patient with Alzheimer’s disease could become increasingly difficult and stressful over time. Many Alzheimer’s disease caregivers experience intense stress as they struggle to understand the patient’s behavioural changes and determine what interventions will work for the problems that arise each day. This stressful task can have a detrimental effect on the caregiver’s emotional, social and physical well-being.

One possible way that the caregiver could reduce the stress of caregiving and cope with the task more effectively is to develop skills in caregiving. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses and the behavior of the patient become more complex, caregivers need to understand the patient’s changing behaviors and learn techniques to manage the behavioural difficulties. Thus, it is particularly important that the caregiver acquire knowledge about the Alzheimer’s disease and its progression, skills and strategies for managing the challenges, and information on the available resources to turn to when the need arises. This is even more essential if the caregiver is new to the task. If a new caregiver has totally no knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease and is greatly lacking in coping skills, the task of caregiving is even more difficult.

Along the way, as the caregiver encounter more and more unexpected new challenges, the caregiver will definitely feel overwhelmed by these problems. The stress experienced by the caregiver would certainly be greater and could result in a detrimental effect on the caregiver’s well-being, which in turn could result in an adverse impact on the patient’s situation.

It is also important to note that every patient deserves the highest standard of care possible and an equipped caregiver is more able to provide the high standard of care required for the patient. At times, although an elderly person with severe impairment in memory and mental function may need to be communicated with at the primary functioning level of a small child, but he or she also needs, and has a right to be respected as an adult. A trained caregiver would learn the communication skills required to interact with the patient and be more equipped to provide proper care for the patient. Hence, training is necessary for the caregiver to acquire the appropriate skills needed for the job and enable the caregiver to provide the standard of care required. The patient will benefit from the quality of care provided.

Thus, the importance of developing skills in caregiving should not be overlooked. It would certainly help the caregiver to cope with the task and reduce the stress of caregiving. At the same time, the caregiver will be able to provide the standard of care required and the patient will benefit from it. Furthermore, if caregivers find that their approaches are effective, they will gain confidence and increased satisfaction doing the task. In this way, hopefully, caregivers would end up finding meaning and purpose in the difficult task of caregiving instead of finding the task a daunting one.

Rose Mary
Have special interest in alzheimer's disease caregivers educations
Alzheimer's Disease Tips Revealed

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Rose_Mary

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Alzheimer's Web Ribbon

Caring.com was created to help you care for your aging parents and other loved ones. Their mission is to give you the information and other resources you need to make better decisions, save time, by connecting you with the knowledge, people and tools you need to manage and improve your loved ones health.

Caring.com provides the practical information, easy-to-use tools, and personal support you need during this challenging time. This site features original content focused exclusively on elder care and end-of-life matters. They enables users to quickly and efficiently find comprehensive personal answers and support for their specific situation.

Caring.com have gotten into a venture in association with Alzheimer's Association by way of using the Alzheimer's Ribbon
Caring.com will contribute $10 to the Alzheimer’s Association for each unique website or blog, up to 1,000 unique websites or blogs, that displays the ribbon in accordance with their terms of use.

I highly recommend this site and encourage you to get an Alzheimer's Ribbon for your blog/website if you care and want to act to end Alzheimer's.

Click on the link below to get a ribbon like the one on this blog.

Get a Web Ribbon

Monday, August 25, 2008

Alzheimers and Music


As the disease progresses Alzheimer's Disease patients tend to become withdrawn, so it is important to find activities that the patient can be a part of in order to help reduce isolation..

I have found music plays an important role in the life of an AD patient, especially the sing-alongs. The general idea is to get them to continue as normal a life as possible.If the patient is still mobile you can get them to dance a few steps.

Playing soothing music helps when patients become agitated, play music that calms and uplifts them. This will take some trial and error time until you get the right music or you can always get a music therapist who will have a program tailor made for your patient

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Balancing Work, Family and Caregiving

Having been a caregiver for over six years, I know how difficult and tiring it could become.

So today I would like to salute all caregivers, present and past for taking the time to show that you care.

Congratulations!

Jesus has no other hands but yours.



When my mother first became sick I was running a retail business and juggling responsibilities at church.
As my mother's disease progressed I was faced with personal sickness that I had to make a decision.
I was overloading and I needed to do something before depression took over and I burn out.

I decided to give up my business to take care of my mother as my other siblings are in different countries.
Even after I gave up my business, I found it increasingly difficult as I began to deal with medical and financial issues.I became nurse, doctor, counselor and psychiatrist. I became everything that was needed for the situation.
I quickly learnt how to take blood pressure readings , etc.

My most difficult time was when my mother was in the hospital for twenty-one days, it was three visits a day back and forth from Sunday to Sunday, Thankfully that was her only hospital stay during her sickness.

When she came out the hospital, I learned how to take care of a patient in bed because she had become bedridden. Of course you now have to learn how to give baths in bed and change bed linen with the patient in the bed, that lasted about four and half moths until she passed away.

I also had the responsibility of taking care of my father who couldn't quite grasp what was happening to mother
As my mother grew worse , he became more negative and difficult, he felt he was not getting the attention he was used to and of course tension spiraled.Thank God there were no children to deal with.

So how did I do all of this, I began to plan and make schedules for things that needed to be done.
Meals were planned in advance, housework was rearranged, things were simplified and most importantly I had God that I could call upon, the truth is If I had not know him then, I don't know how I would have handled things.
He was my strong tower, my burden bearer , my peace and the lifter of my head.

As if all this wasn't enough, when my mother passed away, my work was still not over, it took one week for my siblings to come home from various countries for her funeral, so I had to make all the arrangements that went along with a funeral, everything had to be in place because some came the day before the funeral and some had to leave the day after.


Easy to follow daily houshold routines

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Alzheimer's Patient and Activities

It is good to keep your Alzheimer's patient occupied and active while they still can, whether inside or outside before they become immobile.Choose activities that will stimulate anything too complex will frustrate them and you will have other emotions to deal with.

Its is good to have your patient get some amount of sunlight everyday, whether walking or just sitting for a while.
You can also play games and do word search or puzzles depending on what stage of the disease they are at.

You can also give them family photos to search through and select their favorite ones and place them in a special album so they can have with them to look at whenever they like.

Get them a stuffed animal or doll to hug, they like to hoard things, it keeps them comfortable.

A good daily amount of light exercise helps to keep their bones and muscles strong. Exercise improves their balance and also helps them to sleep better.Don't over do it remember they are not training for a marathon, you are only trying to keep them healthy.

If you can afford it you can higher a personal trainer or a physical therapist, someone who has experience working with Alzheimer's disease patients

While doing the light exercises may sure to look for any signs of discomfort, pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, if you notice anything you should stop the exercise and consult their doctor for advise.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Caregiving and Medical Treatments

As the primary caregiver for your loved one you are in a great position to know what works for your patient and what doesn't.
What works for one patient will not work for another. Medicine affects people in different ways. Many different medications were prescribed for my mother and most didn't work.It was about three years from the onset of my mother's symptoms before she was finally diagnosed and during that period nothing helped.

The internet has be a blessing and a curse for the families of Alzheimer's Disease patients.A blessing because it allows you to access information about the condition, its diagnosis and its treatment but on the other hand it gave scammers the ability to rob you because of the outlandish promises made in e-mail you receive promising miraculous results.

Don't be fooled there is no cure for Alzheimer's Disease. The important thing for you right now is to find ways to make the experience as positive and painless as possible for all involved.The medications that are prescribed only slow the process down, they don't reverse the disease.

In my mothers case because I did not know the facts from the beginning, I went through a period of frustration and impatience thinking that she was going to get better.
When I began to get facts from other caregivers who were taking care of Alzheimer's patient only then was I able to understand that this disease would keep getting worse and that is when I began to change my approach to things.

That is why its important to chat and share tips with other caregivers that are taking care of patients with like sickness .or disease, or those that passed that way before, you never know what you will learn.

Having realized now that things were irreversible, I began to look for ways to make my mother's life more comfortable knowing that things were going to get progressively worse.
At that time, I did not have access to the internet and I did not have the time to go to an internet cafe so I depended on the television for information.I used to look at the medical programs on Trinity Broadcasting Network and Christian Broadcasting Network to get helpful tips and so began a trial and error process.


I once saw a program on Christian Broadcasting Network on the effects of Monosodium Glutamate in foods on your brain, so I began to eliminate all foods with that product and I was rewarded for my efforts.

My mother who used to be agitated all the time was no longer agitated, so to find out if this was because of the MSG in the food, I began to cook foods again that had MSG in them and her agitation returned. So I stopped using foods with MSG completely.
ARTICLE-Your Brain's Biggest Enemy-MSG

I also eliminated coffee and anything with caffeine in it. After doing that my mother was able to go to bed at a decent hour instead of being restless and can't fall asleep. She was able to come off of her sleeping pills for good, her pills used to have her groggy in the mornings.
The coated aspirin which is supposed to be a blood thinner did not work for my mother either.

And as for her medications she used several different ones until I learned about Aricept(donepezil HCl tablets) from another caregiver.I spoke to my mother's doctor about it and thus began her use of it.

I am not here to promote any medication, I am simply stating what worked
for my mother.She used to be confused and disoriented most of the time but things began to settle down after that, her regular crying stopped, she stopped roaming at nights and slept through, she was more upbeat.her symptoms began to improve gradually until she reached the stage when not even the Aricept helped.

There is one thing I can say, for my mother, using the Aricept improved the quality of her life and so helped me as the caregiver because there were many behavioral problems that I no longer had to deal with.

So its all about understanding what you are dealing with and finding ways to help your loved one to have the best life during this time not because there is no cure you are going to give up on them, let them live their life as fully as possible.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Caregiver and Isolation

When caring for your Alzheimer's patient it is very easy to let go of your former life,
given the many responsibilities you are juggling.

Shutting yourself away might seem like the best thing to do as your loved one disease progresses and requires more care and attention.
It is common among caregivers exposed to stress to isolate themselves.

But isolating yourself is not good, your mental and physical health suffers.
Interacting with others helps you to see things differently and find solutions to your problems much more easily.
Your problems can seem worse if you don't have anyone to discuss them with.

Stay in touch with family and friends and make friends with other Alzheimer's caregivers and especially former caregivers who have traveled that road before.
If someone offers to help don't say no and don't be shy about asking for help when your responsibilities seems overwhelming.

Why won't you accept help offered? Are you self conscious or perhaps ashamed of your loved ones condition?
As you interact with other caregivers you will find out that what seems strange to you is a norm for Alzheimer's patients.

So if you have been isolating yourself its time to change that, because it has long term effects.
When you have lived in isolation while taking care of your loved one, after they would have passed away you continue to live that way because it has become the norm for you.
It takes Herculean effort to break out of that pattern, so stay connected. its the best thing you can do for yourself.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dealing with the Patient's Emotions

Through out the period of your loved one sickness you are going to have to deal with a lot of emotions, theirs and yours.

I dealt with dealing with the caregivers emotion in an earlier post.
Dealing With Your Emotions

Alzheimer's Disease patients are most of the time frustrated.
This is because their days seems cloudy, trying to remember, or worrying, or looking for something. Its a great burden for them.

When things begin to escalate and they begin to say hurtful things to you or do things to hurt you , don't try to lash back at them and don't take it personally, its not you failing to do your job.
These are signals that the disease is advancing.

Its tough having to deal with the negatives but you need to be understanding and remember why all this is happening and separate the incident from your feelings for your loved one.
Don't let these incidents hinder your relationship with your loved one.
It's not easy but it can be done.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Helping the Primary Caregiver

You can do many things to help the primary caregiver


Call on a regular basis so that the caregiver or patient does not feel abandoned and isolated like no one cares..

Provide emotional support, send or speak words of encouragement.

Provide financial assistance, providing care for an Alzheimer's patient is expensive.

Have discussions with the patients' doctor, so you know what is going on every step of the way, so you wouldn't be surprised when important decisions have to be made.

Educate yourself about the disease.You might find out that what you thought were facts were just erroneous. Know all that's happening, knowledge is the key.

Offer your services to assist the caregiver or give them a day off, so that they can have some relaxation time.. Surprise the caregiver on special occasions

Become the family historian, so you can gather pertinent information from the Alzheimer's patient before they reach the stage where their memory is no longer working properly.Don't only asks questions, record it because when that person is gone and your memory fails you, that information is gone.

Now is the time to get information on things you always wondered about in the family, if you want to have a record of your family history to pass on to the younger generation.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Alzheimer's Disease and Poor Nutrition

Poor nutrition is often found in Alzheimer's Disease patients because of many contributing factors.
Your loved one may have problems with their teeth or gums, a medication may be reducing their appetite or they might be having swallowing problems. Mechanical problems also begins to show up where they forget how to pick up the food or how to get it to their mouths.

It is better to serve foods that are easy to handle.
Below you will find a list of suggested foods

1. Nutritional shakes
2. Scrambled eggs
3. Puddings
4. Cooked vegetables and fruits, pureed or mashed
5. Small finger sandwiches
6. Fish sticks
7. Half inch pieces of meat or cheese
8. Soups


Avoid foods that are prone to cause choking in AD patients

1. Hot dogs
2. Nuts
3. Grapes and cherries
4. Chips and crackers
5. Candy
6. Toffee
7. Chewing gum
8. Caffeinated and alcoholic drinks are diuretics and will dehydrate the patient
Every 6 oz of coffee or alcohol requires an additional 10 to 12 oz of water to
rehydrate

9. Acidic foods brings your body into a degenerative state


As the condition of an AD patient worsens you will find it difficult to get them to eat and often times refuses to open their mouths.When this happens you will have to resort to feeding them with a cup with sipper or straws.
Give them lots of water to drink to flush out their kidneys and bladder and to neutralize the acid in the body

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Agitation and Violence

One of the most significant problems that families face with an Alzheimer's Disease patient is agitation.

Agitation can show it self in many ways like pacing, screaming, hoarding,or physical aggression which can lead to violence.

The key to dealing with this kind of behavior is to find out what triggers these episodes and find ways to deal with them.

Repeated episodes of aggressive behavior increases the risk of violence in both the patient and caregiver.

There has been a recent episode where an Alzheimer's patient shot someone, click on story to read more.

The Tragic Effects of Alzheimer's Disease

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Effects Of Alzheimer's On Families

They spoke of heartache and loss, of confusion and pain, of parents struck down by Alzheimer's disease.

Seven U.S. senators gave a rare glimpse into personal tragedies Wednesday at congressional hearings on the need for a national strategy to deal with this mind-robbing illness. Their openness was inspired in part by a witness who had come to testify: former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, whose husband, John, is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's.

"He's not in very good shape at present," O'Connor acknowledged, while appealing for more support for families and more funding for research and clinical trials.

It was the first time the jurist has talked publicly about her husband since her sons revealed last year that he'd fallen in love with another resident of the nursing home where he was then living.


Read more

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Guilt

When we stop to consider what we could have done for our loved ones, we are often burdened with a sense of guilt.

There may be many things we wish we could do over.
There may have been kind words we wanted to say. Or kind deeds we wanted to do, but we always put them off.

There may have been amends we intended to make or things we wanted to set right but we never did and now its too late.

And so the feelings of guilt add to the sorrow and lost that we already feel.
Does God understands those feelings also? Of course He does
Where we have failed, God will forgive us if we ask, so ask.

After we have been forgiven we need to forgive ourselves and begin to live and love and speak as we wish we had done, make a difference now.

He Is With You

Perhaps you are wondering how serious this illness really is.
You may be fearing the worst, or you may already know the worst.
And that is making you afraid, afraid of today, afraid of tomorrow afraid of what will happen to you.

Afraid of what will happen to your loved ones if things don't get better.
Does God understands those fears? Does he really care when you are afraid?
Of course He does.

That's why He promises He will never leave you nor forsake you no matter how rough the way may be.
Tomorrow may be uncertain but the promises of God are not.
Do not let fear of the unknown rob you of of what you have today.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Taking Care Of You

Caring for an Alzheimer's patient is a demanding job but at the same time its temporary. Oftentimes you let go of your former life, work, friends, hobby and even other family members are neglected, but this is a mistake.

After your loved one has died you will find yourself all alone and finding it difficult to break out of some of the habits you have formed because by now you have become withdrawn and aloof and you wonder if you will ever get your old life back.

If you are going to have any semblance of live after your loved one has gone it is going to require balance in all areas.If you isolate yourself, neglect your own needs and other priorities and give all your attention and time to your loved one, things can get out of hand.

Take it from one who has been there, this is not being selfish, don't feel guilty about taking sometime for yourself because if you don't something will give at some point and you cannot afford to go into depression or get sick. A happy caregiver means a happy patient.You need the loving support of family and friends to get you through these times.

So ask for help, don't try to do everything by yourself because after a while you begin to see everything as your responsibility and you are the only one that can do it. When this happens you will become overloaded, and that leads to frustration and resentment.

Take a break

Monday, April 28, 2008

Acquire Information, It is the Key

As a caregiver the most important thing you can do for yourself is to arm yourself with knowledge.
The more informed you are the better you are able to cope with situations that will arise.
Recently I have been browsing the internet to find resources that are available for caregivers, something I was unable to do when I was a caregiver.
With the knowledge I have now there are many things I would have done differently.
I am giving you this information because I don't want you to make the same mistakes I made.




Alzheimer's Caregiver Support Online
www.alzonline.net


Offers an online training class for caregivers called Positive Caregiving.This site also has message board, chat room ,reading room with excellent articles for caregivers.Also has a resource center that offers forums presented by Alzheimer's experts.

Benefits checkup
www.benefitscheckup.org/

To help people age 55 and over find program that may pay part or all of the cost for prescription drugs, health care etc.


Needymeds
www.needymeds.com/

Links people who need help in paying for medication to charitable programs.
Programs are available for Ad medications like Aricept, Reminyl, Exelon.



CareSsentials
www.caressentials.com

Dedicated to self-care for the caregiver
It also has a weekly free telephone support group for caregivers.


Caregiver
www.caregiver.com/channels/alzheimers/index.htm

Information available on several topics including depression, nutrition, patient's incontinence.
Also hosts a discussion forum and live chat two nights a week.



Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral
www.alzheimers.org


Information on symptoms, cause, diagnosis and treatment.
Also has live question and answer formats that are available to the public Monday - Friday.


As I find more websites I will post them for you.



.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dealing With Your Emotions

An Alzheimer's Disease patient behavior can drive you up the wall and cause you to react in many different ways.
You may get depressed or angry and frustrated and take your feelings out on them.
if these emotions begin to arise they need to be addressed quickly if not your loved one can begin to react negatively to you and begin to display aggressive behavior.

Depressed people often times have a strong need to be dependent but remember your loved one is depending on you the caregiver.

Depression brings on hopelessness and as a result you lack enthusiasm and sometimes have little energy for doing even the simple things.

Depression also brings on physical illness.Depression tends to suppress the body's immune system and as such you become susceptible to illness and your body is less able to fight diseases and viruses

Depression also causes you to withdraw and suffer from low self esteem,so you escape into a world of daydreams or sometimes you feel like running away from everything.

Caregivers often get angry and frustrated when things don't seem to be working out or they are not getting support from other family members.It seems as though everything has been left upon you and you want to lash out.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Nutritional Tips - The Alzheimer's Disease Patient

Keeping an Alzheimer's Disease patient properly nourished is a challenge as the disease advances, they begin to have problems with chewing, swallowing and sometimes choking.
They may lose weight because their sense of smell and taste diminishes and therefore has no appetite to eat.
On the other hand they may gain weight because of their memory even though they might have just ate they may ask for food again.


Serve five or six small meals instead of three major ones. They are easily distracted and tend not to finish their meals.
Do not use any linens on the table that would be a distraction
Focus on simple meals and finger foods that are nutritious yet easy to handle. Avoid junk food which are loaded with either salt or sugar.
Give your patient as much time as possible to eat and don't rush

.
After a while your patient will get difficulty in swallowing so you would have to cut their food in small pieces or mash or puree it or even served in liquid form.
Sometimes they forget to chew and you can get them to chew by moving their chin. Also when they are not swallowing you can lightly stroke their throat.You can alternate bites of food with a sip of water or whatever they are drinking.
As their condition worsens you will find it difficult to get them to eat and often times refuses to open their mouths.When this happens you will have to resort to feeding them with a cup with sipper or straws.
Give them lots of water to drink to flush out their kidneys and bladder

Saturday, April 12, 2008

MSG and You

MSG - Monosodium Glutamate has been a public buzzword since it was taken out of baby foods in the late 60s.

Did you know that it's in literally thousands of different processed foods, often under hidden names.

And now, science is showing us that it could be a big part of what's making us so fat.



Your diet could be your brain's biggest enemy. Why?

Consider this: Could the organic yogurt granny eats send her prematurely into Alzheimer's? Could your baby's diet be putting the child on a path toward attention deficit disorder?

Or could your daily soup slam you with migraines?



MSG can directly worsen autism, attention deficit disorder, and hyperactivity.

And MSG can cause the brain to be miswired, especially in the womb and the first few years of life.

That damage to brain connections can mess up nearly any aspect of brain function, from the control of hormones to behavior and intelligence.


Alzheimer's disease

ALS, sometimes called Lou Gehrig's disease

Multiple Sclerosis

Strokes

Parkinson's disease.


Research shows that MSG attacks over 40 percent of the population in some obvious way -- migraines, throat swelling, diarrhea, vomiting, or irregular heartbeats.


But what about the less obvious, even silent damage?

Glutamate receptors on the lungs could explain the rising affliction of juvenile asthma.
It produces worsening of asthma, even fatal asthma.


And don't forget the nasty plague of diabetes affecting tens of millions of Americans. There are glutamate receptors on the pancreas that can lead to diabetes or loss of diabetic control, once the disease is present.


Read the complet reports on MSG by Gailon Totheroh in the articles section

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What is Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Disease is a form of dementia.Although all Alzheimer's Disease patients have dementia, not all dementia patients have Alzheimer's Disease.It is a progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.

Alzheimer's patients often display one or more of these symptoms:

Forgetfulness and memory problems - Difficulty recalling previous information and learning new ones.Not recalling they already did a chore.Losing or misplacing things more than they used to. Forgetting to bathe


Language disturbance - Difficulty finding the right words, inability to put together a coherent sentence.

Difficulty recognizing everyday objects - Looking at a cup or mirror and can't recall what it is.
symptoms
Difficulty in staying oriented to time, place and location - Getting lost especially in new locations, confusing the days or months or even years.Walking or roaming about at night and forgetting where they live.

Inability to plan, organize, or solve everyday problems - Clean up by putting things in the refrigerator or garbage that's not meant to go there.

Mood problems and personality disturbances - a gentle person may become hostile or suspicious

Apathy - Loses interest in activities they once liked.

Anxious - suddenly can't make sense of anything

As the disease advances patients will begin to exhibit other things like slowness of movement , tremors, agitation,seizures difficulty walking and speaking.

Unpredictable

Having to care for some one diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease gets increasingly difficult as time goes by.

Things become unpredictable, you don't know how the condition will progress, so you live one day at a time and make the most of it.
The truth is you actually lose your loved one long before they die, many of the things you recognize about them slips away.
The most difficult day comes when your loved one no longer recognizes who you are.

Don't become discouraged if they seem afraid of you or treats you like a stranger, its is because they don't recognize who you are any longer and is unsure of your intentions towards them.
Remember it's nothing personal they are acting out of fear and uncertainty.

Dealing with memory loss can become very trying because you will be asked the same questions over and over and they will tell you the same thing over and over.
Try to have patience and be humorous and take everything in stride.

The Caregiver

If you are at home or living close by when a loved one gets diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, guess what? That's it
You are living your life dealing with your own issues and then suddenly everything gets turned upside down, your plans gets put on hold and suddenly you are spending all day dealing with your loved one's problems.All you are wondering is when are you going to get your life back, when are things going to return to normal.

The good news is that they are many support groups available today, back then I did not have that as a matter of fact I did not have access to the internet.
My time as a primary caregiver was one of trial and error.


Its hard to begin to understand the exhaustion one can experience when one is having to deal with the many responsibilities of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's Disease..
Even though a cure has not been found there are many things you the primary caregiver at home can do to improve the quality of life for your loved one
.
.
Caregiving is hard work and it affects you emotionally,mentally, socially and physically
You come to the place where you have to deal with depression, frustration anger and a myriad of other emotions.
The stress of long term caregiving leads to fatigue which leads to burnout.

If you let yourself go by overlooking your own needs, continually eating a poor diet or not finding the time to eat and is constantly deprived of sleep you will become susceptible to illness
You begin to get caught up in crisis after crisis and begin to forget about yourself .

Constantly bending and lifting and straining leads to muscular injuries,too much of stress makes you a candidate for heart problems.You are also prone to weight gain or loss, anemia blood pressure problems and other health issues.
All of these adverse problems can be solved by taking care of yourself.

Taking care of yourself can be vitally important if you want to continue to take care of your loved one, you actually become a better caregiver because you are more mentally, physically and emotionally alert.
During this time you also learn a whole lot about yourself.