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The Ribbon - Care for Caregivers
Volume 6, Issue 9
May 5, 2002

www.TheRibbon.com

1104A Murfreesboro Pike
PMB 114
Nashville, TN 37217-1918

Your Help is Needed!

For over 4 years The Ribbon newsletter has been sent out to anyone requesting to receive it. The maintenance of the mailing list and subsequent "mailing" via e-mail is not an easy task. One thing that makes the process even more difficult is when someone has changed their e-mail address and has not informed us.

This slows down the entire process as any AOL subscribers come up "Unknown" and must be removed. My mailbox receives "Mail Undeliverable" notices from people using other servers. The last issue created 16 such messages!

The biggest fear is that someone has simply "moved" and not informed us and therefore will miss their issue of The Ribbon.

We would greatly appreciate being notified when anyone wishes to be removed from the mailing list. It would help to keep the process running smoothly.

The Ribbon Staff


Another Milestone!

The counter keeps moving and this week The Ribbon has counted over 23,000 hits since January, 1998. Add to that our growing mailing list and we are happy knowing that we have reached so many caregivers.

But we strive to do more and we need your help to do it. Spread the word, find those folks who travel the road of caregiving alone, without support and bring them to the fold. Let others know that they are NOT alone, that we are here to help.

The Ribbon Staff


The Police and Alzheimer Patients
By: Lt. Kurt T. Bradley
Lake Alfred Police Department
Lake Alfred, Fl.

During my 27 year career, as a law enforcement officer, I have had dealings with Alzheimer patients on a number of occasions. These incidents have occurred on a regular basis throughout my career and our department has become fairly adept at dealing with the problems faced by both the patient and the caregiver.

Our city has two Adult Congregate Living Facilities within our city limit, which is only 3.5 square miles in size. Both of these facilities have Alzheimer patients within them and one facility has a specific wing devoted strictly to these patients. The problems we have dealt with are many and varied however, the vast majority of them revolve around two issues in particular. "wandering off" and " elderly abuse".

Both of these issues present unique challenges, to us in the law enforcement field, and our department has become quite adept at dealing with both issues. This article will attempt to aid the caregiver with tips that will assist your local agency in locating and returning wandering patients to their proper addresses and loved ones.

In a future article I will also attempt to deal with issues, which you may find you are presented with, in ACLFs and with home bound patients, when questions of physical or mental elderly abuse arise.

One of the problems we frequently encounter is the elderly patient found aimlessly wandering the city streets. Their mental condition is such that most cannot remember their full names or addresses. Frequently we have found that although they may know their name, they are unable to remember phone numbers of relatives or addresses for them. This is complicated by the fact that the addresses and or phone numbers may be from 20-40 years prior and are no longer valid.

I once found a patient who had driven more than 750 miles from South Carolina. Swore up and down that she lived in a house in Lake Alfred. After driving her around for several hours we in fact found her house, even though she had not lived in it since 1952. Remember I said she had DRIVEN herself, I could not help but wonder how, or where, her caregiver's mind was at, in leaving this woman in a position to have access to the car and keys. The caregiver was out of her mind with worry when we finally contacted her and learned that she had laid down for a nap and while she was asleep her mother had taken the car keys, and her car, and driven herself back to Lake Alfred. The patient had been gone for more than three days .The daughter had not even considered that her mother would try to return to the most familiar thing in her life, the home she had lived in for 40 years.

Most of the patients that we encounter have wandered off from the facility, even though the facilities are fenced. Visitors and employees forget to close the gates and these patients go for a stroll and become totally disoriented. Here are some tips to assist us in returning your loved one safely back to where they belong.

  1. If they are in an ACLF, make sure that the facility is fenced and preferably has security cameras inside and outside the facility. The gates should have secure catch locks on them, with spring activated closing devices to assure that the gate closes and locks after every entrance or exit from them. The cameras assist us in knowing when they left, what direction they went and what they were wearing. An added bonus of the cameras is that they tremendously deter the internal theft and abuse of patients within the facility by other patients or staff.

  2. Mark clothing or sew ID tags into their clothing which, not only give us the patient's name but, an address and a phone number to call. The little tags that you lace into a child's shoelaces, with the name, address and telephone number is also good.

  3. Medic Alert jewelry is invaluable as are "dog tags", wrist bracelets etc.. These not only identify that there is a medical problem but, can include information for locating a responsible party for the loved one who has wandered away. One of our facilities uses special plastic, color coded hospital bracelets which give us an immediate visual reference when we see a senior citizens aimlessly walking.

  4. Maintain a current photograph of your loved one. Too many times we ask for a photograph and are presented with a photograph that is more than 20 years old and in no way actually resemble the current patient. A Polaroid or a digital photo, every year, is a good idea.. Digital is actually better, in this day and age, as it can be quickly reproduced and distributed via Internet to surrounding agencies and publications.

  5. If your loved one goes missing, waste no time calling the local police. Even if they have gone missing from the facility, insist that the staff notify us immediately. Exposure to the elements is life threatening to the elderly, especially ones with limited or diminished mental capacity.

I hope that some of these tips are useful to you as caregivers. They will certainly aid your local law enforcement agency or us in trying to have a happy ending to a potentially tragic incident.

God bless all of you caregivers. From one who has been there, I salute you.


Books to help children understand Alzheimer's

A few nights ago we had a young man come into The Gathering Place who was nine years old. His grandparents are going to be moving in with his parents and 4 other siblings. The poor little guy is worrying about "catching Alzheimer's and cancer." I contacted my local Alzheimer's Association, the Greater Sacramento Area Chapter, and they had the following two books they suggested:

Great Uncle Alfred Forgets, by Ben Shecter
Aunt Dodie Has Alzheimer's by Eric Ruth

I hope this will help anyone else who may be looking for ways to help their children understand.

Love Always,
Linda

Linda@theribbon.com
The Gathering Place
Online Alzheimer's Caregiver Support
http://www.theribbon.com/GatherPlace/

Contributor to Finding the Joys in Alzheimer's (page 76)


A Secret Connection

By Mary Emma Allen
me.allen@juno.com

A special bond always existed between my grandson and my mom who had Alzheimer's.

When Alex was two, they seemed to be at the same point in their lives. I'd watch amazed as mother and Alex revealed similar capabilities while feeding themselves, communicating, and comprehending. Alex touched my mom's arm with his hand. Mother smiled and patted his head.

Alex sat in her wheelchair with her. Mother jabbered in contentment, while Alex looked into her face. Mother began to need someone to feed her at the same time Alex was starting to feed himself. Mother continued to grow backwards and Alex moved forward. However, Alex has always told us Great Grandma DeeDee was talking to him when she made unintelligible (to us) sounds, not words. When she smiled, he insisted it was a smile for him.

Could they communicate? We don't know, but Alex seemed to comfort and calm the older woman, and his world was brightened when she smiled and made sounds. He cheerfully played around her room at the nursing home whenever we visited, sometimes with his older sister, sometimes alone. He hardly ever declined an invitation to accompany me.

Alex is now nearly seven years old. During his last visit, my mother, who hardly responded to us anymore, was having one of her better days and made sounds. Alex said she was talking with him. He also insisted she was humming to the music playing on the radio in her room.

He has that memory to carry him along since her death. For he seemed to miss her more than anyone. We discuss Grandma DeeDee and recall our visits with her.

"She talked to me," Alex recalls and smiles as we put together a memory book of this lady who, unknowingly, has played such an important role in his young life.

(c)2001 Mary Emma Allen


Mary Emma lives in a multi-generational household with husband, daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. Visits to two great grandmothers rounded out their family circle. Mary has written a book, When We Become the Parent to Our Parents, about her mother's journey through Alzheimer's.
For more information, visit her web site:
http://homepage.fcgnetworks.net/jetent/mea


From The Recipe Corner

New recipes:

Meatball Soup
Parslied Potatoes
Grilled Chicken Anytime
Pepper Sirloin Steak


Helpful Hints

From our friend Bubba:
To keep onions from sprouting, use an old pantyhose and drop onions in one at a time, tie a knot and drop another onion in. Make a knot after each onion. All you have to do is to cut the onion below the knot and the rest will stay in place until you need them. You may hang them or drop them into a hanging kitchen basket,

He also says: Never just cut one onion, when cutting onions always cut up 2 or 3, lock in plastic bags and refrigerate. That way you are always ready for you next recipe calling for chopped onions.

Keep knifes sharp. After using knifes, wash dry and sharpen them before putting them away.

Bubba is Kurt Bradley who sent us Bubba's Shrimp and his version of She Crab soup. Thank you Kurt.

Please keep sending in your favorite recipes and any "Helpful Hints."

May 12th.....Mother's Day. So I wish all the Mother's a very HAPPY, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY. May someone cook for you, or take you out to dinner.

Micki Slattery
Food Editor


Please visit our new Recipe Corner. There you will find delicious 'family favorite' recipes. Please help add to our collection by submitting one (or more!) of your favorites.


Share Card by Pfizer

Here is a little bit of information that Carevoice and I discovered at the 2002 Joint Conference of NCOA/ASA held in Denver, CO in early April.

Pfizer has a program called Share Card. It is a program for people who qualify, to get Pfizer medications for $15 a prescription. You can qualify if:

You are enrolled in Medicare
You have no prescription drug coverage
Your gross income is less than $18,000 a year ($24,000 for couples)

These are the medications that can qualify: Aricept, Diflucan, Glucotrol, Lipitor, Neurontin, Norvasc, Procardia/Procardia XL, Viagra (it is in the list, ya gotta smile), Zithromax, Zoloft, and Zyrtec.

The telephone number to call is 800-717-6005 for an enrollment kit. Hope this can be of help!

Love Always,
Linda

Linda@theribbon.com


In Passing: Those We Must Remember

Dated 4/30/02

It is with deep regret that I write to share with you that I received an email from LTU1022192 or our very own Gathering Place host, Lorraine, that her husband, Bruce, passed away early this morning.

Lorraine said that this is a time of rejoicing as Bruce is "now tantalizing the angels." Lorraine says she is doing fine as her church and friends are being super great.

Please join with me in extending your thoughts and sympathies to Lorraine and her family


It is with deep regret that I write to share with you that I received word from Kassy, or Cheryl to us, that her mother passed away on April 9, 2002.

Cheryl has been into The Gathering Place with us a couple of evenings this past couple of weeks. She is having a bit of a hard time, however, she is finding comfort being around the kind friends who are in the room.

Please join with me in extending your thoughts and sympathies to Cheryl and her family.

Love Always,
Linda

Linda@theribbon.com
The Gathering Place
Online Alzheimer's Caregiver Support
http://www.theribbon.com/GatherPlace/

Contributor to Finding the Joys in Alzheimer's (page 76)


From Lynsjag

Hello. Just a note to say thanks for all the Ribbons you have sent to us. These emails have helped me and my husband and we have tried to pass them on to others. His mother, Helen, died on March 5, 2002, at age 93.

Thanks again for all your caring and all that you do. Please unsubscribe us. Lynda


From the Guest Book

Name:Richard
Comments:
Our Father has Alzheimers and is in his third home. How do you find the right place? A lot of time and effort goes into researching, asking questions, and visiting various places only to find out there is neglect, abuse (mainly from other patients), and general falsehoods told to us before arriving. Perhaps we are expecting too much-any suggestions?

Readers, here's a good chance to help out. Does anyone have any suggestions you might give to help Richard out? We'd love to print them in the next issue and in the meantime we will forward them on to Richard.


Want to Chat?

Pull up a chair in The Gathering Place. The support starts at 9pm and lasts until 11pm EST Monday through Friday. Talk to others who are going through or have been through what you are dealing with. Help someone who is just beginning their journey into caregiving. Share a few laughs, cry a few tears, feel the love of others who truly understand.
www.TheRibbon.com/GatherPlace


ec-online.net chats

Enter the chatroom from the front page of either website or at http://www.ec-online.net/chat.htm. All times are U.S. Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5). We have begun to provide chats that are hosted by caregivers in Australia. Australian times are GMT +10. Hopefully this will not cause a great deal of confusion and instead give us more opportunities to connect with each other.

Topics are suggested and NOT required. We always focus on the issues and that our members want to discuss. Please remember that we have a new chatroom. If you had trouble using the old one, please give it another try! Please note the new sessions added on Monday evenings, Wednesday mornings, and Saturday afternoons.

Our current chat schedule is posted in the ElderCare Community Center at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/communit.htm

May 6 (Monday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "Bubblehead's Chatroom:" Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of "Caregiving for People with Dementia."

May 8 (Wednesday 5:00 to 7:00AM EST) "Ozcarers' Chatroom (or Pong's Place):" Hosts Pongfoot (David) and Splash (Edith) welcome caregivers from around the world to drop in and put their feet up for a while, chat with other caregivers and "Take a Break."

May 8 (Wednesday 1:00 to 2:00PM EST) "Sugarlips' Chatroom:" Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of "Expressing Our Emotions."

May 8 (Wednesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "Bubblehead's Chatroom:" Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of "Caregiving for People with Dementia."

May 9 (Thursday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "Sugarlips' Chatroom:" Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of "Expressing Our Emotions."

May 11 (Saturday 1:00 to 2:00PM EST) "Sugarlips' Chatroom:" Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of "Expressing Our Emotions."

May 13 (Monday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "Bubblehead's Chatroom:" Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of "Caregiving for People with Dementia."

May 14 (Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "Children of Aging Parents:" Host Brian Duke from CAPS and the Institute for Aging at the University of Pennsylvania leads a discussion for family caregivers seeking understanding and resources.

May 15 (Wednesday 5:00 to 7:00AM EST) "Ozcarers' Chatroom (or Pong's Place):" Hosts Pongfoot (David) and Splash (Edith) welcome caregivers from around the world to drop in and put their feet up for a while, chat with other caregivers and "Take a Break."

May 15 (Wednesday 1:00 to 2:00PM EST) "Sugarlips' Chatroom:" Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of "Expressing Our Emotions."

May 15 May 8 (Wednesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "Bubblehead's Chatroom:" Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of "Caregiving for People with Dementia."

May 16 (Thursday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "Sugarlips' Chatroom:" Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of "Expressing Our Emotions."

May 18 (Saturday 1:00 to 2:00PM EST) "Sugarlips' Chatroom:" Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of "Expressing Our Emotions."

May 20 (Monday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "Bubblehead's Chatroom:" Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of "Caregiving for People with Dementia."

May 22 (Wednesday 5:00 to 7:00AM EST) "Ozcarers' Chatroom (or Pong's Place):" Hosts Pongfoot (David) and Splash (Edith) welcome caregivers from around the world to drop in and put their feet up for a while, chat with other caregivers and "Take a Break."

May 22 (Wednesday 1:00 to 2:00PM EST) "Sugarlips' Chatroom:" Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of "Expressing Our Emotions."

May 22 May 8 (Wednesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "Bubblehead's Chatroom:" Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of "Caregiving for People with Dementia."

May 23 (Thursday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "Sugarlips' Chatroom:" Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of "Expressing Our Emotions."

May 25 (Saturday 1:00 to 2:00PM EST) "Sugarlips' Chatroom:" Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of "Expressing Our Emotions."

May 27 (Monday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "Bubblehead's Chatroom:" Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of "Caregiving for People with Dementia."

May 28 (Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "Children of Aging Parents:"” Host Brian Duke from CAPS and the Institute for Aging at the University of Pennsylvania leads a discussion for family caregivers seeking understanding and resources.

May 29 (Wednesday 5:00 to 7:00AM EST) "Ozcarers' Chatroom (or Pong's Place):" Hosts Pongfoot (David) and Splash (Edith) welcome caregivers from around the world to drop in and put their feet up for a while, chat with other caregivers and "Take a Break."

May 29 (Wednesday 1:00 to 2:00PM EST) "Sugarlips' Chatroom:" Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of "Expressing Our Emotions."

May 29 May 8 (Wednesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "Bubblehead's Chatroom:" Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of "Caregiving for People with Dementia."

May 30 (Thursday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) "Sugarlips' Chatroom:" Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of "Expressing Our Emotions."

June 1 (Saturday 1:00 to 2:00PM EST) "Sugarlips' Chatroom:" Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of "Expressing Our Emotions."


Email Bag

From Weather91

Hi!

I found a link to one of the other books mentioned in the article "Using Usual Items To Do Unusual Tasks ©"

For Information on topical use of this product this book is available on Amazon: Edgar Cayce and the Palma Christi by William A. McGarey

--Kevin
Site Manager, TheRibbon.com
Care for Caregivers


From SNDYPWS

Thank you for such an interesting issue, there is so much information in it. I just wanted to thank you for all the time and effort put into it. You did a great job. I got a lot from it. Thanks again, sndypws


From AZUREE1650

Dear Jamie and Karen:
Thanks for a very informative issue.
After seven years of caregiving, my Mother is now incontinent and I found this issue extremely helpful.
Thanks again!
Charlene


Mother's Day.... how bittersweet it has become. We hope you will take a moment out to honor your mother, whether it be a memorial type of tribute, a sharing of a memory book and maybe ice cream, or a Big Hug.

Is there a special lady in your life? Maybe a special friend, a terrific neighbor who has been there in a time of need, an aunt or relative whom you look up to? Honor these ladies also. They deserve it!!

Happy Mother's Day to all!

Peace and Hugs,
Karen and Jamie

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