I am glad to be back with you again. I'm still in a bit of shock I guess you'd call it. Here at home, the family and I are still listening for Nanny and every time the phone rings, I think it's Mama calling me because Grandmother needs me. Sometimes it seems as if everything happened yesterday, sometimes it seems like it was a long time ago, and sometimes it feels like it was just a dream. It is really strange.
My mom was having a hard time dealing with the sense of freedom she felt. She said she felt a great loss but the feeling of freedom was overwhelming and she was feeling so guilty because of it. I assured her it was a normal feeling that caregivers go through when death occurs, after all she has been "tied down" for over 2 years now.
I am still dealing with the emotions of helping 2 grandmothers "cross over" one day apart. Nanny was sudden and unexpected. We had her rushed by ambulance about 6:00 PM on Friday. She was in the ICU at Baptist Hospital and being well cared for. The nurse called about 4:00 AM Saturday to tell me that it wouldn't be much longer. My daughter and I rushed to her room and we were able to tell her good bye and let her know it was okay to go.
We came home and called all my siblings and other family members. Everyone got on the road to get here. We went to the funeral home to make the arrangements and got very upset because they couldn't have the funeral and burial on Monday. We found out later there was a reason for that happening.
On Sunday we went for the viewing. How could we do much crying? Nanny had a smile on her face! She was Home and very happy about it! I've never seen someone with a smile on their face when they have passed.
Mama called us Sunday afternoon to tell us she couldn't get
a BP reading on Grandmother. We rushed home from the funeral
home as the Hospice nurse had told us the day before that it was
becoming time for Grandmother to go Home soon. There wasn't
much change in Grandmother the problem was the BP cuff had become
loosened. We went back to the funeral home to be with Nanny.
Now we knew the reason for what had happened. Nanny passed in order for all Mama's kids to be there for her when she lost her mother. Nanny had to be buried a day later than her funeral so those who needed to go to Michigan to bury Grandmother could attend Nanny's funeral service. There were 8 of us there to see Nanny buried so we all decided to be pall bearers...I'm sure Nanny smiled even bigger with that one.
sent a lovely card,
Mission Not Impossible
Managing Alzheimer's Related Behaviors
by Mary C. Fridley
If you remember nothing else remember this: all behaviors are expressions of need. Research has shown that an Alzheimer's affected loved one can still experience emotion and a sense of self even in the more advanced stages. The inability to effectively communicate her or his emotions or thoughts results in difficult, disruptive, or inappropriate behaviors. The truth is, the behaviors are inappropriate to you, but not to your loved one. She/he sees the world through her/his mind's eye. Frustration, anger, emotional or physical pain and thoughts are being communicated on your loved one's level. It's up to you to listen, observe, and try to understand and address those needs.
The first thing you should consider when your loved one has a sudden change in behavior is a medical cause, and urinary tract infection (UTI) is usually the culprit. Just the normal changes with aging puts all of us at greater risk for UTI's.
Behaviors can be triggered by uncomfortable or frightening environmental stimuli like shadows, sounds, and hot or cold temperatures. Your loved one can also mimic your attitude, behavior, and body language so it's best to maintain a calm demeanor.
There are several things you can do to minimize behaviors. Comforting daily routines that are structured and predictable work best. Avoid boredom and over-stimulation. Create a "go to" place for comfort like a quite room for those times your loved one becomes overwhelmed with activities around her/him. Reminiscing is also beneficial. It allows your loved one to retreat to a more pleasant time and communication may be easier.
Three alternative strategies that can be useful are gentle massage, music, and rocking. Gently massaging your loved ones shoulders, neck, and upper back for five to eight minutes is relaxing and stress reducing. It works best when done before the behavior takes place. If you know your loved one tends to be more difficult at a certain time of the day, try gentle massage shortly before that time. Music is also calming and stress reducing. Play music your loved one enjoys, preferably something soothing, when she/he becomes agitated. Again, if you know there is a certain time of the day that is more difficult, start the music in advance. Music can also be used to energize and exercise. Dancing or just moving to the music is uplifting and imparts physical benefits too. Physical activity has been shown to have a positive effect on reducing agitation. For those of you with loved ones who pace or wander, a rocking chair may be the answer. Wanderers have a need for movement and rocking can satisfy that need. It doesn't hurt to try.
Behaviors can be anticipated, managed, and prevented if you know the cause, effect, and normal progression of the disease. With knowledge and the right tools you will be empowered to cope with any situation. Of course the cardinal rule is never argue...you will lose!
Mary C. Fridley RN, C is a Registered Nurse board certified in gerontology with more than twenty years experience in the geriatric health field. She provides community workshops and motivational seminars on caregiver, eldercare, and aging issues as well as writing articles and caregiver advice columns for websites and publications. Mary will be glad to answer any questions you have and can be reached at P.O. Box 573 Riva, MD 21140, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com).
Before I Forget
The PWiD's Perspective
We will start to feature some of the online journals of our friends who have been diagnosed with a form of Dementia. We hope that by reading their journals it will help you understand how they feel, what they go through, and how absolutely strong they are. Learn from them so that you become a better carepartner!
We will start with Mary's Place at www.angelfire.com/ok4/mari5113/index.html
From the Recipe Corner
JoAnn Cherrico from Glen Burnie, Md sent us:
AOL Health News:
Enzyme Sheds Light on Alzheimer's
You are cordially invited to listen to Gail Mitchell From Empowering Caregivers on Jacqueline Marcell's Internet Radio program, "Coping with Caregiving"
Click on this link and it will take you to the entrance page for Jacqueline Marcell. Click on the link in the upper left hand corner that says "Listen Live" A small window will pop up with a few questions to fill in...And the program will load from WS.Radio
Other guests include: Shawn Bloom (Nat'l PACE Assoc), Janet Walsh (Alzheimer's Foundation), Doug Fusella (New Lifestyles) & Mary Furlong (Third Age).
wsradio.com Will be archived to listen online by 9-23-02.
Editor's note: This broadcast was yesterday but look for it in the archives of WSRadio.
From CareVoice@aol.com (Brenda Avadian)
Here is an interesting LINK to Alzheimer's in America: The Aluminum - Phosphate Fertilizer Connection.
The results may surprise you (FERTILIZER)...read until the end.
The article was released 22 August 2002.