Heading to Grandma's house has a whole new meaning for me this year. Anticipating the holidays with family and friends is a great time of excitement, a time when memories come back so easily and all is meant to be joyful. My 6-month-old granddaughter will be squealing with delight and saying, "Gramamamama," when she rolls in the door. After all, she is brilliant!
"Well, there will be 47 people here. The menu will be the same, of course. Karen is bringing apple salad, Marlene the pies. Of course, I'll be making the turkey, potatoes and lefsa." Sound familiar? That's an exact quote from my Grandma Dude every year before Thanksgiving. I hope I never forget it. My mind starts focusing more on memories this time of year. It probably started with celebrating All Saints Day at church and the smile that comes to my face as I recall past memories of loved ones. Many memories that involve the holidays and traditions come back easily.
I was lucky enough to visit my parents this weekend. As I walked into the house, my mom greeted me and immediately took me to her pills setup system. "It's 12 p.m. and I just took this one, is that right?" she asked. It's a constant concern for her when Dad's not home. Did I remember to take my medication? I wish I could do something to make it easier for her and allow her the freedom of not having her medications on her mind all day. Did you know that half of older adults take five or more medications each day? About 25 percent of them take 10-19 pills each day.
How to not feel helpless Sometimes you just feel so helpless. Mom's memory is getting worse. Dad is a wonderful, dedicated caregiver, but at times runs out of patience. She is so dependent on him and it's wearing. He thinks no one else can care for her as well as he can. She's not comfortable without him in the house. It's a story I hear over and over again. Alzheimer's. Dementia. Other memory loss diseases. Families searching for answers. Families may be overwhelmed with the amount of information and education available, or they may be at a loss in knowing what to do.
Please forgive me, but today this article is going to be a bit about me. My hope is that my experiences can actually help others to see what they may have been ignoring, or procrastinating, or trying to not see.
I ACT on Alzheimer’s because I’m a daughter. There are lots of you daughters out there and sons and spouses and grandchildren and co-workers and long-time friends. I wasn’t shocked, but the reality of the hands going up was devastating. The question “Do you know a person or a family that has been affected by Alzheimer’s?” There are few people who haven’t felt the affects of this devastating illness.
Who came up with the fact that we need to know what we’re eating three times a day? What an annoyance! It seems every time you turn around, you need to think about food. Grab some breakfast on the way out the door. Should I pack my lunch or buy something? What will we have for dinner tonight? Are there groceries? Kids will be home for the weekend, stock up! Wow, I should really clean out the fridge. So many things and I haven’t even mentioned the dishes and who cleans the pans? Ugg! No wonder seniors just decide it’s easier to give up. I’m with them!
By DEB CRANNY I just love the new year. It’s such a great time to start over, get a clean slate. You can forget those things you wish you would have done better, and just plain try again. I love it.
What a great family gathering! My parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary Nov. 28, Thanksgiving Day. We celebrated with the traditional family Thanksgiving — 63 members of the extended family having dinner at the Rutland school, complete with the little kids running around in the gym! Now not all families have the advantage of being able to use a school but my grandpa worked there for more than 50 years.
I taught a class recently on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. We talked about the effects these diseases have on the people who are living with them. We talked about the effects these diseases have on the people who are caring for them — their caregivers. One of the things I can’t get out of my mind was the question asked of the participants: “What three things would you want your caregiver to know if you could no longer tell them?”