new year is here...
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt,
To love and laugh
This bright New Year
is given me,
To live each day with zest...
To daily grow and try to be,
My highest and my best!
~William Arthur Ward
Top Photo: Antoinette and Millie
Bottom Photo: The Dovell Family
"Friends and good manners will carry you where money can't go."
~ Margaret Walker
|Lillian Lillian Krumenacker playing in her first snow
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Alzheimer's and the Shower
The dreaded shower it is a problem for the majority of
Alzheimer's caregivers. Often a big problem.
Sometimes I decide to write an article because it seems to me the issue is very broad and we can all benefit from a discussion of the topic.
This happened in February 2010. I wrote about the "shower". After writing that article I really started working hard on the shower. As a result, I can now say that the shower is rarely a problem. I successfully incorporated the shower into our day in a way that makes it happen - with ease of effort.
Now I know some of you are going to laugh. I believe the Alzheimer's patient should take a shower every day. I think if you do it every day it is easier. In other words, it becomes part of the routine of the day, a habit. I can visualize many of you thinking, "This guy is nuts."
I know that many of you think once or twice a week is good enough. Well, I don't disagree with you. However, I believe it could be harder to get an Alzheimer's patient to take a shower every once in a while, than it is to get them to take one "like clockwork".
Another issue that comes up is me, the man, giving my mother a shower. It is not a problem for me. You just have to think of your mother as some kind of giant baby. It works.
Dotty gets a least five showers a week. Sometimes she is not feeling well and on those days I let her "slide". Almost every single day my mother will resist when it comes time to take a shower. When she occasionally says something other than NO, I look to the heavens as if it is a reward.
Here are some shower guidelines:
- Provide constant positive reinforcement. Talk about how great it feels.
- Establish a consistent pattern.
- Try and make sure the person is in some bright light before and during the period directly before her shower.
- Choose the best time for the person.
- Ease into it.
- Expect NO.
KEEP IT SIMPLE...
Read Full Article
By Max Wallack
It gallops in silently
on powerful hoofs
Snatching sweet, precious, forgotten memories
Turning true-blue loyal friends into treacherous strangers
Clogging synapses with emptiness
Crumbling trust into excruciating paranoia
With bleak darkness comes the anxious wakefulness of broad daylight
And bitter terror encompasses every living fiber
"If I sleep, where will I be when I wake up?"
The compulsion to run, the paralysis of fear
Mature, child-like dependence
Retracing youthful development, but in rapid reverse
Cureless medicines, meaningless conversations
Leading up to the inevitable
Max Wallack is a student at Boston University and a Research Intern in the Molecular Psychiatry and Aging Laboratory at Boston University School of Medicine. His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients. ■
The Human Condition: Kindness
By: Alan Weiss
When horrific tragedies as the recent Newtown shooting occur, we so often pull together in our shared profound sadness for our fellow humans. In our thoughts, in prayers, in kind acts, we try to offer our support in whatever way we can to those affected. The following is an essay by an old friend and mentor Alan Weiss on his thoughts about kindness...
My observation is that too many of us regard kindness as a distinct and singular act, often involved us going out of our way or sacrificing time, energy, and/or money. Perhaps we need a different perspective.
I try always to hold the door for people, and unfailingly they say, "Thank you." I'll often flash my lights and allow another car to turn in front of me, though sometimes the driver seems suspicious and waits a few seconds. I know that I always appreciate this gesture when done for me, and flash my lights back to thank the other driver.
My tips are always at least 20 percent when I've had good service, and I tip on the entire amount, without deducting the tax or other charges. Money isn't always necessary for kindness, sometimes a kind word, a cake, or a good idea will fill the bill. A woman saw me balancing coffee, newspapers, and dog treats once, and offered to help me over to my car. (She said, "Do you need anything else?" I said, "Yes, we have a spare room, would you be interested in coming to live with me and my, ah, sister?")
Most importantly, perhaps, kindness makes you feel better. So long as you don't demand reciprocation ("I subscribed to your newsletter, I follow you on Twitter, why don't you subscribe to mine and follow me!? "), you'll find that you feel better. Only the psychotic are intrinsically thrilled when they steal a parking space, cut in front of you in line, don't allow you to turn, or slam the door in your face deliberately. Fortunately, they are few and far between.
We shouldn't need a holiday or special occasion to engender kindness within us. We should simply look around and see all of our brethren with us in the human condition. ■
"The sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being."
~ Carl Jung
Regina and her Mother Jean, Kelly's Grandmother
Shingles Vaccine Get Yours Today
James M. Steckelberg, M.D., Mayo Clinic
Shingles can be a debilitating disease for elderly people. Some can even suffer from the disease more than once. It is wise to consider having the widely available shingles vaccine.
Whether they've had shingles or not, adults age 60 and older should get the shingles vaccine (Zostavax), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although the vaccine is also approved for use in people ages 50 to 59 years, the CDC isn't recommending the shingles vaccine until you reach age 60.
The shingles vaccine protects your body from reactivation of a virus - the chickenpox (varicella-zoster) virus - that most people are exposed to during childhood. When you recover from chickenpox, the virus stays latent in your body. For unknown reasons, though, the latent virus sometimes gets reactivated years later, causing shingles. The shingles vaccine prevents this reactivation.
The shingles vaccine isn't fail-safe; some people develop shingles despite vaccination. Even when it fails to suppress the virus completely, however, the shingles vaccine mayreduce the severity and duration of shingles. Although there's hope that the vaccine will reduce your risk of severe, lingering pain after shingles (postherpetic neuralgia), studies haven't yet found strong evidence of that effect.
The shingles vaccine is a live vaccine given as a single injection, usually in the upper arm. The most common side effects of the shingles vaccine are redness, pain, tenderness and swelling at the injection site, and headaches.
Read Full Article
Regina's neice; Jeanette
Tom and Casey at Cape Cod
What we see
on what we
~ John Lubbock
By Kelly McNamara
It is impossible for Regina to be in several places at once. In order to keep things running along, support our caregivers and clients, make sure everyone is on their toes and providing the best care, we need to rely on having top notch folks on whom we can depend to be our eyes and ears in the field. Dawn Reed, our Director of Care Coordination has many gifts she contributes to our success. Need a great last minute caregiver for a seriously ill client? Dawn can find the perfect one. A new caregiver needs a bit of help learning the specifics of care for a client? A few caregivers need to learn specific transfer techniques or a new piece of equipment? Dawn is the go-to person. As if her own considerable skill set were not enough, she comes with a complete package including her wonderful children. Her charming daughter Nijhea is a favorite companion among our women clients in particular who enjoy many of the same activities as she including reading and drawing. Her contagious joy is welcome to all she visits. Her son DayVon has the gift of listening and is held spellbound while elderly men recount the adventures of their younger days. We manage to find new challenges for Dawn on a regular basis and are very glad she is part of the team!
In the interest of full disclosure, we are all especially grateful for having Antoinette in our life. She cared for my grandmother in her final several months and will live on as an important member of our family. But she brings her special gifts to many of our clients now. Her sometimes-goofy exterior belies an astute observer, a true client advocate, and a great communicator with families and health care providers. She handles emergencies with grace and focus, and often finds creative solutions for care challenges. She is a great mentor to less experienced caregivers. Thanks for being YOU Antoinette!
All caregivers mentioned in this column will receive a gift card and our sincere appreciation! Many many thanks to all of you for once again extending yourselves to ensure that we are of course Always There...!! ■
"Always be a first rate version
of yourself and not a second rate version
of someone else."
~ Judy Garland
Providers We Love
We are privileged to have received referrals from and be able to coordinate care with many Assisted Living facilities, rehab facilities, and Medicare Home Care and Hospice agencies. Our growth is in large part due to the trust the staff in these organizations have put in our caregivers. We are likewise impressed with them and we are committed to referring to them on a regular basis
Miller Memorial Community, Meriden
Too many folks consider only the quality of interior décor when choosing a rehab facility. This is extremely short sighted. The real value and benefit in any rehab setting is the people. The therapists, the nurses, the aides. How attentive and responsive are they? How focused on the patient's success are they? Miller excels in this area. Their staff retention is high, they are all well experienced. Their patients do very well at home and do not return. Miller boasts an active and effective short-term rehab in addition to high quality long-term care. Miller also operates an active outpatient rehab facility for folks who have been discharged to home but miss the folks at Miller and can receive the same quality therapy in an outpatient setting. Our clients continue to visit after discharge, just to see their friends on the staff again!
Arbor Rose, Assisted Living, New Britain
Arbor Rose boasts a wonderful and caring group of staff, activity folks who keep life interesting for residents and a very welcoming environment for our pet therapy program. Our caregivers who are providing service for some residents at Arbor Rose have determined that Arbor Rose serves the best food and has the friendliest and most attentive dining staff of any facility in which they've worked. High praise indeed! Arbor Rose is the perfect environment for those who want to age in place gracefully and well cared for. Thanks to our colleagues at Arbor Rose for their continued support and trust in our caregivers. It is always a pleasure to work with all of you!
About Always There Home Care
Always There Home Care provides compassionate, dependable and professional one-on-one care for seniors who need assistance in the comfort of their homes or residential care communities. Services from highly qualified and trained caregivers range from companionship, meal preparation and incidental transportation to personal care, medication management and RN-directed case management. Available 7 days a week, services range from a few hours a day to 24-hour care.
Always There Home Care understands that every situation is unique and creates individualized care plans to help improve a client's quality of life.
Our caregivers are totally committed, highly qualified and carefully selected individuals who are personally and thoroughly screened, bonded and insured. Most are Certified Nurse Assistants or Home Health Aides. Most importantly our caregivers are dependable and extraordinarily caring of others. In addition to their previous experience, our caregivers receive continuous training that includes dementia, hospice care, home safety, nutrition and other topics related to seniors. These highly qualified and trained caregivers are ready to help you and your loved ones with a variety of daily activities such as:
Personal care / Meal planning and preparation
Transportation to doctor appointments and other errands
Caring companionship / Light housekeeping
Medication reminders / Information and referral services
Our personalized, nurse- supervised services are available 7 days a week and can range from a few hours a day to 24 hour and live in care.
For more information or service needs, call 24 hours a day at: 800.348.0485 or visit www.AlwaysThereHomeCare-CT.com.
We are Always There!