Archives For Life

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month. 

Here in the US there are more than 15 million Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers. I would guess that most of these caregivers are loving family members. I know it is true for my family. My Mom has Alzheimer’s and can no longer live alone. The kids who lived nearby attempted to provide care, food and support. Eventually it became clear our help would not be enough. My sister made the decision to became part of the 15 million. Janice moved from SC to MD. She moved in with Mom to help provide daily care. In the first years Mom needed less attention, but now Mom is dependent on Janice’s loving care and daily involvement.

Our family goal is to keep Mom out of a care facility for as long as we are able. Is it easy? No, but is it extraordinary? No. It is what we do. Janice bears most of the burden, but we try to surround her with some breaks and a little freedom. She works 2 days a week as a teacher, which brings her much joy!

I have noticed others are sometimes uncomfortable around Mom. She isn’t as engaged in a crowd. She gets confused and messes up words. She has trouble with some simple tasks and can get disoriented. Those things do not bother us. We still love her and treat her as our Mom and Grandmom! Mom delights in seeing people. She loves music. She still watches the Orioles baseball games. She can sing a few favorite songs–just start singing ‘Jingle Bells’ around her and she will light up!! Here she is with Janice at a fun Fall Harvest party last week.

tips-for-interacting-with-alzheimers

Here are a few tips for talking with Alzheimer’s friends, especially my Mom :)

  • Look her in the eyes. Get on her level.
  • Use her name.
  • Take her hand.
  • Don’t ask if she remembers you.
  • Don’t ask too many questions…she may not understand.
  • If you bring a gift – get something colorful and large.
  • When she speaks, nod and engage with her. Especially if you think it doesn’t make sense!
  • Sometimes just sit by her side and talk to her, sharing a story about you.
  • Read a book or look through a magazine with her.
  • Give her a hug when you leave.

So this month, when an elderly person appears disoriented, forgetful or insecure, remember that someday you may be there also. Smile. Open the door. Thank a caregiver. Love the matriarchs and patriarchs in your family!

For more information, to find out how to get involved in a cure or to find ways to care for a caregiver. www.alz.org

Have you noticed any friends posting everyday this month….about thanks? What a great idea – to spend at least a few moments each day this month journaling a few sentences of gratitude. So far this month I’ve seen a lot of ‘thankful’ posts regarding spouse, kids, education, creation and a few crazy random words of thanks!

All of it got me to thinking how we can get so focused on ourselves that we fail to be thankful and grateful. After all I am sure I would not be who I am without the presence of my Mom, my siblings, my close friends and co-workers. And I know I have thanked them….but probably not enough. So I’m going to try to say thanks more often, but not just this month. I’m hoping to make it a habit. Who doesn’t want to hear a heartfelt thanks? And I find myself enjoying the company of others who share their feelings of gratitude. Don’t you?

I thought about a few ways I’m going to incorporate thanks in my life this month and beyond!

1. Mean it when I say it! Have you ever said thank-you as a form of good-bye? In the grocery store, at the bank, etc. I want to be genuine when I say it.

2. Write a note. Yes, real mail…45 cents and all! I’m making a list of people who have blessed my life this year and I’m thanking them before Christmas.

3. Tag them in a post. I love social media and use it a lot to communicate with those far and near! I know the reactions I get when I tag a person, post a fun picture with them as my profile pic or write a comment on their instagram pic! I want the world to know my grateful heart!

My final thought-my thankful heart comes from the Lord – everyday is a gift from Him and I am thankful!

give-thanks-now

This is a very cool art piece from RedLetterWords. If you haven’t discovered this wonderful site, please go check it out. I am a big fan and own several pieces and have a few tucked away to give as gifts this year. I don’t have any connections to Dee Kasberger, the creator and designer of Red Letter Words–I just really like her pieces!

 

 

I work with teenagers, so I am always fascinated by life stories that give a glimmer of hope to those who are worried about the next generation. This is a great story of teen who gets the reality – life is bigger than me! Lillian Pravda received sight-saving surgeries when she was 9 weeks old. Out of her misfortune comes a great opportunity for many to receive the help they need in getting eye surgery. At the age of 8 she founded Vision for and from Children. They raised over $100,000 and providing care for over 24,000 children. Quite impressive. But she has taken it a step further!

Lillian, who is now 13 years old, has founded a global campaign One Million $1to provide the gift of sight to children, through surgeries, support, outreach and other services. Her hope is to use the funds to build state-of-the art ophthalmology centers in regions in the US and beyond!

What an incredible vision…from someone who actually has received her vision through the skilled hands of surgeons. At this time of the year, when we are being thankful and grateful, perhaps you can send some money her way!

A One Million Dollar Campaign is a HUGE amount to raise, but saving sight is sooo important! I gave $10..if all my readers gave…Care to join me in the CAUSE? (and there is a super easy PayPal link!)vision

 

 

 

I have a birthday this week. I’m not dreading it, but I do wonder, ‘at what point are birthdays redundant’? Cake, candles, gifts, cards, friends and family. Repeat. I could live without the cake, I could forgo the candles and maybe even the gifts (I did say maybe!). BUT, I would be very sad if cards were not in the mail this week. I might even cry if there were no Facebook posts. I would hate a silent phone on my birthday.  I love hearing from old friends! I love the birthday song voice mail from my nephew–every year! I’m having a small family party and I’m very excited about a day for ME!

How about you? Is it a big family celebration? A night out on the town? A quiet moment with the ones you love? Do you embrace growing old, gracefully? Are you young enough to just love everything about the day?

So, it’s my birthday on Friday. Feel free to send a card, a gift, a cake :) or just leave a post or comment. I am more sentimental then I want to admit!moms cake

I know….not enough visitors. And they didn’t take enough candy. Isn’t that always the case? I buy more than I need and there it sits in a bowl…right by the door…and I hear it say, “Pick me up! Eat me!” Oh those evil, delicious morsels of chocolate-y goodness!

Well, after years of eating too many of those tiny snack size bars, I found a solution to put them to use! There are lots of good recipes for mini candy, but since I love Snickers–here’s my take on a great SNICKER’S TREAT!

Take your favorite brownie mix and prepare according to the package. Line 24 mini muffin with paper liners. Spoon in enough batter to cover the bottom. Place an unwrapped SNICKERS® Mini on top. Spoon on enough mix to cover the candy. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Let set in pan to cool for 10 minutes. Remove to serving tray. These are also a perfect treat to freeze and serve later!

SNICKERS MINI TREATS
SNICKERS MINI CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

Let me know if you find any other great recipes for all that leftover candy!! In the meantime – enjoy these treats- but just one at a time OK? :)