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Archive for October, 2011|Monthly archive page

Dementia Not Normal Part of Aging

In caregiving, Health on October 30, 2011 at 11:25 pm

While we all are a little more forgetful as we age dementia is not a normal part of aging. Look at all of the people you know that lived well into their 90’s and even 100’s. Most were frail but still sharp, still having most or all of their faculties. For the past several decades we have gotten used to the notion that dementia comes with the territory as we get older. We are now realizing (coming to terms with) the fact that loosing precious brain function is not a normal part of aging. Scientists admit the condition, which most often plays itself out in the form of Alzheimer’s, is an abnormal neurological condition that is likely caused by a combination of factors, including but not limited to things like fluoride in the water, artificial chemicals in food and mercury and aluminum in a multitude of things (deodorant, filings, etc.).

Experts are now looking at the real possibility that many forms of dementia may be preventable. A lot more research and money is needed in order to figure out exactly how we can resolve this dilemma. Many studies have already linked environmental and other contaminants as contributors. Aluminum for instance, is a known neurotoxin and studies have identified the presence of aluminum in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s. Toxic fluoride is also linked to Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.

I am not a physician or scientist but we have to ask ourselves “what has been different in our lives over the past few decades that has caused such an increase in the number of individuals diagnosied with dementias?” It only makes sense to look at how our lives have changed be it the environment or the products and food we eat.

We would love to hear from you, your comments are appreciated.

Developing Your Sense of Humor: Take yourself less seriously

In caregiving, community on October 29, 2011 at 3:22 am

Life is too short to sweat everything all the time. When you “become the problem” and take yourself too seriously, it can be hard to think outside the box and find solutions. People love to be around others who enjoy life and are fun. That doesn’t mean you don’t take care of business or handle yourself in a respectful way.

Ways to help yourself see the lighter side of life:

* Laugh at yourself. Share your embarrassing moments. The best way to take ourselves less seriously is to talk about times when we took ourselves too seriously.

* Keep things in perspective. Many things are beyond our control, particularly the behavior of others. While you might think taking the weight of the world on your shoulders is admirable, in reality it’s unrealistic, unproductive, unhealthy and egotistical.

* Attempt to laugh at situations rather than sweat them. Look for humor in a bad situation, the irony and absurdity of life. This will help you deal with the situation and improve the mood of those around you.

* Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up. Keep a funny picture or poster in your office or on the frig. Choose a screen saver that makes you laugh.

* Deal with your stress. Stress is a major impediment to humor and laughter. It can also lead to health problems. Be prepared to go with the flow.

* Pay attention to children. They are experts on playing, taking life lightly and laughing. You too were a child once, remember it’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

* Forgive everyone everything. Don’t harbor bad feelings. The only one they hurt is you.

Enjoy all your moments, they will soon become part of your past!

A Loving Grandpa/Caregiver

In caregiving, This & That on October 21, 2011 at 3:26 am

A woman in a supermarket is following a grandfather and his badly behaved 3 year-old grandson. It’s obvious to her that he has his hands full with the child screaming for sweets in the sweet aisle, biscuits in the biscuit aisle; and for fruit, cereal and pop in the other aisles.

Meanwhile, Granddad is working his way around, saying in a controlled voice, “Easy, William, we won’t be long, easy, boy.” Another outburst, and she hears the granddad calmly say, “It’s okay,
William, just a couple more minutes and we’ll be out of here. Hang in there, boy.” At the checkout, the little terror is throwing items out of the cart, and Granddad says again in a controlled voice, “William, William, relax buddy, don’t get upset. We’ll be home in five minutes; stay cool, William.”

Very impressed, the woman goes outside where the grandfather is loading his groceries and the boy into the car. She said to the elderly gentleman, “It’s none of my business, but you were amazing in there. I don’t know how you did it. That whole time, you kept your composure, and no matter how loud and disruptive he got, you just calmly kept saying things would be okay. William is very lucky to have you as his grandpa.”

Thanks,” said the grandfather, “but I’m William …….the little shit’s name is Kevin.

Just goes to show, things aren’t always as they appear! I just had to share this, please forgive the curse word but it was so appropriate. Hope it made you chuckle…we all need to laugh once in a while and not take life so serious all of the time.

Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

In caregiving, Health on October 19, 2011 at 2:11 am

Burn out is very real and happens overnight if you are not careful and don’t pay attention to the signs; caregiving becomes impossible and is no longer a healthy option for you or the person you are caring for. Watch for these signs of burnout:

* Feeling overwhelmed, hopeless and helpless
* You no longer have the energy you used to
* It seems like you catch every cold or bug that is going around
* Your life revolves around the person you are caring for and you no longer get any satisfaction from caregiving
* You are increasingly irritable and impatient with the person you are caring for and others around you
* You can not relax even when you have help
* You are constantly exhausted even after taking a break or sleeping
* You neglect your own needs whether it’s because you feel like you don’t have time or you don’t care

Don’t try to do it alone, if you take on all of the responsibility for caregiving without assistance or real breaks from it you are sure to experience burnout. This is a real threat to your own health and who will be taking care of you then? Get other family members to do their part or get a service to help with respite care, transportation and/or home health aide services.

Tips for Caregivers

In caregiving on October 15, 2011 at 2:59 am

One group of people most prone to burnout are caregivers. The demand on them when caring for the ill or disabled can be overwhelming at best, especially if they feel they have little control over the situation. If you allow the stress of caregiving to turn into burnout it will affect you both physically and mentally. It is imperative you get the support you need. Here are some tips to help:

* Caregiving is a job and respite is necessary. Make sure you take respite breaks often.
* Caregivers often do a lot of lifting, pushing and pulling. Make sure to take care of your back.
* Be aware of the signs of depression. Don’t put off getting professional help when needed.
* When others offer to help or make suggestions, take them up on it.
* Educate yourself on the condition of the person you are caring for and how to communicate effectively with doctors.
* There is a difference between caring and doing. Try technologies and ideas that promote independence for the person you are caring for.
* Trust your instincts.
* Seek support from other caregivers.
* Be realistic and know your limits.

It was suggested that I add: It’s a privlidge to be a caregiver. This is so very true. I own a caregiving company and give care every day. I am blessed to be able to do this. I want to thank Chris MacLellan for this input.

Memory Loss With Aging: What’s Normal, What’s Not

In Health on October 1, 2011 at 3:01 am

What about when you know a word but can’t recall it? This is usually just a glitch in your memory. You’ll almost always remember the word with time. This may become more common as you age. It can be very frustrating, but it’s not usually serious.

Things to help you remember:
•Keep lists.
•Follow a routine.
•Make associations (connect things in your mind), such as using landmarks to help you find places.
•Keep a detailed calendar.
•Put important items, such as your keys, in the same place every time.
•Repeat names when you meet new people.
•Do things that keep your mind and body busy.
•Run through the ABC’s in your head to help you think of words you’re having trouble remembering. “Hearing” the first letter of a word may jog your memory.

Some other causes of memory problems include depression, dementia (severe problems with memory and thinking, such as Alzheimer’s disease), side effects of drugs, strokes, head injury and alcoholism. Alzheimer’s disease starts by changing the recent memory. At first, a person who has Alzheimer’s disease will remember even small details of his or her distant past but not be able to remember recent events or conversations. Over time, the disease affects all parts of the memory.

You can tell if memory problems are serious when it affects your daily living. If you sometimes forget names, you’re probably okay. But you may have a more serious problem if you have trouble remembering how to do things you’ve done many times before, get to a place you’ve been to often, or do things that require steps (such as following a recipe). Another difference between normal memory problems and dementia is that normal memory loss doesn’t get much worse over time. Dementia gets much worse over several months to several years.

Memory problems that aren’t part of normal aging:
•Forgetting things much more often than you used to
•Forgetting how to do things you’ve done many times before
•Trouble learning new things
•Repeating phrases or stories in the same conversation
•Trouble making choices or handling money
•Not being able to keep track of what happens each day

It may be hard to figure out on your own if you have a serious problem. Talk to your family doctor about any concerns you have. If your memory problems are caused by a certain medicine you’re taking, your doctor can prescribe another medicine that doesn’t have this side effect. If another condition is causing your memory loss (such as depression), your doctor can help you treat the condition.

New studies show links between a lack of vitiman B12 and memory loss as low vitiman B12 may speed brain cell loss. We will keep you informed as these studies progress.

Our Thanks to The Family Doctor

Exercise Your Dog Indoors

In canine companionship, This & That on October 1, 2011 at 1:33 am

Dogs need their daily exercise, and even things like it being too cold or hot outside or the days getting shorter shouldn’t get in the way. Here are some tips on how to work out your dog’s body and mind indoors:

Run your dog up and down the stairs (do not do if he/she is a dachshund).
Using the stairs is a great way to tire out your dog. The steps add an additional challenge to a dog’s workout, as they engage different muscles than those used on a regular walk or run and add an extra level of difficulty with the change in elevation. Stand at the top of the stairs and throw a toy down to your dog. When your dog grabs the toy, call his name and have him bring the toy to you. After several rounds of this, he’ll be winded.

Laser pointer.
Pick up an inexpensive laser pointer at a store and shine it back and forth across the floor. Watch as your dog chases the laser back and forth and works out in the process. Be careful to avoid shining the laser directly in a dog’s eyes, as this can cause damage to its retinas.

Make your dog work for its treats.
Take a variety of your dog’s favorite treats and hide the around the house – behind doors, under tables, underneath rugs, etc. Your dog will be so busy tracking down his treats that he’ll physically tire out in the process. Treat dispensing toys are another great way to keep your dog busy and engage them physically as they push around their toys and try to get to the food inside.

Tug of war and fetch.
Engage your dog in a good old-fashioned game of fetch, keep away, and tug of war. These games keep your dog engaged, active, and help to release pent-up energy.

Take a socialized outing.
Put your dog in the car (always remember to use a car restraint!) and head over to the nearest pet store. Walk your dog through the aisles, let him try out toys and sniff around.

Get your dog on the treadmill (again do not do this if your dog is a dachshund).
A treadmill is a great way to get your dog a dose of healthy indoor exercise. First, allow your dog to get comfortable with the sight and sound of a running treadmill. Next, place your dog on the treadmill and give him a treat. Turn the treadmill on the lowest speed. Give him treats to keep him on the treadmill. You may use the dog’s leash as an aid but never tie your dog to the treadmill. Also, standing in front of the treadmill and rewarding him with treats for walking might make your dog feel more comfortable. Once your dog is adjusted, you can gradually increase the speed to provide a more challenging workout.

Just like us our four-legged friends need to stay active any way they can. You both will be happier and healthier for it!

Our thanks to Nicole Pajer