Soup on a Plate Part Two – Advice Sharing

Advice on coping with challenging behaviors.

Sharing advice on coping with memory loss is important for caregivers.

Presenting part two of my advice conversation with Hailey and her Mom. We discussed the challenges associated with caring for a loved one with memory loss. Sharing advice is the best way caregivers can help each other and that’s what you’ll get in this episode. Listen to part 1 first because this episode picks up in the middle of our conversation.

What I shared, at least some of it;

  • Don’t invite their Dad/Grandpa to “our” reality. Also known as “fiblets”. Their reality is different and trying to bring them into ours causes frustration for everyone. This was especially helpful since they did not bring James to Haliey’s 8th grade graduation and he frequently asked when it was happening.
  • Coping strategies that please both parties.  My Mom loves to take a walk in nature or watch children play in the park. While she’s happy, I can relax or possibly do a little bit of work. Allowing her the time to do something that she enjoys makes both of our lives better. I suggested their taking Granddad out for sunshine, visits with Navy personnel both of which may alleviate some of his challenging behaviors.
  • Understanding that Alzheimer’s disease is a daily challenge and that doing the best that they can is all that can be expected.

Working with the individual where they are at right now is important. Their reality is different and attempting to force them into ours is a recipe for frustration. Unfortunately, it’s a constant challenge to “meet them” where they’re at because the disease causes their perceptions and behaviors to change frequently.

About Dad/Grandad;

James served 30+ years as a Navy chief. Serving in Japan are where some of his fondest memories come from. Growing up Halieys grandfather loved to teach her how to cook. Making  lunch together before going to the park or playing board games is how they spent their time until her mom got off work. About 5 months ago (April 2018) he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The stories he still tells are from the time he spent in the Navy, even if his words seem distorted.

Enjoy Part 2 of Soup on a Plate and stay tuned for more stories from other families.

We’re looking for other families who would like to share their story or discuss their challenges on the podcast. Sharing out journey is the best way to help others who are in this boat with us. Contact us via the website if you’d like to be featured on an episode.

 

Haileys’ Story

Great Video on Managing Behaviors

Link to Part 1 of Soup on a Plate

 

Soup On A Plate – Granddads Memories

Memories flying from the brain

Losing memories is harder on the family that remembers.

His name is James and he served 30+ years as a Navy chief. Serving in Japan are where some of his fondest memories come from. Growing up her grandfather loved to teach her how to cook. They often made lunch together before going to the park or playing board games until her mom got off work. About 5 months ago (April 2018) he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The stories he still tells are from the time he spent in the Navy, even if his words seem distorted.

On this episode of Fading Memories I talk to a daughter & granddaughter trying to navigate their life while also caring for and protecting their Dad/Grandpa.  There are lots of challenges learning how to handle someone losing their memories. Our conversation went from talking about Grandpa to sharing stories and advice.

Hailey and her Mom were unsure how to handle some of Granddads emotions which came up in our conversation. It’s difficult to lie but also difficult to tell the truth. Where does that leave us? Listening to this episode may help you answer that question.

 

Link To Hailey’s Story

Obesity and Alzheimer’s

Obesity & Alzheimer's image

Is there a link between obesity & Alzheimer’s? Seems that may be the case.

Is there a connection between obesity and Alzheimer’s?  There’s been a lot of research lately on lifestyle choices and our risk of Alzheimer’s. Seems like there may be a link. Another of my episodes was on the benefits of exercise for reducing the risk for Alzheimer’s. However, the volume of research on the topic made it easy to say yes when a past guest reached out.

Matt Peale is the Sales Director & Founder at The Movement Academy. Helping youth and seniors by improving their athletic and cognitive performance is their main goal. Focusing on reducing obesity and the associated risks it carries is also a core part of their program. In addition to the known risk factors of heart disease, cancer, and stroke, obesity is now a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.  Obesity has been associated with altered brain structure and function in metabolically and neurologically healthy adults and children. (Stoeckel, 2016).

Most noteworthy is the volume of research detailing the harmful effects obesity has on the brain. Sharing this information is critical to a longer and healthier life for everyone. Emphasizing moderation and lifestyle changes over extreme diets and high intensity workout programs are the keys to long term success.

It’s Not Hard To Get Started!

Certainly we all have 10 minutes a day that we can add in some purposeful movement. Adding in movement may also help alleviate some of the negative behavioral aspects of dementia’s. Wandering, night waking, and restlessness may be minimized when physical activity is part of our daily lives.

Movement Academy’s Active Aging Program is here for you!  In only 10 minutes a day for 30 days, maintain your independence with better balance and a better brain guaranteed, or your money back. Fading Memories listeners can get 50% off their 1st month by using the code MEMORY. (Good through 10-31-2018)

Listen to our episode, then check out their app!

Link to My Favorite Things Page

Other Related Articles

What is Neuroplasticity and Why is it Important?

Brain Growth from Exercise? Maybe So.

Stay Physically Active

Matt’s Fading Memories Episode on Nutrition

 

“Help! I’ve Fallen…but it’s ok.” Fall Alert Devices

Senior Citizen after a fall

Falls are a mostly avoidable situation.

A fall is one of the top avoidable medical situations seniors may have. Falls that don’t kill you can change your life forever. They are the leading cause of deaths related to injury for people age 65 and older.  With these numbers, senior fall prevention should be a priority for both seniors and for those with seniors in their lives.

In this episode I have a conversation with Sara of Alert Sentry. We discuss what their products can do to help senior stay active and how they can improve their independence.  She also has had a family member with Alzheimer’s so our conversation touched on that as well.  The founder of Alert Sentry, Glenn Maxwell, based the idea for their products upon an actual real life experience.  In 1991 his grandmother suffered a fall in her driveway — she lay there for 6 hours, until the mail carrier arrived and provided aid.

We don’t want something like this happening to us or our loved ones so it seemed necessary to have a conversation about how security devices.

Falling isn’t normal, so we should take every precaution to avoid them.

Senior Fall Prevention

Seniors can take a number of precautions to prevent falls.

  • Exercise regularly. Do exercises that will increase leg strength, improve balance and increase flexibility. Consider Tai Chi, yoga, and bicycling.
  • Review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist. You’ll want to reduce or eliminate those that cause dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Get your eyes checked by an optometrist at least once a year.
  • Lower your hip fracture risk by getting daily-recommended levels of calcium and vitamin D. and get screened and treated for osteoporosis.
  • Floors: move furniture that’s in your way. Use double-sided tape so throw rugs won’t slip. Pick up items that are on the floor. Coil telephone and electrical wires next to the wall. Keep items off the stairs. Fix loose or uneven steps. Make sure your stairway is lighted and have switches at the top and bottom of the stairs. Ensure stair carpeting is secure. Install secure stair handrails and that have them on both sides the entire length of the stairs.
  • Kitchen: Keep often used items in lower, easy-to-reach shelves or cabinets. If you have a stepstool, make sure it’s solid.
  • Bathroom: Put a non-slip mat or self-stick strips on your shower or tub floor. If you need it, install grab bars near the toilet and in the shower. Consider a walk in tub to ensure easy entrance and exit.
  • Bedroom: Make sure the path to your bed is clutter free. Install a night-light in your room.
  • When using a ladder, make sure both feet and at least one hand are on the ladder.
  • Wear shoes inside for better support and grip. Avoid slippers.
  • Get up slowly after lying or sitting down.
  • Consider buying an alarm you can activate in the event of a fall.

Summary

Senior fall prevention should be a serious topic for seniors and those with seniors in their lives. The statistics show that the problem is real and it can be serious. Fortunately, you can mitigate the risks with some preventative measures at home and exercise to strengthen your balance.

Avoid A Tragedy! Health Care Literacy Explained

Health Care Literacy image

Health Care literacy is increasingly important when it comes to navigating our health care system.

 

Becoming health care literate requires more than reading ability. People with limited health literacy often lack knowledge or have misinformation about their body and the causes of disease. Without this knowledge, they may fail to understand the relationship between lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise and health outcomes. People with limited health literacy skills may not know when or how to seek care.

Health information can overwhelm even persons with advanced literacy skills. Medical science progresses rapidly. What people may have learned about health or biology during their school years often becomes outdated, forgotten, or is incomplete. Moreover, health information provided in a stressful or unfamiliar situation is likely to be forgotten or confused.

Strategies to improve health decisionmaking include:

  • Improve access to accurate and appropriate health information
  • Facilitate healthy decisionmaking
  • Partner with educators to improve health curricula
What is health literacy?

Health literacy is the capacity individuals have  to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and the services needed to make appropriate health decisions.

Health literacy is dependent on many factors:

  • Communication skills of patients/caregivers and professionals
  • Caregiver and professional knowledge of health topics
  • Culture
  • Demands of the healthcare and public health systems
  • Demands of the situation/context

Health literacy affects people’s ability to:

  • Navigate the healthcare system, including filling out complex forms and locating providers and services
  • Share personal information, such as health history, with providers
  • Engage in self-care and chronic-disease management
  • Understand mathematical concepts such as probability and risk

Health literacy includes some mathematical skills. For example, calculating cholesterol and blood sugar levels, measuring medications, and understanding nutrition labels all require math skills. Choosing between health plans or comparing prescription drug coverage requires calculating premiums, copays, and deductibles.

There is a lot to navigate when it comes to our health care.  The more knowledgable we become about disease, treatments and alternatives the better we are at avoiding emergencies.  Therefore this episode will help you understand some of what is involved and where to start. Becoming our own health care advocate is ideal, but there are multiple options of which you can take advantage.

Important Links

Part 1- Health Care Literacy & Advocacy

Live Better Boomer (Tiffany’s) Website

Affiliate Link To Favorite Things (Books I’ve Read & Suggest)

Health Care Advocacy for Seniors!

Image of what health care advocacy looks like in text

Becoming a health care advocate for our seniors is vital.

 

Managing your healthcare & treatment, and navigating a broken healthcare system is overwhelming. No matter how savvy and smart you are, it is easy to mishandle important aspects of care. Mismanagement can lead to disaster. To avoid disaster it’s important to learn about Health care Advocacy.  Doing so will greatly benefit you and your family.

Health literacy is the ability that someone can obtain, understand and process information enabling them to make good health care decisions,   During this episode I talk to Tiffany Matthews of LBB on “healthcare literacy”. Here you learn to get and keep the best care available. Becoming health literate is the first step in becoming a good advocate.

Tiffany Becomes a Health Care Advocate!

Tiffany and her family felt her Grandmother was not being well cared for by the “business” of health care . Having experiences in social worker in a hospital setting Tiffany believed there had to be a better way. Wanting to make a positive change Tiffany created LBB, or Live Better Boomer. She was going to advocate for the people left helpless in the system.

Health Care Advocacy is vital to patients in our current healthcare system. Advocacy helps keep medical costs down and decreases return hospital visits.  Patients who have a health care advocate get better care and have better outcomes. During his cancer treatments even Steve Jobs needed an advocate!

Four Tips from the Experts
  • If you can’t act as your own advocate, find one. Consider a family member friend, or perhaps a local volunteer.
  • Be prepared for all doctor and test appointments.  Write down questions in advance. Don’t let the doctor rush you.  If you have a lot of questions ask for more time or a second appointment.
  • Don’t feel rushed into decisions.  Your doctor may want to get you into treatment right away but allow yourself “a minute” to  research the best course of action.
  • Take notes and take someone with you, even if you’re acting as your own advocate.  It’s a good idea to have a second pair of ears at  appointments especially if you have a serious diagnosis. Consider recording your consultations but let the doctor know in advance if you’re doing this.

Listen and learn from my conversation with Tiffany.

Visit Live Better Boomer for more information

Don’t Forget About Two-Lap Books!

Link to Purchase Two-Lap Books

Special Episode – What Do You Remember?

Logo for Fading Memories Podcast

The logo of my podcast is an artistic representation of what I think losing your memories must be like.

 

This is a special episode of Fading Memories. It’s actually the first one I ever recorded. There is a lot of audio of various interactions I had with Mom.  I started Fading Memories because I was desperate to find ways to make my visits with her more meaningful.  Hours of visits where she asks me the same question over and over and over are not how I want to remember the last few years of her life.

The other motivating factor in starting Fading Memories was the realization that finding the information I needed was hard, time consuming and many times frustrating. I like to listen to podcasts while I work editing photographs, or while doing chores so I searched for a supportive podcast that would change my life.

What I found were technical, preachy, cathartic for the producer but impossible to listen to options. I didn’t need to hear uplifting music for 3 minutes or a 2 minute recitation on all the recognition a podcaster has gotten. That’s for your advertising not your audience.  Then one day while I wasn’t even thinking about Alzheimer’s or how to connect with my Mom it hit me. (Figuratively thank goodness since I was at the gym using weights!)  Why not start the type of podcast I needed. Surely there were others out there looking for the same help that I was looking for.

That’s when Fading Memories Podcast was born.

It’s been 4 months so far and it’s been a crazy ride already.  I’ve helped, informed and learned from every interview, conversation and deep internet research dive I’ve taken.  I hope to help and inform many, many others over the course of this journey.

I hope you enjoy this episode. It was a HUGE labor of love to edit into what I hope is a useful episode for you to listen to.  It’s different, that’s why I released it now.

 

Interesting Article on Podcast Listening

My Journey with Alzheimer’s (and why I started Fading Memories)

 

Fading Memories on Twitter

Alzheimer’s Podcast on Instagram

Our Facebook Page

Estate Planning for the Sandwich Generation

Estate Planning for the Sandwich Generation

Do you care for your children and worry about your aging parents? Congratulations, you are a member of the “Sandwich Generation”.

You probably have many questions about estate planning. You know you should be taking a will and probably need some other estate planning documents, but which ones? What should you do to protect your children? How can you help your parents as they age? Where do you start?

On this episode I talk to Catherine Hooder, Esq.an estate planning attorney turned author. She enjoys working with families who would rather be doing anything else than estate planning. Her Florida law practice made “house calls” to help families with their estate planning needs. She now resides in California, writing helpful articles for members of the “Sandwich Generation”.

 

Helpful Links + Link to Catherine’s Book

Catherine’s Book HERE!

Have the Talk With Your Parents Already!

More Useful Advice on Aging In Place

Connecting through Art

Alzheimer's Art - posted in Instagram.

Beautiful painting by Martha of South Carolina.

 

Art has been used for centuries to help people express what they cannot put into words. Increasingly art is used  to help people with Alzheimer’s disease. By encouraging participation in the creation process we may be able to unlock inner thoughts and feelings. Expressing what they’re feeling may be easier on paper than verbally. Freeing these emotions will help both those living with Alzheimer’s and those caring for them.

My Life and Art

Art is part of my everyday life. As a professional photographer I spend my days creating beautiful images for my clients. Appreciating photography from around the world via Instagram is another way to keep my creative spirit alive. One evening I stumbled upon an account called Alzheimer’s Art, and had to lean more.  As a result I discovered this account belongs to a young man with a Mother with younger onset Alzheimer’s and a Grandmother with Alzheimer’s. This knowledge made me even more interested. We chatted a bit via private message which led to asking him to tell his story on my podcast.

Art by someone living with Alzheimer's

A beautiful ocean painting by Mrs. Ashley of Charlotte North Carolina.

Using creativity, Adam helps his Mom and Grandma express what they’re feeling. These interactions give all three of them a relaxing way to connect to each other.  These connections are priceless and Adam decided to share the artistic results with the world.

In the very short time with his Instagram account Adam has talked to people on every continent. These communications has made Adam realize there was more to what he was doing than just helping his family members. Needless to say, this has caused quite a shock.  His is a touching story you won’t want to miss!

Listen to this episode, you’ll find Adams story interesting and compelling. You can find his Instagram account here.

Some Great Related Links

Creating Art as Therapy for Alzheimer’s

Another Mind Stimulating Activity for People with Alzheimer’s

 

Buy Two-Lap Books Here!

The Perfect Activity to do Today – Two Lap Books

Two Lap Books – A Great Way To Connect!

Two-Lap Books are Read-Aloud Boosk for Memory-Challenged Adults,  People with Alzheimer’s disease (and other forms of memory impairment) gradually lose their ability to initiate communication with others. Because of this Lydia designed these uniquely adapted books to “give voice” to them. By using the book’s large, simple text and colorful illustrations we can initiate conversation.  Most noteworthy, reading books together can make meaningful connections with our loved ones and help stimulate their minds.  Because of this, caregivers will enjoy sharing these books and creating purposeful, interactive activities for engaging people with memory deficits.

Two Lao Books - The Sunshine on My Face

If your loved one has memory loss & you’re looking for a way to connect with them, these books are a great solution.

For that reason, in this episodeI have a conversation with the author Lydia Burdick. We discussed these wonderful books and the inspiration behind their creation.  I purchased two of her books and took them on a visit with Mom.

Reading the book together gave us the opportunity to laugh, talk about likes and dislikes and even sing a little.  As a result, our visit was one of the better ones in a long time.

By sharing the books with two other residents made them as happy as it did Mom. All three ladies enjoyed the beautiful illustrations and relatable scenarios. Because each resident has their own level of reading ability they were able to read on their own. Regardless, reading together gave all three got a tremendous amount of pleasure from the books. I highly recommend these books for anyone dealing with a loved one with memory loss.

I have included a direct link to Lydia’s Amazon page for your convenience.

 

 

The Benefit of Reading to Seniors

What’s Going on in Their Minds Ep. 13