Whatever life throws at you, may you keep your closet full but not cluttered. We can’t control everything about our lives, but we can control where we invest our time and effort. We can’t invest time and effort in everything. We may have less to invest than we’ve had in the past. Invest it in the right things for you. Don’t let how other people organize their closet make you feel like you’re organizing yours wrong. They aren’t you. They may have a bigger or smaller closet, and they may have different priorities.
I met John and Lynn (not their real names–and I’ve changed some details here) at a nursing home that I visited to do a series of trainings. John was in his late 50’s and had younger-onset Alzheimer’s. Lynn, his wife, had married him only a few years early. A second marriage for both of them, they had looked forward to retiring together and traveling the world. Instead, they sat in the lounge at the end of a dim nursing home corridor. She was watching Judge Judy. He was sitting in a wheelchair holding a stuffed bear like a baby.
Dementia is a tragedy, a comedy, and a love story all at once. The comments and emails I get from people range from sad, to funny, to heartwarming. To those who have started off a message to me with “I shouldn’t find this funny but….,” it is okay that you find it funny.
I wasn’t going to write a post this week. I’m on holiday break from the university, and I thought I’d take a holiday break from writing as well. Yet I’m awake late into this Sunday night and rather than watch more reality TV or spend more money on Amazon.com, here I am with my laptop […]
A woman once relayed to me a story about her 90-year-old mother, Ellen, who had Alzheimer’s. Ellen was at a large family Christmas gathering. She received a shiny red gift bag with bow on it. With some prodding, she opened the bag. Inside she found a pair of cozy socks. She seemed mildly excited and thanked the […]
But they’re scared. They understand Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease. They’ve watched the Glen Campbell documentary. They’ve scoured the Alzheimer’s Association website. They want to know everything they can to be as prepared as possible for the journey ahead. In many ways, they are the type of family that I appreciate working with–they actively seek out information to assist their loved one now and in the future.
Yet, there’s a point at which people can become too fixated on the diagnosis. There’s a point where education and preparation morph into worry and anxiety.
“All I think about all day is my mom,” the woman tells me. “I think about what her future holds and when she’ll be in a wheelchair. When I close my eyes, I picture her in a smelly nursing home being taken care of by people who don’t even know her.”
This is the fifth of a series of five posts about the senses in Dementialand. Today we focus on sight. An entire book could be written about how dementia changes how an individual sees the world. I want to stress that dementia itself does nothing to impair the eyes. Dementia, however, does make it more difficult […]
This is the fourth in a five part series about dementia and the senses. Today we will focus on hearing. Like many spouses, my husband occasionally points out my weaknesses. Like many spouses, I often become defensive when my husband points out my weaknesses. However, he did once (and only once, obviously) note a weakness that […]
“I get all these cards for her,” an older guy in jeans and a Chicago Bears jersey tells me after a community presentation on dementia. “And I don’t know what to do about them.” At first I think he’s talking about greeting cards, but he’s not. He’s talking about reminder cards from various health care […]
One of my favorite authors is Gretchen Rubin, who wrote The Happiness Project, a book that changed the way I look at habits and happiness. A quote from her book that stuck with me is: What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.
It’s a pretty simple concept, but it’s helped me to change my life in subtle but meaningful ways. I have to create a daily life that reflects my goals and values. For instance, I have to be kind to the people I come in contact with each day to be a kind person. I can’t just go on a mission trip to a third world country once a year and call it good. My priorities have to be shown in my actions each day, not just once in a while, or they really aren’t my priorities.