Thursday, December 31, 2015

Specialized Training In Dementia Should Be Mandatory To Work For A Facility

You'd be surprised what you learn when you just listen. I had to opportunity to speak to a young lady yesterday who is a STNA in another county close to ours.

She was telling me about the dementia unit she works in. Said she has never had any training what so every as how to really interact with the patients. She said she does her best, but always feels she could do more if she and others had some training when it comes to dementia patients.

She, like others who work there are used as a need be basis. In other words, if she is needed in one part of the facility she works there, if she is needed on another section of the facility, she works there.

Basically depends on if someone calls off, or they are short staffed for whatever reason.

She then told me of a patient they have who is forgetting how to walk. She said she asked the facility if they could get her a wheel chair to use, or a walker.

The powers to be told her that they can't do that. I suppose it has to with doctors orders or some other lame excuse.

What is happening here is an accident waiting to happen. It is just a matter of time before this patient gets up out of bed, takes two steps and hits the floor.

It's not a question of if this will happen, but when. All because of some rule they have at this facility. This to me is beyond absurd.

I told her if I were her I would speak to the family and tell them they need to insist that their Mother use a walker, wheel chair, or have assistance any time she is out of bed.

This is a perfect example of not having the proper training. They are basically saying that they can't do anything until she falls. She of course is elderly and a fall could mean a broken hip, which in many elderly patients is a death sentence.

Nursing facilities have to do what is proper for the patient. Knowing that this woman has begun to forget how to walk, and not doing anything to prevent her from falling is negligence on their part.

I have said many times that if you do place your loved one, your caregiving role does not stop. You are still the number one person who has to look out for your loved one.

This story tells it all. There should never be anyone working on an dementia ward unit without some training as to how to deal with these people. Never.

Back in the day I was a investigator for the State of Ohio for facilities. It was my job to go into these facilities and see that things were being done properly. That all ongoing education was being done, training was being done and all their records corresponded with the training.

I had four counties here in Ohio I was responsible for. Countless times I would show up unannounced and find violations. One time, the training was so lax, and there was no paper trail of any training, I had no option but to suggest the license of this facility be suspended.

No one wins in this situation, but you have to have a system to where these facilities are being held accountable.

The one time, which action was taken, they had no continuing education in the basic things, like CPR, how to transfer a patient from a bed to a chair, how to operate a hoyer lift, etc.

I have long been a proponent of having the right people in the right places when it comes to facility care. I think every employee has to have training on dementia patients, how to deal with them, and at least know who the patient was before this disease came into their life.

You take an STNA who is tasked with feeding a dementia patient and has no clue about choking hazard or peripheral vision issues, could scare a patient just by feeding them and the patient not seeing the fork coming at them.

Like I said, you learn a lot by just listening. She asked for my input, and you know me, I gave it.

I told her I would like to come to this facility and talk to the staff. Have a question and answer session. This would not to be to put down what they are or are not doing, but would be a great place to start for some constructive criticism.

Remember, once you do place a loved one that your responsibilities do not stop there as being a caregiver for them, speaking out for them when things  are not right, and to make sure they are getting the care they nee and deserve.

©  Rick Phelps  2015

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I Am So Sick Of Dementia

What am I gonna do? I ask myself this all the time. I preach to others, "Don't let this disease dictate your daily life". All the time knowing it does just that.

The reason? There are no breaks. None for the patient, and very few if any for the caregiver.

I just wish there was a two hour window some days where I didn't have to deal with this disease. A couple of hours where things would be normal again.

The times a day I waste looking for something that is right in front of me, but not being able to recognize it for whatever reason. The time I waste going from one room of this house to another and not having any idea what I am wanting to do or get when I enter the room.

We hear all the time about trials for this and trials for that. If you believe everything you read or see on tv, you would think a cure is right around the corner.

I'll tell you what I would be satisfied with. If someone, someday, would just come out with something, that would make my day tolerable.

I'm not talking perfect, just tolerable. Sure, I take a whole handful of pills twice a day to do that. Make things tolerable. But there not. They really aren't.

What these drugs do is to make it so I really don't care that things are not tolerable. And, for the most part, they do a lousy job at that.

Everyone wants a cure. I tell you, I would be happy to have things tolerable. Have just two days a week that I could get two hours out of both of them that I don't have to deal with dementia.

I tell people all the time when they ask me, "How are you doing?" I say, "I'm thankful". Because I am.

But being thankful has it's limits. I am thankful for what I have and what I can still do. For one day I will not even complain about my loss of memory, for I won't be able to. I will lose all communication skills.

I wonder, will I still try to communicate? Will anyone around me understand I am trying to say I am in pain, for example?

There have been horrible diseases around since the beginning of time. But I can tell you there is none as bad, there is none that comes close to having dementia.

I feel for the caregivers. They are my hero's. I know what I go through, and it must be terrible having to watch it and not be able to anything about it.

You won't find many days where I am like "Oh woe is me". I almost always have something good to say about everything. There is a bright side, if one just looks hard enough.

I have been looking for one for over ten years now. And if by chance I would find a bright side, chances are I would not be able to recognize it on any given day.

This is dementia . I am so, so sick of it. Today. Especially.

©  Rick Phelps  2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

So Many Losses During The Holidays

  We have too many losses. That is a fact. Since our membership grows daily, so will the losses we have. This just goes hand in hand.

We have tried for years to come to some sort of conclusion as to why we lose more people at certain times of the year. You simply can't.

I am one that believes that you die when your time is up. Not because someone has made it to you bedside, or because it's a time of the season.

I really think we notice the losses much more this time of year. You are more likely to remember them at this time of year. Not that they are not devastating anytime of the year but the holiday season seem to be more prevalent.

There is no way to gage how many losses we endure. I have been doing this a long time, and have found that people die when it is time for them to go. Not because someone told them it was alright to die now.

This again is just my belief. For every story I hear of someone waiting to die, I can show you dozens instances where people have died alone, because the family for what ever reason could not get there in time.

Our Mother in Law spent the last few hours her husbands life glued to his hospital bed. Phyllis June's Dad was going to die, we knew that, but when we are asked when...we said "when it is time. If you want to see him alive we suggest you come now."

Most of the family did come. Some not in time. His wife had gone into the bathroom to wash her hands, and that is when he took his last breath. She was not with him. The only people who were with him was Phyllis June and myself.

So, if you use some peoples thinking, Phyllis' Dad didn't mind dying with us by his bedside, but didn't want to die in front of his wife.

I don't buy into that for a minute. We told his wife, he could go at any minute, and we told everyone that. It could be hours, or it could be minutes.

When someone is in the shape he was in, you cannot leave the bedside for a second, that is of course you want to be with them when they do die.

He died that night because his heart simply could no longer take it. He was filled with cancer, and he died because of it. We were with him because this wasn't our first go around when it came to someone dying.

My wife Mom died alone, because we had been there for hours and had to eat. When we left to get a sandwich, we were called and she had passed while we were gone.

There is no way one can tell when it is time for someone to pass. Only God knows this. And they are brought into his heavily home at his command. No one else's...

© Rick Phelps 2015

Sunday, December 27, 2015

You Can't fix Dementia

Breathing difficulty? We can fix that. Chest pain? We can fix that. Low blood sugar, not a problem...

These are just a few of the fixable things people in the medical field know there are procedures or drugs that can fix these types of problems.

People who have years of medical training, know there is something that can be done for just about everything.

When dementia hits home, all this goes out the window. There are no fixes to this disease. There are some things one can do to make their loved ones lives more manageable, but they simply cannot fix dementia.

I have countless hours logged in the classroom to deal with medical emergencies. It's what you are taught, what is beat into your head if you will.

How to counteract what is happening. But when it comes to the things that dementia patients do, there simply isn't some procedure or drug that can be given to reverse what is happening or something to keep it from happening again.

Many times I have been in conversations at symposiums and speaking events where I tell those in attendance this, and you can hear a pin drop every time.

One of the first things I ask them what they should do when they begin this caregiving journey. Most answer learn as much about dementia as you can. Which is true.

But one of the most important things you need to know about dementia is you can't fix it, and you need to know when to ask for help.

Common sense tells you if you could fix this disease there would be no need for Memory People.

We tell members here all the time, we don't have all the answers, any quick fixes here, or false hopes. We deal in reality. As hard as it to do at times, it is much better to realize what you are up against instead of someone telling you what you want to hear.

To hear someone say, "It will get better" or "The progression will slow down" is all well and good to hear. It's not true, but again it sounds good.

The fact is, as bad as it is today, this could very well be the best day your loved one has. Ever.

I am not trying to paint a bleak picture here. But we deal in what this disease does, not what we wish it would not do.

When you understand this. When you accept what is happening, instead of always thinking this is just temporary, it will be better for you and your loved one.

We all look for that cure. We all want dementia to be something that used to happen. But for now, there is no cure. And we must deal in the here and now.

I have said many times if a cure came today it would be years, perhaps decades before it became available for people to get.

And even then it would be so expensive in the beginning only the wealthy will be able to afford it.

So, live in the present. Live for today, this very minute, this very second. Worrying about what will happen down the road is like carrying an umbrella around with you all the time, cause it might rain.

You cannot fix this. You can at times do things to make their lives more bearable like I said. But to control what a dementia patient does is just not possible.

Think of it this way, even when you have to deal with the most bizarre things today, tomorrow could be even worse. And chances are will be. What you did today to help them may not work tomorrow or ever again.

If it was easy, it would already have been done. These so called remedies are pie in the sky. Nine times out of ten when someone is pushing natural remedies, they have an agenda.

Live in the moment. Take one day at time. Remember these three simple things:

Are they safe?

Are they content?

Are they pain free?

If you can answer yes to a degree of certainty to these simple three questions you are doing everything you can...

©  Rick Phelps  2015

Saturday, December 26, 2015

What Bothered Me The Most Christmas Day

One down, one to go. Got through the day yesterday relatively unscathed. Got to watch the kids open their presents and then had a wonderful dinner with just my wife and I.

I did get a bit uneasy yesterday but that is expected. I am always thankful when the day is over,  but I do remember to give thanks as one of these days I will not have the ability to get through any holiday.

I tried to pay attention yesterday and see what really bothered me the most, and I came up with noise. Be it talking, or just noise in general. That bothers me more than anything.

Of course dealing with dementia, that could and will likely change many times. All I am sure of is I made it through the day, and I only have one more to go.

We don't do anything for New Years. Haven't in years, so it should go by without any hitch. Should is the key word, when dealing with dementia.

Our prayer was your holiday went as smooth as possible. With this disease sometimes smooth means nothing more than a lesser degree of chaos.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Dementia Doesn't Care It Is Christmas

No one understands what the holidays do to a patient anymore than I do. Routine to us is vital. Christmas is a lot of things, but routine would not be one of them.

There are so many things for the caregiver to remember. Not only are some doing last minute shopping, and planning a meal for Christmas Day, but they must also deal with what this disease does to their loved ones this time of year.

Winter is especially hard on patients because of the lack of sunlight, the days being so short. Shadowing is more pronounced as is Sundowners.

This goes on all the time, but just like anything else, these symptoms are compounded when you throw in the chaos that comes when family visit, or you go somewhere for the holidays.

The main thing I like to stress is sometimes certain family members have perhaps not seen the patient for some time. There are a few guidelines you may want to instill to them.

1) The patient has dementia. They are not hard of hearing, so you need not talk in a loud voice when chatting with them. Many times for whatever reason because someone is elderly or has a disease, many people think they are deaf.

Talk to them in a calm voice. Try to avoid asking questions. If you do, make them short and not compound questions.

Don't ask "Where did you get those fancy clothes you have on, were they a present?"

Even though this seems like a simple question, chances are they have no idea what they have on, if it's new, if they have had it, or if it was a gift.

2) Keep the kids to bear minimum. Kids this time of year are a joy to be around. Watching them open their gifts and having all the family there for dinner. However, and this is a very big however....what used to be, is no more.

In other words, the Grandma who used to love to have the grandkids sitting on her lap, or standing over her while she open the gifts they bought them, simply isn't the same Grandma anymore.

I would tell the parents to keep their kids at a distance. Not meaning don't approach Grandma, but they have to approach her as not to startle her. She may not recognize them, which will be hard on everyone involved. These are things that need to be discussed way before you head out to Grandma's house.

3) There isn't a time that the patient won't feel scared during this whole family get together thing. You have to understand that there are probably three or four people around her at most times.

When you take her to a house that has ten, fifteen or more people, or that many show up at her door, this will cause stress. There is no way you can prepare the patient for what is about to happen.

They simply don't have the ability to understand that it's Christmas and this is what the family has done for generations.

4) Take Grandma off to a quiet room. Sit with her, or she may even feel more content sitting by herself. This only applies if it is her house. If it is anywhere else, you can't take her to another room. And, perhaps even in her own house she won't know where she is.

Getting out of the chaos after just a few short minutes is very important. Don't pressure her to do anything. This all is a trial and error thing. Don't allow anyone approaching her from the side or rear. This too will only startle her.

When it's dinner time, make sure she is sitting where she always does if she is at home. And make sure those who sit next to her, do so, as always. If you are at another home, make sure whomever is usually with her during her meals is right beside her.

This may not help a bit, again it's all about trial and error at this point. Just know this, there isn't a dementia patient I know of who doesn't get stressed out over changes in their routine.

Christmas is indeed a change in their routine. You can only have a plan, then have another. If need be, you may have to be excused and take her home. Or if there are a gaggle of family there in her house, they may have to be asked to leave. Something else you may run by the family before hand.

The thing you want is her to feel safe, pain free, and content. If she scared, she's not content, and she's is in pain. Fear is a form of pain. And all of this will just escalate if you do not plan ahead.

In closing, please remember that what used to be, simply is no more. Things have changed. And not everyone in the family may recognize this or adapt to it. They are the ones to watch. They can cause a total shutdown if they do not conduct themselves appropriately during the holidays.

I wish I could tell you that this will be a joyous time for all. It won't be. I can tell you this with complete confidence.

Because I didn't read about this information in a book, and no one told me about it on the internet, and I didn't go to some seminar and learn it from a speaker there.

I live this day in and day out. I can't wait for the holidays to be over. That is the life of a dementia patient. This starts in late October and continues for me till March.

Things don't get better then. Nothing ever gets better. It's just that the holidays are over and I have gotten back to my routine. And that is what we all strive for.

Dementia doesn't care it's Christmas. Dementia doesn't take a few days or hours off so the patient can enjoy the family time. It just doesn't. Anyone who tells you different are telling you what you want to hear, not what the truth is.

Please feel free to share this. I am not an expert, but I am a dementia patient....

© Rick Phelps  2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Alzheimer's and political correctness ?

I sometimes surf the web, reading what I can about Alzheimers. Short stories, or paragraphs is all I can do and only then can I hope to remember what I have read.

I came upon a couple stories that have been discussed in recents months by some people who are considered to be in the know when it comes to Alzheimers, or dementia in general. 

It never ceases to amaze me how someone sitting behind a desk somewhere can pull some of these things out of no where, yet vow that their idea are for the best for everyone.

First of all, there is nothing that is good for everyone. The latest foolishness that I have seen is to not call Alzheimer patients, Alzheimer patients. 

Seems as though calling an Alzheimer patient an Alzheimer patient is labeling the the person, and labels by their nature are limiting.

What? When I read such nonsense, as a patient, an Alzheimer patient I take real offense. Not that those who think like this are clueless, but the mere fact that some people actually buy into this nonsense. 

"Don't call an Alzheimer patient an Alzheimer patient". Isn't that in itself what the call a misnomer?

And why is it always someone who doesn't have Alzheimers or any form of dementia, why is it always them who knows whats best for people like me, an Alzheimer patient? 

Now if as though this wasn't enough, some of the same organizations want to stop calling people suffering with Alzheimers, sufferers. Instead of calling me a sufferer of Alzheimers, I should be referred to a person who is "deeply forgetful".

What? I kid you not. This kind of garbage is actually written about in more than one magazine that goes out to doctors offices and can be found on the internet, so you know it has to be true. sigh

And here is one more idiotic thing they write about. It seems as though one should refrain from using the term "caregiver" anymore. 

The article goes on to say, "To see yourself as one who is providing care to another establishes a hierarchy within that relationship; a hierarchy with you on top". 

Is this not the most ridiculous thing you have ever heard? In essence it's demeaning to my wife to call her a caregiver, because it establishes here as a hierarchy within our relationship. Well here's a shocker...she is the hierarchy. Good Lord. She knows whats best for me and has done so for me. Does this make her a hierarchy? Whatever. 

You have to be a special kind of stupid to buy into this kind of nonsense. Yet, once again, there are organizations peddling this. And they consider themselves to be credible. 

Let me tell you something. Their not. All this boils down to is one thing, and one thing only. Politically Correctness. Period.

Somehow even the long arms of politics are tying to infringe on the world of dementia. Why? Because as I have said for years, it's big business. 

Here's but one example of the big business of dementia. Pat Summit. Most know who she is. She was the winningest most coach in female basketball history. 

Tragically, she was diagnosed with Early On-Set Alzheimers disease about two years ago now. Immediately after she announced her diagnosis, she went on national tv and told the world that she indeed was diagnosed with EOAD, but that nothing would change, and she would indeed beat this diagnosis. 

You can go to youtube and do a search and watch the press conference where she stated this. When I seen it, I about fell off my chair. Here's a woman, a national celebrity of sorts who just announced she has EOAD, but that she would continue coaching, and northing would change. She as in fact going to beat this disease. 

And of course the media were all over this. How she was going to change the way everyone looked at EOAD, how she would bring it to light and how she would in fact beat this diagnosis. 

A year later, Summit stepped down from her head coaching job a NC. Why? Because she has EOAD. Then she turned to the public speaking circuit. I am telling you this because a very good friend of mine is a talent agent for many celebrities. 

It's their job to book people like Pat Summit or any other celebrity to one venue or another. About six weeks after she retired from coaching, this person I am talking about received in the mail a contract from Pat Summit's agent, telling them that they could book Pat on her up and coming speaking tour. 

She would be in Ohio at this certain time and if they wanted her at any venue in Ohio, her Nerdary, what they call the expense a person charges for their services, was $65,000 for one hour. 

Now anyone that knows me, understands that I am all about free enterprise. In other words, anyone is entitled to make whatever they can. 

However, that being said, when you add what Summit said and continued to say about her diagnosis, and the fact that she had just finished a book called "Summit Up", which she went into great detail about her coaching career and little about the disease itself, then in my mind she is indeed making money off of her diagnosis, and dementia in general.

Is there anything wrong with this? That is up to the individual to decide. I can tell you this, I have done dozens of speaking engagements. And of course mine didn't and would never garner the attraction of a Pat Summit. 

However, the point is I never once charged for me to speak anywhere. I have done speaking engagements all across our great land. From out west to down south, from a few miles away, to thousands of miles away.

The only time I had a Per diem was when the venue I was speaking at had one. In other words, the only thing we ever charged to speak anywhere was travel expenses and lodging. 

But, there are people, very prominent people, who can get the thousands of dollars per speaking engagements because that is what the market will bear. 

Does this make it right? Again, this is up to the individual. What I am saying is most times when someone writes about, talks about, or does interviews about dementia, when it comes to celebrities. someone one is getting paid big money.

I often complain about people who do not have some sort of dementia, yet claim to have all the answers. This here, is the exact opposite. I am talking about some people who do have dementia, yet choose to use their celebrity status to garner huge sums of money. 

It's the world we live in. I can tell you this, I have been involved with dementia everyday of my life for the better part of ten years now. I am not an expert in dementia, by any means. I have said this thousands of times.

But let me assure you, the information you get right here on Memory People™ is far more accurate and far more benefiting then you will get anywhere. 

And you simply can't beat the price. We don't cure anything here. We can't fix anything here. But we do walk this journey together. Sharing our struggles, defeats, and even some victories along the way.

And we do this together. As it should be. Not for money. Not for fame. But because it is the right thing to do. 

And I will do what I can, to share my story...our story, "While I Still Can..."

© Rick Phelps  2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What Happens To The Patient When The Caregiver Is Ill

Something happened last weekend that really has worked on me. My wife was deathly sick. She has suffered with a disease since she was 17 years old and has these flare ups.

We have dealt with them for years now, but last weekend she was worse than usual.That is what it seemed to me at least.  When someone you love is sick or injured you feel helpless. You try to do everything for them you can.

I found out something that my own disease causes. I literally felt useless. What to do? I told her Friday evening that if she wasn't better we were headed to the er first thing Saturday morning.

She wasn't any better, matter of fact probably worse. But she assured me she would be alright, just needed to stay in bed and sleep. We did what we always do when this happens, make sure she gets additional meds she needs and this runs its course.

But last weekend was very scary for me. As a dementia patient, I felt first hand how helpless I was and I think I may have slept two hours all weekend. Checking on her constantly, and sitting in the front room just wondering what to do.

Normally, I understand what this is, and I realize that this has happened many times throughout the years, but this time for whatever reason was very difficult for me.

I wanted to share this to point out that in some cases when the spouse or whoever of a dementia patient becomes ill, try to pay special attention to the one they care for.

I thought very long and hard before posting about this. I have thought about it, and many times thought this sounds very thoughtless of me to be worried about what I was going through when she was as sick as she was.

But it is indeed a very, very scary thing for the dementia patient when their primary caregiver is incapacitated for whatever reason. She was much better Sunday night, but I was just a scared Sunday night as I was Friday night.

I knew we were close to having her hospitalized, which has happened in the past as well. And the very thought of that had me scared to death. We seldom think of what to do in situations like this, when a spouse or whomever becomes sick, is in a car accident, or somehow injured to where they would not be able to do what they normally do for the patient.

I am so far pretty self supportive. I don't need someone looking after me, but the mere fact she wasn't able to tell me what day it is, what time it is, what I was supposed to be doing, etc, was indeed horrible for me.

As a patient I can tell you we depend on someone, even if we don't communicate that. I talk all the time about routine and how important it is that patient stay on their routine, even if you didn't realize they had one.

My main routine, the most important thing to me, more important than each breath I take, is my wife. I cannot fathom life without her. We all feel this way about our spouses or parents, kids, etc.

But once again, what we just went through, with Phyllis June being so sick was a real eye opener for me for some reason. I found myself sitting in the front room worried about what I was going to do. I have never put my self before my wife, never.

This disease did that. It had me so worried about what I was to do, for her, and if things got to the place she was hospitalized. I thought I was being self-centered, something I never have been. Thinking about myself instead of someone I love.

But I realized that it was this disease, it's always the disease that made me think and react this way. She is back to normal as of last night. What happened has happened before, and will no doubt happen again. I think what we need to do is to have some sort of plan as of what I need to do when this does occur again.

And then, of course, have another plan. For the first plan most likely will not work when this occurs again. Something I hope each of you think and talk about before something like this happens in your immediate family.

No doubt when this happens again, I will not remember the fear I went through the last time, nor will I realize that things will be alright. The disease does this. I will not recall that things always get better when she has these flare ups. I will only know I can't do anything, and have that same helpless feeling again.

Have a plan in case for whatever reason you are not able to care for your loved one, be it for just a day, a week, or however long. Life happens. But as I have said many times, we cannot live in your world any more, family members and caregivers must live in ours. We are not capable of living in your world anymore and as selfish as this may sound, we need to have things kept as normal as possible, even when things are indeed chaotic.

© Rick Phelps  2015

Monday, December 14, 2015

Describing Dementia

Been a while since I have posted. One of the reasons is being mentally drained. Seems like it is all the time now.

With this disease there is a lot of things that happen, but being mentally drained is something that is constant.

Trying to remember things you simply cannot. Just trying to make it through the day at times has become a real struggle. Everything seems to difficult at times.

Not knowing what time it is, what day it is, or if I am supposed to be doing something is a constant battle. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter what day it is, but it is one of those things that we as human beings take for granted.

My wife can tell me what day it is, which she does several times each morning before she even leaves for work. This is because I don't have the ability to remember what she has told me.

I can't imagine what it must be like for a caregiver to be asked the same questions over and over again. We watch a program on tv, and half way through it I rarely have any idea what the plot is, or what is really going on.

All of this gets real old, real fast. I like to think that I get used to it but the truth is one never can really get used to what this disease does to you.

I wish I had one good day. One good day where I knew just half of what was going on. The inability to remember things is constant. The inability to know what is being said or talked about at any one given time is also constant.

Slowly I am forgetting what it was like before this disease. I'm sure this happens to all patients. It is indeed scary to say the least.

I always say that no matter what I am thankful. Because I am. I am not sick in anyway, physically. I can do about anything, but then again I can't do even the simples of things at times.

Being able to describe how living with this disease has been a blessing for me, as much as it has to those who want to know what their loved one may be going through.

I don't ever want to think of the day that I can no longer do this. But it is coming. I can say that I did something that for me was normal. Try to help others who are going through this.

Creating this site was the most important thing I have ever done. Besides marrying my wife and having a loving family with her. I am blessed. I do remember that.

Even when I won't be able to remember this, I will still know in my heart how blessed I was to have made a life with such a wonderful loving wife and helping raise one of the greatest daughters one could ever hope for.

We did good. I do remember that. And I will have that in my heart forever.

© Rick Phelps   2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

National Alzheimer's Awarenees Month, Once Again?

December 1, 2015 And something happened last month that happens every year. It has been going on for decades, the same thing over and over with little to none results.

Einstein said "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results".

Thinking about this, tell me what November did this year, being National Alzheimer Awareness Month, once again?

I seen it plastered all over FB, just like other years. I just don't understand the Awareness part of it? To me, what we do here, bring Awareness and Support, is seen by every post, every comment, every suggestion.

But to just claim that November is National Alzheimer Awareness Month, year after year, does nothing.

To bring change or to bring awareness, you have to do something. Not just say it.

I have said it before and I will stand by it, "We do more here by accident daily, to bring Awareness and offer Support than most organizations do on purpose."

The funniest thing about these national dementia awareness months are that there is just not one. There are several. This alone proves my point of awareness is much more than just saying it. You have to actually do something to bring awareness to anything, dementia is no different.

This is all no different than those who claimed when Charlton Heston, or every President Reagan died from dementia, everyone said this will bring change when both of these two people died. It didn't.

You will hear the same thing when Glenn Campbell dies. How his passing will bring change to the disease, awareness if you will. It won't.

The internet, news channels. and entertainment business will talk about his passing when it happens, but within a week, it will be just like always...old news.

Nothing will change. Why is this? The answer to me is simple. If this disease, any form of dementia does not effect you personally in some way, it is indeed out of sight, out of mind kind of thing.

If this disease does not effect you in some way, you simply do not think about it. You could say the same for cancer perhaps. The only difference is cancer has been found to be curable, Alzheimer's is not.

One would think that the only disease known to mankind that is terminal, there is no known cure, and there is no stopping the progression, one would think more people would take more interest in it.

They don't. Again, simply because if you're not involved in some personal way, you don't give dementia a second thought. This is not my opinion, it's fact.

Name me another disease that kills as many people as dementia does, but just in the last few years was even mentioned on their death certificate?

Name me one other disease that kills as many as dementia does, and our Gov't can't get a comprehensive Bill passed to get billions of dollars for research?

When the President appropriates monies for dementia research most think that a cure is right around the corner. Most don't even know what the word appropriate means.

It means he is asking Congress for money. It doesn't mean this will be approved, and it never is. But the headlines always read that the President is appropriating money for research. Millions. Which does nothing, and has done nothing.

So, yes once again November, National Awareness Month for Alzheimer's has come and gone. What has changed? Nothing. What will change? Nothing.

The simple truth here is not enough people are dying from dementia related deaths. If dementia was killing as many as AIDS did in the eighties, you would see a panic ensue. In the year 2050 it is expected to cost our Gov't, i.e.: you, 20 trillion dollars to stay on top of this disease.

To keep Medicare soluble, it will cost taxpayers trillions of dollars in just costs alone for nursing homes, medications, etc.

Our national debt right now is nineteen trillion dollars, pushing twenty. A figure that we will likely never repay. We simply don't have the money.

One day this dementia thing will become a priority. This will happen. Not in my lifetime, but it will happen and then and only then will our Gov't take a real hard look at what is happening and what is not happening.

No one cares. That's the simple truth. Call your Congressman, call you Senator. It will change nothing. It has changed nothing. Find me one Senator or Congressman who will propose a Bill that raises taxes like funding Alzheimer Research, and I will show you a politician who isn't interested in re-elelction. And that doesn't happen either.

I am not the bearer of bad news here. I am merely stating what is happening, and more importantly what isn't happening.

The good news is, there will be another National Awareness Day for Alzheimers. another National Awareness Month as well. The bad news is nothing ever is made aware. And nothing has ever changed....

© Rick Phelps 2015

Showering Tip From A Dementia Patient

I don't usually do posts this time of the evening, but something came up and I wanted to share this with you, as always in hopes it might help someone along the way.

Showering. I have been doing something that I wanted to share, but like always I keep forgetting about it. It's about showering.

I notice that when I adjust our shower head to the rain flow feature, I take a much more relaxed shower. The water, believe it or not is not beating down on me.

That's how it seems now, and has for some time. The issue here is I don't remember each time to adjust the shower head for the rain flow feature.

You may want to try this on your loved one. Using the rain flow feature on the shower head. If your doesn't have one, these shower heads can be found at Walmart or about anywhere from $20 up.

I know I dread taking a shower most times. Because of the water hitting me like needles. I don't remember or realize about the rain water, until I get in there and sometimes happen to look up.

Phyllis June usually puts the shower head back on rain, when she is done, but she too is human and sometimes forgets.

I can tell you this, it does make a huge difference to me when it comes to showering, and I am hoping it will for you, when shower times comes for your loved one.

It's the little things, that all add up to make a huge difference.

© Rick Phelps 2015