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Before yesterdaykathleenbduncan

Shower Aide for Dementia Patients at Home

12 October 2021 at 12:02
Topic: SHOWER AIDES and How to Get Medicare to Cover the Cost. For a dementia patient on Medicare, Medicare will pay for a twice weekly Home Health Aide/Shower Aide (HHA). It is covered 100%. First, contact your Home Health Agency (if you have one involved). They can arrange for a twice weekly Shower Aide or […]

Slip-on Shoes

15 September 2021 at 20:05
She’s having trouble tying her shoes. This makes me sad. I’ve already started buying elastic waistband pants since she has trouble remembering to unbutton and unzip when trying to pull them up or down. Now it’s her shoes. It is what it is. I can’t stop the progression of the disease. I must accept what I cannot change and change what I can. Today I’m changing to slip-on shoes. She loves Keds. But all her Keds are lace-ups. I’ve looked for slip-on Keds online. But she wears size 6! That size is not always easy to find. So, today while a friend took her to Sonic for a coke (one her favorite treats!) I went shoe shopping. I only had to go to two stores before I found treasures! I found both of these on the clearance rack! Only problem was: They didn’t have the botanicals in my size!!! 😞 #dementiasucks

Love Languages

6 September 2021 at 12:41
According to a popular book, the five love languages include: Gifts Acts of Service Touch Words of affirmation Time Someone commented on my post yesterday that Ron Duncan’s love language is acts of service. I don’t know about that. What I do know is that if you read the gospels you will see that Jesus […]

Love. True love.

5 September 2021 at 16:06
No, he doesn’t post about how much he adores me. He’s not overtly romantic when we go out to eat. We’ve never had a regularly scheduled β€œdate night.” He doesn’t sing me love songs. He doesn’t often bring me flowers (I send them to him because he’s the one who loves fresh flowers.) But this…this […]

God Loves Us

13 August 2021 at 06:08
β€œEarly on in this journey, I saw how many of those in the Bible had their children die before them, starting with Eve. They experienced grief, yet they still trusted God. They knew His character β€” His kindness, joy, mercy, grace, justice, and compassion. And He knew how much they loved their children. He loves […]

Eight Years Ago this Week

12 August 2021 at 01:15
Eight years this week. It seems a lifetime ago. His younger siblings grew up and his baby sister finished college. His older brother graduates next year. One brother was a cheerleader at two Division One universities and is now in the Army. One sibling is fostering teenagers. One sister is dating a great guy with […]

Fun Brain Games for Adults #1!!

10 August 2021 at 08:42
Fun Brain Games for Adults made it to #1 New Release in Adults and Continuing Education!! Get your copy on Amazon! A few reviews: Great Resource As a therapist I am always looking for new resources to help engage our patients. This book is great. It has a nice variety of activities for older adults. […]

A Little Help from Her Aide

9 August 2021 at 11:19
Why, yes!! The home health aide that comes twice weekly to help E shower has helped me get my nightgown off twice now. Thanks for asking. And, yes, my hubby did take me to get button down pajamas at Target yesterday. E still has no idea what this black sling I’m wearing is for nor […]

Long Term Affects of Starvation and the Choice to Forgive

8 August 2021 at 13:13
We had an appointment with a neurologist last week. It was our first appointment since moving E to Texas two years ago. She’s not needed to see a neurologist as she was fairly stable. But lately I’ve seen a few changes I wanted to address with a specialist. I really liked this doctor. She had […]

New Activity Book

18 July 2021 at 16:37
Imagine homeschool mom meets dementia caregiver. What do you get? β€œFun Brain Games for Adults” A new activity book for those with cognitive impairments including those in stages 4-5 of dementia. Here’s how it came about…. I homeschooled my seven children through high school. After the youngest graduated and headed off to college, my husband […]

Cards

17 July 2021 at 12:52
My dad gave her a card for every occasion, every holiday. St. Patrick’s Day, Flag Day, Thanksgiving, Easter, anniversary, birthday, Wednesday. You name it, he got her a card. She loved getting cards. Since she moved to Texas, family has stopped sending cards. Her family. My siblings. No birthday cards. No Christmas cards. Mother’s Day […]

Honesty In Caregiving

15 July 2021 at 11:52
Caregiving is hard. And I suck at it. There. I said it. I am not great at caregiving. Despite what you may think from some of my blog posts, I am not a very good caregiver. Some days I barely muddle through. Some days I don’t wake her up until ten so I can have […]

Standing

13 July 2021 at 14:58
Some days she will stand like this for an hour or more. Just staring. And sighing. She doesn’t want to do anything I suggest – read, watch tv, fold her laundry, sit on the porch. Nope. She doesn’t want to do any of those things. She just stands. It was strange, and a bit disturbing, at first. Then one day I realized how grateful I am that she can stand for an hour! Whether she’s staring down the hall at unseen things or looking out the window at the yard, it’s not a problem behavior. She’s not causing any issues. The sighing is annoying, but I can drown it out with good music. And she’s standing!! Not bedridden. Not in a wheelchair. I am grateful. I just wish I knew what she’s looking for. Maybe she does, too….

Unraveled

11 July 2021 at 10:50
Remember Mixtapes? Your favorite songs recorded off the radio onto one cassette tape you loved to play over and over. You knew the words; you sang along. Those songs were familiar and comforting. Remember when your favorite mixtape got stuck in your car radio on the way to school? You put it in and it started playing weird; the music was all wrong. You pulled it out and the tape unraveled. After school you try to rewind it with a pencil. It takes hours. Finally, the tape is back in the case – it looks good on the outside – and you pop it in the player. One of two things happen: 1) it plays but many of the words are missing and songs are messed up, or 2) it gets suck again and unravels. Oh, the first time or two it unravels you may be able to put it right with no problems, but, eventually, it will be completely broken. Once it’s that broken, you can forget recording over that tape. The magnetism on the tape is messed up and won’t hold. That tape will no longer record, no matter how many times you try. But it’s the only tape you have of those songs; you love that tape. So you keep putting it in the player, and it just get more and more messed up. Her brain is kinda like that. It’s the only one she has, but it’s messed up. It’s broken. She has dementia due to Alzheimer’s. This disease has caused her brain to become broken, unraveled. When she speaks, the words are messed up; the music is all wrong. Nothing new can be recorded anymore. But I love her; she’s the only one of her I have! And her voice is familiar and comforting, so I listen. I listen carefully, trying to figure out what song she is trying to play, what she’s trying to communicate. And when she unravels, I carefully, lovingly try to help put thing back to as right as I can. As right as that once beautiful brain that played my favorite familiar and comforting tunes can ever be in that broken, unraveled state. No, her tape won’t record anymore. Her words are jumbled, and her music is scratchy. But I remember how they used to sound. I remember the beautiful sounds, the upbeat and fun music, the soft comforting melodies. I remember when we jammed together through the most important moments in my life. Her voice was always there, in the background, encouraging me through hard things, cheering my successes, and empathizing with my pain. So, even though her tape is broken and unraveled, I’ll keep singing those songs. I sing them for both of us. And maybe she’ll be able to sing a few words with me.

His Sweater Jacket

10 July 2021 at 07:22
This happened back in January. I’m sharing in hopes it helps someone else. I saw how ugly my heart is that night. ~~~~~~~~~~ Yesterday morning I was tired, and it was a gray day. I had no plans, so I put on sweats, a long-sleeve t-shirt, and a sweater jacket that had been Andrew’s. It’s the only piece of his clothing I kept to wear. It’s big on me and very soft. It’s warm. I love it. I stayed in my comfy clothes all day. I’d taken the sweater jacket off after dinner and hung it on the back of a chair. I forgot to put it up in my room before going to bed. E has dementia. She moved in with us a month ago. About 3:00 am this morning E got up and wandered the house for a few minutes. The alarm alerted me she was up. Before I got up and grabbed a bathrobe she was back in her room. I saw her with MY sweater jacket!! She stated to put it on then hung it back on the chair. β€œSHE HAS NO RIGHT TO WEAR MY JACKET!” my ugly, selfish heart screamed inside me. She was soon back to sleep while I stewed. I quickly realized how ugly I was being. And I’m glad I didn’t say anything to her. She has no idea whose that sweated jacket is or why it matters to me. She was sleepy, confused, and cold. She did nothing wrong. This whole caregiver thing is either going to kill me or make me a kinder, more patient and loving person. I hope it’s the latter. ~~~~~~~~~~

Changed

9 July 2021 at 06:08
β€œShe has changed,” they say. As if I should be as I was. As I was before. But things changed. Every single thing. Everything changed that day. In that moment. When he died. I will go on living. But everything changed. I am changed. When temperatures fall or a freeze hits, an oak tree changes colors. Leaves turn from green to red and yellow and brown. It’s the same tree. Right where it’s always been. But the tree is changed by outside forces. Never to be the same. In spring, when temperatures warm and the sun shines new leaves will grow. New branches and twigs and leaves will sprout. The tree will look the same as it did the spring before. But it’s not the same. That tree will never be exactly as it was. There is new life where old leaves died. There are new leaves, different leaves. The tree is still alive, still growing, still covered in leaves. But it is changed. Forever changed by outside forces, By what is happening around it. If a little thing like a drop in temperature can forever change a mighty oak tree, why would they even imagine that something so huge, so monumental, so earth shattering as the death of one I love would not change me? His presence in my life changed me. It made me a better person. I pray his absence will do the same. Yes, I am changed. I am forever changed. Lord, may the changes in me glorify You. Amen ~~~~~~~~~~ This article was originally published in January 2018. ~~~~~~~~~~ If you have experienced the death of a child, here are two resources that may help you. Surviving Sorrow by Kim Erickson God’s Healing in Grief by Ron & Kathleen Duncan https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0802419178/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1625764640&sr=8-3 https://shop.precept.org/products/gods-healing-in-grief-1 ~~~~~~~~~~~ The Accident occurred late on August 12, 2013. Because of the remote location they were not declared dead until 12:30am on August 13. Here is the story of the Day My Life Changed Forever.

Popsicles. And Marriage.

8 July 2021 at 10:24
Last night I posted this on Facebook: Would someone please explain to Ron Duncan that when I bring two popsicles to bed and offer him one, I don’t mean it? #yesisnottheanswer #dontliketoshare #hadtogobacktothekitchen Ron laughed. Friends who read it laughed. I got up and got two more popsicles. This morning I got to thinking about popsicles, my husband, and marriage. Yes. I like popsicles. I like skittles. I like that Ron keeps me stocked in popsicles and skittles. More importantly, I like that Ron has a heart to serve me, even when I’m not kind to him as evidenced by his behavior the morning after my ugly evening a couple of weeks ago. (https://kathleenbduncan.com/2021/07/06/evening-in-life-of-a-dementia-caregiver/) Marriage is not about popsicles or skittles. Marriage is about forgiving your spouse when she’s reacted poorly to hard things in her life. It’s about showing her love when she not being very lovable. Marriage is about gently correcting her when she is wrong, as Ron has had to do too many times to count. Marriage is about admitting when you were wrong and making amends as soon as you realize you were in the wrong – something I seem to have to do daily. Ron rarely has to. Marriage is about realizing that sometimes when your spouse barks at you about something stupid, it’s not about you at all! It’s about her struggling under the weight of the burdens she is caring. Marriage is about fixing things you didn’t break; saying β€œI’m sorry that happened” when you are in no way at fault; and asking β€œhow can I love you today?” when your spouse is in desperate need of compassion, grace, and popsicles though she’s deserving of none of those things. Ron does marriage well. I’m still learning.

An Evening in My Life as Caregiver

6 July 2021 at 13:00
A few weeks ago, I spent most of one day mowing our property. About six hours. That morning, E went on adventures with her new caregiver/companion then took a nap after lunch. I mowed before she woke up, while she was gone, and while she napped. While mowing I got something in my eye. It was painful, red, and swollen even after I washed it out numerous times. Despite the pain in my eye, I lovingly cared for E. I fixed her dinner, gave her her meds, and attempted to get her to bed. From 6:30-8 I kept gently trying to get E to go to bed. I suggested she get ready for bed at 6:30. Then at 7:00. Then again at 7:30. She kept saying she wasn’t going to bed yet because she wanted stay up for a while. [She’s normally in bed between 6:30-7:00. Sometimes as early as 5:30.] That entire time she just sat at the kitchen table. For almost two hours after finishing her dinner she just sat there. I’d offered alternatives, but she was adamant she was staying put. She became more belligerent each time I suggested she move to a more comfortable spot or head to bed. [This is typical of Sundowners in dementia patients. As it gets later in the day, they get more confused and less cooperative. But this behavior was unusual for E.] At 8:00, I asked her to go to use the toilet. [As I shared in Naps, I’ve found that asking her to use the toilet can be a less confrontational way to get her to go to her room. Once she’s in her room, she wants to go to bed. It hadn’t worked at 7:00, but I decided to try again now that it was an hour later.] When I asked her to go use the toilet, she glared and huffed at me. This time I explained in no uncertain terms that she had not used the toilet in over six hours, and last time she did this she wet her pants. She had to go use the toilet. She got up and moved towards her room. She stopped at our bedroom door, read the sign that says, β€œDO NOT ENTER,” glared at me, and opened the door to walk right in. I asked her politely to come out. β€œI want to look around!” she spat. β€œPlease come out. There’s a sign saying β€˜Do Not Enter.’ You are NOT to go in there.” She gave me a look that would kill a bear. β€œJeeeezzzee Louise!!!!” she huffed as she moved towards her room. Finally, she went into her bathroom and used the toilet, washed her hands, and brushed her teeth. I got her pajamas out while she did her business. She came out of the bathroom, glared at me, and said, β€œI AM SO DAMN TIRED!!! Can I please just go to bed now???” Although the result was exactly what I’d hoped for, I didn’t like the way

Reading Lessons

5 July 2021 at 18:43
Ruthie’s parents were told she’d never read. Evelyn often can’t find her words. Together they read a book today. You should have seen the look on E’s face Monday morning when Ruthie and her sisters arrived for their reading lessons! She beamed!! She loves when kids come visit. The girls have been told they are helping Miss Evelyn (whose brain is a bit broken) by reading aloud to her. They are glad to help. In reality, they are all helping each other. Evelyn has a master’s degree in education. She loves helping children read. And the girls need a little help with their reading this summer. Everyone wins in this deal! Including their mom and me since we get to sit on the porch and chat during these reading sessions. I encourage you to ask around at church or your local library. Maybe there is a homeschool family like Ruthie’s who could read to your person with dementia. You could possibly meet at the library if your person is able. What a fun outing!!! Reading Lessons are part of our β€œRoutine.” I learned about the importance of Routine in β€œDementia with Grace” by Vicky Noland Fitch.
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