On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Archive for September, 2013

Top Ten Reason Why I Didn’t Write a Blog for Today | by Linda Brendle

Out of IdeasSeveral months ago I noticed that my blog traffic was lagging. I still had my faithful followers, and a new reader popped in from time to time, but I wasn’t getting that mind-boggling kind of growth that makes the publishers beat a path to your inbox. I consulted with my main writing guru, my son Christian Piatt, and I read several “how to” articles on increasing blog traffic. I didn’t learn anything new, but I was reminded of the NUMBER ONE thing a blogger is supposed to do to build traffic – be consistent.

I’ve tried several times to blog on a schedule, but after a few weeks, I fall into the same old hit or miss pattern. But this time I was determined it would be different. I made up my mind that, regardless of what happened, I would post a blog on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and this month I added an Alzheimer video by Rick Phelps on Sundays.

I’ve kept to the schedule and even got my posts written a day ahead so I could schedule them to go live at 9:00 am (CDT).  It’s been working pretty well – until today. I got up with nothing scheduled and no inspiration. I argued with myself that missing one day wouldn’t matter, and like a student facing her teacher without her homework, I thought of all kinds of excuses why I don’t have a post. Here are my top ten: (more…)

Alzheimer’s Disease: I Knew – Video by Rick Phelps

Rick Phelps was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in 2010 at the age of 57. In the hopes of raising awareness about the disease, he has made a number of videos about his personal journey. With the same goal in mind, I’ve been posting his videos each Sunday. This one was made February 4, 2011, and is titled “I Knew.” In it Rick talks about knowing something was wrong several years before he was actually diagnosed. He also talks about how difficult it is to explain what having Alzheimer’s is like, how different it is from forgetting the name of an acquaintance or misplacing the car keys. He also shares his desire to make the most of time with his family while he can still remember who they are. (more…)

Senior Humor – Edition 19 (Lost Cars and Brain Farts) | by Linda Brendle

seniors laughing 2 041712I don’t usually write my “Senior Humor” posts this close together, but I had a story left from last week’s post, and David forwarded me a video that I just had to share.

An elderly woman called 911 to report that someone had broken into her car. She was hysterical as she explained her situation to the dispatcher.

“They’ve stolen the stereo, the steering wheel, the brake pedal and even the accelerator!”

“Stay calm,” said the dispatcher. “An officer is on the way.” (more…)

How Not to Put Your Foot in Your Mouth | by Linda Brendle

Foot in mouthOne of my friends at church told me last Sunday about a sign she saw in front of a local church. It said: A closed mouth gathers no foot. I would do well to have that tattooed inside my eyelids or in some other highly visible place. At the risk of using another cliché, I tend to put my mouth in motion before putting my brain in gear.

I’m really pretty quiet, listening and responding more often than offering my opinion. But when I feel strongly about something, I say it. The funny thing is that if you say something with enough conviction, people are apt to listen, assume you’ve thought through what you said, and assume that you know what you’re talking about. This can be especially troubling when you spend a lot of time around caregivers and other people who are going through a difficult time. (more…)

Music and Alzheimer’s: The Memories of Music Live On | by Linda Brendle

Piano keyboardMusic allows patients who are normally shut off from the world to participate in enjoyable activities and connect with loved ones. It may also sooth agitation and smooth out other behavioral issues.

 Music Has Power

I’ve read several articles recently about the connection between music and Alzheimer’s patients, and all of them agree that music has power. An article on the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America website states that “[music] can spark compelling outcomes even in the very late stages of the disease.” It goes on to explain how music allows patients who are normally shut off from the world to connect with loved ones and to participate in enjoyable activities. Music is also a valuable tool in managing agitation and other behavioral issues. (more…)

Alzheimer’s: A Bad Day – Video by Rick Phelps

The last two Sundays I have posted a video by Rick Phelps. Rick was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in 2010 at the age of 57. He has made a number of videos about his personal journey. He called this one “The Elephant in the Room,” but I titled this post “A Bad Day,” because he was having one when he made it. He explained what having a bad day is like for an Alzheimer’s patient as only one who has experienced it can. He talked about time, communication, caregivers, mirrors, driving, and Memory People.


Senior Humor – Edition 18 | by Linda Brendle

seniors laughing 2 041712An elderly woman and her husband were lying in bed listening to the next door neighbor’s dog. It had been in the back yard barking for hours. The woman finally got out of bed and pulled on her robe.

“I’ve had enough of this,” she said as she headed toward the door.

The husband heard the back door open and shut. The dog continued to bark, and he was beginning to worry. Finally his wife returned and climbed back in bed.

“What have you been doing all this time? The dog is still barking,” he said. (more…)

Caregivers Must Control Medications for Dementia Patients | by Linda Brendle

Six Suggestions that Will Make the Job Easier

I cared for Mom and Dad for 15 years. They both had physical ailments, but the most challenging issues were mental; Mom had Alzheimer’s and Dad had vascular dementia. Control becomes an issue between caregiver and patient, and my biggest conflict with Dad, aside from when I took his car keys, was when I took control of the medications. (more…)

Things an Alzheimer Caregiver Shouldn’t Say – and Things They Should | by Linda Brendle

ConfusedCommunicating with an Alzheimer or dementia patient is one of the most frustrating parts of caring for them. Following are a few suggestions of things to say and not to say based on my own experience. Do you have other suggestions? (more…)

Alzheimer’s Disease: Getting a Diagnosis – Video by Rick Phelps

Rick Phelps was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in 2010 at the age of 57. Last Sunday I featured his most recent video in which he communicated by showings messages he had written on cards. Today I’m going back to the first video he made on January 1, 2011. You can see how far the disease has progressed in almost three years, and how much easier it was for him to communicate then than it is now. (more…)

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