01.18.08

Alzheimers and the Family

Posted in Open Discussion at 12:09 am by AD

Over the holidays we had time to visit with family and friends .. thanksgiving and christmas.. good time to catch up on the past year.
My Aunt had recently moved into a Alzheimers facility near her home in New Mexico and the family was taking the guilt, of having made the decision, very hard. I had talked several hours with her daughter, my cousin, about how things were going and how she and the rest of the family were handling the situation. Most of her response was based on how they, the family, felt bad about leaving her at the facility, how mother had asked her husband not to leave her, how the facilty was not treating her to get her better but was just letting her wander around and get into things.
The family had worked so hard to stop her digging in her purses and constantly carrying around envelopes and seperating her clothes and leaving them stacked and folded all over the house, and here the facility was just letting her pick up the same bad habits. The family was tearing itself apart trying to get mom back to normal, they were looking for answers, they were looking for a cure, they were trying to get back to the way it use to be, but they were too distraught to realize that this was the “normal” from now on.
They pressed on, seeking a happy solution, talking with the Administrator, talking with the Activity Director, talking with Hospice and Social Services and not accepting the fact that mom was in the best situation possible, it just didnt seem normal. They were frazzled, nerves stressed, arguing, heated conversations, crying, emotional, guilt ridden, just seeking closure and the facility finally told them that mom would probably only live another 6 months or a year, when, in fact, she may live another 10 yrs.. but they had their closure.
After hearing her story, I assured her that things would be fine. As an Activity Director I had been through this situation with other families numerous times in the past and her families feelings and concerns were normal, not particularly correct, but the same as many others. I proceeded to tell her that “noone actually ever dies from Alzheimers, but just from complictions caused by the disease” , without a diagnosis or a disease that will cause death a Alzheimer patient can live quite awhile. Alzheimers is a non distructive disease .. like a short in your electrical system, a bad connection .. it affects the memory and the brain but it doesnt destroy like cancer or cause organ failure .. its just a communication problem. Its not exactly correct that it doesn’t cause problems. The disease can destroy in that the body forgets to care for itself, but for the most part her mom should be just fine, healthwise in the nursing facility.
Hopefully my cousin will be at ease with her new friend, her mom, and begin to help her enjoy the new hobbies she has found, in her new home. The sorting and the folding, the comfort she feels when a familar smell or a soft song reminds her of days long ago. I hope that my cousin helps her family to heal, helps her family to become better friends with there loved one .. whos as happy as can be.. just keeping busy, uninterupted, stimulated and calmed..

01.17.08

Technology and Seniors

Posted in Open Discussion at 11:51 pm by ADNkaren

I am really getting interested in all the new gaming systems out there and how great they are for seniors. For example the Wii Nintendo system and others. Seems like there is a huge market, and i hope, that this industry sees that need and creates more innovative technology that our seniors can benefit from. They can develop more physical games for the Wii to get our seniors moving. How great is it for a old sports fan, that is unable to cruise the golf course; to be able to just turn on the TV and practice his swing. I have been looking at the recent Rock Band and wondering if they revamped the songs choices how exciting that would be for the seniors to try to master.

There are many young adults and middle age residents in nursing homes who too can beat the boredom blues by participating in these games. Imagine a 30 man rehabbing from a car accident, you might be able to get him interested in more physical movement by playing baseball on the Wii or playing the drums in the game Rock Band.

In conclusion, glad to see new develops with our seniors in mind and cant wait to see what comes next! Just hope it comes fast!

Karen