If it doesn’t hurt…it just might help! Dealing with Dementia

What if there was a way to help your loved one, or yourself, suffering from the onset of any form of dementia to “cheat” this dreaded disease for as long as possible?  I have great news!  You can.  There are several “tricks” that I did when I became my mother-in-laws primary caregiver.  She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and I set about making life as normal as possible for as long as I could.  The results were astounding!  So much so that her neurologist believed he had wrongfully diagnosed her…which he had not.  Over the course of the time in which I cared for her, she was able to recover about eighteen month’s ability back.  I will share just one of those tips here with you today.  To find more tips and to read about our journey, order “Blue, Baseball, Virginia—The Journey of an Alzheimer’s Patient & Caregiver—A Journey of Humor, Help, & Hope!”

As Alzheimer’s progresses the patient’s ability to recall names with faces declines sharply.  Sadly, it happens much like air seeping out of a balloon, it happens gradually until you suddenly realize that ability is no longer available.  I began using this technique with my mother-in-law, Granny, the results were amazing!  Here is the advice that I give the audiences when I speak on being a caregiver… “If it doesn’t hurt…it just might help!”  Try this and then shoot me an email to let me know if you, too, can see a drastic difference.

One of the problems many older people have, not just those with dementia, is that they sometimes rarely see family members.  Granny knew exactly what her grandchildren looked like five to ten years ago because that had been stored in her long-term memory banks.  Since the part of her brain that stored short-term memories was deteriorating, those memories just could not be stored and recalled.  Therefore, I devised a “cheat” for her brain.

First, I rounded up recent pictures of all seven grandchildren.  I tried to make sure it was a picture with both her and her grandchild.  I purchased a cheap photo album and a pack of labels from the store.  I placed the older picture, the version she most remembered on the left hand side of the photo album.  Then I placed the newer picture on the right hand side.  I took the labels and clearly labeled their names by placing it on the outside of the protective sheet.  This insured I did not damage any photographs.  (Another wonderful tip I discuss in the book is that using a Sharpie works better than an ink pen.  Their brains process the “thicker” words better for some reason.)

As she sat and looked at the pictures, she could compare the “grandchild on the left with the grandchild on the right.”  This worked wonders for her ability to recognize the children as they came in to see her.  This was a task she had clearly struggled with before.

Another trick you can use is to take a dry-erase marker and label all the pictures hanging on the wall or sitting around the house.  You can write directly on the glass without damaging the photograph nor the frame.  This is easily wiped off later.  Because dementia patients tend to “read” signs continuously, you are feeding their brains with pertinent information.  Her neurologist concluded that her brain actually moved this information into a part of her brain that was able to store a long-term memory!  Remember, “If it doesn’t hurt…it just might help!”  Why not give it a try?

For more information about the book or to have me speak at an event please contact at:  lorriedavismcdonald@hotmail.com or 615-489-5743

How 4 seconds can change your life!

ut-catch4 seconds.

Do you know how small an amount of time 4 seconds is? Boom! It’s over!  It’s done!  Most people would not give much thought to the fact that your life can forever be changed in 4 tiny, minuscule seconds.  But it can.  Ask Jauan Jennings.  He will tell you that four small seconds are long enough to change your life forever.

As I sat watching the game Saturday (unless you are completely football illiterate or was in a coma the last three days you know exactly which game I’m talking about), I went through every emotion possible in four minutes.  With four minutes left in the game, Georgia–who had been ahead the entire game–went behind.  Four minutes left?  You have GOT to be kidding me!  That’s ok…Eason has proven that he loves nothing more than to give all the Dawgs a surprise ending.    So I sat and waited.  10 seconds left on the clock…Boom, Baby!  Jacob Eason does it again!!!  Surprise!  He throws a 51-yard touchdown to Riley Ridley.  Georgia wins!!!!!!!! YEEEEES!

But wait.

Tennessee will get possession of the ball with 4 seconds left on the clock.  No.  Big  Deal.  4 seconds?  What could possibly happen in just 4 seconds?

The rest you might say…his history.  UT’s quarterback, Joshua Dobbs, throws an incredible Hail Mary straight into the hands of Jennings.  What? Ummm…that did NOT just happen.  Good grief, you could hardly see his orange in that sea of red…and yet it happened.  I have the 78 text messages in the following 5 minutes to prove it.  4 seconds and destiny was changed forever.

My lesson to you, Momma?  You have four small seconds with your children.  Quit wasting time doing things that really don’t matter!  Start spending time with your precious children.  Get off Facebook.  Stop Googling your symptoms.  Stop pinning your dream home and check back into your “here and now” home.  You are going to blink (4 seconds) and your children are going to be gone.  Your small window of opportunity to make a difference is going to be over.  Just.  Like.  That.

Take advantage of this GORGEOUS weather and take them for a walk in your neighborhood.  Look at the trees and ask them if they know Who made them? Share a memory from your childhood.  Gather up sticks in your backyard and build a little bonfire tonight.  On a school night, no less.  The grass you kill will grow back stronger and your kids will grow stronger from it, too.  4 seconds.

Sons? Daughters?  Your sweet Momma that is sitting over in the nursing home or assisted living…you better go see her.  You better call your Dad that is living alone now.  4 seconds.  That’s about all you’ve got left.  You’re going to look up from your Bunco game and they are going to be gone.  Call them.  Even if you just talk to them 4 seconds.  It can be a game changer and make their entire day better.  Don’t believe me?  Just ask Jauan Jennings.  4 seconds…what are you waiting for?

James 4:14 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, (4 seconds) and then vanisheth away.”      (Parenthesis added…duh.)

Chats with Cha Cha

Well, I finally did it!

I have been asked for about the past two years to start this blog.  As you can see in my new logo there is “me” with one hand on a cradle and the other on a wheel chair.  (I thank Abi Provow Graves for bringing my idea to life.)  It really does encompass what so many of us are facing.  With one hand, we are busy taking care of our children or helping with our grandchildren.  With the other, we are being called upon to assist our aging loved ones.

My degree is Early Childhood Education and Psychology.  My “masters” came in the form of a baptism with fire while taking care of my mother-in-law who had Alzheimer’s.  So…I get called upon often to share what “wisdom” I have gained over the years.  It just made sense to have a localized place to share advice for both of the areas I speak on.  Perhaps while you are here learning a new method to Train Your Toddler, you might run across a post on Transporting Your Aging Parent.  We truly are the Sandwich Generation–caught between both generations!

I am Southern by birth and sarcastic by sleep deprivation. 😉  I hope you enjoy both the “Wit & Wisdom” I plan on sharing here.  Feel free to SHARE with all your peeps!  The longer I live the more I realize, we are all in this together…

Titus 2:3-4 “The aged women likewise…That they may teach the young women…”