Requiem for the status quo

Allow me to reintroduce myself:

My name is Irene.  I am the author of the upcoming novel Requiem for the status quo.

Some of you know me as a family member, friend, or casual acquaintance.  Others are familiar with me as the author of this blog, a writer who has posted hundreds of articles over the past several years.  Still others know me because of my professional connections as a volunteer advocate for vulnerable adults living in long-term care (LTC) facilities, or because of my years as an Alzheimer’s Association support group facilitator.

Typist caricatureI’m here to announce that in addition to being the family member/friend/acquaintance/volunteer/co-employee of the past and present, I am also the novelist who has something to say.

“Oh my gosh Irene, I didn’t realize your book was already published!”

It’s not, but I’m actively pursuing agent representation by contacting several agents per day until I no longer need to.

“Why should people be interested in your book?”

Because I have an engaging way of writing about Alzheimer’s disease – a disease that will affect each and every one of you because until a cure or vaccine is developed to eradicate it, this disease is here to stay.  Whether a person’s diagnosis falls into the actual Alzheimer’s category, or into one of several other dementia such as: vascular, lewy body, frontal temporal, Parkinson’s, or dementia resultant from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), there’s no escaping its effect on the unpaid caregiver (that’s you and me) and the person being cared for (spouse, partner, mother, father, brother or sister).

And here’s a fact of which some of you may not be aware: Alzheimer’s is not just an older person’s disease; an increasing number of people are being diagnosed well-before the age of 60.

“Say it isn’t so, Irene.”

I can’t do that.  What I can do, however, is tell you a wee bit about the book: Continue reading

Richard and Molly, A True Story From the Assisted Living Facility – by Annie Mimi Hall

boomer98053:

The development of new friendships in LTC settings can be very comforting, as was the case with Molly and Richard. Sometimes these relationships blossom while still married to someone else. It takes extreme kindness and understanding for the cognizant spouse to allow that comfort to exist for their memory impaired loved one. It’s not a breaking of ones wedding vows, rather, it’s a celebration of still having the ability to give and receive love.

Originally posted on Kindness Blog:

old couple in loveThis is  true story from the assisted living facility where I work. The names have been changed to protect the privacy of the residents. Of all the stories I could tell you, this is one of my favorites.

I have worked in nursing homes and assisted living facilities for many years. I have seen many things and gotten to know many people. Many things have touched my heart but this one is really special. 

This is a story about Richard and Molly. First I will tell you about Richard…

Richard lived with his wife, in our  assisted living facility for 10 years. They had their own apartment and were a high functioning couple. 

 A few months ago, the wife passed away suddenly. We were all quite shocked, but none of us were more upset by her sudden death, than Richard was. His mental state began to quickly decline, after his…

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A loved one’s move into memory care

An Alzheimer’s Love Story: The First Day of the Rest of My Life.

Distraught manI hope you’ll watch the attached 4 minute video that chronicles a husband’s experience of moving his wife into a memory care facility.

This is not a decision that comes easily to anyone.

Think about it.  You’ve spent decades living with the love of your life.  Your days are structured around each other; the ebb and flow of all those hours are what you crave and enjoy.

You are faced with what will most certainly be an irreversible decision to leave your wife in the hands of others.  You feel guilty, regardless of how well-informed and appropriate the decision. Continue reading

Lighten up Mondays

Happy sunshine faceSam was the owner of a world-wide branch of stores and a millionaire many times over.  When his daughter, Sandy, got engaged to a very religious young man, Sam called his future son-in-law into his office.

“So tell me,” said Sam, “what are your plans for the future?”

“Well,” said the future groom, “I plan on studying the Bible all of my life.”

“And how exactly do you plan on supporting my daughter if you’re studying all day?”

“I am sure the Lord will provide,” answered the young man.

“And what about your kids?  How do you plan on supporting them?”

“The Lord will provide,” answered the young man again.

Later that evening Sam and his wife sat down to talk.

“How did it go?”, asked Sam’s wife.

“It went great,” Sam replied.  “I had just met the young fellow and already he thinks I’m the Lord!”

Respect the crabby old lady

Angry personWhen I’m an old lady and end up in a care facility, I sincerely hope my personality and attitudes don’t relegate me to the category of “that crabby old lady in Room 210.”  Have you visited someone in a nursing home or hospital and had the distinct feeling that the patients were treated like numbers or medical cases?  You know what I mean: “the urinary tract infection in 4A” or “the decubitis in South 6.”  Wow, that’s a horrible thing to consider for myself: the history of all my years on this earth being characterized as a medical condition or an intolerable behavior resulting from that condition.

What about my history of being a pretty darn good mother/wife/business person/neighbor/community volunteer/friend?  Doesn’t that person still exist within the body occupying that bed?

Let’s all take the time to read this poem that depicts such a scene.  Gender-wise, this could be about a crabby old man as well. Continue reading

Lighten up Mondays

Two guys, Jimmy and Clarence, were standing at heaven’s gate waiting to be interviewed by St. Peter.

Jimmy: “How did you get here?”

Clarence: “Hypothermia, you?”

Jimmy: “You won’t believe it.  I was sure my wife was cheating on me so I came home early one day hoping to catch them in the act.  I accused my wife of unfaithfulness and searched the whole house without any luck.  Then I felt so bad about the whole thing, I had a massive heart attack.”

Clarence: “Oh, man, if you had checked the walk-in freezer, we’d both be alive.”

The first Valentine’s Day without your loved one

The first Valentine’s Day without your loved one..

I’m re-posting this article I wrote back in 2012 that discusses one of the many “first times” survivors go through after the death of a loved one.

Heart in handsMy article contains a link to another blogger’s article in which he discusses the experience of his first Valentine’s Day without his wife.  On a personal note, that blogger is my brother, a man who came through that period of his life a survivor.  Although he still misses his wife who died of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 69, he can now look back and relive the memories of the numerous happy celebrations they both shared throughout their almost 25-year marriage with gratitude and hope for the future.