Community outreach

Coffee is not hydration

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Dehydration and Dementia.  The attached article is a very thorough look at the importance of hydration in the elderly, and how to assure that a person with dementia – who may no longer feel the thirst response and/or does not know how to express his or her thirst – is properly taken care of.

in a hike
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My husband and I went for a hike last summer during which we encountered a gentleman who I would guess was in his early 80’s.  It was a warm, muggy day and my husband and I each had a 20 oz. bottle of water for our 3-mile hike.  The gentleman was reviewing his hiking map and we stopped to chat with him about the fork in the road and which path lead where.  “Sir, do you have a bottle of water that you can drink while on your hike today?”  “No – not needed; I have a thermos of coffee waiting for me back at my car.”  “I wonder, sir, with it being so hot and humid, if you might benefit from taking one of our bottles of water.  I would be happy to give you one we’ve not used yet so you’ll be comfortable.”  “That’s very kind of you, but I’ll be fine.”

So he went on his way but I told my husband I wasn’t comfortable with this fellow being on his own and could we please follow him at a distance to make sure he gets back to his vehicle.  And so we did – and he returned to his vehicle, and no doubt partook of his thermos of hot coffee.  Not very refreshing.

Coffee cup icon
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although hot coffee and tea certainly contain water as part of their preparation, straight water – or even fruit juice – are a better option because of their lack of caffeine.  Years ago, when I would visit one of my aging family members, you could always count on him holding that quintessential cup of coffee in his hand throughout the day.  Regardless of the weather – no glass of water reached his lips – except perhaps when he took his daily vitamins or medications.  This message is directed to those who provide care for the elderly, those who have older family members, and perhaps this message is also directed towards you.  Drink good ol’ H2O.  It doesn’t have to be packaged in a fancy bottle, you don’t have to purchase it, it’s always available at the touch of the nearest faucet, and you can access 100% water faster than making a pot of coffee.

What are you waiting for?  Go get a glass of refreshing water!

Caregivers – this message is for you!

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No Matter What, I Simply Cannot Get Sick!.

Fellow blogger, Don, talks about his caregiving journey with his wife in which he swore off getting sick because – quite frankly – he couldn’t afford to be sick when his caregiving duties required that he be healthy and available 24/7.

One could argue that just being worried about getting sick might make one sick, but fortunately, that was not the case for Don.  Having read many of his articles, it appears that he knew what was required of him as a caregiver – the same thing that is required of all of you who are still on your caregiving journey: assemble a team, spread out the duties, and seek emotional and physical support in whichever form you need.

First and foremost, please read Don’s article attached above.  After you have done so, I hope the three articles below will also prove beneficial towards providing direction on how one might assure a successful medical and mental health caregiving journey.  When you take care of yourself, you’ll be better equipped to take care of your loved one.

Caregiving: The Ultimate Team Sport

Solo Caregiving

Caregiver: put on your oxygen mask first

A girl with a book

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Malala’s Speech.

Fellow blogger, Frizztext, posted a photo on his blog that is very powerful.  You must look at it to see what I mean so please click on the above link wherein you’ll see the photo, and please look at this link to read a NY Times article about this young lady’s speech, delivered at the United Nations.

English: Emblem of the United Nations. Color i...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Imagine, if you will, that a girl with a book is a far more impressive – and effective – weapon than a taliban hitman’s gun, shot at point-blank range.  My oh my, the bullies of the taliban were so afraid of Malala, that they felt they had to eliminate her from the face of the earth.

This young girl just celebrated her 16th birthday.  Unless you’ve been under a rock the past several months, you already know that Malala was, and is, on a crusade to bring education to all children in the world – especially the female half of those children – many of whom are not given that privilege.  She, like so many of us world-wide, understand the importance of a good education.  Her philosophy is defined in these well-spoken words:

One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world. 

Education is the only solution.

Happy Birthday Malala.  You are my hero.

Dementia: a shortened good-bye

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Dementia and Suicide.

The attached article, written by a blogger in the UK, is straight-forward and thought provoking – it should be.

I live in Washington state, and I am glad that Death with Dignity is a legal option assuming all the legal requirements are met.  This is a very personal subject matter, as is the choice that individuals will make to seize the opportunity, or to reject the opportunity.  There is definitely a separate element of this option when the law is utilized for those with dementia. When is someone still capable of making the decision?

A non-profit in my state, Compassion & Choices of Washington, is an excellent resource for materials and information. They have even developed an Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Mental Health Directive – a first-of-its-kind directive that allows people – while still competent – to document their wishes related to who will provide their care, where care will be provided, how it will be financed, how to deal with difficult behaviors that may arise, and many other matters that both caregiver and patient face.  Bless all of you who face this horrific disease that has no effective treatment, and certainly no cure.

Evil undercover: Alzheimer’s, Abuse, and the Elderly

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Alzheimer’s and the Elderly.

I’m attaching the above article from a fellow blogger.  He, like so many of us, find it difficult to fathom how anyone would take advantage of a vulnerable human being.  The very unsettling fact, however, is that incidents of abuse of the elderly occur and are far too common.

Whether the abuse is instigated by family members upon the elderly in the privacy of their home, or by “professionals” in long-term care settings such as assisted living facilities, nursing homes, or group homes – it happens.  Oftentimes such incidents go unchecked for months, or years, and are discovered only when a death occurs, or when someone with a conscience steps forward and complains to the authorities.  Those being abused either don’t have the ability to complain or they fear that doing so will make matters even worse for them.

Worse?  Residents fear that if they complain, they’ll be thrown out of the place in which they live – the place in which they receive the abuse.  I know that you and I are quick to say, “Fantastic!  What a great relief that would be if the person no longer lived with his or her abusers!”  We say that because we have not experienced what they have experienced; we have not heard the threats and vicious statements directed towards these vulnerable human beings.  These violated human beings don’t understand that abhorrent behavior is not normal because it’s all they’ve known.

These are older human beings who at one time were innocent children showing up on their first day of school; worried teenagers fretting over what to wear to the prom; young adults heading off to college and/or a career; husbands and wives, moms and dads … people just like you and me.  Now they’re nothing but broken, barely alive bodies who have been treated worse than a junk yard dog.

That makes me mad.

Thursday in the News

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English: The top of the Space Needle in Seattl...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s another news story from the region in which I live.  After reading my previous story and this one, you’ll think that all of Washington state is strange.  It’s not, but some of the people are.

The morning of July 3rd, at approximately 6:45 a.m., a 14-year-old boy suspected of drunk driving was arrested in Bellingham, WA after crashing into four cars in the parking lot of an apartment complex.  The youngster was trying to elude a State Trooper’s pursuit of him after the child was observed driving erratically and way under the speed limit.

Also in the car with him were two 12-year-olds, a 15-year-old and a 53-year-old man.  All of them were extremely drunk, with the exception of one of the 12-year-olds.

I guess the sober 12-year-old wasn’t their first choice as designated driver.  It’s unfortunate they chose the 14-year-old – he didn’t do a very good job because he was drunk.  Fortunately no one was seriously hurt.  The only person who disgusts me is the 53-year-old man.  Way to mentor children, dude.

Thursday in the News

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English: The top of the Space Needle in Seattl...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a new category that I thought you might get a kick out of.  Each Thursday I’ll write about a bizarre news story that took place in my local area (Washington State) and you counter that news with a story from your state!

Here’s a story that you just have to scratch your head and say, “Huh?”

A couple months ago, at approximately 11:30 pm, a Seattle area man woke up his six and four year old daughters, put them in the backseat of the car, and told them they were taking a trip to The Dollar Store for some toys.

Driving at a high rate of speed – and hopped up on meth – he proceeded to hit a few cars along the way on one of the main North/South freeways, I-5.  When his car finally came to a stop, having crashed into a barrier, other drivers pulled over to provide help.  Seeing that two young girls were in the back seat, those who came to the assist yelled at the driver to unlock the doors.  The driver initially refused.  When he finally allowed access to the vehicle, the girls were removed, and although they had several seat belt bruises across their torsos, they appeared to be okay.

When the Good Samaritans gained access to the driver’s side of the vehicle in an effort to help the methed out driver, they discovered he was wearing a woman’s blouse with prosthetic breasts strapped to his chest.  Oh, one other detail: he was naked from the waist down, and had a full bag of urine at his feet.

He is being held on $250,000 bail.  His arraignment hearing is scheduled for July 1st.

How about news in your neck of the woods?  Anything even half as unbelievable occur near you?  The news story you submit doesn’t have to be icky like the one I provided, it can be too stupid to believe as well – as a matter of fact, that’s preferred.