February 1, 2007

The further my stages move, the more I dislike, putting it mildly, loud noise. It seems that this is a generation that loves noise, the louder the better.

We moved from a large city to rural Florida. One would think that this is a quiet place. It is at times, usually when the younger generation in our neighborhood is at work. When they return home, one can hear them coming, music blaring, revving their engines, racing down our dirt road that should be at slow speed.

Talking to them doesn't help. Police visits doesn't help for long. What is one to do? At times I think it would just be great to move to a community for those that are aging. Florida is full of such developments but the cost is dear for the peace and quiet there. Peach of mind. I don't feel that this is to much to ask for.

When my mother was in Altercare Independent Living years ago, a nurse there told me that around time for holidays that use fireworks to celebrate, that patients of the home would get very irritated. I didn't understand then why this occurred but having had dementia for ten years now, I can really sympathize with the seniors, especially those individuals having dementia, that have fireworks going off close to where they live.

It's not just outdoor noise that can affect us, but in door as well. Background noise must be eliminated or at least reduced.

About: Alzheimer's, states in an article that we should "control sources of excessive noise."

In Ezine Articles, I found this quote. "Blaring TV, loud radio, and crowd noises upset people with memory disease."

Something to think about.

February 2, 2007

I've been thinking now for a long time that I should be giving blood to a local blood bank. On occasion I hear about or read appeals that our blood is needed and or low in our immediate area. For some unknown reason, I have been able to not pay attention to that request and treated it like water running off the back of a duck.

I kept seeing blood mobiles at convent locations in our area but would tell myself, talking to one's self can be dangerous, they say, lot's of laughs, that another time I would give my blood, another day, a more convenient time, bit it just never happened.

Some where in the back of my mind, I could still remember years ago when I gave blood with some other worker's from my job. This was years ago. I gave blood and then for some reason, I felt dizzy and leaned up against the wall for a moment. That's all it took. I was told I just sort of slipped down the wall from my where I was leaning and passed out. When I came to, I was surprised to find some medical professionals all around me, asking me if I were all right. I was told that they thought I had gotten up to quick after giving blood, which tended to make me dizzy. I so embarrassed, a big guy like me passing out from giving a bit of my blood. This event made a negative impression on my mind which I carried with me somehow through the years, and I just never got around to giving blood again..that's until recently.

A new friend of mine was a regular blood giver. I talked to him briefly about giving blood in my condition. He encouraged me to talk to those individuals working at our local blood bank.

I discussed my dementia and even gave them an up to date list of my medications. I thought there was a possibility that I would be turned down, but to my surprise, I was invited to complete the paper work with Sharon's help and then to give blood. No waiting...no nothing. Looking back, it took little time to give my blood, it seemed, and made me feel so good, that I just might be helping someone else.

I'm permitted to give blood every two months. My next date on my calendar to give blood is March 2. My information should be on the blood bank's computer , so it should take me less time this time than the last. It just goes to show that one is never to old to give blood. I've wasted a lot of years when I could have been helping others for which I have regrets. No guilt trips intended.I'm just sharing a bit.

I look forward to being a blood donor after all these years of looking the other way. I'd like to encourage others to not be like me and give blood on a regular basis. Who knows who you might help?

February 3, 2007

Last night I watched the Super Bowl on TV. I had heard it was coming and was eager to watch it. It was between the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears.

I'm not a sports fan by far, but I do enjoy special games such as the Super Bowl and a few other special games during the year. The great games for me are usually the final games, the playoff's after a season of teamwork and talent combined. These games show heroes and their character. They are games with talented, gifted players doing there best against a team of similar abilities. At times teams can also show lack of character and poor sportsmanship.

I can't always follow the game these days but I can follow enough of it to make it enjoyable for me. I use a pad so I know whose playing and what the score is. Many times I end up being restless and tire easily. At these times, like last night during the third quarter, I had to go to bed. I was exhausted and it was my usual bedtime. It had been a busy weekend for both Sharon and I. I knew by my bed time who I thought was going to win the game and today, I found by asking that I was right and the final score between the two teams.

It makes me happy that I can still partially participate in things like sports on occasion from my easy chair. Because of the fast pace of most sport games, it's becoming more difficult for me to follow the action, but I'm still picking up on some of it. I would forget the teams name and score from time to time if it were not for me writing it down on a pad near me. I could give up on things like watching an occasional game of sports so easily but giving up is not in my vocabulary. Giving up is not within me. If I fall asleep during the game or don't always know the team or the score, so what? I'm pushing my mind plus using my eyes and ears as much as is comfortable for me at the time. When push comes to shove, I'll be doing that also. What ever it takes to keep my mind moving, no matter how slow the pace.

I didn't have a particular team I was rooting for. I just enjoy the games where gift, talent and grit come together. There are occasions, especially if my hone state of Ohio is playing that I take sides in my support. Someone has to win in these games but really, both teams who play are really winning teams. Last night it was raining here in Florida where the games were played making the game more difficult for the players. There are times when it is snow from the northern states. This can affect a team's determination in playing a game. Difficulty usually brings out the best or the worst in human's. I've had the opportunity to watch teams play there best under pressure but also have seen other teams do their worst under pressure.

I guess this could be a lesson for dementia couples. With all the pressures we live under moment by moment and day by day, For me personally I need to give it everything I have to survive and or win in life. Anything less than that will affect me negatively.

February 4, 2007

We have a good friend who has to go out of town on occasion to get her Grand-Baby fix. She comes back from her trips all smiles and content from all appearances.

Well, Sharon and I have been having our own dog fix. We tried owning dogs in the past but they ended up just to much for us to handle day in and day out. Now, I love dogs and some part of me would like to try to get a dementia trained dog but I know it wouldn't work.

What to do? We have these good friends, Charlene and Charlie who have a dog and on occasion go out of town for a few days. Sharon and I volunteered to care for the dog while they were gone. The dog is a Schnauzer and it's name is Hallie. Now, Ms Hallie is the nicest, best behaved dog one can imagine. She seems to recognize us when she sees us and enjoys spending time in our home. Sharon and I also enjoy these times as we get our dog fix.

We've been having our dog fix with Ms Halley off and on since last fall on occasion but this time around, Halley will be a guest at our home for a week and a half. She's the biggest baby. Loves attention, to lay on our laps and is very patient for doggy outdoor breaks during the day. She's no trouble at all and even gets along with our indoor cat, Ms Noel. At first Noel kept a distance but now, she comes very close to Ms Halley with no concerns at all.

For those of you who love dogs but can't have one for what ever reason, listen up. Let your friends with dogs know that your willing to dog sit for brief periods of time. If you like the company of a dog, this could just give you a temporary dog fix.

February 5, 2007

I think I have it down now. It took me a few days. I was dating my daily journals for the month of January instead of the current month of February. I had to send a quick note to my webmaster, Tay, requesting that she change the month of January to February on my journal entries that I had sent to her. Tay has been and continues to be a real blessing to me. May God bless her for a heart that is full of love and understanding for those of us with dementia.

Some times I know on some level but on another level, I don't know. At least there are times when communication and actions on my part come out wrong. At times there is a slight awareness on my part and at other times, I have no clue as to what occurred. It's so strange how I can understand one minute and not the next. For example, I know the year but many times I will think I'm still in 2006 or earlier yet. My understanding seems to change from one moment to the next.

Ah, I just need to have fewer expectations from myself and then I'm delighted when I get it right. Having set expectations of and then messing up can cause me to become overly upset or depressed about my situation and disease. I try not to set myself up for failure by expecting to much from myself and yet I strive to be all I can be, at the moment. Lots of laughs. I recall Thomas the train, that was going up an incline saying, "I think I can..I think I can." Well, I think I can without high expectations. It works for me, usually.

February 6, 2007

Sharon and I along with some close friends, recently attended a Gaither Homecoming in Jacksonville here in Florida. What an evening it was. The music began at 7:00 P.M. and ended at 11:15. For one who is normally in bed at 9:00, this was quite a fete for me. With a bit of Amp and a tasty supper before the concert, I was prepared for the evening. I'm always excited for our yearly Gaither Homecoming Concert and am never ready for the end. One would think with all the people who attend, the sitting with only one fifteen or twenty minute break, that I would be exhausted but no, I so enjoy the Gather's and the many other music groups that travel with them that I can stay more focused than usual and enjoy the Southern Gospel Music artists live presentation to the fullest with fewer moments of drifting off into who knows where, as I so often do. In spite of the distractions, the multitudes of people and the sound levels, I look forward to these concerts.

A Gaither Homecoming is the name applied to a series of videos, music recordings, and concerts, which are organized, promoted and presented by Christian music songwriters and the founder, Bill Gaither. As of 2004, the last year noted for statistics available, the annual concert tour has drawn more than half a million fans here in America and sold more than 1.1 million tickets across the world.

One might think that Southern gospel music is only popular in the South. They seem to be just as popular in the other states and even Canada. Those attending the concerts go across denominational lines. as well as age groups.

The concerts began in 1991 and Sharon and I have attended many of them through the years both while in Ohio and now here in Florida. We were trying to remember how many concerts we've attended, but were unable to come up with a number.

Bill Gaither is an American singer and songwriter southern gospel and Contemporary music. He'd been active since the 1950s and remains active in his 70's. Many of the more than 600 songs that he and his wife Gloria have wrote have become standards across the English-speaking world and are found in many church hymnals of various Christian denominations.

The Gaither series music is sold in many stores and can be seen on many local TV stations.

As you can see, I am sold on the Gaithers and the many singing groups that travel with them. One real usally find a comedian or two among them. These people are real and the're music is gifted and comes from the heart of musicians with humor and love. One does not need told about what is taking place at the concert. It is felt deeply within.

I invite you, my friends to join us watching the Gaither Homecoming on TV, at a concert or buy picking up a tape or CD. It's well worth the effort, time and perhaps the cost of a concert ticket.

Gaithernet can be found on your computer at: (http://www.gaithernet.com/)

February 7, 2007

There are times I tell myself, forgot it again, didn't you? Darn. There are other times when I almost get excited when I think, did I remember that? The thoughts come and go so fast, there difficult to keep up with. Some of you know what I'm chatting about here. It's almost like a flash of lightning that comes into mind and than just as quickly leaves our mind.

I go from forgetting to remembering to forgetting again. Doesn't get dull that way. I never know what to expect from one moment to the next. When I come out of denial and accept that's the way it is, I can live with myself. No biggie. It's just the way I am. Other's might get upset and have higher expectations for me, but they just don't understand the disease. I have to admit that many times this experience has upset me, really upset me. But I'm thankful that those emotions come and go quickly to.

Forgetting is just part of my every day experience. It's not enough to get myself all worked up about. I think of it as a normal pattern of mine. If I'd begin to remember much, I'd probably go into shock, and Lord knows, I wouldn't want that.

There's many just like me. I have many buddies that are just like I am. We relate well together, No one can understand us, no matter how hard they try, like someone that has the disease, especially those in the early stages.

February 8, 2007

I go back and forth on the TV set, either being to loud or not loud enough. My hearing has been checked and I'm told that it is fine. So what's the matter then? I wish I knew. So many things seems to be connected with my dementia.

When I'm watching the news, which I love to do, I have a tendency to keep the volume loud. It's like I don't want to miss anything said. I'm trying to catch every word and I miss them at times. When I miss words in a sentence, It makes little sense to me. Even when I hear all the words, at times it much of it makes little sense and is quickly forgotten. And then there's this thing I have with keeping up with conversations, trying to hear, remember and understand what's being said. If I'm involved with a conversation, even if it one sided with the TV set, I want to hear it and it takes all the concentration I can muster. Perhaps this is the reason the sound is put up louder, even though I don't at the time, realize what I'm doing or why I'm doing it.

When I'm reminded that the volume on the TV set is to loud, I'm glad to turn the volume down, but I'll probably need someone's reminder to make it happen.

February 9, 2007

We had the nicest Couple's Annual Valentine's Dinner at our church recently. It was sponsored by the chancel choir.

The room was gaily decorated and the tables were very inviting. The dinner served by some of our church members and youth was delicious and afterwards, we were treated to a a musical concert through a group of femalas called From the Heart.The voices blended beautifully into an evening of love songs followed by a sing-along.

Now, the songs sung that evening were songs that many of us seemed to know by heart from long ago. I thought I'd give the words of a few of them, just to jog memories and hearts.


I'll be loving you, ALWAYS, with a love that's true, ALWAYS,
When the things you've planned need a helping hand,
I will understand, ALWAYS, ALWAYS,
Days may not be fair, Always, That's when I'll be there, ALWAYS,
Not for just an hour, not for just a day,
Not for just a year, but ALWAYS.

Let Me Call You Sweetheart

Let me call you sweetheart, I'm in love with you,
Let me hear you whisper that you love me too.
Keep the love light glowing in your eyes so true,
Let me call you sweetheart,
I'm in love with you.

By The Light Of The Silvery Moon

By the light of the silvery moon, I want to spoon,
To my honey I'll croon love's tune.
Honey moon, keep a shining in June,
Your silvery beans will bring love dreams, we'll be cuddling soon.
By the silvery moon.

Two other songs that we sang together as a group was Down By The Old Mill Stream and Shine On, Harvest Moon.

Sharon and I really enjoyed the evening together with the beautiful harmony of the singing women and the old old love songs.

My love for my sweet heart, wife of my youth and caregiver is strong. Oh, there are words now and then and we don't always agree on everything. We can't always have it our way and shouldn't. What a spoiled person we'd be. It's always fun to make up and as the Bible says, "Don't let the sun go down upon your wrath." Something important to remember. I didn't want a twin to marry, or I would have chose one. Women are different from us guys and I love the difference. In our situation, when our conditions, Fibromyalgia and Lewy Body Dementia come between us for a moment or two, we know down deep that our love is a committed, deep, satisfying love that will remain with us forever. When we said, "I do" before the Lord, that's exactly and forever what we meant. "I do." Our conditions take a toll on our relationship, but on to death, till we part, and only for a short time. Then we'll be together throughout all eternity. What a great thought.

I remember when I fell in love with my mate and why. I woudn't have it any other way.

Words of songs copied from printout without authors listed.

February 10, 2007

There was an interesting article on the computer recently entitled, "The Secret of Marital Happiness" It was a Netscape Connect article.

The article opened with the remark, "If she's happy, then he's happy-and vice versa." "Married men and women are significantly more satisfied with their life when the spouse is also satisfied with life," according to new research from Britain's University of Warlock. It went on to say that happiness is contagious for married couples.

For those of us with dementia, happiness is a choice, and perhaps it is this way with all married couples. We just have to try a little, or maybe a lot harder. We can either chose to be happy and content or unhappy and discontented.

When one puts progressive disease into marriage, it can either bring out our best or our worst. The oneness that the Bible equates with a couple coming together can be severely tested. The vows we made oh, so long ago can be stretched to their limits and at times beyond. One only has to come to a joint support meeting for Alzheimer's couples and listen to the stories and pain. The dementia chat rooms and computer dementia helps are all there to help us through the difficult times. Those who have no person to share with, I pity. One can also catch a glimpse of the daily battles of living from dementia email communities and literature available to one and all. When someone says they have no problems at all, this is a warning sign.

If a couple has never been really content and happy with each other, there is no question how this new part of the journey will be effected. If both individuals in the marriage have sickness or disease we will be stretched almost to the breaking point at times. It's how we react within that counts during these times. Weaknesses in personality and character can begin showing and if Mama or Dad is not happy, does it necessarily follow that no one is happy? When first married there seems to be more give and take. More willingness to put wants aside for the greater good as done in previous generations. But in many marriages some where along the journey, the colored glasses come off and on come the boxing gloves. The former flexibility is almost forgotten.

Again I go back to the article on the computer I just read. "If she's happy, then he's happy-and vice versa," according to new research. Somehow I feel this has always been known on some level of our beings. Fortunately we can chose happiness so that our last years will be full of good memories as well as those not so good. We can chose to see the good more than the bad. Our good side more than our bad, remembering that no one is perfect but God.

Sharon and I have made the choice for happiness. It's a daily work in progress that we work hard at. With love and commitment added to the marriage certificate, we will survive. You can to.

February 11, 2007

As I sat at my computer yesterday, chatting with several friends at DASNI chat room, this great aroma was coming into the living room from the kitchen. My Sharon was making bread in the bread machine. Ah, it the aroma lasted for a long time, slowly taking my mind off of the chat and onto what was taking place in the kitchen.
I couldn't help but think of a piece of home made bread with some of the fruit jams Sharon has made earlier put on it. Oh my...how tasty it would be.

My Sharon still bakes, cooks and does many other wonderful acts of love in the kitchen for us. Some of my dementia friends on chat seemed to be impressed. I invited them to my home to join in with us as we tasted of the delight of warm, freshly made bread. The problem comes in that we were all of different states spread across America but having many things in common including having some type of dementia.

Communication with other's who have dementia is like a life line for me. I am ashamed that I don't use this form of instant communication more than I do, but yesterday, it was especially enjoyable for me.

There is a computer chat room set up just for those of us with dementia. It's small in number with wonderful, helpful and insightful individuals that are on the same journey as I am.

No one understands us like another individual on the same journey. In a sense we are each wounded healers and quickly become close friends.

If you are interested as a caregiver or an individual with dementia, please contact Mary Lockhard for more information on the how to's. There is no cost and time spent in this chat room is easy and well worth the time and energy used.Please share this information with other's.

Mary can be reached at: mari5113@juno.com

February 12, 2007

I woke up this morning remembering two dreams that I had while sleeping. The dreams were still vivid in my memory, so I shared them with Sharon before they faded away.

One was a recurrent dream that I have. I'd fallen and as the saying goes, "I can't get up." It gave me a very helpless feeling. I recall looking for help but none was there for me. I was stuck in that lying position. If only I had a Daniel to tell me what this dream means, although I tend to think it's symbolic of my present, every day condition. The difference being that I have much help in my every day life, although at times I tend to gloss over it.

I've fallen before and needed assistance to get up. Some time back I was on our porch hammock. I enjoy the hammock but there is little solid support there for me to get up with. In order to get out of the hammock, I had to rock it until I fell onto the floor and was then able to crawl to a chair near by which I could then pull my self slowly up into a standing position.

Now, the other dream I remembered from last night was less stressful. I found myself in a parking lot removing someone's tire from their car. The car looked similar to ours but it wasn''t our car. The women sitting on the passenger's side where I was, was looking at me with astonishment. I thought our car tire needed changing but had mistaken cars. In the first or second dream, I recalled seeing Sharon for a fleeting moment, it seemed. Many details seem to be forgotten from my dreams.

My dreams bring little, some or a lot of emotion from me. I'm sure I don't remember all my dreams but those I do fade fast from my memory. Many times I am woke up in the morning with an urge to visit the little boy's room. This could be why I remember the dreams so vividly for a short period of time. I'm woke up while in a dream, and it seems to me that there are many times that once I return to my bed, I return also to the dream.

At one time, many of my dreams were night mares for me. Thanks to some medication I take, the night mares have stopped but my dreams go on. I don't mind much, because most of them seem to deal with things that do not cause me undo stress or aggravation. I am not acting out as I did on occasion when having night mares. For me the night mares had to be dealt with medically but the dreams..well, they are normally not disturbing to me and seem to be just a part of my night's experiences.

February 13, 2007

There are so many negatives in our daily lives that at times, they can almost drown out the positives. In our daily experiences and relationships, I want to aim at seeing the positives, more than the negatives. It's just one of the many daily choices we make in life. It may be a bit more difficult for those who were raised in a negative home or who became negative in their approach to life and all the many areas that make it up. For those raised in a positive home and for those who chose to be positive in life, perhaps it's a bit easier to be positive. I might boil down to focus.

When one has a mixed marital relationship, it can make for much unhappiness and must take a lot of good personal qualities to stay close together. Negative individuals are difficult to be around for long and are usually very lonely people. I do my best to help those stuck in the negative lane of life, but must be careful that I am not pulled down with them.

Paul in The Message says in Philippians 4:8-9, "Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditation on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious-the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not the things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies."

February 14, 2007

Recently we received an email note from a friend telling us that my email box was full. I had left at least 1,000 emails build up. Now, I know that I get lots of mail in my box, but geese Louise, 1,000 is a lot of emails to have in my box. This magical number keeps any new email messages from coming into my email box. and makes me hope that I didn't miss any important email messages.

Now, I get a lot of Spam in my box. I have friend's who send me lots of inspirational and humorous emails. I have signed up for email groups, some that I enjoy and other's that I endure and just haven't done what it takes to no longer be a member. Mixed in with this I get email messages I want to read when I get to it, and others that I want to keep for a time. I occasionally delete..delete, but it seems I always have far more emails left in my in box than I deleted, and pretty soon, my box is full again. It seems impossible that I can allow 1,000 emails to be in my in box but it's happened on several occasions now. There have been times when I delete back to only a few emails but mostly, the saver part of me pops out and I keep a few to many with the good intention of taking care of them in the near future. When I get the time, you know what I mean, don't you? That time rarely occurs.

When I am told that my box is full, it's somewhat of a shocker, but quickly following that feeling, reality sets in that it was me and only me that allowed it to happen, and I get busy deleting, except those I just want to save for a little longer. Lots of laughs. This is not the only area of my life that I have this difficulty. Life long habits like this one is hard to break.

February 15, 2007

My Grandson Darren, age 12, closer to 13, is presently visiting at our home. Darren just chose a game for he and his Papa, that's me..to play together from the game closet. He had games to chose from but Checkers was the game he chose.

He set up the game and of course, I had to tease him before the game began, by moving my men next to his first roll of checkers, blocking them with my color. I changed back to my correct spot on my side of the board as soon as Darren voiced his complaint with my incorrect beginning of the game. Lots of laughs.

Now, Darren is a great checker player. As Darren tells me about himself. He says that he is "very, very, very smart," No doubt about it, just like his parents and of course, his Papa, he is a very smart person. I have no doubts in my mind as to his intelligence.

As the game progressed, I enjoyed watching his choices of plays that he made. As we got closer to the end, the game was pretty much with my men in the lead however, Darren, watched my moves closely and soon was in the lead. He wore me down pretty quickly and I soon began becoming careless. If Darren would have played a little longer, he would probally have won, because my focus was fading fast, but as it was, Papa was the winner by only a few Kings. I was the champ this time. If I would have had energy to play just one more game, I have no doubt that he would have been the champ. Darren catches on to games very quickly and just wears his Papa out. Lot's of laughs.

February 16, 2007

Recently our eldest daughter Lynn came over to our home for a visit. With her she brought two coupons. One of the coupons was given to both Sharon and I along with a nice hug. The coupons were given to us without many words but on the coupon was printed the words that it was good for one free hug. The hugs, without any verbal words said it all. Hugs are so warm and loving. In our family, I've tried to emphasize hugs, kisses and words like, "I love you," and "I'm sorry."

It seems like not many generations ago, these words were not heard much in families. Hugs and kisses were neglected and that generation suffered for the lack of this closeness and touch accompanied by expressive words of caring and love. Pride seemed to rule much of life, it seems to me. Perhaps many had no roll model.

My wife and children along with grandchildren will always know that they are loved. Not because they should just instinctively know or heard it once and if it changed, I would have told them so. We need to hear it, sense it, see it, feel it and see it demonstrated often. I feel loved and I want to know without a doubt that they also feel loved. When one feels loved, they can pass that along to their family, friends, neighbors and strangers alike. If one doesn't feel loved, there will always be a love need void in their lives that will take them on a life long search, many times searching for love in all the wrong places in search for it.

Love is so easy to feel and then to be passed along. For me it would be so selfish of me not to do so. Perhaps a "I forgive you" or a "please forgive me" needs to be added. Never leave these things undone. Now is the time. Life is to short and we never know how long we have to do or say things we may had intended but never really got to it.

Just passing along what works for me and I hope will be passed along to generations in my family as well as all of those I come into contact with.

February 17, 2007

I see more changes coming in my life. I don't need a crystal ball to see them. I see them with my own eyes. Stove left on ... on occasion. The one cup coffee maker left on or the warmer under a candle in the living room.

I think the first thing I noticed that I had done carelessly was left the coffee pot on after I had used it for my morning coffee. Then some time later it was a burner I had used on our stove and then on several occasions now, the warmer under a candle we use often. I'm just sort of waiting for the next shoe to fall.

I've ask Sharon to check these spots out for me during the day after my use. She gladly does this but it just one careless time on my part in one of these areas to cause a fire. I can't even begin to imagine what a fire would do to a person and or family. How awful.

Then along with that comes the doors left unlocked. It doesn't happen much, but once is to much.

I find myself constantly doubting myself now, double guessing myself and questioning everything I do. Did I actually turn it off or do I just think I did? Did I lock the door or just think I did? Although I was taught at a young age by my mother and other's in my family to be extra cautious about theses things and haven't had a problem with them in the past, times are a changing for me. As times change for me, they also change for my Sharon and other's that are connected with me.

Although I tire of my second guessing of myself and means more errands for me, it's better than what could happen if I forget just one time. The possibility eats away at the back of my crumbling mind. One time of forgetfulness could result in disaster, calamity that might well not be able to be undone.

Recently I was given an ideal by a friend to use notes taped down near what needed to be turned off. I thought about the idea of a note taped near what I might not turn off. I now have three notes entitled in large letters, turn off, the candle warmer, stove and coffee maker. I hope this helps me to remember and also gives me the reassurance that keeps from this constant second guessing.

February 18, 2007

A problem area I see in some dementia situations is that at times, other's talk about us, in front of us, like were not even there. Many of us still have good hearing and can think to some degree. Even though were forgetful, the words that are being said in front of us to other's stings and at times can linger for a time with us. We might not know what were upset about, but many of us know that something upsetting happened and we felt very uncomfortable. Days later, we might know that were upset with a certain person, but not really remember why. We can confuse what was said and want to retaliate in some manner. Our reactions and words can express our being upset. Other's forgetting about what was said when they were being insensitive to us, might then wonder why we are reacting negatively. It's easy to forget what was said earlier, but we may well remember that some injustice was done to us. Why do so many just open their mouth and without thinking, let it all out? A dementia individual still has feelings, thoughts, and some memory. Although some details is lost to us, many of us tend to carry grudges, right or wrong, that need to be dealt with before they build into days or more of a stressful period for all. Personally I tend to be very forgiving but I still need to discuss my feelings and thoughts with those involved so that they don't build up and fester within me.

There are time we question how much a person in a coma can understand. Material has been written about not talking negatively in front of them, not knowing what they can hear or comprehend. How much more so should others be careful what is said in front of or within hearing range of those of us with dementia. We still bleed, hurt, have feelings, can react to emotional pain and can react at those given times or later. Our emotions and feelings might differ from moment to moment, with some confusion, but we are still alive and when upset for reasons we might understand or reasons we might not quite understand, we are upset. I am a peaceful sort of man, and want to live in peace, but the home and outside home much be such that I can try to do my part living out my life in peace and harmony.When everyone works together daily toward this end, dementia and caregiver stress can be cut down.

Please, treat other's as you would want treated, with love, courtesy, manners and respect. A little dignity can go a long way in keeping peace in the house hold.May we each guard what we think that many times turns into words which can destroy harmony in our homes.

February 19, 2007

As I become older and my dementia stages increase, I'm ever so grateful that through my life I've been able to develop many varied interests. These interests are some of what has kept life so exciting for me through the years.

Music- I discovered at a young age that I had an appetite for music. My Dad enjoyed music and maybe, just maybe I caught the interest from him. At first it was songs taught in grade and then in high school. Then it was the rock of the 60's. I also developed a taste for the beautiful music of orchestras. Both of my sister's, Anna and Norma played the violin and participated in school orchestras and later a Gospel group.

I found that I had a taste for choirs in that I sang in a school choir for four years. I took some music lessons and sang occasionally at our local church. I enjoyed Gospel music and the old hymns of the church. On the fifth Sunday of each month, we are able to attend a hymn sing put on by community local churches, done in four part harmony.

Being in a high school with a great band, I soon found I had a musical taste for band music.

Through the years I discovered a local college station from Kent State University in Ohio, I developed a like for folk music and other types such as ethnic music as the broadcast opened up new worlds of music to me.

I began enjoying Southern Gospel Music and still do to this day. Recently we attended a concert by the Gaither Homecoming, Booth Brothers and Blue Ridge Gospel Quartet.

A new type of music I am presently learning to enjoy is Blue Grass Music. Sharon and I recently attended an all day celebration of some of the best Blue Grass groups in the nation. It drew close to 10,000 individuals on the day we attended. I now have a new type of music of enjoy and appreciate. I love to indulge myself in many, varied types of music. It helps in keeping me inspired, relaxed and my mind working.

From a young age to a teenager I was taken yearly to the local Swiss Festival. I really enjoyed the Swiss traditional music and Polka. As I got older I would attend ethnic festivals of various groups and was introduced to their beautiful music.

Music makes the world go round, someone has said. As a younger man, I enjoyed loud music as well as that not so loud. Today, my taste has gone to soft, mellow music. Many times music without words that I can whistle and hum with and can come up with many of the words of old old songs from my past. I find that there are many times during the day that I prefer the music without the words.

I remember my Mom who had dementia. She had a love for the old hymns of the church. Some of my fond memories of her later days, is as she sat in a church service in the nursing home that had become her home, memory mostly gone, as she would sing hymns, first, second, and third verses. Some meaningful things in our life may stick with us down through time. My Mom was an example of this.

There are a few types of music that I don't particularly care for, but only a few.

I understand that music is good for those of us with dementia. Personally I feel there are reasons that I am still as sharp as I am. It's no accident. It doesn't happen by just doing nothing. Enjoyments of varied music types can stimulate our mind and do things that the medical community is just beginning to understand and encourage.

February 20, 2007

It's so easy to get stuck in a rut. A rut usually takes some time, energy and effort to climb out of. I have noticed in dementia that there are some who seem to have few or no interests. Even at younger ages and still in early stage dementia seemingly, they just stare off into space with nothing that seems to interest them.

I look at some of these lives that I have known as a younger individual and without judging, it seems that much was the same. There interests were few and these few interests occupied there time. One I'm thinking of spent his entire life working, at least, the years that I knew him. Now work is good but if there are no other interests, what does one do when they get older or ill? What happens when a disease strikes out of no where? When one must retire? The one individual I'm thinking of continued to act out working. Doing the same thing he'd always known and did. What else did he have to do? That's all he had chosen in life to do and now that choices were taken away from him to some degree, he continued to act out his only interest, work.

Thankfully, I have found life at a younger age to be full of interests and pride myself in having many interests. I to worked and to some degree, that work ethic is still in me. I use many of the skills I learned in ministry and social work on a personal level in my life but I also learned to enjoy my mate, family and friends, music, reading, socializing, religion, walking, the love of nature, enjoying the out doors and varied times of the years, exploring and trying new things. I learned to enjoy festivals, ethnic as well as other types. I enjoyed the taste of varied foods from American to that of other countries. I enjoyed the country as well as the city. I learned to be aware of my surroundings, to listen and touch. To see. I leaned to enjoy TV, having some favorites but also exploring various programming offered. I found some things I didn't really enjoy that much, but I also found a wonderful world, full of variety and beauty that surrounded me, just waiting for me.

Today, I feel that these interests serve me well as I travel the journey of dementia. Ten years or more, and I'm still interested in life. My energy level is not like it once was..not at all, and I must compensate and be flexable.I cannot concentrate or focus like I once could. I drift off from time to time. I must stop and rest as needed, use the rocking chair when needed, and then get myself up and keep tasting of the beauty of God's good earth.

Bored? Never..I can't do what I once could and the stages of dementia keep changing what I could do. Some times day by day or moment by moment. By fighting my disease and enjoying life with my varied and many interests, I am giving brain cells a change to grow. I am stretching, pulling, pushing my mind without even thinking about what I am doing. It's working for me. Perhaps it's worth some thought.

February 21, 2007

I was thinking of being embarrassed by others. On a few occasions now, I've been caught off guard by statements made about me to others, in my presence that confused me, rattled me, and caused disorganization of my mental process to the degree that I could not say anteing. I was stunned by what had been said about me openly and in front of me. I had no reply and was speechless.

After that strong feeling was the feeling of being talked about in a negative way so openly. The person involved seemed to have no shame. It was no accident, what had happened. It was a planned remark that made me feel like I was standing there unmasked, in the nude without covering for a moment or two. The next feeling was how dare they do that to me. I had no one to step in for me and take my part. I felt very helpless and with no control of my own to defend the remark.

I've found that almost always there is another side or part when to every story. Every thought and action or lack of. My part was not represented in these occurrences. Further more, I try my best not to talk about others in front of them negatively or behind their back negatively. I'm not perfect in this area, especially as I struggle with being out of control with dementia, but even with dementia, the home and church teachings of my childhood come through, that if you can't say something nice or kind about someone, just don't say it. And then there's the words that I value highly by a Friend that says, " Do unto others like you would want them to do unto you." "Love your enemies and do good to them that hurt you."

I forgive easily, but don't forget quite as easily. Perhaps this is one value of dementia that after a while, hurts and pain seem to just slip away, never to be remembered again.

Those of us with dementia can be hurt easily by unkind, unthinking words. They can cause a deep wound and cause walls to be put up emotionally. Results from the wounds might come out later or it may just be a wound that festers beneath the surface. Then again, perhaps we won't even notice. Maybe that is what the offender is hoping for. There's an old saying, "what goes around comes around." I wonder what that means?

February 22, 2007

This old world seems to be filled with tension, pressure, anxiety and fear. There are times that I take out of my busy life for a few moments that I have the peace, tranquility and quiet that I need deep within. I reach out for those times, almost craving them, but for some reason, unknown to me, after a period of what I crave is being enjoyed and taken in by my senses, I almost rush to get back to the fast paced, crazy world that I've become accustomed to. I tell myself I want the opposite, the slowed down pace, the quiet and beauty, the garden of Eden where God placed the first couple, but there's some part of me that I don't want to recognize that causes me to quickly return to the opposite of what I tell myself my ideal is.

Is there two parts of me that wrestle with each other? Have I changed me mind? Have my cravings from deep within me change almost moment by moment? Is my personality almost split within me?

Oh, just for a few hours at the ocean. For a time away in the country. Perhaps in the quiet of the mountains. Back to the basics of Mother Earth if only for a brief period of time. On occasion this time of rejuvenation occurs, while I read a book or a magazine, play a computer game, talk on the cell phone or sleep the time away. Oh that I would be awake during these times to my surroundings, taking it in with all of my senses, forgetting the time. Just being one with the enjoyment of life, of living in the now, of sensing God's beautiful creation. Ah, high on life, real life, not artificial.

Does relaxation and just doing nothing but being a part of nature frighten most Americans? Have we been brain washed to the fast pace of the day and age we live in? Can we not be content with the beauty that surrounds us, the sights, smells and sounds of the earth?

Man was created for these natural pleasures and the Creator God. Let that craving within us, no matter how faint or how loud the calling, return us to the garden of life.

February 23, 2007

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can change...
Courage to change the I things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference."
by Bill W.

Serenity is a disposition free from stress or emotion. It is the absense of mental stress or anxiety. It has to do with composure, calm, peacefulness and peace. Serenity is the opposite of aggravation by dictionary definition.

Oh, that my serenity would fit the definition of the dictionary.

February 24, 2007

Sharon and I had a very special day celebrating Blue Grass Music for the third annual Blue Grass Festival at the near by Rodeheaver Boys Ranch near the banks of the beautiful St. John's River. The Ranch is nestled out in fields and woods of hundreds of acres where the boys and their leaders live. This is a funds maker for the boy's ranch, in fact the boys of the ranch were very much a part of the day, directing traffic, working in a food tent etc. One only had to look into their faces to see that this ranch for boys was a great place for them to live.

At a large food tent, they were selling one of the largest chocolate cookies I had ever seen. I was told that the boys help make them. I spotted a boy near by watching us and I ask him if he had helped make the cookie in my hand. He stated with a large grin that "he sure had helped."

Unexpectedly we were given tickets for one of the three days of the Festival. What a treat for us.

For those unfamiliar with traditional Blue Grass Music, it is a kind of folk music for guitar, banjo, violin and other stringed instruments along with voice. It's distinguished by rapid notes and improvisation by the musicians. What a way to pass a day together with about 10,000 other individuals from Florida, other southern states as well, as far as California, Alaska and Canada. Many of the individuals seemed to follow Blue Grass concerts around our country. They came in vans, trucks, RV's and anything to stay in. What a colorful, exciting group of individuals.

There were many groups there that were lined up from early in the day to late at night with a few intermissions for break in between. Many of these groups were well known in the Blue Grass world of music, having won many awards and honors.

It was a day of foot tapping, leg slapping, hand clapping music.

For more information about concerts etc., try www.BlueGrassList.com

February 25, 2007

Spring officially begins on March 20 0r the 21. Here in Florida it appears much earlier. For some weeks now, the Azaleas and Dog Woods are already blooming.

As I sit here typing this journal, we have many windows open, allowing the warmth of the day inside. The birds in larger numbers than usual have been out singing there hearts out for our enjoyment. Nature seems to be saying, Spring is here. Can it be? It's been in the eighties the last few days and for some period of time it's been in the mid to high 70's. Am I dreaming or what? Not...This is for real. The time of the year that brings back the life that was dormant for a period of time. For certain proof our first carnival was held in our near by town. For me that makes it official and it's only February 26.

My two favorite seasons of the year are Spring and Fall. For right now, my favorite is Sping. Lots of laughs.

February 26, 2007

The season of Lent had begun for the Christendom. "This has been known as the period of forty days leading up to Easter. Through the centuries Christians have looked upon this time as a call to self-exmaination, to discipline, prayer, sacrifice-the-remewal of the spiritual life", according to my weekly church bulletin

The Christian tradition is rich in symbols such as a star, the cross, the fish etc.

Sharon and I recently attended an Ash Wednesday Service. It was held at a neighborhood church made up of several area churches of our denomination as well as that of AME churches. Usually the church chooses to remain segregated from other races. How sad. On this special night the church was full of those of African descent and those of mostly European descent. For me it was sort of like Heaven will be. Only all tribes and tongues will be there. Think of it.

This was our first time to attend an Ash Wednesday Service. It was a very moving experience for me. Being one with brothers and sisters of color, ours and theirs. God's dear creation coming together.

During the service we were each invited to come forward to have ashes used to mark our foreheads with a cross." Ashes symbolize death and grief as well as the unworthiness and repentance we feel because we have not lived up to being the person God intends us to be. Out of the ashes of our past, we can with God's help, be renewed spiritually and journey to a new life of faith and trust. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of our journey."

The service was ended by all of us, a mixed group of those with one intent, making a circle, holding hands together and singing "They will know we are Christian's by our love."

Just a glimpse into my spiritual journey that makes me who I am. Many years ago I decided to follow Jesus and this has made for a very exciting journey through life and at times I need to stop and reexamine it. I was age 16 when I made this commitment and I've never been sorry. I'm not perfect but I am forgiven. Spirituality in the lives of those with dementia and caregivers, as well as other's, can be the missing part of what can enrich our lives and carry us into eternal life.

Quotes taken from The Epistle to St. James.

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