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You have come to a place of truth, support, and solutions to the distinctive issues and challenges faced by the spouses of Alzheimer patients. Please look on the left side of this page for all of the resources offered by this website. Then CLICK HERE for an introduction, information, and help on learning about, and coping with, Alzheimer's Disease.

Top Senior SitesThe Alzheimer Spouse Wesbsite Voted one of the Top Senior Living Sites for Nurses

 

 

SCROLL DOWN FOR JOAN'S NEW BLOG -A NOMINATION FOR THE ALZHEIMER SPOUSE

 

 

PLEASE CLICK THE BADGE TO CAST YOUR VOTE FOR THE ALZHEIMER SPOUSE. I AM HONORED TO HAVE BEEN NOMINATED IN THE CATEGORY OF BEST BLOGS BY INDIVIDUALS.

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CLICK HERE FOR UP DATES ON THE ALZHEIMER'S ASSOCIATION ADVOCACY FORUM IN WASHINGTON, DC - April 7-9, 2014

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JOAN’S BLOG – MONDAY, APRIL 21, 2014 – A NOMINATION FOR THE ALZHEIMER SPOUSE


Imagine my surprise when I opened my e-mail last week and read " The Alzheimer's Spouse had been nominated to the SeniorHomes.com Best Senior Living Awards 2014 in the Best Blogs by Individuals category. The Best Senior Living Awards 2014 highlights top resources, people, providers and organizations in a wide varity of caregiving and senior living categories. Your nominee page has been published at http://www.seniorhomes.com/d/alzheimers-spouse/2014-best-senior-living-awards/". (Click link to vote for The Alzheimer Spouse)

Coincidentally, before I received the e-mail, I had been thinking about the far reaching effects my website has had on Alzheimer Spouses nationwide and even worldwide. My reason for starting this website and writing my blogs was to find other spouses who shared my feelings of despair at the destruction by Alzheimer’s Disease of our marriages and decades long love affairs.

Since the launch of the website in 2007, countless members from every corner of the globe have given advice, solace, support, information, and encouragement to one another. You have given me support during my darkest hours. Many of you have become friends by phone, e-mail, and in person. You have met and traveled with each other. I have had the privilege of meeting and traveling with many of you in person.  

Before at home caregiving completely consumed my time and energy, I attended conferences and brought back valuable information to share with you; I was a three time advocate to the Washington DC Alzheimer’s Forum, where we lobbied for awareness and funding for the disease. My story has been told on CNN, NBC, and AOL.

But more importantly, I am most pleased that my actions have spurred on so many of you to become writers, speakers, and advocates for Alzheimer’s awareness. At one of the lectures I attended, I met a remarkable woman, Teena Cahill, who is a caregiver, author, public speaker, and inspiration to all who meet her. To paraphrase her motto – “The wider our net, the higher we bounce.”  Through my work on this website, I have come to understand how accurate that statement. The more people we meet and influence, and are influenced by us, the better we all become. Look no further than what you have accomplished with your friendships, advocacy, article writing, public speaking, and warm hearted support by being a part of the Alzheimer Spouse Website, to realize the validity of her statement.

I thank each and every one of you for helping make this website a success, and ask that you click the link above to cast your vote for The Alzheimer Spouse.

MESSAGE BOARDS: Joan's Blog - A Nomination for the Alzheimer Spouse

Feedback to joan@thealzheimerspouse.com
Copyright 2014Joan Gershman
The Alzheimer Spouse LLC
2014All Rights Reserved
Under penalty of copyright laws, this information cannot be copied or posted on any website, media, or print outlet, without referencing the author and website from which it was taken.

JOAN’S BLOG – WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2, 2014- IN OUR OWN WAY


In my last blog (see below), I discussed the issue of husbands and wives joining the world on their own timetable after placing their spouses in long term care facilities. We each handle this separation from our life partners in a different manner, and our re-emergence into the real world must be undertaken when we, not others, feel we are ready.

Part two of our transformation from full time Alzheimer spousal caregiver to a “single” person trying to live a new life must not only be done on our own timetable, but IN OUR OWN WAY. This applies to everyone on this journey, whether you are attempting to find activities away from caregiving, trying to forge a single life for yourself, while you live apart from your spouse, who may or may not even remember who you are, or are an Alzheimer widow/widower.

No matter how similar our Alzheimer journey, each and every one of us has different life circumstances, families, friends, non-friends, interests, abilities, and personalities. For this reason, we will each approach forging a new life differently. Although I thought I possessed more self-awareness than the average person, and thus, when I was ready, would be able to find friends and activities to easily fill my new life, I have been proven oh, so wrong. It is far more difficult for me to “rejoin the non-Alzheimer world” than I ever imagined.

Since the only interest I shared with many of the wives, now widows, from our Alzheimer support group was Alzheimer’s Disease, I am faced with finding a new set of friends with whom I share common interests. Since I do not live in an “over 55” active adult community, I do not have the choices of clubs to join that target every possible interest to which these communities cater, from travel, entertainment, cards, Mah Jong, investments, books, computers, crafts. If you can think of it, there is a club for it. However, if you do not live in one of those developments, you are excluded from being a part of any of it. (No, it is not financially possible for me to move to one of those places, so that is off of the table as an option)

I have received well meaning and appreciated suggestions as to how to rejoin the world and make friends from EVERYONE. What I have discovered, after listing all of the options from - join a Mah jong group, volunteer at an Alzheimer’s facility, start a face-to-face “spouses in facilities” support group, join my religious organization, find a knitting group to join, put an ad on Craigslist for people who share my interests, get a part time job, join a book club, check out the weekend festivals and go to one each week. is that, just as coming out of hibernation “on my own timetable”, I must forge a new life “in my own way”. In a way that works for ME, just as whatever you choose to do must work for YOU.

A friend of mine traveled the Alzheimer journey at a much faster rate than me. From diagnosis to the death of her husband was about 3 years. She has done everything completely opposite from me. While I stayed home, hibernated, rested, lost myself in computer games, and eventually re-emerged with a desire to join the world, she ran and ran and ran. From the time her husband died, 9 months ago, she has traveled thousands of miles to visit friends and relatives, had a variety of friends staying with her at her house, traveled back to her Northern roots, bought a house up there, traveled some more, took a cruise, and rarely stays in the house for more than showering and sleeping. She belongs to two bridge groups, a church group, and never stops going.

Her way is not my way, but it seems to be working for her. My way is not her way, but it is what is comfortable for me. I joined a gym so I would have someplace to go in the morning and be with people. Since in today’s world, most people go to the gym with earbuds stuck in their ears listening to music while they work out, it has not turned out to be a place of socialization for me, but it keeps me active.

I have given very careful thought to my own personality and interests, and know that I cannot run around trying to “join” groups, even if I could find ones that are not in closed communities. I must take it slow. One step at a time; one activity at a time. That is my way.

Yesterday, it occurred to me that for now, my best option to get involved in a cause that interests me, meet and talk to interesting people, and perhaps make a difference in my corner of the world, is to join the campaign of my local congressman. I have met him, spoken at one of his events, and thoroughly believe in him, so I think this will be a good fit for me.

Re-inventing one’s life as a single person after having lived as a “couple” for so many decades is emotionally painful and difficult, but it must be done in your OWN way, on your OWN timetable. You can take the suggestions of others, but deep soul searching is needed in order to find what fits you and you alone.

MESSAGE BOARDS: Joan's Blog - In our own way


Feedback to joan@thealzheimerspouse.com
©Copyright 2014Joan Gershman
The Alzheimer Spouse LLC
2014All Rights Reserved
Under penalty of copyright laws, this information cannot be copied or posted on any website, media, or print outlet, without referencing the author and website from which it was taken.

 

JOAN’S BLOG – WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12, 2014 – ON OUR OWN TIMETABLE


My message today is that whatever phase you are dealing with in your spouse’s Alzheimer’s Disease– adjusting to the diagnosis, coping with personality change, learning to relate to the disease, rather than the person your spouse used to be, adjusting to living alone after long term care placement or death – whatever it is, it has to be done on your own timetable. No one can tell you – “time to accept it and get on with your life”. We all respond to and cope with similar situations in vastly different ways and times. I have learned that to allow oneself to be rushed through the process by others’ idea of time, is to deny yourself proper healing.

All one has to do is read through my blogs to realize how slowly I have adjusted to each change in my husband’s abilities. I am the ultimate slow learner when it relates to Alzheimer’s Disease and my marriage. I fought and screamed myself almost into a heart attack or stroke trying to hold onto the man my husband used to be and the loving marriage we used to have. It took about 5 years before I finally gave up and realized that Alzheimer’s Disease took both, and neither was coming back. I have seen others accept it in a matter of months; I have seen others never accept it. It is an individual time table.

My members are aware of how difficult Sid’s transition to a nursing home has been for me. After the first two months of crying and sleeping subsided, I continually felt the need to lie down and rest for most of the day. I did not want to go out socially, not that I had anywhere to go. I forced myself to meet once every week or two with a female friend for a visit, a lunch, or knitting. I went to physical therapy for my back three times a week, but basically I was content to lie curled up with a book, tv, or a tablet game at night and often during the day. I felt a desperate need for rest. I could not seem to get enough.

Then an incident occurred this weekend that made me realize how important it is to allow yourself the time you feel you need to adjust to each new Alzheimer situation. On Sunday morning, a friend called to ask me if I wanted to go to a live musical show with her that evening. Her husband just had back surgery, and was unable to go. Up until that moment, my reaction would have been to say no – that I did not feel like getting dressed up and going out at night; that I wanted to lie around in my comfortable sleep shirt and watch TV. But I suddenly felt like going. I thought – yes, that will be fun. I want to get out.

Later on, I rummaged through my closet to find something that would fit my now 60 pounds lighter body, and came up with a lovely blouse I had bought at least 15 years ago that I was never able to get over my head. Paired with newly bought slim fitting slacks, makeup, which I hadn’t worn in at least 2 years, and jewelry, the result was astonishing. It felt exhilarating to dress up and look rather good. My friend and I laughed and both agreed that “I clean up pretty good.”

The show was phenomenal, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It made me feel that I am ready to go out to more similar events.

I am totally convinced, and believe with all of my heart, that if I had been rushed into going out when I was not ready and did not want to, I would not have had such a good time.

Six years ago, my social worker tried to push me into responding to Sid as an Alzheimer patient, rather than a husband. I fought her every step of the way. As she tried to make me understand that he was no longer the husband I knew, and I had to change the way I spoke to him and related to him, I tried to make her understand that if I followed her instructions, I would lose the husband and marriage I had. Eventually, I came to realize that she was correct, and I did learn to respond to my husband differently. And I did lose who he and the marriage were. But I had to come to that acceptance in my own time.

Whether you are at the very beginning and in denial about the disease; are fighting as I did to relate to the spouse as you used to; are trying to adjust to placement – whatever your situation, you will get through it on your own time table. You will know when you are ready to accept each phase and change in your spouse, and no one can hurry you through it.

*Note: I would be remiss not to mention that my “timetable” does not apply if you are so depressed that you cannot get out of bed in the morning, have thoughts of suicide, and are unable to participate in any daily activities. In that case, you are most likely suffering from severe depression and should seek immediate medical attention.

MESSAGE BOARDS: Joan's Blog - On Our Own Timetable


Feedback to joan@thealzheimerspouse.com
©Copyright 2014Joan Gershman
The Alzheimer Spouse LLC
2014All Rights Reserved
Under penalty of copyright laws, this information cannot be copied or posted on any website, media, or print outlet, without referencing the author and website from

 

JOAN’S BLOG – TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2014 – DIVERT, DISTRACT, AND DE-ESCALATE!

The purpose of this website has been, first and foremost, to offer support and information to spouses of Alzheimer patients. Along the way, we have managed to raise the public’s awareness about the signs, symptoms, and manifestations of the disease, its effect on caregivers, and how to manage the behaviors exhibited by Alzheimer patients. Through our efforts of person to person contact, writings, conference attendance, public speaking, and media contacts, we have enlightened and educated a vast amount of lay people and professionals in this country and around the world.

Because of an accumulation of my own experiences, today I am once again asking that you help me reach out to professionals to provide Alzheimer education to every health care worker from doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, to medical assistants and aides.

We veterans know from experience, and our new members are learning, that when an Alzheimer patient obsesses over something he/she perceives as an injustice done to them, real or imagined, the #1 Rule is – YOU CANNOT REASON WITH OR ARGUE WITH AN ALZHEIMER PATIENT. Do not even attempt to reason or argue with them. It will give them the ammunition they need to escalate their protests and agitate them into incessant arguing, shouting, and sometimes, violence. Trying to reason with an Alzheimer patient is akin to adding gasoline to a fire.

The three most important words to remember are: Distract, divert, and de-escalate. If you can distract their attention, divert them to another activity, they will soon forget what they were obsessing over, and the situation will de-escalate.

Every husband, wife, or any family member, who deals with a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease either knows and follows this rule, or struggles daily to adhere to it. Every health professional who works with Alzheimer patients should be taught this rule, and monitored to make sure it is followed. Not doing so causes immense stress and anxiety to both patient and caregiver, possible violence as mentioned, and a situation that often leads to hours of out of control patient behavior. All preventable with proper Alzheimer education.

The disease changes the brain. We can no longer talk to our loved ones or relate to them as we did pre-Alzheimer’s Disease. We must learn new techniques for handling their obsessive anger and argumentative behavior. It is my opinion that anyone who has not been trained in Alzheimer’s 101 - distract, divert, and de-escalate – should not be allowed to work with Alzheimer patients.

My husband resides in a small, locked, Alzheimer unit in a nursing home. The unit consists of one corridor of rooms (19 beds), at the end of which is a nurse’s station and large activity/dining room. For valid reasons, he was moved to a single room, about four doors farther away from the central nurse’s station/activity room than his previous room. He did not take well to the change. He has literally been screaming, swearing, and arguing about it for over a week with anyone within earshot. Most of the nurses, and particularly the Alzheimer director, are experts in D, D, and D., and have been able to diffuse his outbursts.

However, one afternoon last week, I walked in and witnessed a licensed health professional trying to reason with him about the room change. She kept explaining to him the reason for the change, how much better the new room was, how he was helping them by agreeing to it, and on and on and on. The more she talked, the louder, more agitated, and more argumentative he became. I stepped in and told her to stop, giving her all of the reasons I have outlined in this blog. She told me that she had the same “discussion” with him the day before, and felt that he had been more reasonable about it at that time. I told her that what occurs on one day has nothing to do with the next, that he does not remember yesterday, and that due to his Alzheimer’s Disease, which is why he is in an Alzheimer Unit, he cannot be reasoned with. She told me that she had to try. I told her to drop it, and I would distract him. She scampered away while I distracted him and diverted his attention with funny stories about my recent neighborhood garage sale. He was smiling again in a matter of minutes.

I urge everyone to be vigilant about the health professionals who care for your spouse, whether in a facility or at home. Ask if they have been trained to deal with Alzheimer behaviors, and watch to see that they follow proper procedure.

In the meantime, I ask that you help me spread the word about Alzheimer education for health professionals. Many of our members are retired or currently working doctors, nurses, social workers, nurse practitioners, and other health care workers. You have the contacts to be able to advocate for mandatory Alzheimer education for health care professionals. Those of us who are not in the health care field can speak up to our own doctors, care facility administrators, and anyone else in our path, about the vital necessity of Alzheimer education for health care workers. Our loved ones deserve nothing less than the best trained people caring for them.

MESSAGE BOARDS: Joan's Blog - Divert, Distract, and De-escalate

Feedback to joan@thealzheimerspouse.com
©Copyright 2014Joan Gershman
The Alzheimer Spouse LLC
2014All Rights Reserved
Under penalty of copyright laws, this information cannot be copied or posted on any website, media, or print outlet, without referencing the author and website from

 

JOANS’ BLOG – TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2014 – RETURNING TO LIFE


As always, I am writing this blog with the hope that my struggles will help others who have been feeling the same as I. Whether you have placed your spouse or are still caring for them at home, I believe that the emotions I write about have been experienced by one, some, or all of you at one time or another. Know that you are not alone.

I have returned from my hiatus with hopefully, a better attitude and outlook on life. Since placing my husband in a long term care facility in August, 2013, these last 6 months have been extremely difficult for me.

If things had gone according to plan, I should (?) have gone through a period of grieving the separation from my loving husband; grieving the man he was and the life we had lived together; gone through a period of adjustment to living apart; should have made the visits to my husband part of my life, not my only life; and I should have taken the advice of friends, relatives, and professionals, and made a new single life for myself. How much of life ever goes according to plan? Not that I had thought it was going to be easy, but all of those goals proved far more difficult for me than I had imagined.

Initially, after placement, I wrote blogs chronicling my shock, depression, attempts at acceptance, and what I thought was adjustment. Unfortunately, as time went on, I became more, not less, depressed, and I started to withdraw from life, spending most of my time “resting” in bed when I was not visiting Sid.

A big part of the problem was the constant “push/pull” of conflicting emotions. When I visited him (4-5 times a week for 2-3 hours at a time), there was nothing of the man I fell in love with so many years ago.  I wanted to accept that the man I loved was gone, replaced by a confused, dependent child, who clung to me as a lifeline, not a romantic partner. As soon as I thought I was accepting our new life, something would happen to push me back.

One day, last month, I was particularly sad, and told him that this was not what either of us had planned, but it was the way it had to be, and we had to adjust to it. Sorrow washed over me, and I started to sob uncontrollably. As I was covering my eyes, I felt his large, soft, warm hand cover mine, and I heard his soothing voice tell me not to cry. It was the same hand and voice that have comforted me through all of life’s trials, and I fell apart. For one moment in time, my Sid had come out from under all the confusion, blankness, apathy, and forgetfulness to be there when I needed him. How was I to pull away from him when there was a spark of him left that was pushing me back to him? This confusion served only to deepen my depression.

Then, a few weeks later, a major flood changed everything. January is the dry season in South Florida, so what occurred caught everyone, including our best meteorologists, totally off guard. A massive rainstorm – some areas received 10-20 inches of rain in 24 hours - caused such flooding on major highways, main roads, and side streets, that most roads were closed, and I was stuck at the nursing home for the night. When I settled into the bed next to Sid, at first I felt somewhat comforted that, although not sleeping in the same bed, we were together as we had always been and always should be. But then reality intruded. As he sat in his wheelchair, he told me that he did everything for himself, and needed no help getting to bed. Since I was unable to handle the job when he was home, and had an aide 7 nights a week to help, I knew he was delusional. He waited for the aide to come in to help him undress, wash, and be put into bed, still thinking that he was doing it all himself. When he was settled into bed, he looked over at me with tears in his eyes, and told me how much he missed me. Although my heart hurt, I knew at that moment, that he was where he needed to be, both mentally and physically, and home was where I needed to be. It was a harsh reality, but it was the truth. Alzheimer’s Disease had stolen our lives.

When I returned home the next morning, the pulling towards him that occurred during my sobbing episode, was replaced by the pushing away from him during my overnight stay. I do not mean to imply that I wanted to stop visiting him, abandon him, or stop loving him, even though the romantic love had been replaced by love for a child. What I am trying to convey is that the constant conflict of emotions was paralyzing me as surely as the initial shock of separation had done. Rather than coming out of my depression, it was acting as quicksand, drawing me deeper to the bottom, as I struggled mightily to escape. (And this was with an increase in my anti-depressant medication)

As you know, I was unable to pull myself together to write more than one blog the entire month of January. During this time, my son became very ill, could not work for the whole month, and had to cancel the trip he had planned to come to see his father. I was so worried about him that I packed up, put myself on a plane, and flew to San Francisco to be with him.

Whether it was talking with my son constantly for a week and his rock solid support; the change in scenery; getting away from the nursing home atmosphere of depression and illness; or a combination of all of it, I did return home feeling much better.

A bit of ambition has returned, as evidenced by the writing of this blog, as well as a determination to live a life for myself. I will always be an advocate for Sid’s care and visit him regularly, but for the sake of my own sanity, I must limit my visits to part of my week, and not make the nursing home my only life. As angry and sad as I am over the path our lives have taken, I know that I must make a life separate from him or I will die with him.

MESSAGE BOARD: Joan's Blog - Returning to Life


Feedback to joan@thealzheimerspouse.com
©Copyright 2014Joan Gershman
The Alzheimer Spouse LLC
2014All Rights Reserved
Under penalty of copyright laws, this information cannot be copied or posted on any website, media, or print outlet, without referencing the author and website from which it was taken

 

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE FROM JOAN – January 29, 2014

My emotions have been all over the place this month. I have been so confused and depressed over Sid’s placement and declining mental condition that I have been unable to gather my thoughts to write a coherent blog.

Because I live in a warm, sunny climate, I have had no problem lining up Northern house guests to “babysit” my house while I take some time off to visit my son, who I have not seen in two years. I am hoping our visit will pull me out of my “funk” and reinvigorate my ambition.

While I try to get my head together and heal my heart as much as possible, I invite you to look through my previous blog topics by using the “search” feature on the left side of this website. So many of them are relevant to whatever stage in which you and your spouse are navigating.

I will be checking the message boards regularly, and as always, our message board monitor is on the job.

Thank you for your understanding.

Joan

 

JOAN’S BLOG – JANUARY 8, 2014 – THE ALZHEIMER STRESS DIET

After a year of undeniable stress and pain for most of us Alzheimer Spouses, I would like the first blog of the New Year to infuse a bit of humor into our lives. The incidents of which I write in this blog are true, and as everything in my life since I became an Alzheimer Spouse, quite sad. However, I need to look at the situation in a humorous light, and I hope you will join me in a little chuckle.

I have been fighting with my weight since I was 3 years old. Except for 7 of my 65 years, weight has won. During the 7 years that I was a size 4/5, the feat was accomplished by starving to death. I drank a protein drink for breakfast, had a hard boiled egg for lunch, some vegetables and protein for supper, and a gaping hole of pain in my stomach the rest of the time. Oh, and for 4 of those years, I lived on the 4th floor ( no elevator) of a dormitory that was at the bottom of a hill. I walked and walked and walked (up hill) everywhere on campus, and climbed stairs in every building.

After I got married, the weight crept back on year after year after year. If I was stressed, I ate. If I was happy, I ate. If I was sick, I ate. If I was healthy, I ate. By the time Alzheimer’s Disease entered my life, I had eaten myself into obesity. My history would indicate that the stress of being an Alzheimer Spouse caregiver should have sent me head first into a vat of Hagen Daz ice cream. But somehow, Alzheimer Stress was different. It had the opposite effect on me. For those of you who have never experienced weight issues ( I know there are SOME of you in this world), I do not imagine you will be able to relate to this blog, but for the rest of us………………..Welcome to THE ALZHEIMER STRESS DIET.

January 2013 – January 2014 - REASONS FOR THE MASSIVE STRESS:

  • My husband’s physical and mental disabilities finally took their toll on me, and I made the decision that he had to go to a long term care facility. Years of being his poop patroller, waitress, nurse, financial advisor, psychologist, wheelchair lifter and pusher, dresser, bather, and brain, pushed me to edge physically and emotionally. I knew it was time for placement.
  • Medicaid and Finances – Medicaid refused to approve nursing home care for my husband. They insisted that he was appropriate for Assisted Living, regardless of a letter from the doctor that deemed nursing home care necessary, due to his multiple physical problems, including inability to walk more than a few steps. My dealings with Medicaid for the next 7 months consisted of them telling me that they did not pay for Assisted Living, and since I could not afford it – too bad. For 7 months, I had Medicaid case managers, supervisors, nursing home administrators, and assisted living administrators continually tell me that if I could not afford to pay for a place for me to live and a facility for my husband, I would have to make the difficult choice of choosing which one of us had a place to live. ???????????????  They told me that my standard of living was too high, which apparently meant that “homelessness” was now a standard of living choice for me.
  • I was devastated at the thought of never living with or sleeping next to my husband again IF I could ever get him approved for nursing home care. I was heartbroken and unable to accept the fact that our life together would be over once he moved to long term care.
  • I was physically at the end of my rope with a back that was so disabled I was in constant pain.

This was an accumulation of the type of stress I have never known. And then the unthinkable happened. I woke up one morning unable to eat. What? Me? Unable to eat? How was that possible? I was a stress eater. The more stressed I was, the more I ate. Ice cream, brownies, cookies, candy, anything chocolate. All of it. All of the time. Non stop. Given the stress/eat scenario, I should have been knee deep in cookie dough, not unable to swallow anything. But that is what happened. Even after my 7 month fight finally resulted in Sid being approved for nursing home care, and the Spousal Diversion program allowed me to remain in my home, my heartache from trying to adjust to life apart from him has kept my appetite at bay.

My stomach is constantly in knots. Food has no appeal to me. I eat because I have to, and I try to eat protein to keep my strength up, but except for the supper that my facility provides me, my day consists of a protein shake for breakfast, which I force down; a protein fiber bar for lunch, which often fills me up so much, it makes me sick; and sometimes an apple and peanut butter for a night snack if I feel like eating it.

For 60 years, well meaning friends and relatives have tried to “encourage” me to get help for my eating problem and lose weight for my health. In a hilarious turn of events, I now have those same friends and relatives calling to check on me to see if I am eating.

Alzheimer’s Disease is no joke. Being an Alzheimer Spouse is no joke. Stress from both of them is no joke. An eating disorder is no joke. However, somehow, putting them all together this year has resulted in at least one positive on my side – 50+ pounds gone and still going. 

MESSAGE BOARD: Joan's Blog - The Alzheimer Stress Diet

Feedback to joan@thealzheimerspouse.com
©Copyright 2014Joan Gershman
The Alzheimer Spouse LLC
2014All Rights Reserved
Under penalty of copyright laws, this information cannot be copied or posted on any website, media, or print outlet, without referencing the author and website from which it was taken

 

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSO-50ZFU8qzOjXpwgUaDmEJrU8f1tqE7G6ItTUfelElwOrKS2QJOAN’S NEW YEAR’S BLOG – DECEMBER 30 – JANUARY 1, 2014 – HAPPY NEW YEAR AND IN MEMORIAM

2013 has been an incredibly difficult year for the members of The Alzheimer Spouse Website. So many of us have had to face the heartwrenching decision of placing our husbands and wives into long term care facilities. Many more have endured the final stage of the Alzheimer journey – the death of their spouses. With all of the emotional stress involved in caregiving for a spouse with Alzheimer’s Disease, one must ask the question – How does an Alzheimer Spouse find any hope or joy in the words – Happy New Year?

This is a particularly relevant question I have been asking myself, given the depths of depression into which I have fallen since placing my husband into a nursing home in August. I continually return to the theme I have tried to emphasize throughout my Alzheimer journey – We have to make our own happiness in whatever way suits us and our spouses at each stage of the disease. In my case, it was enjoying activities in which he was able to participate for as long as possible. Up until two years ago, we were able to go to movies, concerts, plays, out to dinner with friends. No, he did not understand many of the movie and play plots, but he enjoyed them to the extent he was able at the time. When it became physically impossible for me to take him out in his wheelchair, friends came to the house to socialize.

You know yourself and your spouse better than anyone. You know what you are both capable of handling and enjoying. A 10 day cruise may no longer be possible, but a drive to the beach to watch the waves and seagulls may give you pleasure. A huge party with friends and relatives may be too overwhelming for both of you, but inviting a couple of good friends to the house to visit may be enjoyable. You and your spouse may still get pleasure from listening to music together. Whatever you are able to do and enjoy as a couple should be pursued to the end. We must appreciate what our spouses can still do, and engage in those activities with them.  

In the case of my husband and I, although he is confined to a nursing home, and I live a lonely life at home, when I visit him, we do puzzles together; I sometimes take him outside to the garden, so he can enjoy the warmth of the Florida sun; he gets pleasure from listening to me babble on about our family, my work, and our friends, although he later remembers nothing of what I have said. It is not the life I would have chosen for us, but I have to make the best of what I have.  I urge you to do the same. In the Alzheimer world, that is what it means to say, HAPPY NEW YEAR.

To those who have been lost to the disease in 2013, we pay tribute. If I have inadvertently missed anyone, please email me at joan@thealzheimerspouse.com, and I will add your name.

http://heidenfamily.us/in-memoriam.jpg IN MEMORIAM – 2013


Brindle – husband – January, 2013

Grannywhiskers – husband – February 1, 2013

Rpmaz- husband – February 14, 2013

LindaMc – husband Lloyd – February 18, 2013

Hikergirl – husband – February 21, 2013

DeanHaywood – wife – March 14, 2013

Anchor20 – wife Kathryn – April 25, 2013

m-mman – wife Rita – May 1, 2013

DianeT – husband Mark – May 11, 2013

Shannon – husband – June 30, 2013

DianeV – husband – July 13, 2013

Mimi – husband – August 11, 2013

Okrose – husband – September 11, 2013

Andy - husband - September 25, 2013

Chelly – husband – October 1, 2013

Emily – husband Jeff – October 12, 2013

Mammie - husband - October 25, 2013

Sundown – wife – October 26, 2013

Linda220 - husband Jim - November 5, 2013

Marty – wife Sue – November 17, 2013

Vickie – husband Stu – November 24, 2013

Blue – husband – December 16, 2013

Dwgriff – wife – December 17, 2013

Dog – husband – December 26, 2013

Trish – husband – December 29, 2013

Feedback to joan@thealzheimerspouse.com

©Copyright 2013Joan Gershman
The Alzheimer Spouse LLC
2013 All Rights Reserved
Under penalty of copyright laws, this information cannot be copied or posted on any website, media, or print outlet, without referencing the author and website from which it was taken.

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