World Alzheimer’s Day

It only takes a moment to remember those who are afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease. It is a terrible waste of mind and body.
And while you are doing that, please take a moment to remember caregivers, who give their all to their loved ones.
Please, next time you talk to a caregiver, ask them how they feel. Too often the caregiver gets lost in the shuffle of finding out how the patient is. Not enough attention is given to those selfless beings who give up their whole world for days, weeks, months and years.

Adopt A Caregiver: Find someone in your community who is a caregiver. Become her/his friend. Email, ask how they are doing. And when they say fine, because they don’t want to talk about it, remind them you are their friend. Get them to open up, to vent. Do not judge, not until you stand in their shoes.
Please Adopt A Caregiver, I know there is one in your neighborhood. Give the gift of friendship, it lasts forever and costs nothing.

Hopefully, one day soon, there will be a cure, but until then, remember that Alzheimer’s Disease is not contagious.

Keep love and kisses in your life.
If you don’t know what a caregiver is going through, check out my book, Behind The Mask

Adopt A Caregiver

I always talk about Adopt A Caregiver. I think it’s a wonderful idea, and I wish that everyone would do it. At least try it.

It’s so simple, I am sure all of you know someone in your own community that is a caregiver. Doesn’t matter what kind of care-giving the person does. Cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, anything.

All you have to do is email this person, tell them you are trying to understand what they are going through. Since you cannot stand in their shoes, perhaps you can get that person to talk to you, to vent, to help you ‘see’ what they see. Just listen, do not  judge just be there as a friend, an understanding friend.

Twenty years ago when I was a caregiver, I wrote something that I never put into my book, Behind The Mask. I though it was too harsh. It went something like this:

Where were you when I needed  you? When I was crying my eyes out alone and scared. You all called and asked how my husband was doing, no one asked me how I was doing.

I’d like to think all that has changed, that people are more tuned in, and are more aware of the needs of caregivers.

Now that my husband is diagnosed again, it starts all over again for me.

I’d like to think we are better prepared this time around.
The one thing I do remember, and know to be true. I will have to live in his reality, when the time comes.

Please go out and Adopt A Caregiver.  Give the gift that lasts forever, and costs nothing.

Keep love and kisses in your life.

My World, Your World

Is my world so different that your world on this Thursday, August 22, 2013?

So, if you read my other post you know that my husband has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease for the second time in twenty years. Are there any other people you know who have gone through this? What do they have to say about it? I don’t even know what I should say about it, except that the diagnosis, or course, was wrong the first time.

The numbness is wearing off, and the feeling is returning to my mind and my body. I am meditating for my mind, but boy does my body hurt, as Fibromyalgia is alive and well. Momentum is building up; what’s next?

I’m very blessed and very lucky that I have a great support system all around me. My family lives close and remains close to us, and have already started to feel very protective towards us.

My writing group here at our senior center is going well. Although there only about 210 apartments, we have a core group of 7 who come every week. We keep it interesting and fun at the same time.

Everyone is asking me if I’m going to start another book about Howard and Alzheimer’s Disease. I might, although it’s a little early to have too much to write at this time. Although the Neurologist has already started talking about doing a study. I, for one, have so many questions about that. Have any of us gone through a study, and how did you feel about it at the beginning, and then at the end? Would love to hear from you about it.

Remember to Adopt A Caregiver. Give the gift that lasts forever, and costs nothing.

Keep love and kisses in your life.

 

An Old Post That Is Still Meaningful

 

Today is August 20, and this appeared on my blog several years ago.

The most important things in my life are my family and friends; my passion for writing, reading and knitting; and my self respect.

My book, Behind the Mask, shows the complete range of emotions a new caregiver goes through each day.

Alzheimer’s disease is not contagious, yet the caregivers are usually left alone without the support of friends and neighbors, even family. This disease can last for many years, leaving the caregiver worn out and alone.

Adopt A Caregiver is my unique way of giving back. All you have to do is check your neighborhood, your social clubs, church, synagogue, your doctor’s office, the Alzheimer’s Caregiver’s message boards, and the Mayo Clinic message boards.

Just send an email or phone the person who needs a friend, listen and come back often to let him/her know you care and are thinking of them. Just being there to listen is a huge help.

Adopt a Caregiver. Give something back: Contribute to the well being of people who are so busy caring for others.

The above was on my blog a few years ago.

Now I’m faced with my husband’s new diagnosis, early stage of Alzheimer’s Disease,

We are taking it one day at a time, making memories each day and being grateful of the time we have together and with our family. They are our greatest supporters.

Keep love and kisses in your life.

Reflections of Me: High School

Visions of me in high school brings back such unhappy memories. My sister, who still smelled everything, got into all my things. I had started a diary, and wanted to write a story, but she was always pulling out my things, clothes, papers,  and  kept looking at them.. My writing career was over before it ever began. I was painfully shy, and didn’t want anyone to laugh at me or what I had written.

My mother, confident, beautiful, outgoing was everything I was not. I felt pathetically insecure, that nothing I did ever turned out right.

At this time the fighting between my parents  was at it’s worst. My sister, we now knew, was smelling everything because she couldn’t see! We were so close, we never realized how bad it was until she started school. Her glasses were like coke bottles.

But, for me, the real tragedy was that I retreated more and more into my shell. It became evident in school that I was daydreaming, not paying attention, and my grades were failing. I burst out crying in the classroom more than once, for no reason. No teacher, guidance counselor, friend tried to help. I kept it all bottled up inside until it came pouring out.

I did the best I could, but I knew in my heart I had to get away from my home situation. I admit I  took the coward’s way out.

I confronted my Mom one day and asked her, “Do you want me to have a nervous breakdown, or will you allow me to quit school.?”

Sadly, her eyes overflowing, she said, “Yes, I give you permission to quit school.”

I left the eleventh grade and got myself a full time job.

By this time, we both knew college was out for me. Something I had looked forward to all my life.

Keep love and kisses in your life and

Adopt A Caregiver. Give the gift that lasts forever and costs nothing.

Until next time: My First Job

 

Being With Family

Being back in California with all the kids, grand-kids and great grand-kids is wonderful. What more can I ask for? We now have two great grand children. A girl, almost 7 months old, and a boy, just a month old. We spend a lot of time together.

Someone in our family made a simple family tree in 1996 and it wasn’t until I added my great grand children that it seems that they are the 8th or 9th generation in our family. So, I have decided to start delving into our family tree. It’s a huge project, lots of dead ends, and a lot of thought and work will have to go into getting into the records. I’m going to try.

Other than that, am looking forward to my birthday in two weeks and one day. Next year I will be eighty! Because of that and my health I have to give up on Adopt A Caregiver. I will still write about it, but I can’t run out to speak to groups like I did in Henderson. This will be an easier path for me.

I thank all of you who have responded to Adopt A Caregiver. And now, all I ask, is for you to be aware of the caregivers in your block, your work, your school, and your community. These people are lonely, scared, don’t want to talk about it, but they need a friend. Send a note, an email, just check in once in a while. Please.

If you don’t understand what it’s like to be a caregiver, read my book, Behind The Mask. I spent seven long years smiling for my husband who was suddenly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Stand in my shoes for an hour or two,  read how I felt and have compassion for those around you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

My Get Up And Go Has Gone

Tired, tough day, no. Just feeling blah. Everything is a struggle. Fibromyalgia is alive and well, and it is making me feel awful. I am hurting. Everywhere.

Tomorrow is another day. I’m looking forward to waking up and feeling great.

I’m going for a much needed haircut, and out to dinner with my daughter.

At least I’m knitting. Otherwise I’d probably be even more miserable.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Give the gift that lasts forever and costs nothing. Adopt A Caregiver.

Your Past Is Not Your Future

We are all shaped by our past. Our parents, schools, friends, all played a part in who we are. We all have our burdens, our bullies, things we didn’t know how to cope with. How you choose to remember is up to you.

But, you do have choices and the person you are today is by your choice. Don’t waste it. Life is precious. Time is what we all have in common. How we use that time is up to us. Only you can make your life the best it can be.

November is National Caregivers Month. Give the gift that lasts forever and costs nothing. Adopt A Caregiver and tell them your friend Helene sent you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Visist www.adoptacaregiver.org

Support Caregivers

November is National Caregivers Month. Support your community. Find a caregiver and offer to email or call them. Offer to arrange a lunch for them. Offer your shoulder to cry on, to help carry the load of the world that’s on their shoulders. Encourage them to tell their story. Either in written form, or on line. There are many sites for caregivers to tell their stories.

It only takes a couple of minutes to form a friendship with an email. Particularly in your own neighborhood. Someone knows a caregiver.

Give the gift that lasts forever and costs nothing. Adopt A Caregiver.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Making Mistakes

We all make mistakes. This week I’ve been full of them. Some of them have been frustrating, humiliating, and others I have learned that you can learn from your mistakes.

I failed the written driving test the first time around, and felt foolish and humiliated. I had to rip out several parts of the sweater I’m knitting, and that was frustrating. A lot of stitches to rip out and put back on the needles the correct way. Very time consuming, but I learned what I did wrong. At least I hope I did.

We all make mistakes, if we didn’t make mistakes, we aren’t making any decisions. And that’s a bad thing. In one day we make many decisions, about what to make for dinner, to get the paperwork off the desk, to make those phone calls we keep putting off and to cope with the day with a smile on our face.

A smile on our face shows we care, and that we can cope. A smile makes us feel good. So find something to smile about.

I am smiling, I have my first great grandchild’s baby shower on Saturday. It’s a girl. Four generations of women. This child also will have six, yes, six great grandparents! How wonderful.

Stand in someone else’s shoes, and then make the decision, what would you do? You certainly would understand them better. You will feel their pain, their emotions, and have some compassion for what they are going through.

Can’t find someone’s shoes to stand in? Read Behind The Mask by Helene Moore, a secret journal, written when she was a caregiver for her husband. Then seven years later, the diagnosis was changed. Yes, we were the lucky ones. So now it’s time to give back.

I started Adopt A Caregiver, see www.adoptacaregiver.org then help me spread my word, and plant the seeds for everyone to adopt a caregiver. They need a friend.

Keep love and kisses in your life Helene