Reflections Of Me: Me and Alzheimer’s Disease

Hard to take in this diagnosis, even the second time around. The difference is I’m not looking for the next thing to happen.

Instead I focus on each day, making loving memories, savoring my love notes every morning and all the kisses I get every day. It’s getting to be too many to count. I love them.

We’ve made peace with Alzheimer’s Disease. We have made our decisions, and our wishes known to the family and hope it’s a long time in the future for any further actions.

Alzheimer’s Disease is something that makes me sad for Howard. He is smart enough to know when he is losing it.

Last time, twenty years ago, he said his mind was like a sieve, pieces just fell through the openings. Sometimes just a blank page.

Thank goodness we have a great support group, they are very protective of us. Thank you all.

How many of you know someone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease two times??? I wonder, as I think the percentage is higher than I thought.

Meditation and journal writing for me is a tremendous help, as are all my friends and family and writing buddies.

Remember to Adopt A Caregiver. Give the gift that keeps on giving, and costs nothing.

Keep love and kisses in your life.

I Lost Tonight's Blog

I have no idea what I did, but I lost tonight’s blog.

I was writing about Journaling, and about tips for writing memoirs.

Let me see if I can reconstruct what I wrote, since I do not use notes.

Journaling. Just write whatever comes to mind, phrases, about your day, your goals, what you are grateful for, anything that comes into your mind.

Memoirs, also keep it simple. One of the easiest ways to start a memoir, is to write it as a letter.

Dear —-, Remember when we, or, I wanted to talk about the time, or, this is so hard to talk about that I thought I would write to you, or, the most traumatic time of my life was when.

Keep it simple. Another way of doing memoir is to write out simple phrases in 10 year increments in your life. Mine would read something like this:

10 years old: we moved away from family and friends, it was 1941 and the war had just started and my father needed a job.

20 years old. I got married….

By the time I was 30, I had three children.

At age 35, we went through a personal bankruptcy

by age 50, we had restarted and sold our business, and moved to N.Y.

Using mind maps, like the branches of a tree, or look online for Mind Maps, and fill them in. Just keep it simple. It’s an easy way to start.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene Moore

Moore Writing Prompts

Yesterday’s prompts were off the top of my head.

These are  a few more of my prompts:

“The news wasn’t good

She heard the commotion

Point that camera somewhere else

She sky was ablaze

The experience left her shaken

Where had that crazy thought come from?

The door crashed ope, “Police.”

Memories are forever but”

I encourage caregivers to write, either in a journal, or on a scrap of paper to vent. Phrases work, or long sentences, or a few words. Journaling is a powerful, healing tool for good health. Caregivers need this kind of support.

There are caregivers in you own community. Give the gift that lasts forever, and costs nothing. Adopt A Caregiver and tell them your friend Helene sent you. An email will work, build up some trust, and become his/her supporter.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

When You Touch Me

If you remember I told you I took a Journaling for Caregiver on- line course several weeks ago. This is one assignment I wrote; When You Touch Me.

“Every time we touch I am reminded how blessed we are rthat we are still so much in love after 56 years of marriage. If only everyone could find what we have we’d be living in a better, more compassionate and loving world. Where each person takes responsibility for his actions and knows that every action brings a reaction. And there are consequences for our actions. Why have we lost that as a nation?

But I just want to talk about us. I said in the beginning we were blessed, that’s not to say we didn’t work on our marriage or that we didn’t have plenty of ups and downs- believe me, maybe more ups and downs than most. But at the same time we made it work. And it was hard work, going through a personal bankruptcy when we had three children ages 13, 11, and 8. That wasn’t easy . We made the best of it, and the kids helped, working along side us whenever they could. Through it all our love shone through.

We have through the awful scare of Alzheimer’s Disease and for seven long years we went through hell. Me, as the caregiver, and Howard knowing he was losing chunks of his memory. But we were together.

Today our life is so different, yet the same, even better. Our love affair is stronger, more loving. I receive a love note every morning, Howard makes me coffee and helps around the house, leaving me time for my alone time, or for writing on my blog and other writing, and knitting.

During those seven years of being a caregiver, I wrote a secret journal pushing all my emotions onto the page, my secret fears, and my yearnings. I just reread one of them, and would like to include that paragraph here.”

From Behind The Mask

“I want to crawl into his skin. I want to run my hands all over him, and kiss everything better. I want to protect him. I don’t want him to know what is happening, I want to run my hands over the grass or trail my hands and feet in the water. I want to look at the sunsets, see the mountains. I want to beat the crap out of something, anything. I want to cry. I want a hug, I want to touch velvet and silk. I want to touch Howard and I want to heal him with my kisses and my love. I want him not to worry about being a burden to me. I want him not to worry about me. I want someone to worry about me. How’s that for an oxymoron?

I want YESTERDAY. I’m scared of tomorrow.”

Journaling is a powerful tool. I urge all caregivers to try to write something every day. Especially three things they are grateful for. Even if one of those things is the sunshine, or that they slept all night.

Remember, this is the time for giving. Give the gift that lasts forever, and costs nothing. Adopt A Caregiver, all it takes is an email. Tell them your friend Helene sent you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

A Spiritual Quest

Something that I wrote while I was a caregiver for my husband who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 1993, and the doctor changed that diagnosis seven years later. As I look back over this writing, I realize it still resonates with me and my new journey.

“Once upon a time I embarked on a spiritual quest. It was a long and arduous journey as I was swept along the sea of change, riding the waves and learning the tides.

When the tide was out, I encountered the demons of the sea, when the tides were in I was sheltered and calm, unafraid.

I am looking at the future. I see hope ahead, but I also see devastation. Life will continue and we will continue to have hope. A round robin to be sure, but with calmness and courage and dignity and laughter, the stormy seas will again be calm.”

November is National Caregivers Month, and my new journey is to have everyone Adopt A Caregiver. Give the gift that last forever and costs nothing. Find someone in your community who is a caregiver, and become their friend. Encouage them to talk, to journal, to get those revolving emotions out.

Give something back, it’s so easy to Adopt A Caregiver. Tell them your friend Helene sent you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

No Life Preserver

I have started to finish the stories of my life, my memoirs,  and I found this amongst some of the papers.

“My pen is poised. Remembering things I want to write down, or forget about.  Stuff I want to think about, what made me the person I am today.

How did I change? Or Grow? And Learn?

Unlike talking, when I write I never know what the pen is going to say in advance, it just flows out.

My story is unique, as yours is, unlike any other”

I summed up my teen years this way, “Broken dreams yanked out of my life due to circumstances beyond my control. Whereas once I was encouraged to dream, I was suddenly thrust head first into life and I didn’t have a life preserver.”

Caregivers are thrown head first into life; in one second their life changes. They don’t have a life preserver either. But we can help. When we hear about someone in our community who has become a caregiver, lets not leave them alone and scared, lets help them.

Adopt a Caregiver and tell them Helene sent you.

Thank you to www.notjusthekitchen.com for their including me in their blog. Thank you. I hope my friends and readers will go to your website and read it.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

A Teen Caregiver

I’m taking a memoir writing class with B. Lynn Goodwin at www.writeradvice.com and one of the first assignments is to write about where I’ve been. And I realized something I had never thought about. In the 1940’s I was a teen-aged caregiver.

When I was almost twelve my mother gave birth to my sister who weighed two pounds. She was in an incubator for three months and the day she was supposed to come home from the hospital I woke up with Measles.

She came home, and my life was never the same. She cried all the time, and as she grew older she started smelling everything and everybody. The few times my friends came over, they snickered and thought my sister was a freak. Soon they stopped coming, but my sister continued to smell everything that came in her way. People, things, food, and I guess my Mom and I got used to it. During these first years my Mom came down with a nervous stomach. Many times I thought she was faking. She would throw up, then eat. Desert first, then food. Remember I was still a kid, what did I know?

When school started someone noticed that my sister could not see!!!  It wasn’t till years later that they discovered many preemies were given too much oxygen and many of them became blind.

I just never thought of myself as a caregiver, but I was. I had to be home to help take care of my sister, help clean and cook and soon my friends stopped asking me to join them after school. Weekends, I usually had to take my sister with me, and that was not fun. Funny that I never realized until today that I was a caregiver during my teen years.

Many kids are caregivers. Look out for them, help them, encourage them to write out their feelings, to talk to someone about their situation. It might not change for them, but it could change their perception of life. Just so someone understands what they are going through.

Adopt A Caregiver! Man, woman or child. They all need our help. Tell them Helene sent you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Reaching Out to Caregivers

I’m reaching out to caregivers. I understand your emotions, your loneliness, your feelings that you do not want to share, that you do not want to be a burden to anyone.

I want to change all that. I want everyone to adopt a caregiver. I want all caregivers to be able to ‘talk or vent’ to someone. I want caregivers to be able to open up, either in their private journal, or to the person who emails them, and wants to adopt them.

When I write Adopt A Caregiver, I want to express all your feelings, your stories, and let everyone know what it’s like to be you.

One person can make a difference, and I want to do that, with your help.]

Your comments are so rewarding, and I will include them in my book.

Behind The Mask, by Helene Moore, is every new caregivers story, and is available on this website for a signed copy.

Adopt A Caregiver will be the outpouring of stories from you, the caregiver. I hope to hear from you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Waiting To Hear From You

Every day you hear more and more  younger people are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Every time my grandson plays soccer and hits a header and is knocked out, I worry. But early diagnosis is a good thing. I strongly advise it. The Alzheimer’s Association, the doctors and the scientists have made great strides in this field. Maybe someday there won’t be any necessity for caregivers.

But that’s the future, and the reality is that there are too many overstressed, overworked, lonely, scared, and depressed caregivers. Lets give them a break. Find a way to communicate with them. Listen, don’t judge, tell them you care, you can email them often, maybe send the a  joke or two to make them smile. It all helps, and one person can make a difference. The rewards are immensely satisfying. Just knowing you reached out to help..has to make you feel ten feet tall.

For all the caregivers out there, hang in there, reach out to us, and let us know you are willing to hear from us. We need your permission.

To all the hospitals, nurses, assisted living places, give us some feedback. I’m waiting to hear from you. Please comment or email me, the link is on my website.

When I was a caregiver, and I wrote my secret journal and then published it as Behind The Mask, I realized that it had a purpose. My book was every caregivers story.

Now my mission is to have everyone adopt a caregiver. It only takes a few minutes of your time, an email once a week or so. As much, or as little as you want.

As for my bits and pieces of my life, I’m still knitting. writing is still a little hard for me, since my finger had surgery, but the doctor told me it would just take some time. So I’m writing on the computer, and I’ve started my new book, Adopt A Caregiver.

Stories told to me with your permission, including my own stories that were not included in Behind The Mask will be included in the new book.  Maybe next time, I will write something here that I wrote during my emotional time as a caregiver for my husband.

We were the lucky ones, he did not get Alzheimer’s, but we went through seven years thinking this is it, it’s happening now. We have no idea what happened, or what it was, I only thank God for our good fortune.

Now I want to give something back; and my adopt a caregiver program is the one thing I will not give up on for the rest of my life.

For you caregivers reading this, take heart, progress is being made every day. Write in a journal, get out your thoughts, anger, despair, little bits of happiness, and the why is this happening to me. Writing it out helps, even if you don’t think so now.

In the meantime I hope to hear from you.]

Behind The Mask is available on my website. I will send a signed copy.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Journals For Caregivers

Caregivers have asked me several times how can I find time to journal? Or to write a memoir about taking care of someone you love who is slipping away from you.

I do have one suggestion, and it can work for all kinds of writing.

Take a manilla envelope and write small phrases or a bit of a memory on a slip of paper and put it away in the envelope. When you have the time, and you can look at a slip from the envelope, you will remember that memory.

Remember to date everything you write, no matter what it is.

My book Behind The Mask was not written that way. I found the time to journal. But all my other wring stems from bits and pieces that I jotted down to remember a certain event.

I’m speaking to a group tonight, come back tomorrow to see how it went. It’s exciting gatting my word out about adopt a caregiver.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene