Dotty was always convinced she could take “care” of herself, and then something changed.
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer’s Reading Room
Dorothy Olive DeMarco was born on June 29, 1916. She went to Heaven on May 25, 2012. Today is Dotty’s birthday, she would have been 96 years old.
95 Years Old
I was convinced for thirty years that Dotty would live to be more than one hundred years old. I did waver on this a bit when Alzheimer’s disease came into our lives.
Around 2004, I came to a very different conclusion. I started to believe that Dotty would go to Heaven if and only if she learned the most important lesson of her life.
I can say that with the exception of her brain, Dotty was a “healthy old broad”. She told this to everyone that would listen right up until very close to the end.
Why do persons with Alzheimer’s act so odd? Why are the behaviors so disconcerting and unsettling to us?
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer’s Reading RoomDotty Loves Flowers.
There are twelve comments under the article. Twelve really good comments. The comments made me laugh, they made me smile, they made me feel good.
They also reminded me that we all have a lot in common; and that, we are not alone.
Within her comment Jocelyn wrote, “Why is it that it is usually the little things that are so annoying?”
Max, it’s a shame for me to tell the world, that the government of Aruba is not treating their elderly and the person with Alzheimer’s or MCI fairly, whilst the government will continuously boast to the world that Aruba is “One Big Happy Island” and one of the most visited islands in the Caribbean.
By Max Wallack
Alzheimer’s Reading RoomFundacion Alzheimer Aruba posted the link to my article on Facebook.
Within minutes, there were 36 comments. Unfortunately, they were not in English. I decided to message Fundacion Alzheimer Aruba and request a translation, if possible.
The translation I received was shocking.
“Does Audrey have her hearing aids in?”
By Pamela R. Kelley
Alzheimer’s Reading RoomThe Alzheimer’s Reading Room for any period of time, you know Bob DeMarco’s Venn diagram depicting the overlap between the ordinary world and Alzheimer’s World.
It’s shaded at the sweet spot where we as caregivers sometimes reside, where we understand our roles as care partners better. We learn to communicate more effectively because we’ve gained some compassionate skills while adapting to the challenges dementia imposes.
When my mother moved to an assisted living facility for those with memory loss, I began to see that it wasn’t enough for just me to inhabit the sweet spot. My mother’s care was being shared now with others.
All these new people would have a very different perspective on my mother, Audrey, since they’d not known her essential nature before Alzheimer’s arrived. I had to hope they’d give her the benefit of the doubt when she was being hostile, insulting, degrading or worse.
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I figured I could serve as the bridge that helped them understand and manage my mother at her most difficult. I could translate Audrey to them, and slowly help them take that little step to the left and into the sweet spot of Alzheimer’s World where Mom and I comfortably reside together.
They needed to know that if my mother was snappish or aggravated in the morning, talking loudly and a bit rudely, then the first question they should answer was whether or not she was wearing her hearing aids. If she was not, then she wasn’t hearing anything they’d said, or even if they’d said anything. And she would be angry that they were doing things in her room without telling her about it and asking permission.
Or approaching her too closely before making clear that they meant her no harm. It surprised me how often I arrived in the morning to hear her assigned caregiver report that my mother was in a terrible mood, that she wouldn’t come down to the sunroom for breakfast, or that she wouldn’t take her pills.
The litany of how my mother was a difficulty to the morning caregiver knocked me off kilter for the first few weeks, until I began to notice the pattern. On those mornings when the report was largely negative, Mom often didn’t have her hearing aids in. Or if she did, the batteries were dead. So I began asking regularly, after the report was delivered, “Does Audrey have her hearing aids in?”
It took me a while longer to understand that simply asking wouldn’t prompt the care staff to incorporate this small step into their routine approach to my mother every day. I needed to make sure that this step was incorporated into her formal plan of care as well – written down in the task book that drove the staff activities from shift to shift.
I needed to make sure that the “behavior log” contained within it my hard-won knowledge of how to assess the likely origins of my mother’s difficult behavior, so that full blown upsets could be avoided or nipped early.
If it wasn’t her profound hearing loss that set her on edge because she’d not remembered the hearing aids, then it was likely her arthritis pain acting up. I always knew when my mother was in pain when she winced a certain way, or reached for her left shoulder, or held her lower arm limply across her lap. I knew to look for these signals. I knew Audrey didn’t complain of pain outright, but that if I saw one of these signs and asked her at that moment whether her shoulders hurt, I would get an accurate answer. And I also knew that was the time I would most likely get her to take her pill for the pain, and that otherwise she would resist the pills.
This too was information that needed to be added into that behavior log and plan of care.
Over the ensuing months, I’ve managed to impart quite a bit of information about the unique language that Audrey uses.
Calling someone “Lady” is a sure sign that she believes the individual is being bossy, pushy or nosy. She’s on the road to an upset if her privacy or personal space isn’t soon restored.
In contrast, “Lady Jane” is a term of jocular affection.
This is part three in a three part series.
Pamela R. Kelley is the full-time caregiver for her mother, after serving as her long-distance caregiver for more than four years. Before her caregiving role took primacy, Ms. Kelley directed an American Bar Association-approved paralegal education program at the University of Alaska Anchorage from within UAA’s Justice Center. As she transitioned to full-time caregiving, she prepared a resource manual and presented lectures on long-distance caregiving to her UAA colleagues. She is a 25-year member of the Alaska Bar Association, and concentrated her years of active practice in the areas of commercial transactions and creditor representation in complex bankruptcy cases. Over the years, she has published many articles on topics as varied as cyber-stalking and antitrust law. Ms. Kelley lives, works and writes in Anchorage, Alaska.
More Insight and Advice from the Alzheimer’s Reading Room
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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer’s Reading Room
The indices (DJIA 13000, S&P 1399) had a hiccup yesterday, closing down more than just fractionally. Nevertheless, they remain well within their primary trends (1) short term trading ranges [12022-13302, 1266-1422] and (2) intermediate term uptrends [12276-17176, 1292-1872].
The real question, of course, is, will there be follow through to the downside that would extend to the lower boundaries of one or the other of aforementioned primary trends? Lacking omniscience, I have no idea; but were it to occur, our Portfolios would be Buyers.
Volume was flattish; breadth declined with the on balance volume indicator just getting worse. The VIX spiked for the fourth day in a row and is up seven out of the last eight sessions. It closed above the upper boundary of the very short term downtrend. Our time and distance discipline is operative now; but this move is not a positive signal for stocks.
McDonald’s operates or licenses more than 33,500 fast food restaurants world wide.
Over the past ten years, the company has grown profits at a 13% pace but dividends at 26% annualized while earning a 25%+ return on equity. Looking forward, the pace of advance of dividends should slow somewhat although earnings growth is expected to continue at an above average pace as a result of:
(1) global growth not only in the number of restaurants but also in same store sales,
(2) introduction of new higher margin products [McCafe Real Fruit Smoothies, Frappes, Angus snack wraps],
(3) a revitalization program aimed at increasing market share via rising restaurant visits, growing brand loyalty and a new marketing campaign,
The indices (DJIA 13107, S&P 1410) continued to drift yesterday, finishing the day slightly to the upside. The remain within (1) their short term trading ranges [12022-13302, 1266-1422] though they are in a position to challenge the upper boundaries and (2) their intermediate term uptrends [12266-17266, 1291-1871].
Volume was up modestly; breadth improved. The VIX rose again but is still below the upper boundary of its short term downtrend. However, its recent spike is a bit incongruous with stock prices meandering in a tight range—-suggesting that investors are anticipating more volatility in the near future. It remains above the recently re-set lower boundary of its intermediate term trading range.
Don’t worry about the low volume (short):
GLD declined, falling below the upper boundary of its short term downtrend. Under our time and distance discipline, this close negates the recent break, leaving the downtrend in tact.
The technical picture on gold looks good (medium):
Bottom line: stocks seem to be in suspended animation right now awaiting news from Jackson Hole on Friday and from Europe in September. I am a bit surprised that investors are willing to hold equities when the most positive outcome is fully priced in. Clearly I could be wrong on that judgment; but I can’t come up with a plausible scenario that is more positive that which is currently expected. So I am holding to the position that stocks are near their near term highs and focusing on the Sell side in our Portfolios.
This Week’s Data
The International Council of Shopping Centers reported weekly sales of major retailers up 0.5% versus the prior week and up 3.4% versus the comparable period last year; Redbook Research reported month to date retail chain store sales up 1.5% on a year over year basis.
The June Case Shiller home price index came in +0.9%.
The August Conference Board’s consumer confidence index was reported at 60.6 versus estimates of 65.9.
The August Richmond Fed’s manufacturing index came in at -9 versus forecasts of -10.
Weekly mortgage applications fell 4.3% though purchase applications increased by 1.0%.
The second revision of second quarter GDP came in at +1.7, in line while the GDP deflator was reported at +1.6%, in line.