Dementia Update

As some of you know or have noticed over the years, I am unable to post on a consistent regular basis as I once did my first decade on WordPress. My commenting and participation on other blogs I enjoy following, sadly has become very limited as well. If you are fairly new to my blog, visiting, or browsing WP, the reason there are much fewer posts is due to my Mom’s Stage 5 Dementia, which is really now well into early symptoms of Stage 6 with fewer mixes now or crossover with Stage 5.

In my December 2021 post about her cognitive decline I listed and briefly explained all the various stages. As of 2022, it seems the general consensus of all the seven stages are known and what the adult children of parents with dementia, or early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, can expect. Here is Stage 6 according to Dementia.org:

Stage 6: Moderately Severe to Severe Dementia

When the patient begins to forget the names of their children, spouse, or primary caregivers, they are most likely entering stage 6 of dementia and will need full time care. In the sixth stage, patients are generally unaware of their surroundings, cannot recall recent events, and have skewed memories of their personal past. Caregivers and loved ones should watch for:

  • Delusional behavior
  • Obsessive behavior and symptoms
  • Anxiety, aggression, and agitation
  • Loss of willpower

Patients may begin to wander, have difficulty sleeping, and in some cases will experience hallucinations.

Mom shows all of those four bullet-points now, although three of the four on some days and then perhaps two of the four other days. But there is always at least two of four every single day. She definitely needs supervision at minimum 12-16 hours per day with some of that time (1-hr at most) a check-in or Q&A time sporadically with her throughout the day to gauge how she’s getting along.

Friends and neighbors sometimes ask me how I am doing, how I’m managing my own health and social needs. Apparently, Caretakers of elderly parents with dementia or Alzheimer’s are often overwhelmed in a period time if they receive no relief, no break for themselves and don’t become well-informed of the two diseases. Another thing I’ve heard from the support-group I attend once a month is that the role of caretaker is usually a thankless job/role. Since late-stage dementia is basically early Alzheimer’s Disease, Alz.org lists Ten Symptoms of Caregiver Stress. I currently tick 9 out of 10 symptoms. The biggest reason why? I’ve been going non-stop, no break, every single day and night as her full-time, live-in caretaker since mid-August 2021, or over 47-weeks straight with no respite.

Back in late April of this year I was supposed to get a much needed 6-day, 5-night vacation up in Dallas, my hometown where all my good friends still live. We had several plans made and fun, exciting things to do, dancing, umm… and maybe some drinking included! 😉 But here’s what happened that week/weekend that changed everything: In Memoriam to My Brother. Hence, no real vacation for me at all. I spent the vast majority of my time at the hospital sitting with James, followed by waiting (alone) in my hotel room some 4-5 days and nights for decisions and details about his funeral. I had no motivation to go out alone or with friends; I wasn’t great company then anyway.

So yeah, over 47-weeks now and still counting.

Meanwhile, Mom and I march on, day-in and night-out, fighting a cognitive disease that takes a little more brain-space from her than we can actually replace or take back. But we do have our victories here and there. That’s when Mom wants to celebrate big with either glasses of her Pinot Grigio or I make a pitcher of my world famous El Presidente margaritas, which have a good patada de toro to the ass or head, whichever it reaches first. Hah! 🍸🥳 These are our cherished good times and there will come a day when they aren’t possible. And so we enjoy them thoroughly, when we can, and at length for sure. Do you know what I mean? 😍

Live Well – Love Much – Laugh Often – Learn Always

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Time To Take A Hard Look America

#1 - Denmark

#1 – Denmark

In a recent poll by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) the happiest citizens in the world — out of 140 countries polled — are in Europe, northern Europe to be exact.  To read details about the questions used in the poll, click this link:  ABC News: Business & Economy.  Where did the self-proclaimed mightiest “land of opportunity” nation rank?  The United States did not even crack the Top 10.

The OECD found that the health of the nation’s economy was a major influence on the pollees, such as the current unemployment rate.  A 2005 article written by Dr. Tony Delamothe and published in the British Medical Journal reported that “individuals typically get richer during their lifetimes, but not happier.  It is family, social and community networks that bring joy to one’s life, according to Delamothe.  Delamothe’s research included Ghana, Mexico, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  Another very significant influential factor was the citizen’s hourly balance between work and leisure.  The poll showed that “While Scandinavian countries boast a high GDP per capita, the average workweek in that part of the world is no more than 37 hours.  In China, which got a low score of just 14.8, the workweek is 47 hours and the GDP per capita is just $3,600.

Before Americans typically begin screaming and quickly pointing the finger, it is time that the deconstructing segregating mentalities — that are often based in medieval conservative-elitist ideologies — be dropped all together and a more GLOBAL humanitarian tolerant mentality be embraced.  How critical is this self-examination?  Easy….because on a global comparative scale the United States falls short and well behind the rest of the world in too many categories!  Whether America likes it or not her once arrogant image of herself as the “beacon to the world” by Lady Liberty in New York harbor, needs to be much more inclusive than globally exclusive.  Gone is the age when Americans are immune to the world’s brilliance and problems across two oceans.

Here is an idea:  instead of constantly considering ourselves proud Americans, let’s consider ourselves human beings from planet earth that has OTHER 6.8 billion humans existing on it as well….whom ironically are doing better and are much healthier and happier.  Happiness, brilliance, or righteousness is not exclusive to just one continent, let alone one nation or ideology.  Tunnel-vision is a very risky game when entering narrow railroad tunnels and the status of trains (other nations) are unknown.  By the way, who are the other happiest nations that have social-political methods for America to learn from, or model?

#1 – Denmark,  #2 – Finland,  #3 – Netherlands,  #4 – Sweden,  #5 – Ireland,  #6 – Canada,  #7 – Switzerland,  #8 – New Zealand,  #9 – Norway,  #10 – Belgium

Where did the United States rank?  According to LifeScience.com, the U.S. comes in at #12.  Other studies (Gallup Survey) have America coming in lower.  The majority of the unhappiest nations are found on the African continent.  One particular area of interest; notice that of the Top 10 nations listed, it begs at least one question, “What type of healthcare systems do they have?”  Hmmmmm.

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