With Dementia…Time is My Enemy

It’s been awhile since we’ve shared a guest blog from Rick Phelps. Rick was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in June of 2010 at the age of 57. Rick is passionate about bringing awareness to this disease and is the Founder of Memory People, an Alzheimer’s and dementia support and awareness group on Facebook. In the latest blog article, Rick tells us how time has become his enemy with his disease.

“Sometimes yesterday, can seem a million years away.” This is the beginning of “While I Still Can…” a song my dear friend Dan Mitchell penned for me.

He took some of my quotes and put them to music. The reason the first line of the song is about yesterday, is because when you have dementia you have no yesterdays.

I no longer have any concept of time. I can tell time, but there is no concept of it. Ten minutes can seem like an hour. If someone says “I will call you in a half hour” that half hour is long forgotten in just minutes.

Many patients suffer with the loss of time. When you are able to tell time you need a reference point. Take for example, if you know you have to be at an appointment on a certain day, at a certain time, the first thing that goes through you mind is a reference of that time.

If it’s Monday at 3:00pm. you might reference that too it’s your first day back at work, and you have to be there when the kids get of school, at 3:00pm.

This doesn’t work when you have dementia. I can’t keep track of the time of day it is, let alone the day of the week. I have no reference to go by.

timeFlies

Telling your loved one you will be taking them to the doctor tomorrow, Monday at 1:00pm means absolutely nothing. Chances are they don’t know what today is, let alone tomorrow and if you tell them they will simply forget.

Again because they have lost the concept of time. Not many people talk about losing the ability to tell time or know what day it is, but it is a huge problem for the dementia patient.

Everything you do, everything you have planned from the time you wake up till the time you go to bed at night, dictates because of your reference to time.

Right now I know it’s Wednesday, only because I just looked. I had to fill some paper work already this morning, and did it before Phyllis June was up.

That was a mistake. I put the date as September 31rst. There is no September 31rst. I looked at the calendar and everything, but still wrote in September 31.

She checked it luckily and said its Oct.1, not September 31. She didn’t go into there is no September 31, knowing that it wouldn’t register any ways.

Out of habit, you will tell your loved one about a certain date, or time. And that’s fine. It’s what you have been doing forever. Just try to remember, they have no reference of time, and will likely not remember it in just minutes.

So, if it’s important you have to be the one to make sure they are ready to go or do whatever it is at any given time.

The second verse of the song goes, “Time is my enemy, that’s why I’m living for right now.. Tomorrow just to far to think about, my heart only knows one task.”

Time indeed is my enemy. And it most likely is your loved ones as well…

We’d like to thank Rick for sharing his personal stories with us to bring awareness of this disease to others. To learn more about Rick and his story you can visit his website at http://whileistillcan.net

If you or someone you know has been touched by dementia or you’d like more information, please join other patients, caregivers, and advocates all walking this journey together at the Memory People Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180666768616259

Do You Know the 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?

You probably have a family member or friend that has been affected by Alzheimer’s. Over 5 million Americans are living with the disease today. It is now the 6th leading cause of death in the US with 1 in 3 seniors dying from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.1

Hopefully these shocking statistics have gotten your attention.

We have all forgotten things here and there and make jokes about our memory failing us as we get old. However, experiencing the memory loss from Alzheimer’s can be completely devastating to family and friends of loved ones that are affected. Awareness of the disease is key to help with early diagnosis and treatments to help ease the progression of the disease.

Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. The Alzheimer’s association has made note of 10 warning signs and symptoms.1

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1.  Memory loss that disrupts daily life

2.  Challenges in solving problems

3.  Difficulty completing familiar tasks

4.  Confusion with time or place

5.  Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

6.  New problems with words in speaking or writing

7.  Misplacing things

8.  Decreased or poor judgment

9.  Withdrawal from work or social activities

10.  Changes in mood and personality

Take a moment to read these early signs in more detail by visiting www.alz.org®

If you notice any of these warning signs it is advised that you or your loved one see a doctor soon to discuss the possibility of having Alzheimer’s.

Enriched Life Home Care Services is committed to promoting awareness of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. We also provide respite care for friends and family that are caregivers for their loved ones.

1 Source: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_facts_and_figures.asp

Enriched Life Home Care Services, LLC  |  www.ELHCS.com

A Mother’s Selfless Love: Michele’s Story

Enriched Life Home Care Services is grateful for the personal story Michele DeSocio has written about placing her mother with dementia in a care facility. We hope that her story will be a help to others that are dealing with the difficult decision of placing their loved one in a facility versus keeping them at home.

My Mom, Jean DelCampo, was 58 when I got a call asking for help. I picked Mom up and moved her in my home along with my husband and three children. At the time Mom was misdiagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder. 

Several years later my husband and I went away for a weekend, leaving Mom in the capable hands of my sister. The change in environment caused Mom to shake uncontrollably and my sister brought her to the ER. 

After 19 horrid days in a psych ward Mom was finally properly diagnosed with dementia. Mom was still capable of making her own decisions and after rehab Mom insisted on placement. 

Placement was not something my sister or I would ever have considered. We begged her to reconsider, but Mom was firm. She wanted to spare her children, she did not want to be a “burden”. We had no choice but to honor her wishes and mom was placed in a facility. Mom was sicker than we understood. I consider this to be a most unselfish act of love. 

MicheleDesoscio-mom-sister2Much to my surprise, mom was very happy and she settled in rather quickly. Since she was not as sick as many of the other men and women living there, she found purpose and satisfaction in assisting her fellow residents. Always the nurturing person I so adore, mom was so helpful that many people thought she worked there.

Our worst nightmare, placement, was not what we thought it would be. Mom was well cared for by professionals and we visited often, went on many outings and mom spent many weekends in our homes. It was a win/win. 

We did face the many challenges that come with the disease, POA, medical proxy, DNR, battles with medications, and on and on. We road the roller coaster of dementia together. 

It’s now 15 years later, mom is 73 and in the later stages of the disease. 

For those of you struggling with the decision of placement please know it can be the right thing for all concerned. 

Your family member can receive the professional care they need, under your supervision, and live a productive and happy life after being placed in a nursing home. You’ll have more control than you think. You are the advocate. You are still their daughter, son, spouse or friend. Live in the moment and enjoy what you have, not what you are losing.

Mother knows best, always a Mom

For the past 2 years I have been an advocate and Administrator for Memory People, an online support and awareness group on Facebook, founded by patient Rick Phelps in 2010 at age 57.

If you or a loved one is affected by Alzheimer’s or any dementia related diseases please join Memory People.  We don’t have a cure but we have each other. Memory People, bringing awareness, one person at a time…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180666768616259/

Many families are currently dealing with loved ones suffering from dementia. Enriched Life Home Care Services is here to assist or answer questions you may have about caring for your loved one.

Enriched Life Home Care Services  |  www.ELHCS.com

Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease – A Day in the Life of Rick Phelps

We have a special guest blog from Rick Phelps. Rick was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in June of 2010 at the age of 57. Rick is passionate about bringing awareness to this disease and is the Founder of Memory People, an Alzheimer’s and dementia support and awareness group on Facebook. We hope that you will take a few moments to read Rick’s story to learn more about this disease and how devastating the effects can be on anyone that suffers from it.

When you have this disease there are times when you know things just aren’t right. It’s very difficult to explain, but I remember when I woke up one day and could no longer understand the concept of time.

To say it was scary is an understatement. That day changed everything. Everything we do in our daily lives revolves around time. You know when to be somewhere, because your brain has this internal clock that is in the back of your mind telling you, I have to get the kids after school.

Or to lay something out in the morning for dinner that night. The list goes on and on how your brain tells you, “Hey, it’s time to check the roast.” or “I have an eye appointment tomorrow @ 9:00am.”

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When I lost the concept of time I was sure there would be nothing worse that could happen. I was wrong.

For weeks now, slowly but surely I have noticed I can no longer recognize things. I look for whatever it may be that I can’t find, and found I can be looking right at it and not see it.

My brain no longer allows me to understand or recognize what I am looking for. I searched for the tv remote, looked everywhere. Took the cushions off our recliner, moved it thinking it may have fallen under it.

Looked all over the front room, and even some other rooms, thinking I may have had it in my hand and laid it down somewhere. Then hours later, for whatever reason, I seen it.

Right beside the chair I sit in, on the magazine rack right where it is always kept. It had been there all along and I did not see it. Or rather I seen it, but did not recognize it.

We are putting in our old counter tops from the kitchen in our garage, with the guidance of my Uncle who has been doing this type of work his entire life.

I can’t tell you the problems this has created for me. We wanted the sink, counter tops, and we are putting in a couple other shelves for storage. Will be very nice when we are done.

Problem is, I can’t find anything. If I am using my drill, and need to change from a drill bit to a Phillips head, I can be looking right at the case that holds the drill bits and never see it.

Every time I need something, a ruler, a screw driver, hammer, nail, pencil…things you would normally just look at and know it’s what you need, doesn’t work anymore.

This has been an issue for some time. Couple months. But like this disease always does it is progressing, getting worse. I finally broke down last night and told my wife, Phyllis June.

We don’t keep things from each other, but I had this because I knew it would just upset and worry her. I know there’s nothing that can be done. Deal with it, it is my “new normal”.

It’s just something I never really even entertained happening. Or if I did, I had forgotten. Not being able to recognize things is devastating. Not knowing where I put something last.

I can open the refrigerator to get the milk, but once I open it I cannot find the milk that is right there in front of me all along. My next doctor appointment isn’t till Oct., but with this revelation I am thinking of having Phyllis June call and see if I can get in earlier.

But then I think, why? There isn’t a thing he or anyone else can do. It’s just normal that when something like this happens you want to get it fixed. Find a pill or some procedure that will make it possible so I again can recognize what I am looking for.

Wanting things to be normal. That’s what we all want. Instead we have to deal with our “new normal” which is forever changing. I worry, I wonder, what could possibly next?

But deep down I know, that is the one thing I also dread. It is a form of denial. Knowing what is coming, yet saying I wonder. You simply must deal with what you have, or I should say what you used to have.

The worst thing about this disease for me is losing my mind, and knowing it is happening right in front of me. And not one person on earth can slow the progression or stop it all together…

Is it any wonder patients lose their composure? Become agitated over almost anything? Even become abusive, or recluse? I could imagine, except now I am living it.

Daily, hourly, every minute. It’s the disease, it’s always the disease…and some days I can’t take another second of it. Today is one of those days. With many more to follow.

We’d like to thank Rick for sharing his personal story to bring awareness of this disease to others. To learn more about Rick and his story you can visit his website at http://whileistillcan.net

If you or someone you know has been touched by dementia or you’d like more information, please join other patients, caregivers, and advocates all walking this journey together at the Memory People Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/groups/180666768616259