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Posts Tagged ‘appreciation’

Gratitude or Stress Over The Holiday Season?

Gratitude or Stress

Over The Holiday Season?

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The holiday season can give us time to pause, reflect and appreciate our life and those in it; or it can put pressure on us to cram our schedules full of activities and pull us into hectic environments like Black Friday.

The choice s ours.

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What will you pick and why?

I used to go crazy during the holiday trying to do it all and do it well, but as each year passed I found more was added to my list and my poor body was exhausted. If I’m honest I was cranky to boot!  Not at all who I wanted to be; especially during the holidays.  Lack of sleep, the pressure of not enough time and the cost of things were not balancing out.  Yet, at the time it all seemed to make sense.

It was what everyone was doing…. Wasn’t it?

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Well, as I grew older and as my parents became ill I found my life changed focus.  Not right away, as I wasn’t that bright.  But over time, I began to realize that the biggest gifts in my life were actually sitting before me all the time. They weren’t hidden and wrapped in packages under a tree.  They were the people in my life, all going through different stages of life.

They were raw and not perfect, but they were mine.

They were those who loved me, and I them.

They were those who stood by me and supported me, and I them.

They were those who got mad at me, and I them.

They were those who laughed with me, and I them.

They were those that cried with me, and I them.

They were those who sat silently with me, and I them.

They were those who forgave me, and I them.

Our imperfections were perfect together!

We gave each other love, energy and support through good and bad times.  We were team.  An indestructible force to be reckoned with even when at odds.  We would step up and out for those we cared for and it showed.  Others even mentioned they were jealous of what we had, yet it took me so long to truly realize the gift of our relationships.

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It took being shook to the core.  A life disaster.

It took finding out I might lose that which I have taken for granted most of my life.

So on this Thanksgiving Day I ask you to pause. 

Please think about what your life would be like without those “human gifts” in your life.

If they were gone, how would it change your life?

If they were gone, how would it impact others?

When was the last time you told them how much they mattered to you and why?

Think what it feels like to be told you matter.

Giving the gift “YOU MATTER” to others will not only sooth your soul but theirs.  It takes little time, costs nothing and can give you both great peace.

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Please know how much each of you matter to me. 

Know how much I appreciate your support not only for Alzheimer’s Speaks but for me as a person.

Know your journey is not one of being alone, but as part of a beautiful imperfect team within society.

Know your presence is honored.  I wish you nothing less than a fantastic holiday season filled with wonder and surprises, surpassing your dreams.

Blessing to you all.

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Thank you Mom and Dad for the beautiful life lessons you taught me.  I hope you are celebrating in heaven.

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Lori La Bey, Founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I need to apologize to everyone for being late with cheering in the New Year and thanking each and every one of you for your love, support and advocacy for dementia through my work here on Alzheimer’s Speaks.  All though I had good intentions to write an article to celebrate the passing of another year, I just wasn’t ready to write an authentic piece.  One I thought you all deserve.

You see this past year was a difficult for me and I needed to do a bit more processing of things from both my heart and mind before I sat down to write and express my gratitude.  So here it is.  I hope you enjoy it.

2015 Allows Opportunity to Change and Expand

Through Death and Loss I Have Learned So Much

Grandma in bed sleeping me trying towakeher040410On February 28th, 2014, my Mother passed away after a 30 Year battle with dementia.

She was a New Years baby and so the 1st, was always Mom’s day… a big party to honor her.

This year a visit to the cemetery.

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Shortly after, our beloved puppy, “Mr. Mario” passed and joined my mother.

To say 2014, was a good year is difficult at best to say, especially when I feel I have lost so much in my life. Yet, when I’m able to sit back and reflect on why these losses are hitting me so hard, I have to smile.  The great love I was gifted in my life to feel such overwhelming grief really has been such a blessing.  When I allow myself to look at my loss as a gift of great opportunity and to appreciate the priceless value of my relationships with others – family, friends, co-workers, pets, children and yes, even strangers.  Each and every encounter with another is a blessing in it’s own fashion. An opportunity to smell the roses and watch the petals of life unfold as they bask in the love and light of a simple moment in time, so many of us take for granted.

Each of these encounters affords us the opportunity to make a particular moment in time memorial or not.  We have the power to make an amazing difference in the life of another, which then effects us on level we sometimes don’t even know.  Sometimes, too late to tell the other party.

My goal for 2015, is to be more present not only with others, but nature in general as well as myself when I am alone.  I want to slow down and live with gratitude, even when things don’t make sense and seem to be going south, when I want to go north.  I am going to chose to embrace the thought, I am never alone… that none of us are. I am going to not only chose to believe this but to actually live my life more authentically knowing there is a grand plan which all of us are players in.  One which wants a beautiful life for each of us.  But I also believe that in order to value beauty we sometimes when need to be tested to see the ugly or scary side of things.  It’s like the Ying and Yang.  We can’t have a high without a low which puts things in perspective.  Sometimes it is easier to see how lucky we are when we see someone less fortunate.

I know over the years, I’ve also learned to find beauty in what I used to think was not proper, or ugly or whatever term you want to use.  But as I’ve gotten older, I have found if I just stop and take the time to look for the simplest of beauties… I could find them. I am choosing in 2015 to be more conscious of how I live my life.  I hope you will join me in finding beauty and a sense of peace in your life too.

new years eve better clock and glassesMy we each cheer in 2015, in our own unique way.

My we all be kinder to ourselves and others.

My we embrace each moment before us looking for the beauty in life.

My we each love fully understanding the pain of our loss which evidentially will occur,

is a gift only great love can give.

Please know I am here to support you any way I can.

Again thank you for your love, support and advocacy.

Lori La Bey of Alzheimer's Speaks and Senior Lifestyle TrendsLori La Bey founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks

For additional information on Dementia and Caregiving go to:

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My we always know we are not alone.

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Kudos to Caregivers

By: Michelle Remold

I was just reflecting on the many caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. It seems that caregivers come in many different forms. Caregivers can be spouses, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbors, friends, and other relatives. Caregivers can be found in assisted living facilities and nursing homes as well.

All of these people deserve ‘kudos’ for the care they provide. They often provide care 24/7 with no concern for themselves, but rather immense concern for the other person. They seem to display unending patience and love for the person with Alzheimer’s or dementia. They listen to the same questions and comments repeatedly and watch with patience as the person with Alzheimer’s or dementia displays the same repetitive behavior.

While some days are more challenging than others, caregivers simply answer the same questions multiple times or address the same behaviors many times as well. Some days are a little easier to keep your cool and others are much more difficult. Caregivers do the best they can under the circumstances and that is all that can be asked of them.

It doesn’t matter if you are the neighbor who brings over meals a couple times a week; the friend who sits with the person with Alzheimer’s or dementia while their spouse goes grocery shopping; the grandchild who sits with your grandparent during summer days; or the child who stops by during lunch to check in, your role is important and greatly appreciated. I would like to offer up kudos to every caregiver; you are important to the lives of your loved ones and are appreciated.

???????????????????????????????                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Aging Studies and Nursing Home Administration from Minnesota State University Mankato.

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Dementia and Memorial Day

Memorial Day Gives Us A New Way To Attack Dementia 

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Memorial Day is a special holiday where we honor those who have died serving our country.  Like many holidays, it has become commercialized.  One that kicks off the summer season and is highlighted in the titles of sales events.  I would like to see us get back to the basic of this holiday and in addition, use it as a tool to aid us as a country when dealing with dementia epidemic.

Our soldiers deserve our greatest respect and support as do those diagnosed with a dementia.  This is a disease which we have no control over and for all practical purposes is unavoidable since we do not know the cause.  Preventative measures are for the most part a guess.  They lean towards a healthy lifestyle in general but with no great proof these changes in lifestyle will help. Just ask those who have lived their lives engaging their minds, exercising, eating healthy and avoiding alcohol and drugs.  Bottom line people with dementia do not sign up for the disease, nor are they recruited.  They are kidnapped in the middle of the night with no warning.  Their brains held captive in an enemy camp, an unknown world with no idea of what is in store for them from moment to moment.  The pain and isolation they feel is never ending and their life will never be the same.

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How Can The Memorial Day Holiday Help the Dementia Epidemic?

Keep in mind it is my belief Memorial Day and Memorial Weekend, have always been a time for the public to reflect, to be grateful and to show our deepest appreciation to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, their life to serve our country. Many of those with dementia have been people who have served with those that have lost their lives. These memories of service to our country are most likely deeply rooted in their memories.  Others have taken great pride in honoring those that have protected and served our country.

Many of us, go out to the cemeteries and place flowers or flags at grave sites in remembrance of their heroic efforts.  Others celebrate this holiday gathering with friends and loved ones to  raise our flags and for some a glass in honor of those who have served.  I would like to add a third idea to the mix for those dealing with dementia.  I would like to recommend that we take the primary principles of celebrating and honoring our military heroes on Memorial Day,  and adapt it to everyday life with dementia.

Reflect,

Be Grateful for what we still have today as well as what we have had in our life time,

Show Our Deepest Appreciation and love for those diagnosed with the disease

and add one more important element – Acceptance

I have found without adding the last piece of acceptance, the other three can be for most a temporary moment in time.  One that doesn’t change the way we live our life.  I believe by taking these four concepts seriously and actually changing the way we look at our world we have the ability to live life in a rich and full fashion.  One that values what we have in our life.  One that looks for the joy in the simplest of fashions.  One which teaches us to create remarkable moments of engagement and to relish the relationships in our life.

By adopting this life philosophy, you will be amazed at the stress that drops from your life.  I know, as this is the way I have chosen to live my own life.  I’m not saying I’m perfect at it but I am getting better ever day at releasing so much that I used to worry about…  So much I had no control over.  I chose to live in the moment and Reflect, Be Grateful, Show Appreciation and Accept Things For What They Are. My life feels realigned and balanced.  A peacefulness which I thought I had lost has come back into play.  I recommend everyone try this and just see what happens.

Imagine what life could be like, if as a country we chose to attack the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Epidemic in this fashion.  One which costs us nothing but to switch our mindset.  In doing so, it would also slow us down to appreciate what is before us.  This philosophy could encourage positive engagement and  help alleviate unwanted reactions; or behaviors as we like to call them.  One that would give both sides purpose.  One which would help researchers identify what the heck the actual symptoms of this disease are by removing environmental impacts of stigma and isolation.

I for one dream of a day the world decides to join me in this mindset.

Imagine if this expanded to how we see the world in general.  To everything we think, do and say.

What would our world look like then?

Are You With Me On this?

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

IMG_0571[1]These are pictures I took today when visiting the graves of our family soldiersIMG_0568[1]ARRP_kitchen_sink_badge

I am a member of AARP’s blogger kitchen cabinet on caregiving issues. All opinions are my own. 

Visit the AARP Caregiving Resource Center for help and more information at aarp.org/caregiving.

or www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving

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check out Alzheimer’s Speaks for additional resources on Dementia and Caregiving

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An Amazing Letter from a Son to His Mother with Alzheimer’s Disease

Here is just one example of the benefits to belonging to an online support group.  The group I belong to is called “Memory People” on Facebook. I have been at times overwhelmed with the supportive and honest conversations between those with Dementia and the Caregivers of those with Memory Loss. I want you to know that nothing communicated in the Memory People group is for public use without authorization.  Both Mother and son have given me the honor of publishing this letter on the blog, as to help others.  A big “Thanks” goes out to both of them.  🙂

This is an Amazing letter from a Son to his Mother with Alzheimer’s Disease.  The insight and guidance given is incredible and precious.  His Mothers says she reads it every day.  Enjoy!

Mom,

Maybe it’s not so bad to slowly lose memories: you won’t even know it’s happening until you try to remember it and it’s gone. Rather than worry, I say submit to the chaos…even when you don’t remember who the people are right in front of you, just know always that you are surrounded by people that love you. What more could any person wish?

Never submit to despair: it’s a universal law of nature all things must obey: they are created, they’re around for a while, then they are returned to nature. Rocks, trees, stars, planets, and people: we all exist only for some time. Enjoy the time you do have, because you are one of the few lucky individuals that will ever get to have any time to enjoy at all. Of all the billions of people that came before you, the trillions of plants and animals that came before us, the number of things that never existed is even larger.

So create, you creature! Write words, draw pictures; ideas are of no use to anyone unless they’re put down somewhere. Consider this: every sentence you read of mine, I am transferring thoughts into your head. You are here with me now as I write these words. You will always be with me, for as we read these words, we are of one mind. This magic that we call reading is time travel for author and reader alike. I am with you in the future, dear reader, and you are with me in the past, your humble author.

Try this…imagine the time before you were born. Of course you can’t, not exactly anyway…you can only be told about it from witnesses: pictures, books, films, etc.

Now try to imagine ten million years from now. Of course we can’t do that either. We can hope for things to happen, but anything we hope for is pure fiction: useless except as art.

So this time in the middle, the time that you’re around and breathing, that’s the special time. Not any particular time at all, but that entire time, all of it. Every beat of your heart is a miracle of nature. Every living thing is the pinnacle of creation; every cell is divine.

We are of this lonely universe, which is slowly but surely rending all matter back into the energy it was made of. So enjoy your existence…there is no time EXCEPT the present! One long stream of nows that we call the past, and another stream of nows that we call the future, with one, just one, right there in the middle right…..about….now!

As we forget the past and ignore the future, we live more and more ‘in the now’. Soon, every movie you see will be brand new! Later, every great new song will be brand new! Even later, every hilarious commercial will be enjoyable all over again, forever! Then still later, every person that enters the room will be someone new to meet! Oh how much fun that could be, like being a kid all over again. Scary, but exciting…change is inevitable.

So always keep that curiosity, that wonder, of being in this world, for you are one of the lucky ones. Know deeply that you are loved, and that all is right in the universe, whether it’s all right with us or not.

Love,

Ken

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