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Posts Tagged ‘stories’

Dementia: Love’s Light Can Remove The Darkness

Live On Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio

Love’s Light Can Remove the Darkness of Alzheimer’s& Other Dementia’s

021417-asr-graphic-rick-naymark Rick Naymark, is the Author of the book; “Alzheimer’s Gifts, How Caring For Someone With Alzheimer’s Brought Unexpected Blessings.” Rick lives in Edina, Minnesota where he was the principal family member responsible for his mother’s care during her 8 ½ years with Alzheimer’s.  Join us and hear Rick’s story.

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Rick’s book, is on Amazon

The quickest way to find it is through www.tinyurl.com/alzheimersgifts

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Dementia Chats Educational Webinar Recorded Session – March 10th 2015

Dementia Chats Educational Webinar

Recorded Session – March 10th, 2015

031015_DC_snap_dena_robert_Paulan_robert_eilon click_above_watch_recorded_webinarToday we discussed our healthcare system with our experts living with the diagnosis of dementia.  How do we get doctors and medical professionals to get educated and knowledgeable not only about dementia specific to their specialty, but to  find out and provide supportive services to assist those dealing with the disease.  Many great examples were given and strategies were discussed in this hour long session.

For more information on the Dementia Chats Educational Webinar Series, CLICK HERE

For & Information on Dementia & Caregiving

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Family and Memories

Family and Memories

By: Michelle Remold

Sharing stories is important when it comes to passing them down through families. This weekend was my family reunion. We had somewhere around three hundred people come and everyone was sharing stories. It is always fun to trade stories and to look at the family tree to see how it has changed.

There was something different about this reunion though, this was the first reunion my grandma wasn’t able to attend. My grandma has dementia and this was the first time we were not able to bring her with.

Although there were questions about how she was doing, it was fun to hear different stories and memories of her. Spending time with much of my extended family, really made it apparent how important it is to share stories with each other. It is fun to hear stories and share in the memories.

I think that it can be very easy to become wrapped up in our own lives. The thing I enjoy the most about family reunions is that everyone takes the time to catch up with each other and to share the stories they have. As I get older I realize this is important because you never know who might be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia next and what memories might be lost.

???????????????????????????????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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Common Ground

Common Ground

By: Michelle Remold

“I find I am an old soul.” This is a quote from Rachel Roy. I find a truth in this quote. People often laugh at me when I tell them that I am an “old soul.” The fact is that I really do think I am an old soul. I love watching old westerns and old television shows; Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Big Valley, The Rifleman, Leave It to Beaver, Bewitched – you name it, I have probably seen it or have it on DVD. I can join almost any conversation about Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, or Dale Evans. In fact, Gene Autry’s song, “Barney the Bashful Bullfrog” is one of my favorite songs and “Back in the Saddle Again” is on my iPod.

When I was little I always enjoyed being around adults more than kids and often found kids my age to be annoying. As I write, I can’t help but think that these things more than likely contributed to my interest in Gerontology. These factors also more than likely contribute to my passion for interacting with those who have Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Granted I grew up with Alzheimer’s and dementia being a large part of my life, I have learned to be able to enter their world and have conversations with them ranging from one room school houses to old music. I never find a lull in what to talk about. I think that this is what baffles me when people say that they can’t go to nursing homes or visit elderly people because there is nothing to talk about. We have everything at their fingertips. If you don’t know about a television show or song that seems to be brought up often, we have the ability to look it up and learn about it in a matter of minutes.

Really, all it takes is finding common ground. Similar hobbies (crocheting, baking, collections – I collect quotes), favorite books or authors (my favorite book is “Cannery Row” by John Steinbeck, who also happens to be my favorite author), or other commonalities that can be so numerous I can’t name them all. It might take some time and effort, but in the end I often find that it is worth it. The conversations that can be had and everything that can be learned are fantastic.

I think that it is important to find common ground to have discussions with those who are older, no matter if they have Alzheimer’s/dementia or not. Being that my grandpa was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when I was in second grade, I wasn’t very interested in his stories about World War II or being at Normandy Beach at D-Day and now I often wish that I did know them. For me, this is the driving force behind learning all I can from people who have Alzheimer’s or dementia and taking their stories to heart. Without a little patience and the willingness to find some common ground, you never know what you might miss.

???????????????????????????????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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Memorial Day

Memorial Day

By: Michelle Remold

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. It’s a day when we remember those who have served our country in the military. As my family was decorating my grandfather’s grave today, I can’t help but think about him as he had such a profound effect on me. My grandpa served in World War II. Although I was fairly young, I can still remember some of the stories he told me about serving in the army.

When I was in second grade, my teacher gave us an assignment to write about someone that was our hero. I chose my grandpa. I can remember drawing a picture of him in his army clothes and writing ever so carefully on the lined paper, “My Hero is my Grandpa .” At the time I wrote about how my grandpa was in World War II, told me stories about the war, and showed me things he had from the war. Most of all the last words I wrote were “he is very special to me.”

However, as my grandpa got older, he developed Alzheimer’s. Even then he was my hero. He lived with Alzheimer’s for a little more than ten years. As I watched the disease progress and think back, I realize that he was still my hero. Living with Alzheimer’s, he still managed to smile and laugh every time we visited him.

In my mind, I will forever be the little girl who was attached to my grandpa’s hip and holding his hand when he was around. As I write this, the song “Wind Beneath My Wings” is playing in my mind. Each time I hear this song, I realize that my grandpa will always be my hero and the number one person I look up to. As I continue on my journey of working in the Gerontology field, my grandpa will continue to be ‘the wind beneath my wings.’

???????????????????????????????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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How Are Your Milk Cows Doing?

By: Michelle Remold

“How are your milk cows doing?” This seems like a normal question, after all farmers are often asked about their crops and animals. The only thing that makes a question this simple stand out is when you have never had cows or lived on a farm. This is also the question that my grandpa asked when I first realized that there was something wrong with my grandpa.

Growing up, my brother and I spent a lot of time with my grandma and grandpa. They would have holiday parties for us, take us to the park, play games with us, take us to feed the ducks, and so much more. The question was the first major sign that something was wrong with my grandpa. My family lives in town and we live within two miles of where my grandparents live, so being asked how our milk cows were doing, was an odd question and one that caught me off guard.

I was around seven at this time and I asked my mom if there was something wrong with grandpa, she thought maybe he was just tired. Looking back, I couldn’t recall anything else that would have made me think that something was wrong with my grandpa. I asked my mom and she said that the only thing that stood out was that he didn’t like talking on the phone any longer, but that wasn’t anything they were really worried about at the time.

“How are your milk cows doing?” It was such a simple question, but one of the most complicated questions at the same time. This is the question that set the wheels in motion, the question that made other oddities stand out, the question that sent my family on a quest for answers, the question that led to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, the question that started me on the path I am on, the question that ignited my passion for wanting to work with those who have Alzheimer’s and dementia.

???????????????????????????????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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Making Connections

By: Michelle Remold

As I sit down to write this blog, I can’t help but reflect on the previous week and how important it is to be able to make and have connections. I am not just thinking about connections on a professional level, but on a personal level as well, especially when it comes to Alzheimer’s or another dementia. This is something that has started to become increasingly apparent to me.

Professionally, I am learning that having connections is important and can help you to accomplish tasks that appear to be difficult to complete. When I think about personal connections, I realize that they are very important as well. When you think about friends, chances are you became friends based on a commonality, a connection. It might be reading books, going to museums, a common interest in a subject area, or something like Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Each of us has had a different role in the lives of someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. I have only seen it from the point of view of a grandchild. My mom has seen it from a child’s point of view and my grandma experienced it from a spouse’s perspective. While I don’t know exactly what my grandma or mom have gone through, it’s easier for me to understand their view points on what they experienced. When it comes to having a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, having connections that understand what someone is going through can be important. Having someone you can talk to who understands what you are experiencing can be helpful and therapeutic. Making various connections with people is important. It gives you someone to bounce ideas off of, share stories and laugh with, or talk to about frustrations and stressors.

I think that being able to talk about things and having someone who can in some way relate is important. When my grandpa was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, not many people seemed to know much about Alzheimer’s and I remember spending a lot of time explaining the disease to friends. Other kids never seemed to talk about grandparents with Alzheimer’s or dementia, but for me it always was a topic for research papers and presentations. Now I see the value in having someone to talk to who understands and I am more than willing to lend a listening ear to anyone who needs it. No one is alone when it comes to Alzheimer’s and dementia, we just need to share stories, memories, tips, and most of all, make connections with each other.

???????????????????????????????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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