Alzheimer’s Disease – Laughing To Do The Next Right Thing

Alzheimer’s disease disrupts so many lives that it can seem mean just to consider laughing, but that’s exactly what you must do. When Alzheimer’s disease is connected, sometimes it’s hard to figure out and to focus on the next right thing, isn’t? Here’s a little story from my life this week as a tiny tip toward laughing.

Night before last, I fell. I caught my right pinky-toe on a stool. It was a four legged stool that was sticking out a bit too far from under a counter and I went flying.

Boom! I crashed. Hard.

My little toe flipped all the way out. I got hurt from my little toe all the way up to my head. Yikes — I did not know my little toe could move that far or that landing so hard could flare up so many old injuries and surgery sites.

I’m still recovering from major surgery. So you can imagine falling’s not the best thing for me, right? I iced my little toe, my foot, my ankle… I iced lots of pains.

Old stuff flared up in pain. I bound my ankle’s old surgery site in a freezer pack. I iced my gut, now hurting more deep inside this year’s surgery sites.

I iced old sports injuries! In my younger days, I picked things like trampoline team and gymnastics, among others. I was involved in dangerous actions that created long term injuries.

Old! After flying through the air, I did not bounce as I might have in earlier years. Instead, I crashed and burned in pain and felt very old and creaky.

Sometimes there’s not a whole lot you can do when you are in pain that doesn’t make it worse, is there? Yet, for me, wallowing around feeling old was not appealing and not likely to lead to anything remotely helpful. What to do, how to pick something?

I reached for laughter. Finding laughter in that moment took a lot of looking
because I was feeling sorry for myself. Hurting and feeling old because of old
pains that returned.

I found laughter. Unusual spot, I suppose. Since I’m recovering from major surgery, and one part of that did not stop bleeding for months, that’s where I found a spot of laughter.

Hey, my bladder’s healed or it’d be bleeding! That’s what I wrote to a friend by email and somehow writing that helped and I laughed. Writing to someone who really matters a lot to you helps many ways in healing, even when you don’t hear back — try it!

Laughing helps. There are other things that help, you’ve got to pick something. Socializing in person, by phone or in writing email are three ways that work for me.

I took it easy yesterday. My nephew’s getting married and I’m traveling more
tomorrow. So I’m taking it easy today, too.

I can’t do much right now. I am focusing on figuring out what I can do, sometimes you’ve simply just got to pick something. Then I am simply doing the next right thing, one by one, one at a time.

“Just do the next right thing!” Michael Hyatt said in one of his blog posts this summer. My actions in getting up the next morning, yesterday, became my way of doing the next right thing.

Walking was not possible. I walk to church, attend Mass, and then I walk back. Here,
that’s a mile each way.

Clearly, right now, walking a mile is no longer part of my next right thing. Skipping ahead, I found I could, ”Do the next right thing!” Going to my morning Mass was still possible by driving, so when it came time to just pick something, I drove to Mass.

I filled in as Lector, as planned. Except? It was St. Luke’s feast day –and I didn’t know that. And since I was in pain, I did not do my usual “reconfirm” that the right
page was opened and ready for me.

After hobbling in, and then over to the ambo, I found my next right thing was lost! I kept turning pages, forward, backward, over and over, bewildered. I turned to the celebrant because I was flabbergasted and in pain.

Sometimes I get stuck and I need help to find the next right thing. The celebrant walked over while saying it was St. Luke’s feast day. He pointed to the reading.

Sometimes finding the next right thing isn’t enough for me. I stumbled through a collection of unusual words and place names I did not recognize until, finally, I found myself mispronouncing a word that I did know how to say correctly. Realizing, I started to freeze.

Hmm. I corrected myself – though your supposed to — and usually better off — just going onward! After I repeated that one word, Ephesus, correctly this time, I found myself going on with a lot more confidence.

Recognizing and correcting errors helps me get back on track. Once I’m feeling more confident, I do better. I find myself doing the next right thing again.

Alzheimer’s disease makes it difficult to do the next right thing. Partly because there’s no way of knowing ahead of time what might happen at any moment. Life is unusually unpredictable when Alzheimer’s disease is a part of the picture, isn’t it?

As difficult as it can be, laughter helps. Look for laughter. Share your laughter with your loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease because laughing helps even when you have no idea why you’re laughing.

Yes, laughing helps. I don’t know why. But I do know that laughter helps in many ways.

I invite you to look for laughter, right now, this very moment. Even if your laughter is simply at me for sharing my little story of getting my little toe stuck, flying through the air because I’m connected to that little toe.

Why? I’ll tell you why. When you’re connected with Alzheimer’s disease, every laugh counts.

How can you help? You can gently point out moments of humor. You can laugh.

Your laughter helps! I don’t know exactly how that works. But there is an old saying that fits, “Laugh and the world laughs with you!”

Your prayer helps too. All through this story, I was crying out to God, deep inside of me. “Help!” is a short prayer I live over and over – try it!

Alzheimer’s Disease – Go! Laugh! Show up!

Even when Alzheimer’s disease is part of your life, get up and go! Laugh! Show up!

Sometimes it can be really hard to tell, but when you are happy, your happiness shining through often helps your loved be happy. But around Alzheimer’s disease, the shining through of happiness isn’t easily visible, is it? Please believe me, you’ll find that it’s worth your time and energy to investigate and to experiment with being open to the shining through of happiness, and the sharing of laughter.

First step is that you’ve got to laugh — really laugh, not that fake stuff! — and laugh near your loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease. Next time you’re laughing with your loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease, try to pay close attention. This is important!

You’ll begin to notice how your laughter lightens your loved one’s mood. Not always. Nothing’s perfect, but your laughter will slip through, and in, to your loved one.

It’s not contagious! Laughter, I mean. Though Alzheimer’s disease, too, is not contagious.

Alzheimer’s disease is scary to people, so your ability to laugh can help others be with you. So there’s another part of bringing you laughter. Your laughter helps you and your loved one in socializing and connecting with people.

There’s a saying, “Laugh and the world laughs with you!” Sayings stick around because they point out stuff that’s true, useful, and difficult. The other end of that one is, “cry and you cry alone.”

Laughter can be difficult to seek out even under ordinary times. Stuff like Alzheimer’s disease makes laughter all the more tough to find. So does denial.

Because denial is a true, useful and difficult thing, too. You know better than most people that Alzheimer’s is a dreaded disease. When we are not directly involved as a spouse, child, parent, sibling, or very close friend, denial pushes fear away.

There’s another saying, “80% of life is showing up!” So show up. Show up at the stuff you used to do before Alzheimer’s disease trampled a good bit of your lives. Show up and ask how can you help.

Nope, you won’t be perfect. Yep, you probably won’t be able to stay long. Indeed, you may well bring about a bit of disruption, even inconvenience, to some of the people who are there, even if it’s as simple as daring to say how can you help.

But, do you know what you also bring about? You bring joy. You bring an understanding about life.

Denial is not on purpose — and laughter pokes holes in denial that helps remove fear. When you don’t turn up at events you used to turn up at, you don’t get to socialize with people you’ve usually had at the periphery (or even at the center!) of your life. They miss you, and more importantly to you, they miss the contribution only you and your loved one who now has Alzheimer’s, can make.

Alzheimer’s disease does not change the fact that you are unique. Your loved one is unique. You bring unique gifts to the world just by being yourselves.

Laugh and be the best you, who you are, but be — as in be there. No, being there isn’t going to be perfect. You guys are not perfect now, but you never were — you did know that already, didn’t you?! — and people enjoyed, liked and loved you anyway.

Search for ways to get out and about. You’ll find that you don’t even need to talk. Simply enjoy, laugh, show up and ask how can you help.

Action Step:

Get up and go — do something, anything, with people! Laugh! Show up!

Pick something simple. Get a few people to help. You know, someone to pick you guys up, someone else ready to take you home early.

Yes, do something! Maybe “it” is going out to lunch. Maybe church.

Pick something that matters to you. Something where there’s people you like. Something your loved one might even remember doing in childhood, even if there’s no memory of the specific people of today.

If you create a total disaster? There’s got to be something funny in creating a total disaster that you can laugh at afterwards. Dig in, find the funny, laugh, and try something else.

As in, really laugh at the absurdity of whatever it was that was disastrous. As in, recognize, “Well, that is not going to help!” As in… yep… it’s that saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”

 

Alzheimer’s Disease – Show Me Where To Get The Best Price!

Alzheimer’s disease takes away a little bit at a time. Yet so much remains. In some cases, it may seem for a moment that your loved one’s behavior is singing out,  “Hey, here I am, totally back again!”

Not being able to read the face of a clock with a “big hand and little hand” is common in Alzheimer’s disease. Yet enjoyment of other abilities that seem so much more complex can remain. Surprisingly, even the capability to do very complicated tasks, such as being able to, “show me where to get the best price!”

Shopping? Yes, even shopping. For example, Penny has Alzheimer’s disease. Don cares for his wife Penny. Don finds evidence around their house that Penny is still quite capable of showing anyone where to get the best price.

Shopping! I find that kind of funny because shopping seems — to me at least! — to be a very complex task. There are so many steps and lots of weighing what’s the same and what’s different. Penny can still compare prices, get deals, bargains, discounts and more.

Penny loves to shop. She loves to get the best price. She’s kept the ability to do so, even as she continues a journey with Alzheimer’s disease that’s taken other abilities away.

“Show me where to get the best price!” That seems an odd ability to keep, to me. But it’s important to Penny, and she’s sure got it.

I’m glad for Penny. She enjoys knowing where to get the best price. I’m happy she can still compare and act, in circling the better deal, and in finding the best discounts.

In Penny, Alzheimer’s disease did not take away the desire to “show me where to get the best price!” I wonder if that’s true for others? Okay, so it’s a stretch, but, well, is there something about knowing the best price that’s exciting and stimulates the brain?

What do you like to shop for? For my friend Penny, right now, the stuff she’s circling is mostly shoes, jewelry, sunglasses and other stuff that’s fun to her that she’s had a number of throughout her life. She does not follow up with shopping, but she sure does want to know where to get the best price!

My friend Penny’s delight in knowing where to get the best price amuses my friend Don no end. Don’s own delight in seeing his wife Penny do something so complicated is partly amazement. His laughter that she’s simply so good at recognizing the best value, across different types of items, brings him great joy.

Laughing, even laughing that turns to streaming tears of laughter mixed with sadness, can bring an understanding about life. I bump around in life, too, and I plan to share bits and pieces of that in the stories I post here in my blog. I hope to share some of the ways I’ve found to turn troubles into bubbles of laughter and ease your way.

Often, when you are happy, your loved one is happy. It doesn’t always show through, does it? That may be especially true with Alzheimer’s disease! Look closely and you may begin to notice how, when, and what laughter does in fact lighten your loved one’s mood consistently.

Don’s laughter helps Penny. I don’t know if that’s part of why Penny still knows where to get the best price. But I do know that Penny cannot do simpler tasks such as telling time or drawing a clock because the “big hand and little hand” are confusing to Penny.

You’ve got stories like this, don’t you? Telling time and drawing a clock are common problems for folks with Alzheimer’s disease. Yet so many other abilities remain and laughing in delight is a way of helping yourself and your loved one.

Action Step:

What’s your story? What does your loved one still do that amazes you? Find a way to find the laughter of pure delight in the puzzlement that your loved one still knows how to do that which seems so complicated.

And Now For Something Completely Different!

Announcing:  an exciting shopping experience

With push button technology ofShow Me Where To Get The Best Price!

Hey, I’m an affiliate with a 14 year old company focused on exciting shopping discount deals and more ways to save money. Today is Day #1 for a special free shopping experience on the Internet!

What?

Company poured years of expertise right into a webpage. Now you can tell the Internet one item you are shopping for, press a button called, “Show Me Where To Get The Best Price” — and you get real answers. Exciting answers when they’re at your fingertips for something you want to buy.

Does it compare prices, get deals, bargains, discounts and more?

Yes!

How does it work?

Kind of like a search engine. But it’s weeding out most of the results by using the expertise of great shoppers. That’s why it takes longer, too.

Sometimes it may be too busy helping other people to turn to you right away. When it’s busy, the webpage will take a long time to come up or to return your answer. Don’t worry, we’ll get faster over time!

How much does it cost?

As an affiliate, I have the right to give this application as a free gift.

Why should you care?

1. Make money

2. Save money

3. Have fun

Why?

I’ll tell you why! Because there is a fairly simple, straight-forward and easily-learned action you can take every day in order to get paid that day that helps the company. It’s placing a single classified ad. Yep, you get paid to advertise using free ads. You can do as many as you want, but you’ve got to do one for each day that you want to get paid.

Placing an ad a day is not a big action. Most people can figure out how because there are written instructions, an audio, and a video showing how. Can you carve out a few minutes on each day you want to get paid if you turned it into a game with your loved one?

Consistent action, day after day, in advertising helps the company continue to grow profitably. You can get paid. Because I do stand to get profit sharing from everyone’s effort, including your effort, same as you, I am happy to help you learn, and I am happy to help you put the puzzle pieces together in the form of a daily to-do list (for example, you cannot repeat a classified ad on the same classified ad site two days in a row).

Please only look at the free part. There are options for earning more and earning faster, however, there’s not much point investing $10 a month if you are not willing to take that action daily, is there? Play with the free stuff, see if you and your loved one can enjoy placing an ad each day that you want to be paid.

Go for the free way to get paid a little bit every day! Life caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be frustrating. Extra income can make a difference, but putting money into something that you may not be willing to do, every day, well, is kind of pointless and would only add to your frustration… that’s why I say try the free one.

Get the free parts. I am saying this repeatedly because what you see is going to be exciting, but it may or may not be for you. Try the free parts, see if some of this is for you, and find out if your loved one enjoys seeing you do this.

Give it a try! Really, though, start with the free stuff. Then, if you do have fun, get excited, earn money, and see your loved one laughing with you… well even laughing at you is okay, at least in the beginning, right? Then, and only then pop for the $10 a month upgrade and go from there. There is a possibility you might be able to turn your daily action into a game with your loved one.

[Yes, you can upgrade to invest that $10 a month directly from what you earn]

Anyway, enough here, you may or may not be interested, and even if you are interested, it may or may not be for you!

If you are interested in making money, go ahead and watch the tiny video clip about your shoes (yep, at least one laugh!)…  CLICK HERE.

If you are interested in shopping for one item using the tool to Show Me Where To Get The Best Price then go ahead and CLICK HERE.

If you are not interested in either one, that’s great, too! Please know that I want to be sure to share with you first thing. Later you may find me out there teaching other people to make money, and you’ll know and I’ll know you’ve already been invited… I don’t want to leave anyone out!

I simply want to be fair offer it to you, too, including my help, one-on-one. Who knows? You may bump into a part that helps lighten the load for you and your loved one by making money, saving money, and having fun.

 

Full disclosure:  this is connected with a business I am an affiliate in, through which I may earn profit sharing and other revenue if you get, use, or share this application.

Happy today! Blessings for laughter and love as you make today a day to remember. Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you’d like to subscribe to get blog posts, gifts, and more, simply enter your email address and press “SEND ME MY FREE CD NOW” button.That’s step 1. Your next step is to look in your email box for an email from me, and when you click the link to confirm your email and your interest you will have completed step 2.

 

Alzheimer’s Disease Statistics

Alzheimer’s disease statistics are scary, aren’t they?Yet, for me, I find Alzheimer’s disease is a place where reality manages to be even worse than the statistics suggest. That’s because Alzheimer’s disease statistics kind of hide part of the horror of the disease.

45% of people 85 years of age and older have Alzheimer’s disease. Yet, you’ve already buried everyone who died of Alzheimer’s disease before their 85th birthday… long after each person checked out It kind of leaves a queasy feeling that if something else doesn’t get you, Alzheimer’s disease will.

Something needs to change. And change is among the many things people who have Alzheimer’s disease cannot cope with. As the disease progresses, any change is unrecognizable and therefore frustrating and a source of puzzlement, irritation, even anger.

Literally. That’s because of disruptions in the part of the brain that takes what happens and stores it away so you can “remember” and use what happened again.  When you get Alzheimer’s disease that part of your brain that stores memories stops working.

Yep. I said, “When you get Alzheimer’s disease that part of your brain that stores memories stops working.” You’re becoming bit by bit left with, “Right now, this instant” and “before Alzheimer’s disease” as your frame of reference when you have Alzheimer’s disease.  New stuff slips away because memory cannot be formed if it cannot be stored.

But memory is at the core of who you are. That’s part of why Alzheimer’s disease is so scary. It kind of eats who you are one tiny bite at a time.

You go from being, “You!” to becoming someone who loses the ability to store new memories. Nothing new thus locks you in the past. But it doesn’t happen all at once.

You slip away bit by bit. Your loved ones see you there one moment, seemingly yourself again. Then, there you go again.

It might not happen to you. But over half of Americans already are touched by someone in their life having Alzheimer’s disease right now or from someone in their life who already died from Alzheimer’s. That’s a big enough chunk of us to say it’s time for change, isn’t it?

Here’s a few quotes I’ve grabbed for you from some of the folks who are working for change.

  • Working to help people who have Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Working to help caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Working for prevention… for treatments… for cures.

Please check these out! As you do, consider a question.  How can you help?

You can help! Maybe you can visit a friend who has Alzheimer’s disease for a couple hours so their caregivers (mostly family!) can take a nap, go for a walk, go grocery shopping, or simply go talk to people. Your couple hours can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

Maybe you can donate your time, talent or treasure for research?

 

Alzheimer’s Association

Prevalence of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias

An estimated 5.4 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease in 2011. This figure includes 5.2 million people aged 65 and older(41), A1 and 200,000 individuals under age 65 who have younger-onset Alzheimer’s.(42)

• One in eight people aged 65 and older (13 percent) has Alzheimer’s disease.A2
• Nearly half of people aged 85 and older (43 percent) have Alzheimer’s disease.A3
• Of those with Alzheimer’s disease, an estimated 4 percent are under age 65, 6 percent are 65 to 74, 45 percent are 75 to 84, and 45 percent are 85 or older.(41), A4″

– from http://www.alz.org/downloads/Facts_Figures_2011.pdf, page 14 of 68.

 

Mortality
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death across all ages in the United States.(75) It is the fifth-leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older. (75)”

(http://www.alz.org/downloads/Facts_Figures_2011.pdf, page 22 of 68).

 

Projections for the Future
Total payments for healthcare, long-term care and hospice for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are projected to increase from $183 billion in 2011 to $1.1 trillion in 2050 (in 2011 dollars).”

(http://www.alz.org/downloads/Facts_Figures_2011.pdf, page 47 of 68).

 

“AS MANY AS HALF OF PEOPLE SATISFYING DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA FOR DEMENTIA HAVE NEVER RECEIVED A DIAGNOSIS.”

(http://www.alz.org/downloads/Facts_Figures_2011.pdf, page 48 of 68, caps theirs).

 

World Health Organization

World Health Organization lists Alzheimer’s and other dementias as the 7th leading cause of death in high-income countries on 2002 Fact Sheet, The Top 10 Causes of Death, located at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310.pdf.

  • 7th leading cause of death in high income countries Alzheimer’s and other dementias
  • “In high-income countries more than two-thirds of all people live beyond the age of 70…”
  • “In low-income countries less than a quarter of all people reach the age of 70, and nearly a third of all deaths are among children under 14.”
  • – from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310.pdf

 

It’s time for each of us to start considering that question of ourselves daily,”How can you help?

Tips For When Alzheimer’s Disease Makes Today Impossible

Alzheimer’s disease makes each day impossible. There, I’ve said it! It’s true.

As I start this blog, another person has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Today that person is connected, part of society, surrounded with a whole family of relatives and friends. Tomorrow that may begin to change.

Alzheimer’s disease is simply scary. You don’t know how to accept or understand when it happens to someone you know. Or to you, yourself.

What does it mean when you watch a loved one move into early stage Alzheimer’s disease and onwards, losing more of themselves, bit by bit? It means tears and frustration when you’re the caregiver, as spouse, child, sibling, friend or other relative. Impossible is a word that fits.

Impossible and yet your tip for today is to laugh! When something’s impossible (and it is!) you’ve simply got to do the impossible (you will!) and find ways to get to laughter (here to help!). You must laugh often and well.

Laugh. Really! For your sake and for the sake of your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

Sadly, some of your surrounding people who want to help will begin to flee. Friends in denial. Family members terrified of getting Alzheimer’s disease themselves.

The laughter is for you as caregiver and for your loved one. When your day is impossible, smiles, giggles, little laughs and big belly laughs are a necessary part of your day. It’s okay to cry, too, yet my tip is to look for laughter.

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the top 10 causes of death. Number 6 in the USA as I write this! People over 50 worry about Alzheimer’s disease. People over 60 joke about it.

By age 85, 45% of the population in the USA has Alzheimer’s disease. Many who were born in the same years already died of Alzheimer’s disease well before turning age 85. Many over age 85 have had the disease over a decade: it’s not just the very old!

Scary, isn’t it? As our world population continues to live longer and longer, we’re going to see more and more cases of Alzheimer’s disease.

Over half of Americans either

  1. Have Alzheimer’s disease
  2. Care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease (14.9 million unpaid caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients right now, mostly family),
  3. Used to care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease (Alzheimer’s disease is always fatal)
  4. Know someone with Alzheimer’s disease

How can you help? Let’s share Alzheimer’s disease facts. Let’s gather up and share Alzheimer’s disease tips for laughter and more.

Let’s do something, however small it may seem, because this is a time for action.

Action Steps:

1. Tip for today! Smile

“Tips for the caregiver

The idea: Lois, a caregiver and a person with dementia, provides the following tips that caregivers can incorporate into their daily lives.

. . . Maintain a sense of humor. Remember that smiles are contagious.”

– from http://www.alz.co.uk/icaniwill/library/family-carers-and-friends/care-for-caregiver/caregiver-tips

2. Tips for laughter and more! Share

Right now, I’m starting an Alzheimer’s disease tips email mailing list. Subscribers are going to get tips for laughter and lots more. To enroll simply enter your email and then press the button that says, “EMAIL ME MY FREE CD NOW” when you finish typing your email address:

P.S. Whenever you want to stop getting emails simply click on your unsubscribe link that I promise you’ll find in every email.

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