Alzheimer’s Caregivers–“Til Death Do Us Part”

It attacks the brain and is the most common type of dementia–this is Alzheimer’s. There is no age requirement when it comes to the early onset of Alzheimer’s. We tend to think of our parents and grandparents when we think of Alzheimer’s, but the youngest person diagnosed with it was only 27.

The stories below are some of the examples of what it means when one states in their wedding vow: “til death do us part”. Each one of these has taken a different approach.

Mike and Carol’s journey was one that Mike was determined to make with her at home. Over the course of 10 years, and his health failing both mentally and physically he had to make a decision. A decision that was the best for both of them. Mike made the decision that even with 24 hour a day caregivers Carol needed more. He made the decision to put her into a facility.

As some caregivers think back over time, they realize there may have been signs they may have missed. As Barry Petersen talks about his wife, he tells how she changed years earlier before she was diagnosed.

All of the caregivers vowed to always take care of their spouse. They came to the realization that taking care of them meant they must face the difficult decision to put their love one into a care facility, not only for their care but the care of themselves.

Take a look at Barry and Jan and their journey with Alzheimer’s. Jan has since passed away.

Dan and B were the “it” couple that I watched on her weekly lifestyle show. From their beautifully decorated home in Sag Harbor to her wonderful restaurant that I visited in Washington, DC. They seemed to be living the dream until….. As of the writing of this article, B. Smith still remains at her home in Sag Harbor with Dan.

One important take away from all three of these cases is that couples should talk about their wishes if they become afflicted by this disease. The caregiver should have instructions that will make his/her decision on care much easier, and with less guilt.

As we mature, we do seem to forget more which does not mean that we have Alzheimer’s. The chart below is a simple way to explains the difference.

alzheimer anddementia

Alzheimer’s came to my family with my paternal grandmother. It was something that seemed to strike out of nowhere, and life-altering decisions had to be made immediately. My grandfather had died years earlier, but I know that he would have been like the spouses above, he would take care of his wife as she had always taken care of him. Even though in the later years of his life he was in failing health, he would be determined–“til death do us part”. Some conversations are hard to have, but a necessity as life continues.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Taking care of someone does not mean doing it all alone there are resources.

Try these sites and others for information on being a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s Support Programs and Information

National Institute on Aging

AARP Help and Support for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

You’re Aging Yourself–Watch Your Posture

Marsha, the trainer that I work out with told me something that put me into action quick fast and in a hurry.  As she was putting us through hell, yes hell, she told me that my posture was getting bad.  She informed me that for all of the hard work, posture would show age just as fast as a body that was not in shape.

My mother was the first one that told me about my posture, and it had gotten better over the years.  While trying to figure out why it was now starting again I did some research.  Here  are some of the reasons why we begin to have bad posture:

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  • We sit at work all day looking down at our keyboards and monitors.  If we have the adjustable table for our computer, we still find ourselves looking down because we find it more comfortable.

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  • Our smartphones have become part of us.  We look down at them all of the time.  Even if we are really doing something productive, we are looking down.
  • Being overweight or obese affects posture.
  • Habit is another reason.

I am proud to say that last week at workout I was told my posture was looking good. Talking with several people about what could be done to halt this has helped.  Here are some the things they said.

  • The trainer–line your ears up with your shoulders–look at yourself in the mirror when exercising
  • The masseuse–start a yoga class or find one online.  Even our resident yogi at work said this was a good idea.  She even informed me that she had to get back in the habit of good posture.  Reminding herself especially while driving that she needed to sit up straight.
  • Me–stand the computer desk high and then sit while at work–this will cause me to sit up straight since I will then have to look up at the screen.
  • Yogi–be conscious of your posture.  Believe it or not you will catch yourself slumping and immediately straighten up.

I found an extremely good video *(SarahBethYoga) that I do after my devotional and stretching.  It takes only 10 minutes.  I can honestly say that it works.  Take a look.

Remember that posture affects your entire body.  Bad posture causes pain and your entire body has to compensate for it.  So stand/sit straight and remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Your body will thank you.
*Take a look at other videos by SarahBethYoga on her YouTube channel.

 

 

 

Bringing Healthcare to Thousands

Each year women of a certain age dread the slightly uncomfortable mammogram.  For that small amount of discomfort, we all breathe a sign of relief when the results come back negative, and if they come back questionable, we are grateful that we know that something needs to be done.

In all parts of Tarrant County (the United States) there are thousands of women who do not have insurance that will assist them with payment for this and other annual exams.  Many of these women do not have any symptoms, but when they are seen by a doctor it is often for something that could have been eradicated with early detection.

The Kupferie Health Board of the Texas Health Resources Foundation is sponsoring their annual Puttin’ on the Pink Fashion Show and Luncheon (March 27, 2018).  Proceeds from this fabulous event will benefit mobile health outreach to underserved women in Fort Worth and surrounding communities. Some of the screenings and procedures are:

  • Breast diagnostic procedures
  • Digital diagnostic procedures
  • Cardiovascular risk assessments
  • Colon cancer screening
  • Well-woman exams and cervical cancer screenings

The fashion show is like no other, the beautiful clothes are modeled by professional models and survivors with their stories being told.  Some of the survivors were diagnosed through the screenings and procedures they received from the mobile health outreach.

Tickets and sponsorships are still available.  Just click Puttin’ on the Pink. Through very generous donations, they will raffle off 11 fabulous prices.  To see the items that can be yours click raffle.  You do not need to be present to win, and you are helping a great cause.

This is our third year covering this event.  Last year it was our honor to interview Irene, the beautiful survivor featured in the video below, and to learn more about the mobile health outreach from someone who has used it.  To learn more about the mobile health and the event, take a look at the video.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. It’s about more than breast cancer, it’s about life–Puttin’ on the Pink.

Puttin’ on the Pink

March 27, 2018

10 am Reception/ 11 am Fashion Luncheon

Fort Worth Convention Center Ballroom

 

 

 

Women Building Leadership–WFF

The movement is strong and getting stronger.  Women are taking their lives and situations into their own hands.  They know that it is now or never.  Strong women in all fields of endeavor have started mentoring, sharing and encouraging women to become the best they can in whatever they desire.

In Dallas, Texas on March 4–March 7 WFF (Women’s Foodservice Forum) will continue their effort to lead the way to gender equity in the food service industry.  WFF wants to create a successful model that can be shared and emulated in other industries.

The food service industry is the second largest employer of women behind the federal government.  In 1989 the WFF was established to assist women in building their skills, expanding their knowledge and broadening their perspectives through education, mentoring and connections. Encouraging them to gain the leadership skills that will allow them to reach their full career potential is one of the main focuses of WFF. They strive to assist women develop their skill set all through their career journey–from beginning (entry level) to the end (CEO).

Hattie Hill, the President and CEO has been involved with WFF since it’s inception.  She sees the correlation of the national conversation  on #MeToo to #TimesUp, and now gender equity as one that has always been there, but is now out of the shadows. In her research she came across a study that indicates that at the rate women are going in the workplace, it will take about 100 years to reach gender equity.  WFF is striving to cut that time by many years. They are striving to be the solution to the things that are holding women back from success.

The leadership conference offers a variety of speakers and topics.  The topics are as varied as the women and the positions they now have, and the ones they are striving to attain. The conference is built to assist, teach and mentor.  The leadership conference content is driven by the participants.  Participants have given their thoughts and comments on speakers and topics they feel would be helpful to them.

This year the conference will launch the “Lead the Way” initiative.  Broadcaster and author Maria Shriver, broadcaster Gretchen Carlson and former first lady of the United States Michelle Obama have been selected to christen the initiative.

The conference hopes that the women in attendance will takeaway many things, but one in particular–they want the women to focus on themselves in developing themselves.  The conference itself focuses on three areas: the industry (attracting great talent), the organization (companies want to know how it leads and attracts talent at all generations) and the attendees (what talents do they have, what do they want to do, getting great connections and one of the most important things–how can they pass on this valuable learning experience).

To learn more about the WFF and it’s goals or to register for the conference, please go to: Women’s FoodService Forum.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear” we don’t have 100 years.

 

 

We Are Not Our Hair–It Changes Too

As a little girl growing up in East Texas I loved my neighbor’s hair. Miss Adell had hair that went almost to her waist.  I called it water wavy hair.  It was hair that harsh chemicals and heat never touched.  To get a flip or something special she would put those famed pink rollers in it.

Even as she grayed her hair to me was her crown and glory.  After a bout with cancer with chemo treatments, her hair came out.  I never saw her during that time, but I did see her when it started to come back, and it came back straight. It was still beautiful and was getting long again, but it was straight.  It was then I realized something important.

Her personality had not changed, she was still Miss Adell, still just as beautiful as ever. She was not her hair, she was the neighbor that I loved–hair or no hair, straight or wavy.

I met the beautiful Paulette Leaphart on Facebook.  I saw this beautiful bald woman who had this megawatt smile that could light up any room.  At the time she was fighting breast cancer. After seeing more beautiful pictures of her with and without hair, wearing alternative hair, caps, hats and all that is in between I knew she was not her hair–she was Paulette.  She always knew she was her own beautiful woman–she was a fighter, in fact, she was a champion.

Years ago I met a lady who always wore alternative hair–she suffered from alopecia areata. She would change her look as quickly as she could.  Then one day she decided that she was not her hair, and off came the alternative hair. When the wigs came off it seemed that the smile grew brighter, and so much more.  She knew she was not her hair. Her hair has started to grow back, but she knows who she is with or without it.

As we mature and hormones go wacky our hair changes.  It can become thinner, drier, brittle and yes it also turns gray.

While watching the movie “Black Panther”.  I saw this beautiful woman with no hair. She was strong, she was confident, she was fit, she was fine, she was everything–she was not her hair.  One of the best moments is when she is so uncomfortable with her alternative hair.

As I write this I am in the process of trying to decide what I want to do with my hair. Just like a lot of women of a certain age, it is a work in progress.  For almost a year I have not put a relaxer on it.  Color has not been on it for about two years.  I have finally figured out “I am not my hair”.

As with everything else our hair changes.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  We are not our hair.

 

National Wear Red Day

February 2, 2018 is national wear “red” day for American Heart Month.

 

On the first Friday of February national wear “red” day is held to draw attention to the fact that the #1 killer of women is heart disease.  This year, 2018 marks the 15th year for this event.

There have been major strides made in the effort to eradicate heart disease in women, but still, 1 in 3 women will die from some form of heart disease and stroke.

The color red was chosen because it stands out.  It has even been stated that red makes a person feel powerful.

The research has shown that women who participate in the events (wearing red) during February do the following:

  • eat healthier diets
  • exercise more
  • insist on medical tests when having symptoms of stroke/heart attack

My best friend since second grade has had to change many things since suffering three heart attacks, the last one being a major one.  Her challenges have made me more aware of my health.  The symptoms of heart attacks for women are different from those for men.  They can be:

  • pain in one or both arms, stomach, back, neck or jaw–which is what my best friend had
  • dizziness
  • fullness in the chest with or without pain

Symptoms of a stroke can be:

  • sudden blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • sudden trouble speaking
  • sudden numbness or weakness especially on one side

So wear something “red” on February 2, and donate to your local American Heart Association to stomp out heart disease and stroke in women.

To learn more about heart disease, stroke and how to donate contact your local heart association, The National American Heart Association  or The Tarrant County Heart Association.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–Go Red for Women.

 

What’s Happening?

I love to sit on the floor, and I’m not sure why–it’s just a habit.  If I’m not on the floor then I am in my favorite chair reclining just a little.  Getting off the floor is not a problem, in fact it is easy.  I credit this to the fact that I have always tried to do some form of exercise.

Recently thought I went to get up out of my favorite chair, and something happened.  It was something that caught me by surprise.  It seemed that my hip had a catch in it.  I’m not really sure how to explain it, not a pain, but a catch.

After a couple of steps it was okay, and I didn’t really think that much about it.  There had been other signs that something was happening tthat I had noticed, but kind of put out of my mind.  The first thing that I noticed was that I don’t like jumping exercises, and I haven’t liked them for some time.  It feels like something is loose inside, and it feels funny.  I still do them sometimes, but I have found other exercises instead of jumping jacks that give the same results.

Years ago the doctor told me I had a torn meniscus, and that he didn’t suggest surgery, just therapy.  That knee is not the same.  It doesn’t hurt, it is just not the same as it was before. Since the doctor said that I could have torn it years earlier, I told my husband it was from my tomboy days as a child playing sports with boys.

But back to the hip, what is the problem?  I finally found out–nothing.  It is just one of the signs of aging.  It’s sort of like your house when things still work, but not as good as when you first got them.  It may take the water heater a little longer to heat the water, but it still heats.  It may take the television a little longer to switch stations (you channel surf), but you get there.

I wondered how I would feel if I didn’t exercise or if I didn’t stretch every morning.  It didn’t take me long to realize that it would be a lot worse.  All of these things are happening as we age.  Take a look at a baby lying on the floor.  The baby can put his toes in his mouth.  Can you, and why would you want to? This is just to say that flexibility is something that we all must continue to work on.  Exercise may need to be fine tuned, and some things may need to be added and/or deleted.

So I have decided that I will continue to exercise and do the stretches.  The trainer has even changed how she trains us as we have matured–she has matured too.

The hip, the knee, the insides, the torn meniscus and everything else reminds me of a car.  If you keep up the maintenance, it may not run as it did when it was driven off the showroom, but it still keeps going with only a few hiccups that are called aging.

So what is happening?  It’s call aging, but we can age like fine wine.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

 

Enjoy Yourself–You’re Worth It

by CY Cooper

It seems like it was only a day or so ago we were all enjoying the sights and sounds of the Christmas season.  It’s really hard to believe that we are now moving toward the middle of January 2018 and getting set for the next BIG holiday, which is Valentines Day.  It didn’t take the retail stores long to move forward as they were putting up hearts and flowers the day after Christmas.

You know it’s not a secret that the holiday season is just plain busy for everyone. Whether it’s family, friends, co-workers, church or other organization functions, most of us find ourselves so busy we don’t have time for ourselves or to just look around, sit for a quiet moment and ENJOY the season.

Well during the holiday hustle and bustle I did a couple of activities for yours truly.  I registered for a total of (3) cooking classes.  Two of the classes took place at the Fort Worth Cooking School at Central Market and the other at Sur La Table in Fort Worth.  Let me tell you, all (3) classes were hands on, educational and a lot of FUN.  Besides taking home the recipes and instructions on what we accomplished in class, all participants took home a nice sampling of our finished baked goods.  Now I’m sure you’re probably thinking that you want to do anything but cook/bake, BUT as stated earlier it was FUN, a lot of FUN. It was an activity where you could go with a friend or by yourself and meet other people with an interest in cooking/baking.  Plus, for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours you were away from the holiday rush.  I learned to bake everything from buttermilk biscuits in a cast iron skillet, Parker House rolls to eggnog cranberry swirl bread just to name a few.

I didn’t just stop with the cooking/baking classes.  My sister and I attended the Texas Ballet Theater’s THE NUTCRACKER at the wonderful Bass Hall.  It’s become a family tradition and it’s a MUST SEE.  If you’ve never had the chance to see this ballet, you should.  It just may become one of your Christmas traditions.

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And finally, yours truly is a fan of tea, and The Ashton Hotel in downtown Fort Worth starts their Holiday Tea Service the day after Thanksgiving.  This was my first time attending but I can tell you it won’t be my last.  I tried to reserve a couple of seats for the week before Christmas but they were all booked up.  I made a reservation instead for a date after Christmas and even then there wasn’t an empty seat to be found.  Holiday Tea at The Ashton Hotel runs through the end of the month of December.  The tea was EXCELLENT and so relaxing.  DEFINITELY put this activity on your TO DO list for the 2018 Holiday Season.  

The Christmas of 2017 was busy and it sped by quickly, but I can truly say it was FUN and memorable.

It’s 2018.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Depression And Suicide In Women

Recently I was invited to attend a luncheon hosted by the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation. The foundation was started by the parents of Jordan Elizabeth Harris, a beautiful young lady who during the last few months of her life suffered from severe depression, and eventually committed suicide.

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Hearing Jordan’s story made me think of how a young woman who was outgoing, fun and yes beautiful with a loving family could end her life.  While researching information on depression and suicide, I came across a fact that stopped me in my tracks.

The largest increases in depression/suicide are in young women and women of a certain age.  Men traditionally die from suicide more than women, but women have been catching up with them.  Middle-aged women who are between 45 and 69 have had the highest suicide rates in the last couple of years.

Some of the reasons for this increase are:

  • Age-related illness
  • Treatable mental health condition
  • Reliance on pain relief and sleeping drugs
  • Middle-aged women are more aware of their mortality
  • Disappointed and disillusioned–feel that it is too late for happiness
  • Loneliness
  • Empty Nest Syndrome

As we enter the holiday season, it has been reported that depression rises among women of a certain age. Is there anything that we can do to prevent depression/suicide?  While researching I found that some people lived daily with those who suffered from depression and/or committed suicide, and they saw no outward change.  There were those that saw the change, but we unable to get them the needed assistance.

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The Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation mission statement states “to eradicate suicide by funding depression research, creating awareness through education, erasing the stigma, and providing hope to those who are struggling in silence”.

The Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation along with others including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is seeking to lower suicide rates.  These efforts include educating doctors especially primary care doctors so that they may be better able to identify people who are at risk for suicide.

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As I sat at the luncheon I thought of the people who I had known in my lifetime that had taken their own lives.  There were two who had an illness that would eventually end their lives and one that no one could ever tell me the reason why.

It’s getting close to Christmas and New Year’s which brings on a time of reflection.  Let’s take the time to visit, call, text, facetime–let’s stay connected–we may be able to spot changes.

To find out more about depression and suicide prevention take a look at The Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, take the time to connect with others–it can only help.

 

Voyage Dallas Magazine Interview

Here is the interview that I gave to Voyage Dallas Magazine.  I hope that you will enjoy reading it. It was a lot of fun to give.

Interview With Voyage Dallas Magazine

Thank you so much for following thisisyourbestyear“.  There is a lot more in store for all of us.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Enjoy life….. and thanks again!

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