Borrowed Time #poetry #perspective

“Just living,” she frowned at the wrinkles etching her face.

“There’s no time left,” he drew a circle in the sand.

Both had seen so many sunsets they seemed to watch this one as if it were their last.

“You have to put in the numbers,” a little boy ran up with a stick.

The elderly couple watched as the boy made the circle into a clock.

“We still have a few more hours to play.” A little girl tried to sound very grown up through her lisp.

“Let’s build a castle with a moat.” Another grandchild had her shovel and bucket in tow.

“What a beautiful way to watch the sunset.” The grandmother’s face lit up like the dawn as the weight of time disappeared.

“Yes – together…” He lovingly grabbed her hand.

We live in times of uncertainty. Are we alone in this? No! We are not the only generation or time period that has more questions than answers. We must face challenges with strength not fear. Happy New Year.

Restored Poetry #archives #elderly #poetry #hospice

Hold me…

I am a broken, colorful

fragrant remnant

of yesterday

*

Remember me…

when I was alive, thriving

extracted from a beautiful

whole

*

Understand me…

for who I am today

a relic, don’t pull me

to pieces

*

Cherish me…

for what I was

and what will be

of a memory

Caring for the elderly is not an easy job. The hardest part is the decline. Enjoying each day and making a memory is important for both of us. Saying “goodbye” always hurts.

Thank a hospice nurse today!

Zest For Life #elderlyissues #atozchallenge

 

A ha so this is the last day of the April A to Z challenge.

How was it for you?

I looked back briefly on a few of my precious A to Z challenges:

 

One challenge  I had planned on illustrating a month of my dragon stories. I broke my wrist one month  before the challenge so my  dominant hand was useless. I started drawing with my non-dominant hand . During April I slipped on ice (again) so all of my arms and legs were out of commission. So with Co-vid  “Stay at Home” I could at least walk around and water my plants.

The picture below shows my dragon bowl that I drew with my non-dominant hand and then  the other 2 were with my mouth.

When I saw the word Zest I thought of the saying A ZEST FOR LIFE. For whatever reason I always think of the elderly patients who I have cared for since I was a teen.

So my last encouragement as you care for and love an elderly family member be a little zestful. Encourage them to dream with you. Go somewhere you can both go – an imaginary somewhere. Maybe the land of Zenony!!!

I’ve enjoyed this month and meeting or reconnecting with people.

Each of you are gifted and delightful!!!

For those of you new to blogging i hope you are encouraged to blog more.

I’m not sure what my personal blog will look like but I am trying to develop a blog for Steve Slack. Steve is a friend who hopefully (if this Co-Vid thing gets tame) will have some of his work published and at least one script is lined up for a movie.

eXplanation #elderlyissues #atozchallenge

Woman with mustard pot

“Can you tell me?”

“What would you like to know?”

With Dementia we often will be asked the same questions every shift or 10 times every shift.

I find the more confused a client is the more they can loop around a similarity.

“When is my friend Felicia coming?”

“We called. She’s on her way?”

“You know I’d really appreciate if you would call Felicia to find out when she’s coming.”

“We just called her.”

“I would remember if we just called Felicia. Call her”

“Let’s wait a minute I think she’s on her way…”

For family members these loops can seem frustrating.

I try to redirect my client’s focus sometimes it works while other times it just makes a client more frustrated.

So for the explanations keep them simple. Sometimes those questions are asked as our family is trying to get a grip on the last edge of reality.

 

How do you deal with frustration during Co-Vid Days????

Image attribution: Pablo Picasso “The Woman with Mustard Pot” 1910

What Would We do Without Water? #hydration #health #elderlyissues #atozchallenge

Most of my clients don’t need to pump their own water though some are on well water.

I recently got a call from adopted family in Africa. ” My wife is sick and the baby is bloated.There are no resources and no medicine and the hospitals are out of reach.”

Have your wife lay down and drink 6 bottles of water each day and give the baby spoonfuls of water. (clean water )

Dont get me wrong water is not the answer to all our problems but hydration is a huge issue for our health.

***

Many Elderly are not getting enough water (coffee and soda drinks do not qualify as hydrating fluids). I know a caregiver that would stop all fluids at 5 pm so there would be no night-time brief changes. That convenience puts an elderly person at risk.

Elderly people often don’t drink until they are thirsty. All of our senses diminish with ages so most seniors are not getting enough hydration.

I have seen that clients with a better diet and hydration seem to have higher function.

I am all for health for the elderly. I have had several family members who  were/are chronic illness and drug free into their 90s. They were all active, ate well and water was their main fluid.

 

I drink about 80 oz of water each day – how about you?

 

Our View #elderlyissues #atozchallenge

As a caregivers we may have clear ideas of what our family member needs.

After all in many cases we have known them our entire lives.

“My father only likes tuna fish for lunch. It’s all he ever eats.” My client eyes my salad so I give him some tomatoes and carrots.

Our view into elderly needs can get obscured by emotion.

Often outside help not only gives relief but new perspective.

As a caregiver I need to flexible for my client and the family. But there are a few things that I will not flex on:

Safety – My client may insist on getting out of bed but she requires two people to assist her. I have to stand my ground for her sake.

Skin care: I’m vigilant on keeping skin dry/clean and keeping bed bound (or chair bound) clients re=positioned regularly.  Skin breaks down quickly and isn’t pretty.

Keep an eye on pressure points. Heels, elbows, and the sacrum (where we sit or lay). Pillows and foam can take the weight off a pressure point. If an area is getting red it’s at risk.

So what is your view of the world today?

The view at the top is the opening that looks out to a newly dug well. There’s already a clear path to and from the well.

My friend Micah made a demo for our village children that shows the how the moon and earth revolve around the sun.

 

 

Uncovering Needs #elderlyissues #atozchallenge

I have found that working with the elderly is like digging for treasure – I am never disappointed with what I find.

There are times (especially with dementia) that we must uncover their needs or what makes them happy.

Every person has things that have meaning. It could be an activity like going to the market and remembering days gone by. With one client who was almost bed bound, I realized there were certain activities that gave her energy to get out of bed.

I first noticed change when a neighbor stopped in for a short “hello.” My client was upbeat the rest of the day.

The neighbor had brought flowers so we spent time thinking of something nice to do. We baked cookies and my client wrote a card.

The next week we made valentines for her son and her husband. Wow I noticed color in her face.

What I uncovered was she liked doing things  for people.

It’s also fun to uncover things about a person that maybe no one knows.

Here are some ideas to mix up their day and keep it interesting:

Writing his/her memoir

Writing cards to friends

Drawing/ coloring

singing together

Folding laundry ( I have lovely conversations with my clients when doing chores)

 

How have you been keeping things interesting during the Co-Vid “Stay in Place”???

Great people to meet in the A to Z challenge:

Keith is a good writer with clever themes. Expect excellence: https://keithsramblings.net/

Frédérique at https://quiltingpatch.blogspot.com/ is a talented artist who I have enjoyed getting to know

Lee is  a lady whose poetry engages the reader: https://ladyleemanilablog.wordpress.com/

Arti is a wonderful crafter of words:
https://artismoments.blogspot.com/

Searching #poetry #art #elderlyissues #atozchallenge

 

 

Boys Wading

 

so easy when we’re small

no words need be expressed

I’m wading in the mud

and now I am depressed

I lost my very thought

went through my fingertips

a momentary drop

there’s so much I have missed

 

Searching when we are young seems part of the mystery of learning.

The discovery is part of the looking.

As we age it seems we search more and the lengthy discovery crescendos in frustration

So how do we as caregivers dial frustration down?

Don’t find the word that was lost look for it with your family member.

If it’s an object secretly bring it closely to them so they can “find it”

“Oh there they are” reflects a lighter tone than “I have lost my mind with my glasses.”

My response: “I”m so glad you found them. It would have taken me the rest of the day.” I smile understanding the art of losing things.

This photo of this beautiful work by artist Winslow Homer reminds me why we do it. We do it together ….

 

Photo:  Winslow Homer “Boys Wading” 1873 Smithsonian

What do you do when you lose something???

 

 

 

 

 

I Smell A Rat #newcago #horticulture #pandemic #flashfiction #reading

 

New Cago was not a very cultured metropolis before the epi & pan demic. Kids were shoving things up their noses or in their veins. It made sense that there was no room for something for the mind to synthesize.

Then the libraries were closed. So most people read their cereal box for entertainment. But Lily kept a lovely assortment of classical and tasteful books.

Her favorite subject was horticulture.

I could read it and be out like a light at the end of a shift.

But after she died, I started noticing her hand writing and circles in the margins.

Hard not to notice what she had been researching before the wild fire epidemic.

Lil, this is bizarre- the night after you died circles started to appear in red.

One of her notes, ” good if given early but a little too much and they won’t wake up – ever.”

Another had lines through it and question marks. “I know this should work but I’m not seeing the results…” and another comment “why is this only working on a few people????”

And another one that rose the hairs on my back it read more like a sci-fi. “Subject should have demonstrated signs of immunity. I inoculated myself at the same time. If my research is correct, he will start to exhibit…”

“Oh Lil.   OH LIL!!!” I took my head and my hands wondering again if her research was the cause of her death.

“Death” some days it sounded so peaceful.

“Sam. Sam.” I heard a pounding on the steel grate of the door.

“Yeah coming. Hey Peely.” Here was the one good kid in the neighborhood.

“This is for you.”The errand boy that we were both so fond of handed me a box. Our eyes looked at each other then at the brown square.

I opened the box. It was that hat with rounded corners. “I’ve been looking at this for months.” The card underneath was in her handwriting.

“Peel, ya know what I hate most about this town?”

“Yeah Sam, I know. It’s so damned lonely.”

“and unpredictable.” My head felt like a pinball machine with the silver ball hitting every bumper and bell possible.

I looked in the envelope flap and saw the four names with the same prefix: R-A-T.

And that’s where we will start at cleaning up this mess Lil.’

 

Okay you caught me chasing a pandemic. I’m blogging about elderly issues, but sometimes I get sidetracked.

Reading is important for the elderly. One 90 year old (with Alzheimers) is reading one of his many favorites: a biography about Einstein. The only thing I can understand is the title and the pictures.

Keeping the mind engaged through reading and even the visuals in books is important. We can create new pathways even in an old brain.

 

How do you keep your mind active???

 

 

I’m revamping a Noir crime series I wrote in 2013. The story centered around crime in a metropolis called New Cago but the main antagonist was a deadly disease ( pandemic) lurking in dark corners. If you like Noir and you have time to read come back for more in the days to come. The stories do stand alone so they can be read in any order.

An Old Dilemma part 1

An Old Dilemma part 2

Whats the worst that can happen

Someone Needs to Survive

Parkinsons – not welcome #elderlyissues #atozchallenge #poetry

Hard to move

hands and feet are one with metal

I’m pushing my stroller

big wheels are on a wheelchair

I want to slump in fatigue

enveloped in an old body

muscles feel like jello

“Keep moving”

“Reach for the Moon”

 

There is no easy diagnosis for the elderly.

Parkinsons joins the ranks of “Not this” “How will I deal with this disease?”

I’ve been impressed by elderly men and women who have faced the disease straight on.  Astronaut Michael Rich Clifford made his third trip to space (on NASAs shuttle Atlantis) after being diagnosed with Parkinsons.

“People don’t die from Parkinson’s they die from something else.” My instructor told our class recently.

My mentor from childhood has Alzheimers and her husband has Parkinsons. At 90, he continues to work on projects and they both walk (more slowly) and climb up their 100 stairs every morning.

I have several clients with Parkinsons and a family member. I’ve noticed one attribute in each of them – they never give up.

Like every disease exercise is necessary as is a good diet and lots of water.

How do you persist in these uncertain days???

 

 

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