John has become very fearful of riding in the car. Part of the problem is that somehow he believes that he is driving the car. Granted he’s seated in the front looking out through the windshield, but as I have pointed out to him over and over he is in the passenger seat.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t stop him from believing that he can control the car with his feet or by bunching up his pant leg and twisting it in the direction he wants the car to turn.
John trying to steer the car using his pant leg.
Sounds funny as I write this, but it is by turns terrifying, sad, frustrating and infuriating. This behavior began last September. I was driving home from an outing and John became hysterical: Truly scared out of his wits. I pulled over to find out what had happened and he started to lecture me about my driving. I was going too fast, passing too close to parked cars, not paying attention to name a few of the high points.
At first I reacted with surprise, but as he went on and on, I got angry. How dare he tell me how to drive! I had driven him around (his choice) for years and not a peep, but now that he can’t remember how to get home, he’s going to lecture me about my driving habits? I don’t remember much about the drive home except that it involved a lot of yelling.
After letting off some steam at my support group, I decided to try other tactics. I was returning to work after a three-month medical leave and would have to drive John to day-care several times a week. I didn’t want to start the mornings screaming at him or vice versa. And he was still in a clinical trial in San Francisco; how was I going to get him there and back? Continue reading “Uneasy Rider” »
The normally drab halls of the California State Capitol were sparkling with color on March 6 as 160 Californians, clad in bright purple sashes, descended on Sacramento for Alzheimer’s Advocacy Day 2013.
As family members and individuals affected with Alzheimer’s disease, the volunteer advocates met with elected representatives and key staffers to share the impact the disease has had on them, and advocate for policies to help the many Californians confronted with the disease.
Aug 2010 – La Familia: Bruce, Adam, Kristen, Silvia, Jenina, Melissa, Mama (Irma), Linda, Patricio, Vanessa, y Papá (Victorino).
Hola Mami, ¿como esta? La llamada era rutina.
Cuándo nuestros padres se retiraron hace 31 años se regresaron a El Salvador, el país donde nacieron. Allí podían vivir viene de sus penciones. Nuestros padres viajaban mucho entre Los Estados Unidos y El Salvador, pasando más o menos mitad del año aquí. Nosotros, sus hijas, Silvia y Linda vivimos en Norte California. Nuestros hogares están como 90 millas de distancia.
Silvia la hija major, nació en El Salvador pero ha vivido en Los Estados Unidos desde niña. Ahora, vive en el Este área de la Bahía de San Francisco con su esposo. Tiene tres hijas y tres nietos que viven cerca. Linda la hija de en medio, nació en San Francico y vive al Este de Sacramento, con su esposo. Su hijo vive en Arroyo Grande. Nuestro hermano Victor murió en 2003. Esto fue muy duro para nuestra mama, causando una deprecación severa.
El año que cambio todo fue el 2009. Linda hiso cuatro viajes a El Salvador este año. Papa tenía 89 y mamá 78 años. Nuestros padres ya no podían viajar solos y Linda hacia el viaje entre los Estados Unidos y El Salvador con ellos. Empezamos a notar que ya no se podían cuidar ellos solos. Los dos son diabéticos, pero papá depende de insulina. Se les olvidaba tomar las medicinas que el doctor les receto no se las tomaban. Continue reading “Dos Voces, Un Destino: La historia de dos hermanas cuidando sus padres” »
Caregiving can be extremely rewarding, but all caregivers will eventually feel some degree of frustration, anger and guilt. These are all normal emotional responses to an incredibly emotional journey.
As a caregiver, you may feel frustrated and angry at your chaotic life, or your lack of control over the disease’s progression. Anger often evolves into guilt. You may feel like there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel, and have the guilty thought, “how much longer can this go on?” But understand, feelings can’t be denied. They can however be changed to some degree by adjusting your perspective; for example, you may feel less frustrated with your loved one’s acting out if you can remind yourself that they are not doing it on purpose, it is part of the disease. Continue reading “Taking Care of You – Part 3: The Guilty You” »
In recognition of Black History Month, I asked our African American Outreach Specialist Craig Wingate to talk about Alzheimer’s Association resources and information specifically for the African American community. Here is what he shared with me:
Not too many people know that African Americans are two times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. African American readers are probably saying to themselves, “Oh great, another disease we’re more likely to get.” So what now? Now is the time to start having conversations about this debilitating and fatal disease that robs individuals of their cognitive abilities. So many families see the symptoms (i.e. Mom is repeatedly asking the same questions, Dad can’t seem to pay his bills anymore, Mrs. Jean just gave away her social security check to another telemarketer), but ignore them or label them as “senior moments.”
To eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.
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Chapter Headquarters Alzheimer's Association of Northern California and Northern Nevada 1060 La Avenida, Mountain View, CA 94043 Phone 650.962.8111