The Gift that Made Alzheimer’s Easier

This Post Contains Affiliate LinksAlzheimer’s is a terrible disease. My grandma was in a very bad car accident back in 1999 and has had memory problems ever since. When you already have a bad memory it is hard to figure out when exactly Alzheimer’s starts. I would say she had the beginning stages about ten to twelve years ago. About six years ago her disease progressed and while she lived alone, we checked on her a lot. Often we would be at her house three or four times a week because she couldn’t turn the TV on or she lost her purse. About three years ago it became apparent that she needed someone with her at all times. She is now at the point where she doesn’t know any of us. Part of the time she doesn’t know her own name and she thinks she is between 5 and 18 years old.

She requires constant care. We cook for her, clean for her, do her laundry, shop, pay bills, change her diapers, and really do just about everything for her. The hard part is that sometimes she doesn’t realize that she needs help. She thinks she can do things by herself, but forgets what she is doing before she is done.

After figuring out the correct medications for her, her temper has gotten better for he most part. She still hits, kicks, and bites if she doesn’t get her way, but it is more controlled. In a way it is like dealing with a toddler who is a lot bigger. She constantly wants her mother and daddy and feels alone. Her puppy has made a big difference. She holds the puppy, loves on her, and talks to her. Even though the puppy had helped her mood, we needed something else to help keep her occupied. We tried to get her interested in puzzles and books, but she didn’t want anything to do with them. We also tried to have her keep her hands busy by folding washcloths. She didn’t like that either. Finally we found something that worked.

How a Doll Made Dealing With Alzheimer's Easier

We got her a doll.

She loved the baby doll. She holds it and kisses it. When it is cold she makes sure it has a blanket. The doll gave her something to do. She wasn’t constantly thinking about her parents and worrying, because she had a doll. That one doll has turned into four over the last two years. She also has a teddy bear and a stuffed lamb. We find her playing with them in her room. Sometimes she will make the bed and organize them all neatly. Other times she will take them all to bed with her.

The funny thing is that she knows they are hers. She asks for her little girl and the brother. It is amazing that something as simple as a doll could bring so much joy to an 87 year old woman. Grandma doesn’t remember much so our goal is to keep her as happy and healthy as possible. That $10 doll has made a big difference and I wish that we would have tried it sooner.

If you have a loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s a doll might help. Do you have any tips?

FREE Brain Break Cards

Grab Your Brain Break Cards - Fun Activities to do when you need a break from school work!AJ has always been one that needed to move. She stands up to eat dinner, stands to write, and moves all of the time. One thing that helped with school work was having her do activities while we did school work. She would jump on the trampoline when she practiced her spelling words, cartwheel while she was working on math facts, or walk on her balance beam while she was working on vocabulary.

Now that she is a little older and there is more writing and book work, moving around while she works isn’t always easy or possible. For the past few weeks we have been having her do different exercises throughout the day and it really seems to be helping her stay focused.

I created these fun brain break cards to do when you need a little movement in the day. They are simple to use! Print them out, laminate them, cut them, and put them in an envelope. Then when you need a little movement in your day pick a card, stretch, do the activity on the card and you are done. Do the activity for as long as you want, modifying the activity for your child’s skill/age ability. Keep picking different colored cards throughout the day and have fun!

*This is NOT an exercise program and I am not a professional, this is just a list of fun activities to get your kids up and moving throughout the day. Use your best judgment and do the activities at your own risk.*

Download your Monster Brain Break Cards today, and come back tomorrow for another freebie!

FREE Medication Check Off List

Grandma turned 85 years old today! Her mind isn’t all here any more, but health wise she is doing fairly well. Part of being a caregiver for my grandma and my mom is dealing with medications. They both have kidney disease, Grandma had Alzheimer’s and Mom has Diabetes. It can make for some busy days! Every doctor they see wants to know what medication they are taking, how much, and how often. Sometimes the questions seem redundant because they have all of the information right in front of them on the computer, but it is better to double check and make sure they are taking what the computer thinks they are taking. I can usually give them the names of the medications, but I never remember the strengths, and I don’t like to bring all of the pills with me.

Another issue I have come across is forgetting to call in refills. The pharmacy we use is strict and only lets you call in the refills about 4 days before you run out of medications, but they want 48 hours to fill the pills. A few times I missed the window of time and we didn’t have 48 hours to wait for a refill because they would be out of pills or insulin. The pharmacy worked with us, but I didn’t want that to happen again.

Between the two of them they take over 12 medications, so I decided to make a chart that tells their medications, prescription numbers, when to call them in, and which doctor prescribed the medications. I fill it out each time I pick up prescriptions and keep a copy in my purse, that way I always know what they are taking and why.

Today’s FREE Printable is a Medication Check off List to help you keep track of prescriptions. Remember to come back tomorrow for another FREE Printable. Subscribers will receive all of the printables from the week in their email, so if you want to make sure you get them subscribe using the bar at the top of the screen. You will get a fun spring printable pack when you subscribe too!

Bed Wetting and Dignity

One major part of our daily life is dealing with the side effects of my grandma’s Alzheimer’s. Along with the memory loss there are many other side effects that she experiences. Some are from the medications, and others are just part of this horrible disease. One issue we deal with at least weekly is bedwetting. It happens for a variety of reasons. Sometimes she doesn’t wake up, sometimes she is dizzy and can’t get to the bathroom fast enough, sometimes she doesn’t remember that she has to go, and a lot of the time she doesn’t know where she is or how to get to the bathroom.

Bed Wetting and Dignity - Maintaining Dignity when dealing with the side effects of Alzheimer's

Most of the time she acts like she doesn’t know why her bed is wet. Sometimes she will remake the bed in order to hide the fact that it is wet, and other times she will say she just spilled a glass of water. She has never admitted to wetting the bed, and I don’t know if that is because of her pride or because of the fact that she doesn’t know that she does it. I think it is a little bit of both.

Since bed wetting and midnight sheet changes are bound to happen, we have made some changes to make life a little easier in spite of the challenge. Here are six things that may make  bed wetting easier to deal with.

This post contains affiliate links.

  • Diapers – Grandma has been wearing adult diapers for over a year now. At first she refused to wear them, but now she usually will put them on without a fight. The problem is that they only hold so much and often they leak at night. We have found the Depends brand to be the most comfortable. They work wonders during the day, but unfortunately they leak a little too often at night. A major thing we have noticed is that calling them diapers will cause a problem. Not only does it make her feel badly about herself, but it makes her mad that she has to wear something that she doesn’t feel she needs. We call them pads. That way she can keep her dignity and we can ensure she wears what she needs.
  • Mattress Pad – When we first started staying with Grandma the accidents were few and far between. After the second time of having to shampoo her mattress we decided to get a plastic mattress protector. You really need the kind that go over the entire mattress and zip. The ones that go on like a fitted sheet can be easily removed…… I know from experience. The mattress protector can easily be wiped down with cleaner and makes shampooing a thing of the past. We wash down the mattress cover with a solution of cleaner and water and then spray it with Lysol.
  • 3 sets of sheets – Grandma may go 2 or 3 days with out an accident, and then wet through twice in one night. We have found that three sets of sheets works wonderfully. There is always at least one clean set, even if she wet through twice in the night.
  • White Sheets – Urine can have a very strong odor. We have found that sometimes the only way to get rid of the smell is with bleach. Having white sheets makes bleaching them simple. We had to throw away a few sets of colored sheets that became too stained.
  • Two Blankets – Two bed sized blankets really are essential. When the sheets get wet, the blanket may too. Often blankets can take a long time to dry, so having an extra available makes making the bed quickly possible.
  • Move the extras – Grandma likes her room to look neat, so a nice comforter is a must. The problem is that comforters are not made to be washed as often as sheets. The one that was on her bed for over 20 years finally had to be thrown away a few weeks ago from being washed so much in the last year. Now we take the comforter and extra pillows off of her side of the bed. They are within reach if she wants them, but having them get wet is a lot less likely.

Bed Wetting and Dignity - Maintaining Dignity when dealing with the side effects of Alzheimer's

Overall, patience, kindness, and understanding are the most important thing you can have when dealing with a bed wetter. There may be times when you have to wake up at two in the morning to change the bed. There will be times when you finally get to talk to someone on the phone, or the show you have been waiting for for months is finally on, and your loved one will need to be changed. Show them dignity. Show them grace, and show them love. Remember it is not something they can control. Just as you wouldn’t get mad at a baby for wetting through their diaper, don’t get mad at your loved one.

Caregiving is a difficult yet rewarding job, I hope what we have learned makes your experience a little easier.

Trying New Foods – Eggplant

One of our New Year’s resolutions was to try a new fruit and vegetable every month. For the month of January (yeah I am a little behind) we decided to try eggplant. Why did we decide to pick eggplant? It was on sale for .79 each, and being on a very limited budget we went with the cheapest thing we could find.

Eggplant - Trying New Foods

We bought the eggplant and then tried to figure out what to do with it. We watched a few videos on YouTube to try and figure out how to cook it and then we headed over to Pinterest to try and find a good recipe. I wanted something other than Eggplant Parmesan.

After looking at a few different recipes, we decided to try The Best Eggplant Patties . It sounded good and simple. So we pealed and sliced the eggplant and then cooked it how the recipe said. It was actually really easy. When they were all finished cooking, we tried them.  I loved it! AJ and my mom both thought they were ok, but they waited too long to eat them and they started to get soggy.

Eggplant patties

Although the recipe turned out great, the idea behind trying new fruit and vegetables was to find healthy items to add to our diet. This recipe called for quite a bit of cheese and involved frying them. They were far from healthy.

So we picked up another eggplant and decided to try roasted eggplant. We just drizzled it with olive oil, added a little seasoning,  and stuck it in the oven. I didn’t care for it, but AJ loved it.

The big question……. Will we eat eggplant again? Yes! Even though I didn’t care for it roasted, I plan to experiment with it some more.

In January we tried eggplant and grapefruit. Grapefruit has already been purchased a few more times for AJ, I can’t wait to see what other fruits and vegetables we come across. In February we tried Jicama and cactus pears. I will be sharing what we thought about those soon.

What is your favorite eggplant recipe?

Fruit of the Month – January

One of our goals for the new year was to try a new fruit and vegetable every month. How are we picking which new thing to try? It is simple, I am going by price. We are on a limited budget so we are going to try new produce based on the deals I find.

This month’s fruit was grapefruit. They are readily available and actually fairly inexpensive, but neither of us had tried one before. My mom hates grapefruit and now a few of her medications don’t allow her to eat it, so we were on our own for this one.

Growing up our fruit mainly consisted of; apples, bananas, oranges, and berries. AJ loves almost every fruit and vegetable she has tried so I think this goal will be a fun way to branch out and try new things.

I picked up two grapefruits (they were only .20 each) and then a fruit cup in natural juice.

First we tried the fruit cup.

AJ liked it and I couldn’t stand it. Even though it was all natural it had a fake flavor to me.

Then it was time for the fresh grapefruit. Since I didn’t like the pre cut grapefruit, we decided to share one grapefruit. AJ loved it. I thought it was ok, but way too sour.

I decided to try it with a little sugar. It was edible, but the point of trying new fruits and vegetables is to eat healthier. I don’t really see the point of eating a fruit that I need to add sugar to.

Overall, AJ really liked the grapefruit and asked me to buy it again. We agreed that the fresh fruit was a lot better than the packaged, and it is cheaper too. Our first new fruit went well and I can’t wait to see which new fruit will be on sale next month.

First Day January 2015

Today I am linking up with Nicole at Journey to Josie  for the First Day link up. On the first of each month you take pictures to document your day.

This is my first time participating, and I didn’t learn about it until mid morning on the first, so there are not as many pictures as there will be in future posts.

Our day was slow and lazy on the first. We stayed up late the night before and enjoyed sleeping in. When we woke up I made homemade hash browns, bacon, and eggs. It was a great breakfast.

Then I worked on the computer while AJ watched the Rose Parade.

After the parade AJ decided to work on her new MobyMax tablet and write a story. The entire couch is available, but she still sits on the floor. Sometimes she surprises me.
It was getting close to lunch so AJ made a grilled cheese and kale sandwich and I made kale chips. We tried kale for the first time in December, and we love it!
We just relaxed around the house a while until we went to the store. 
When we got back from the store we made one of the smoothies in the book AJ received for Christmas, Body and Soul. It was pretty good, but the cucumber overpowered it. 
Later that day we had ham and scalloped potatoes for dinner. Then we cleaned up and went to bed. It wasn’t a very exciting day but it was relaxing.

Health Update – Mom, Grandma, and Me

I have had a lot of reviews on my blog lately, and unfortunately I haven’t had time to do too much other blogging, because as usual our life has been hectic. In my last real post I shared how my mom had been diagnosed with Kidney disease and had to have two different surgeries.

The surgeries were a lot harder on her than we were expecting. She woke up in so much pain that they decided to keep her in the hospital an extra night. When she came home she was still hurting. A few weeks later they took the two stints out of her kidneys and she started feeling better. Not good, but better. So far the test results show that her kidney function has improved a little, now we just have to play the waiting game.

This week she went in for another surgery to fix her hernia. To say she was nervous would be the understatement of the year. After all of the pain she felt from the kidney surgeries, she was really afraid of how bad she would hurt after this surgery.

When she woke up she was relieved. The pain was nowhere near as bad as the other surgery. But as the days have gone by it is very difficult for her to get up and down. Right now we are taking it day by day. With her back hurting from the kidney surgery and her front hurting from the hernia surgery, she is uncomfortable all of the time. Thankfully my aunt was able to stay with us a few days to keep an eye on Grandma and help out. I am not much help right now because my leg and back are getting worse by the day. I did finally get an appointment with another new doctor next week so I am hopeful that she will have some answers.

Daily Life caregiving

How is Grandma doing? She has her good days and bad days. Lately she has been is a better mood, our problem is her sleeping. She tends to be up for 48 hours straight at times and that can be difficult. I am the first to admit that when I am in pain (always) and don’t get enough sleep I am not the nicest person. Some days you will find us sleeping in until noon because Grandma didn’t go to bed until 5 or 6 in the morning. This of course messes up our school schedule, but we are about where I had wanted to be curriculum wise. Grandma has joined in on school a few times recently and even enjoyed writing on the chalkboard. Her favorite subject is our read aloud time.

Merry Christmas

Memory wise Grandma is a little worse. She seems to know us better and even calls us by name at times, but her sense of time is completely off. She tends to think she is about 10 years old. She is happy most of the time though especially this time of year when the house is decorated for Christmas. We have stopped telling her that her parents and husband have died unless she asks directly. We avoid answering as much as possible by using phrases like…. I haven’t seen her today, They won’t be picking you up tonight, and Yeah, your mother knows where you are. Since we made this little change she cries way less. She still has a mouth on her and wants things her way but life is a little easier. Health wise she is good and we are praying she stays that way!

First Day of 6th Grade

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I can’t believe that AJ is in 6th grade this year. She has grown so much over the last few years and I am excited to start the new year. My favorite year of school was 6th grade, I had an amazing teacher and learned so much. If she was going to public school, AJ would be in middle school this year. The school she would go to is the same one I went to for the first part of 7th grade,(I was lucky enough to be accepted to a prep school after the first quarter) and it was a rough place way back then. I am so glad she will not have to go to that school!

AJ started the morning off with a shower and then got to work on her chores. She has to make her bed, get dressed, put dishes away, bring up the trash cans, feed the dog, and help make sure everything of hers is put away .

For her first day of school I got up early and made a good breakfast. We had homemade biscuits, eggs, bacon, a banana, and orange juice. It was a good start to the day.

Breakfast was just the two of us, and then I woke up Grandma and got her dressed while AJ started on her Language Arts book.
We had a few minutes before we had to leave so I reviewed fraction operations with AJ and made sure she understood how to do all of her grammar.
Then we took Grandma to her doctor appointment. Usually her appointments are quick, but today it took forever. AJ was suppose to finish her grammar and math work while she was in the waiting room, but she didn’t. She watched the tv in the waiting room instead. She wasn’t too happy when she found out that she would have to work on her math and grammar during her free time, but hopefully she will do her work next time.
When we finally got back home we had a quick lunch and then she started on literature.  I created a literature study for the book she is reading, The Fantastic Mr. Fox. She started by looking up vocabulary and then she read the first 2 chapters. So far she is enjoying the book.
After literature she should have had free time while I went to the dentist, but she had to do her grammar and math. The dentist should have been a quick trip, just two simple fillings, but it took almost 2 hours.
On the way home from the dentist I stopped by my favorite store, Fresh and Easy. I love this store! The prices are great, and the food is fresh. The best part is that I am able to find so many things that are corn free.
I went back home expecting to find AJ, but she was mistakenly taken to gymnastics. During the summer she went to gymnastics everyday, but now that summer is over she goes back to her normal days. Having her gone for those 2 hours really messed up my schedule because we were going to work on science.
When she got home we worked on her Bible curriculum and then had dinner. After our busy day I decided to skip science and work on it another time.
Our day was long and we didn’t accomplish everything, but we will make it up later in the week. I think overall it was a good first day.
How did your day go?

A Day in Our Homeschool

Udderly Smooth Review

I hate lotion. I hate it so much that even when I have dry skin, I put off using it for as long as possible. I have never liked to use lotion for as far back as I can remember. The sticky, slimy, greasy, mess is just something that I have never enjoyed. Unfortunately, AJ was blessed with not so great skin and has to use lotion a lot. The lotion recommended by the dermatologist is expensive and still leaves her skin dry! So, when I was given the opportunity to do a review for Udderly Smooth, I was excited.

Udderly Smooth is the lotion with the black and white cow spots. It was originally developed in Ohio to be used on dairy cows and is now used by people world wide on dry and chapped skin.

Udderly Smooth offers a variety of products including:

  • Moisturizing Lotion
  • Shea Butter Foot Cream
  • Body Cream
  • Udder Cream
  • Country Cream
  • Chamois Cream
  •  Hand & Body Moisturizing Lotion
  • Udderly Smooth Extra Care

I was given the opportunity to try the hand cream, foot cream, and body cream.

The body cream is a soft white cream that is non-greasy with a fresh scent. It moisturizes your skin leaving it soft and smooth. I used the body cream on AJ and it soaked right into her skin. I feel that it actually works better than the expensive lotion recommended by her dermatologist. We also tried it on my grandma’s face where she had some dry spots, by the next morning the spots were soft and smooth. The best part for me was that my hands didn’t feel sticky and slimy after I put it on them. This will definitely be a keeper in our house.

The foot cream was amazing! My mom is diabetic so I often rub her feet and the foot cream made it an enjoyable experience for both of us. She actually said, “I love this lotion!” It left her feet smooth, but not greasy. It also helped with the cracking on her heals. The foot cream is a little bit thicker than the body cream and has a similar fresh scent.

The hand lotion worked great too! In fact I put it on right before typing up this blog and have had no problem. With other lotions there would be no way that I could type after less than a minute of putting it on.

People have used these products for a number of different uses from dry skin to sunburns. The products are available online and at various retailers including Walmart. Prices vary depending on where you purchase it, but they are a great value.

Overall this lotion is wonderful. It goes on smooth and is not at all greasy. It is something that we will be using from now on in our home. It is a product that I would recommend in a second. If you have dry chapped skin look for the black and white spotted bottles!

Find out what others had to say by clicking on the graphic below.

http://mosaicreviews.com/udderly-smooth/