Hi all! Welcome to the Cornbread table as we lumber into the weekend like a 6-legged octopus holding a conch shell in 3 legs and a piece of medical waste in the rest. Lots to be thankful for these days too, so off we go.
This weekend is my son’s prom weekend. He opted out of his own school’s and is going with friend’s south of KC. Then Sunday night, in a secure, undisclosed location, there will be a small, private graduation all divided up and with very limited invites. Not exactly what I would have predicted and/or wanted for my youngest’s graduation weekend. I mean, take a look at my Prom from a couple of years ago:
As parents, we perhaps desperately want our kids to have a better childhood than we had. My kids had their ups and downs for sure…for sure…but all things considered, they didn’t do too bad through the HS years. As a parent, I couldn’t/wouldn’t be any prouder of any of my 3 and their lives as they sit now. We have disagreements and conflicts here and there, but life is pretty darn good.
I was digging deep in my memory for stories mom told me about her HS years and there isn’t much that stuck out. My grandparents were nice enough to us, but they were very strict parents. I remember mom lamenting not getting to go to at least one dance because my grandpa wouldn’t buy her a formal dress. But he was likely doing the best he could given that he was raised by an even more strict set of parents, who, by today’s standards, would be in jail….but were typical for the era. He did his best to provide for his family (he died wealthy despite a grade-school education) and he married a godly lady who made sure they went to church and learned of the Lord.
So, does this have anything to do with dementia, blog boy??? Sort of.
If dementia “runs in the family”, we need to do a few things for the sake of our family. Before I tell you those things, know this…most types of dementia ARE NOT passed on genetically. There are types that are, but most are not, at least directly. Know this: The biggest risk factor as to whether you will develop dementia is AGE. Dementia is NOT a normal part of aging, however, but it becomes more likely the longer we live. That is largely the reason why mom’s dementia is kind of hereditary: her side of the family lives to be quite old more often than not. Granted mom was diagnosed much earlier than previous generations, but grandma and probably others did have it as well, but later in life. So, what do we tell our kids about dementia if we feel like they may be at risk some day? Here is my take, and is backed up by smart folks:
- Get/Stay in shape. Fight weight gain like it is the plague. That has always been a challenge for me…
- Exercise. Eat right. Remember the old cliche-ish- What’s good for the heart is good for the brain!
- If you develop diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, treat them serious…more serious than you do when you don’t wear your mask to Wal-Mart 😉 . This is critical.
- Stay engaged mentally. Be a lifelong learner. Learn a language that is not native…and learn it well. Learn music and/or artistic expression. I did a long series on this.
- Attend civic groups, church, or the like and stay involved. Don’t isolate.
- If you have warning signs, talk to the doctor. If you have any health concern, talk to the doctor. Oh…and take the doctor’s advice. They go to school and learn and practice for many, many years. They, generally, know what they are talking about. 🙂
Talk to your kids about this disease (and other ones too…). Educating them on the basics of first aid, CPR, and the like are super valuable skills. Talk about the warning signs of stroke and heart attack when they get old enough too. Preparing for disasters is also a good topic and one that we have discussed many times here. Talk to them about Jesus Christ as well…often. Knowledge is power and part of parenting is passing on this stuff. 🙂 Lots to teach if we are to give them more than we have.
I have had mixed results as a parent. I have stressed some stuff to the exclusion of others…but I have done my best. Here is a picture that showed my exact emotion at the thought of parenting back in the early 90s when that part of our marriage began:
Two things I want to be sure my kids understand: they are loved by me and the Lord and that their folks will always be there for them. Mom, despite being in final stage dementia, pressed them into my head and I hope I have done the same.
Update: Nothing new to report. Set up a couple of meal meetings with mom next week. We get to hang out 6′ apart. No hugs or holding hands, but we can visit, so it is better than nothing. 🙂
Dad joke of the day: My wife told me to take the spider out instead of killing him. Went out. Had a few drinks. Nice guy. He’s a web designer.
Bonus Dad joke of the day: What do you call a knight who is afraid to fight? Sir Render.