Then the LORD will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightning. The Sovereign LORD will sound the trumpet; he will march in the storms of the south… –Zechariah 9:14
Howdy all! A happy Monday to you again! I hope you had a restful weekend, as much as is possible, that is. Mine was fine although it went by in a flash.
Nothing much new to report this week for you. As you may have seen from previous posts, COVID has hit mom’s nursing home like nearly all of the rest despite yeoman’s efforts to fight it off. I can say with confidence they did their best to prevent it…but it happened. Therefore the meetings stopped. In an effort to limit the folks on campus, the window visits are also cancelled. What we are left with is Zoom meetings with her. These tech meetings would have worked a few years ago, but today they really only serve to let us see her and talk and hope she recognizes our voice. She can see, but not perceive at this point despite 20/20-ish vision. Stinking year strikes again. 🙁
I acknowledge that 2020 isn’t a thing. It is just a number…a construct of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, years, decades, and centuries and isn’t a living thing….but it sure feels like it is. Take these thoughts:
2020 has seen:
- Many, many Celebrities have died this year. Lou Brock, Kobe Bryant, Chadwick Boseman, Wilford Brimley, Herman Cain, Regis Philbin, Charlie Daniels, Hugh Downs, Carl Reiner, Ian Holm, Jerry Sloan (Lewy Body Dementia), Ken Osmond (Eddie Haskell), Fred Willard, Jerry Stiller, Little Richard, Brian Dennehy, John Prine…and the list goes on and on. I am amazed that Betty White is still with us. 🙁
- COVID-19 is nearing 200,000 taken in the US alone.
- What was the best economy since the 1980’s turn to the worst since the Great Depression.
But consider what it (2020 with its friend COVID-19) has done to the community facing dementia:
- It has made the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the biggest fundraiser of the year for our cause, go virtual. Our little team will walk this Saturday and there is still time to donate and/or walk with us. 🙂 I hope for all am worth that this year’s walk raises a lot of money, but, with a messed up economy, I am hoping in the face of a big challenge.
- It has closed nursing homes and senior centers and locked many in their residence since March leading to an isolation crisis. I was blessed to be able to attend a 3 day virtual (of stinking course) conference last week on isolation. Let me Cliff’s notes it for you in 2 words: Isolation Kills. Being alone and isolated is the body equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes per day. Or, consider these facts: “Social isolation significantly increased a person’s risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. Social isolation was associated with about a 50% percent increased risk of dementia. Poor social relationships (characterized by social isolation or loneliness) was associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke. Loneliness was associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide. Loneliness among heart failure patients was associated with a nearly 4 times increased risk of death, 68% increased risk of hospitalization, and 57% increased risk of emergency department visits.” Dang virus and dang year…
- It has slowed all forms of medical research. Fewer volunteers. Fewer studies. Offices closed. Research refocused on COVID-19.
- Fewer folks willing to go to the doctor for non-life-threatening problems for fear they will get COVID-19…or the clinics not accepting these “non-essential appointments. Therefore, fewer get an early diagnosis. Fewer early diagnoses means fewer can get on meds that extend the early stages longer (even if they don’t extend lifespan). This is quite bad. It was for us…it will be for them as well.
- Lots of folks sitting around watching TV and dwelling on the anxiety of life. Therefore, the COVID-19 is the new Freshman 15… Weight gain is rampant. The more we weigh, the more high blood pressure we have. And….. more strokes, more heart problems….all of which are contributing factors to dementia. Remember, “what’s good for the heart is good for the brain”, and sitting on the couch binge-watching Netflix or Fox News/CNN is NOT good for those things….but they are good for developing dementia.
- It has kept me from seeing mom in person other than the 6 outdoor, distanced visits I enjoyed. Multiply me times the millions in the same boat.
EXHALE. INHALE DEEPLY. ELHALE AGAIN. INHALE AGAIN…
As much as I want to blame it on 2020, it wasn’t the year’s fault. There have just been a higher concentration of challenges lately than normal. That fact isn’t arguable… But, we can’t blame it on a year or any random thing…we just need to keep our eyes focused ahead. Here are some thoughts for shifting our thinking:
- Instead of news or Netflix: Read a good book. Read your Bible. Read a book from the heroes of faith. May I suggest something by CS Lewis or, better, Pilgrims Progress?
- Instead of fighting on social media…and working yourself up: Try posting positive stories about dementia caregivers, about fundraising events, and about encouraging wisdom for those who need it.
- Instead of eating to fight stress (like I have most of my life): pray/meditate/exercise. These things help your body, mind, soul get stronger and more resilient. Food’s power is limited in these fronts.
- Instead of dwelling on the hard/bad stuff: think about Philippians 4:6-10 that says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
- Instead of giving up in the fight to #EndALZ: fight harder and smarter. Alz.org has lots of available options to help. Give money. Give time. Give…just don’t give up.
This year will be over in a few short months. Let’s not waste these months waiting on a new year calendar turn to fix things. Let’s focus instead on things than can help and on eternal things and leave the rest behind. Time is a wasting…
Update: Mom should have received her new chair this week. I am hoping my Zoom call with her Wednesday goes well. I applied to work at her nursing home as a side job so I can see her. I am also looking into Ombudsman volunteering as a way to both help her and the Sweet 17…and get to see them in person. I just can’t imagine that I have hugged mom for the last time quite yet…
Weight Watchers (WW) Update: As of today I have now lost 90 pounds in 2020. My goals: 100 by November in time for my 30th Anniversary and 150 by July 2021 in time for my 50th birthday. I am on target. 🙂 If you want to join in the WW program, click my link and get a free month. And, when you do, I get a free month too…so you are helping me too. 🙂
Anyone want to buy a broken barometer? No pressure.
How do you organize a space party? You planet.
What did one ocean say to the other ocean? Nothing, they just waved.
How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh? 10 tickles.
BTW….the Alzheimer’s Caregivers Virtual Support Group is tomorrow (Tuesday the 15th) from 6-7pm CST. If you would like to join us, email me at email@example.com or call/text me at 417-955-2513
I look forward to seeing you!!! Thanks!
See ya all Friday at the Cornbread table! 🙂