Honey, It’s Cold Outside

Honey I'm ColdHoney I'm Cold 2Honey I'm Cold 3Honey I'm Cold 6Honey I'm Cold 5

I debated whether or not to include this last frame, but I finally decided to because this is what dementia is: coping with behavior that is unlike anything the person would have done before the onset of the disease.  That and having my grandmother flash her underwear at me is one of the funniest things I’ve witnessed in a long time.

For whatever reason, Gran is always cold now. Part of this is she’s unaware of what month it is, and the other reason is that old habits die hard—she stays true to her 70’s sleepwear.

This habit is ok. The familiarity of her clothes comforts her, but of course the outfit itself isn’t practical. All in all, it’s still important to establish familiarity and  keep a routine for people with dementia. And if you haven’t seen it yet on social media, check out this Dutch village where every resident has dementia. The houses resemble the architecture from 50s and 70s, keeping in line with the familiarity that these residents need.

Even after doing all of this, your loved one may still moon you, or they may do something even worse. Be prepared….mentally that is.

 

 

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Mommy Dorsey

Sketch (3)_LIMommy Dorsey2_LIMommy Dorsey 3_LI (2)

I’m back, folks. I’m experimenting with digital drawing, and while it’s not my best work, it’s more important to share the story. I kind of hate the digital version, but then again, it kind of gives them a unique style. Like an artsy Hallmark card. I can also incorporate some of my own style into them, hence why Gran has purple glasses. My favorite color is purple and I think these lenses make her face pop. I also had a pair of purple glasses that I lost and like to think she stole. In reality she has transparent old lady glasses (sorry to offend those of you who wear these type of glasses).

On to the story! In honor of Mother’s Day this past Sunday, this story is all about mothers. The Mommy Dorsey tales are commonly repeated by Gran. Last week I talked about how Marge had to work all the time. Well, Gran and Marge have always lived side by side and Gran babysat when she worked.

***

“Marge’d stick a baby in bed with me first thing in the morning.”

“Bump Davis would’ve watched my kids! You didn’t have to watch them!”

“Rob and Dru were close! They know they’re cousins now.”

This is at least the 150,000th time I’ve heard this. I try to referee. “Guys, it’s like 8:00 in the morning, and this happened at least 60 years ago. Let’s talk about—-”

“Dutch said ‘if she has one more kid, you’re not watching it.'” (She did, and Gran did.)

“Alright, who’s been to Florida!? Anybody?” I ask anxiously.

“But she wouldn’t quit having babies, so I couldn’t get a job.”

***

So like Gran’s stories, this has been repeated numerous times this week on social media, but Happy Mother’s Day to all the types of mothers out there: aunt moms, sister moms, moms of adoptees, dad’s who mother, teachers who mother, and anyone who takes care of a child. In fact, I’m nominating myself as a mother this year since I am now Gran’s mom.

 

 

Dem Bones

DemBones1DemBones2DemBones3

Off to the side in Gran’s kitchen is a hand stitched, plastic canvas calendar hanging on the door to the basement.

“See that calendar? I made it,” Gran reminds us daily.

“I was busy making Hancock’s calendars,” Marge retorts.

Marge, Gran’s sister, worked for Hancock Manufacturing for about 35 years, so she has trouble with her joints, particularly her knees. She’s also 85 years old, so there’s that too.

Gran, on the other hand, was a housewife for most of her life.

“I worked the 5 and 10!”

“For like one year in high school.”

Because of this, Gran  is quite agile and likes to show off her flexibility. I also attribute some of this to her mental age because the fact is that over 44 million people over the age of 50 have osteoporosis and arthritis is just a prevalent. What I did discover was that yoga can reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s while improving flexibility.  For the rest of us, it can help reduce stress levels, especially if you are care giving for someone.

Gran’s already got the moves down. What’s stopping the rest of us?

Oh, Sugar, Sugar

Oh,Sugar,SugarOh,Sugar,Sugar2

In a world with  Unicorn Frappes, it’s hard to imagine that sugar is a noxious substance, and it’s even harder to imagine giving it up.

Gran was diagnosed with “sugar” diabetes about 10 years ago, and I firmly believe it was the primary stimulus to her disease. Numerous studies show the effects of sugar on the brain and how it curves cognitive functioning. A UCLA study reveals that too much sugar even alters our ability to learn.

It’s now more commonly known that there is a strong correlation between diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Read more about it here. There may be less awareness of sugar as a mood altering substance, although parents have claimed for years that too much sugar makes their kids hyper. While this is not necessarily the case, sugar can cause shifts in mood. In Gran’s case, her mood can be affected by eating sugar, or removing it from her before she has a chance to eat it.

“I watch my sugar,” Gran argues anytime we take a dessert away from her.

Despite Gran’s claim, she has a sweet tooth and likes to watch herself consume sugar. We have to hide sweets from her because she’ll sneak around the house looking for “something to nibble on,” and if she does eat food high in glucose, watch out. The above comic references last summer at our family reunion where she was filling up her tray solely at the dessert table. When I took the cupcake away from her, her voice dropped into this raspy range and her head spun around three times… Okay, I’m exaggerating; it only spun around once—but I wasn’t going to chance possible consumption of the cupcake. I yelled to my cousin Cole, “go long!,” and I threw it onto her tray.

I try to monitor my own sugar intake, but it’s a battle with all the processed foods and the demands of daily life. For now I’ll “watch my sugar.”

 

 

 

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