Tuesday, February 4, 2020

smart devices

Hi dear readers, long time no post...

Today I was listening to NHPR "Here & Now" and an article by Robin Young about the Super Bowl LIV commercial for the Google Voice Assistant.  An elder man was asking "Hey Google" to help him remember stuff about his wife Loretta.  "Hey Google, remember Loretta hated my mustache."

I think one point of this news article was the question: are we letting Google (and other platforms) have too much of our personal information?  But whether it's talking to our computer aided devices or typing into them directly, so much of our quirks and secrets are already out there.   I remember searching online for patterns to make cloth diapers, for my soon-to-be grandchild. For months and months after that I was plagued with advertisements for diapers.

However my thoughts ran to a different question.

As my Mother's dementia grew she would purchase the same items over and over.  Link  She had eight bottles of molasses in her pantry. She would send the same birthday gifts to her granddaughters over and over. She would buy a birthday card every time she was in a store for whomever had the next birthday, her birthday card collection was huge.  She was using computers for email and creating documents, but she never got into browsing the web, or shopping there.

In my dementia caregivers support group I heard of people with dementia who got quite out of hand with the HomeShoppingNetwork. Watching tv and purchasing another set of pots and pans for their daughter-in-law, because you know she would love new pots. Or purchasing another big cozy bathrobe because mine is old and ratty and this one looks so soft.

We have all heard the story about the parrot that was ordering treats from Amazon through a voice activated assistant. "Hey Siri - Polly wants more crackers."

 I already have become use to just snapping off an order to Amazon for that big bag of cat food I can't purchase locally. It's all so convenient.

So my question is: as most of us are now quite use to using our highly connected computer aided devices for everything, how will those habits help or hurt us when dementia creeps in?

"Hey refrigerator, purchase OJ."  "Purchase OJ"  "Purchase OJ" "Purchase OJ."

"Hey thermostat, turn the heat up.  Turn the heat up. Turn the heat up." When she really is sick with a fever and needs help.

"Hey Siri call the police I can't get up."

"Hey Alexa call the police there is a strange man in my house" who is really just his own reflection in a mirror.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

the teacher

I have always hoped, that with age, I would grow-up to become a wise woman,  I would become a sage woman.

In my internet browsing I found a lecture by Scott Stuart - Dimensions of Dementia: Deepening our Care.  In his lecture Scott talks about the worth of all people, and the value of all people, at all points in their lives.  Scott also talked about what we can learn from those who have dementia. They are still teaching us things, and we should be receptive to these life lessons. 

My Mother was a teacher, she was a very good teacher. What did Mom teach me, while she had dementia, although indirectly?

That raising children, which I believe is one of the hardest job in the world, is a piece of cake, compared to dealing with dementia!

She has taught me that dementia is not really like a Dementor, a character from the books of Harry Potter. Yes, dementia sucked out the happiness that was in my Mother and most of the happiness that was in our relationship. But the dementia-demon has not sucked out her soul.  Her soul and her tortured body were very much still there together, until she died.

What did my Mother teach me?  That you will always miss you mother after she is gone, even if she has been gone for sixty years. You can still miss her with all the emotional rawness as it was the day she died. It can be as powerful as it was sixty years ago.

What did my Mother teach me?  We are creatures of habit. We like certain things and we don't like certain things.  Mom never liked button down shirts or flannel sheets, and somehow she could still communicate that to me. Her aides just attributed that to her daily grouchiness, but I knew the difference.

When Susan lost her mother, she wrote in her blog:  "Along the care giving road something amazing happened, my mom gave me a gift of pure Love. My mom knew love and taught me to experience it too. My mom's illness was our greatest blessing, without it, I would not have a heart that is full of love."

Monday, November 12, 2018

I can't care

Again, Teepa Snow has succinctly put into words what it took me years to realize.
My mother had Vascular Dementia and maybe Frontal Temporal Dementia too.

She couldn't care.
She couldn't care.
She couldn't care.

The "I care about xxx" part of her brain was busted.

Please watch  Teepa's video, become educated.

Oh why does my Mother's dementia still hurt my heart so much?