Tag Archives: Alzheimer’s

The downside of multitasking – it fuels forgetting. An important piece on Alzheimer’s by @USAToday #health

Alzheimer’s runs in the women in my family – so I took special interest in this piece. With a busy life that practically defines the “many reasons for memory lapses: aging, stress, lack of sleep, distraction, inattention …” I am going to take some of these tips (click through to read them) to heart.

Please click through at the bottom to read the entire article. With

Amplify’d from www.usatoday.com
Memory lapse or Alzheimer’s? Multi-tasking fuels forgetting
SAN DIEGO — Those twinges of forgetfulness that appear to be getting more pronounced may worry you. After all, the statistics are scary: Every 70 seconds, someone in the USA develops Alzheimer’s. But every lapse isn’t a signal that your memory is kaput.

Cheryl Edwards-Cannon, 57, says she relies on Post-it notes and spiral notebooks to help her remember, since she’s multitasking “the majority of the time.”

There are many reasons for memory lapses: aging, stress, lack of sleep, distraction, inattention and disease. There’s a lot coming at us, and sometimes we may feel like we’re on information overload.

“Distraction may be just a very important factor that goes hand-in-hand with multitasking,” says Suparna Rajaram, a psychology professor at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, N.Y.

Whether new information sticks is “very dependent” on how much you focus, she says.

“Even if you’re distracted when remembering, you may be all right, but if you’re distracted when learning, you pay for it,” she says.

Rajaram is among researchers presenting new findings on memory at the American Psychological Association‘s annual meeting, which opens today in San Diego. About 14,000 psychology professionals are expected to attend the four days of presentations.

“People are trying to multitask more than they used to, but they don’t have to keep as many things in memory as they used to, because they have electronic devices that do that,” says psychology professor Nelson Cowan of the University of Missouri-Columbia. “Overall, I’m not sure whether this is training our brains or letting them go lax.”

Rajaram adds that people vary in memory capacity; some are just more forgetful. “Forgetfulness is not just being poor at remembering; it also occurs because as we gain experience in life and get older, we have more to remember,” she says.

Read more at www.usatoday.com

 

Good People Day – Papa, That’s You

I participate in a micro blogging site called Twitter (if you’re on, you can follow me @missusP). If you don’t know what Twitter is… and you want to learn more, you can read more in various blog posts, online articles or by simply typing “What is Twitter” into any search engine.

Anyway, one of the users I follow, Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee… better known as the Wine Library TV celebrity) has made an Internet plea for today to be “Good People Day.” I’m pretty skeptical about such things…but then I thought of one of the best people in the universe, my Grandfather. If we’re talking good people, I must share his story (which is a post I’ve been meaning to write anyway so this is a good push).

Everyone knows traditional marriage vows include “til death to us part” and “in sickness and in health.” Likewise, we know that today, few people actually keep these commitments (with 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, sadly, these promises have become almost meaningless). My grandfather is a rare, focused and stubborn man who took these vows to a level of commitment few people ever know in their lifetime.

My grandmother was diagnosed with “dementia” (read: Alzheimer’s) in her mid 60s (just like her mother before her). My grandfather watched several heart-breaking years as this horrible disease crept up on her. She knew it at moments when she couldn’t remember her own address, her name, or how to get home. After it overtook her, he tried for many years to take care of her on his own. He had watched his mother-in-law go through a terrible nursing home experience that had soured him greatly.

If you are at all familiar with Alzheimer’s you will understand why he couldn’t keep this care up on his own. Eventually, with the help of family and friends, he did put her in a great nursing home. But, unlike many people in this world who dispose of ill loved one’s like they might drop of a dog at the pound… he remained present every single day.

Every day my grandfather, aka Papa, would arrive at the nursing home at 6 a.m. He would help my grandmother (aka Mimi) get dressed, brush her teeth, comb her hair, etc. He fed her breakfast, lunch and dinner. He made sure she got her “exercise,” took her outside for sunshine, read to her, painted her nails and spent every single day for over a decade taking care of her at the home. He put her to bed before leaving for the day and, although she didn’t talk, eat on her own or show any other signs of interaction, she always puckered up to kiss him back when he asked nicely.

Papa; Mimi

This is not a typical arrangement. The hospital staff knew this and let him “do his thing” – awed by his love and dedication. He befriended many of them over the years – becoming a constant presence in their lives just as much as he was in Mimi’s. He’d teach them about his favorite subjects like jazz music, funny quotes and new books to read. He’d bring them gifts like CDs, flowers, books and more. He brightened not only the lives of my grandmother but everyone in that hospital, every single day.

The level of this dedication could often be misunderstood. Some worried that he spent too much time at the home.. not enough time focusing on his own needs. But this is what made him happy, this is what he promised to do. I know very few people that have upheld such promises in such a tremendous way.

My grandmother passed away in November 2006. My grandfather still goes to the nursing home on a regular basis to visit other patients, friends he’s made along the way, and even use the hospital gym.

I hope you will agree, that’s a good – no, great – person.

Dispensable Life Relationships

Relationships have been on my mind a lot lately. I’m reaching the time in life where a good deal of friends are getting divorced, middle age crisis’ are approaching and many people are seeking some new kind of inspiration. Some find this by taking up new hobbies, or running away from responsibilities, others by traveling and still others by buying things they don’t need or can’t afford.

The divorce thing is really tough to watch – in my most selfish moments it makes me wonder if sharing your most intimate thoughts and moments in life with another person is something that will come to haunt you. It is always in the back of my mind – is my “family” now always going to be so? Are these relationships worth emotional toil or are they dispensable? As relationships crumble – and mind you, divorce is not just about the man and wife – ever – I get so scared.

Then – I visit my folks’. But they are not the ones that give me faith (well…I shouldn’t say that – they give me some faith, having been married since they were 17- and 19-years-old – they are now in their 60s). I get to see my 84-year-old, sprite Grandfather, seen below (photo courtesy of one brilliant brother, Brian Dilg.) He has seen so much in life. His mother passed away when he was six, his step mother died when she was 13. He had another stepmother – the Nana that I knew – who embraced and loved him and he, her…. But…

2007-12-26-016

… the biggest, most wondrous thing about Papa is his love for his wife. He met her when he was 13. She passed away last November from Alzheimer’s. For the last 20 or so years of her life he stood by her side – in a nursing home for the most part – every single day. He stayed by her when she started to lose her memory. He stayed when she began getting lost, running away and throwing things at him. He stayed when she completely forgot him and couldn’t function anymore (although, she always kissed him back – the one human reaction she never lost) and he stayed when many, many people would not have. My Grandparents’ story around the theft that is Alzheimer’s is a post for another time. For today, I thank Papa for showing me that real love can last, that not all relationships are dispensable and that in the end – faith is a daily leap that is a reward in and of itself.

Thanks, Papa.