Gift Idea #2 For People With Dementia: Companionship

Welcome to Tuesday! Yesterday, I shared to life-like Joy dog as gift idea #1. If your loved one is still able to care properly for a real pet they make great companions. No affiliate links.

Obviously, they would need to remember to feed, water, and potty the pet at the very least. A way for the pet to get exercise would also be important, plus vet services. Dogs are awesome, I love them! There are tons that are waiting for homes in shelters and rescues all across this country. But, sometimes dogs can jump and or trip an older person. There is also the risk that the dog could get out and not come back. Being sure the dog is chipped, and is wearing proper ID tags will help the dog return home when found. Getting the dog basic dog training would be a great gift idea as well. Cats are another option if your loved one can’t handle a dog.

If your loved one can not take care of a pet anymore, or maybe is in Assisted Living, there are lots of ways to provide them companionship. Hopefully, they are taking advantage of the community outings and activities. Isolation and socialization issues can lead to depression which can make Dementia worse. Visiting them as often as you can, in person, is a wonderful gift for someone with Dementia. Maybe they can have friends visit too. Sometimes these visits may seem to cause agitation after the visit is over, but usually, it is short-lived and they resume their normal daily activities. FB Live and or Messenger are great ways to use video so your loved one can see and hear you. Zoom, Skype, and other video platforms can also be used. Facetime, for iPhones and so many others, is out there now. If your loved one can still handle technology devices Amazon offers an Echo item that you can do video calls on plus many other great features. Obviously, any of these technology gifts may need assistance to use, so be mindful of that when you purchase them as a gift. You don’t want it to frustrate them or cause them to be angry.

For adults that still live at home all of the same ideas still apply. Plus, there are community programs your loved one can sign up for. Do a search for Elder Day Cares or community groups for elders in your area. Help them if they need it to find these programs, and hopefully, they will allow you to assist them. Not all people who suffer from Dementia are willing to accept help, unfortunately.

Do you have any thoughts? Leave them in the comments.

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Gift Idea #1 For People With Dementia!

None of these are affiliate links. I am currently not doing any affiliate links for many reasons.

Sometimes it is hard to know what to get someone suffering from Dementia as a Christmas gift. Whether they have mild cognitive impairment and can still manage at home, or they are in Assisted Living or Memory Care, I will be sharing gift ideas right up until December 20th. I will try to post five times a week. I can’t do weekends as I am working.

Not only do I work as a nurse on a Memory Care unit, but I also have a LO that we just had to admit to Assisted Living for her own health and safety. I have noticed that things that people bring their loved ones as a gift are not always appropriate for the cognitive level they are at. They may not enjoy the same things they used to either.

The first gift idea I want to start with is this Golden Retriever animated dog. We have two of these at my job and the ladies all love them. The gents don’t care so much, but every now and then one will pay it some attention. One of my family members just bought my LO one and I brought it to her today. At first, she was not super impressed and was very distracted by something else. Once I turned it on she came to life too. She really did love it and gave it a name. She used to have dogs of her own but forgot to buy them food, and feed them. This was actually more stressful to her than bringing her joy. This little dog is just cute, and cuddles, and she doesn’t have to worry about feeding or taking it to the potty. A win-win. Some people feel these are childish. You are entitled to your opinion, but honestly, it is about what helps them to relax and be happy, not your opinions. They do also have them in cats, and we have one of those at my workplace too, but most of the residents prefer the dogs.

This is not cheap and I would recommend anytime you buy your loved one with memory issues a gift, that you take a picture of it, keep the receipt, and write their name on it. Just trust me.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

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Cardinal backpack

Black Friday History!

Hello, and welcome! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. The weather was perfect here in Florida, and we had a lovely day. We had dessert with extended family and friends. We always keep air circulating in the house, and fans in the windows when possible, plus disinfect before and after the company is here. Even if you are no longer concerned with Covid, which of course is not me, the Flu season is ramping up early this year. I don’t particularly want that either. Dessert was outside and it was a perfect evening for that. We usually decorate the tree on Thanksgiving but that didn’t happen until this morning. My Bills won and that was just the icing on the cake!

Speaking of Covid there is a new variant of concern in South Africa, with some cases in Israel and Taiwan. I just read about it on the news this morning. I haven’t even had my booster yet and already there is talk of a new vaccine for this new possible more resistant variant. I don’t know about you but people are getting vaccine tired. How often are we supposed to keep doing this? It is kind of getting old now. The Stock Market and oil are plummeting on this news.

If you are my age, then you probably know Black Friday as the day when stores come out of the red into the black, and turn a profit for the year. Apparently, that isn’t exactly true and is somewhat of a marketing gimmick. I went on Thanksgiving eve a couple of times while the hubby watched football, and I can tell you it is crazy and not really worth any deal you may get. My daughter went with me one year because she wanted a Samsung tablet for Christmas. My son went too and got in line for some video games. He was quite young too. We were first or second in line and I thought awesome! Right next to us was a drone. There were like 200 people in line for that drone, and only 13 drones, or so, were available. There was security nearby as it was apparent what was going to take place. I guess the Apple line also had some issues. Anyways, once it was time people literally just pushed their way over the top of everyone at the front of the line to get the drones. You could hear people hitting each other in the next aisle fighting over the drone. Security literally just stood there and did nothing. There were elderly people, and children, at the beginning of that drone line and people in the back just couldn’t accept they were not going to get one. Another thing I noticed from the line my son was in. He was third, I think, and should have easily gotten the game he wanted. The two women in the front of the line literally filled their carts with games and videos to share with family and friends in other places in the store. Again, this behavior was allowed by the store. We never did go again after that experience. I much prefer just ordering online. My daughter and I were going to go today just to look for good sales, but after going to Trader Joe’s and Publix on Tuesday she decided there are just too many people in the stores and it isn’t worth doing. I understand why stores need foot traffic in their stores, but until more safety standards are put in place and a more fair system of getting the items you stood in line forever for is implemented I personally will not do it. A footnote here, one of the years we did go and the same store used a ticket method for people to get the items the turnout was very low and people did not show up. People want to fight, trample people, and basically act like an ass rather than do it in a civilized manner. Christmas shopping shouldn’t be a blood sport. Plus, a lot of these people, I suspect are resellers.

Below you will find two videos talking about the history of Black Friday and why it is called Black Friday. They are both short and very interesting.

Happy shopping stay safe!

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Thanksgiving Tidbits!

Happy Thanksgiving, 2021! My husband does the turkey, and that is already in the oven. I prepped a bunch yesterday and will begin the snacky type before meal stuff soon. Below you will see my two tables set up. The smaller table is our usual dining room table. Since we don’t have a large family at home anymore we downsized from the big one. This little table just serves as extra space in case we need it. I could not find my Thanksgiving table runner, and my husband could not find any left at the store. So, he bought poinsettias, for the big table. I tried to block them out in the photos as it isn’t Christmas, yet, lol. Don’t mind the clutter in the background, it happens. I am a simple girl, and I don’t do fancy.

The orange wine bottle with the Pilgrim painted on, the two votive candle holders, and the Joy framed picture is decor all made by me. All of those items came from Dollar Tree. I painted the artwork on the wine bottle. The Joy picture is actually a gift bag with lights behind it. I really like how that came out. I do not care for the other one that I made, not shown. On the big table are three gel candles I made. I etched the turkey image onto the glass, for the two smaller candles. I then added the gel wax. The bigger one has pine cones in it. I really do enjoy the glass etching and candle making. I have some made for Christmas too!

As my children grow and start lives of their own, my husband and I have to learn to adapt to the holidays. They will look much different in as soon as a year when my second child will be an adult. I tend to like to be in my home for the holidays, celebrating how I want to. My husband is the same way. But, we have to accept that we may have to adjust holiday time to be with extended inlaw families. Since Covid is a little bit better this year, and I am now at stage 2 CKD, this year we have agreed to have dessert with my son’s inlaws. This is very important to him, but he too has to understand how we like to celebrate our holidays. We spent Easter with them, and it was quite lovely. But, he has to understand his sister will soon be on her own and he can’t have things just how he wants. Flexibility is the key.

My point is, change is inevitible, and adapting is vital. What if you were going to be alone for a holiday? How would you cope? Having a plan is super important. There is nothing wrong with being alone, some people even cherish it. The key is to use your time wisely. You can read more here. I personally think having a pet, or a volunteer situation is an awesome way to spend a holiday or any day if you don’t have family near, or friends to be with. There are so many shelters and rescues with dogs and cats in need of loving homes. It can be very rewarding for both of you.

Whatever you do this Thanksgiving I hope you can find gratefulness in whatever you do and all that you have. Spend a day not worrying and instead make a goal to just be happy.

I personally find Thanksgiving to be stressful, and not at all relaxing. However, I have had to learn to change my mindset so that I am not concentrating on all the work that needs to be done for just a few minutes of eating, but rather to be grateful that I have someone to cook for, eat with, decorate the tree, and laugh with.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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How Does Life Long Learning Prevent Dementia?

One more day to turkey day. Are you ready? I am prepping today, and even though there are only five of us there is still a lot to prep to be sure the meal is warm when everyone is ready to sit down. I also need to find the table runner that I made many years ago. I am creating some table decor using Dollar Tree items. Be sure and come back and see pics tomorrow. I am not a fancy person. You will never come to my house and think it is elegant, but it is comfy and homey and that is what I like. We also decorate the Christmas tree tomorrow, as well, and that takes some prepping. Plus, my Buffalo Bills are playing Thursday Night Football. I have to watch that! My husband and daughter are completely unprepared for the Family Cook-Off, but hopefully, once the holiday is over they will get their act together to share next week.

What does any of that have to do with life-long learning? Nothing, lol! This month’s health topic is Dementia. I did a post on 12 modifiable risk factors for Dementia. I will be expanding on each risk factor in upcoming posts. Today, I will discuss life-long learning.

Studies have shown that education, especially good education before the age of 20 can help prevent Dementia. However, life-long learning has also been shown to decrease, or prolong the risk of Dementia. Why? Well, the brain is complicated, but studies show that learning can preserve cognitive reserve, and create new synapses. Synapses are junctions between brain cells that transmit information from cell to cell. Reading was shown to be number one at improving the brain and cognition. Not, TV, or video games, though those may help other areas of the brain. Learning a new language was also high on the list. Remaining curious, asking questions, keeping up on current events, using critical thinking skills, doing research on topics that interest you, having a hobby, painting, music, learning to dance, are all great ways to keep your brain engaged and learning. I personally love to learn new things, and I always ask questions and research. I think some people find that annoying but I don’t care. I don’t always learn the same things though. I try to stay on top of topics in my line of the profession but also related to CKD, dogs, elder care, etc because those are the things that are in my life right now. A few things I really want to learn in the very near future are vlogging, grant writing, ALF Administration, IV Care, wound care, phlebotomy, management skills, all things nature related, green energy, retirement prep, Microsoft Office, Excel, Word, Spanish, and sign language. That should keep me busy for a while, lol. Some of these I have already started to prepare for. I know some basic Spanish, but not enough to carry on a conversation. The same is true for Sign Language. You don’t want to go back to school? Read this article to learn other ways to learn in adulthood. This website shares 23 places to learn online for free for adult learners.

I am technically always reading and researching for this blog. It takes a lot of time and effort to put together even a short but good post. It takes much more time and research for longer posts. I tend to not make them too long because I know for me a super long post with repeating keywords, and images are just plain annoying. I know why blogs do it, but it chases me away. The value in those posts is for them, not their readers. Below, please enjoy a couple of videos on the topic of life-long learning and Dementia prevention.

I will try to remember to share my table art tomorrow, but it may be the day after Thanksgiving. If you would like to learn more about my Health Coaching services, please use the contact form at the end of the post to send me an email.

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Vintage Thanksgiving Music!

Turkey day is almost here. I have been out and about all day. There are people everywhere shopping for Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are some empty shelves, and a store I had never been in, Tuesday Morning, had lots of holiday stuff picked over and it isn’t even Black Friday yet. I was going to Black Friday shop with my daughter, but she decided after today she wasn’t really feeling the crowds, lol. I have been in three different Dollar Tree stores in the past week, for a craft I want to make for the holidays, and people are buying up everything. Did you hear they are raising everything to 1.25 at the Dollar Tree? I don’t know how I feel about that.

Does music bring you joy? Did you even know there was music just for Thanksgiving? I didn’t! Music is a great way to be nostalgic, festive, and happy. I found this Youtube video of just vintage Thanksgiving music. When you first listen to it you might think it is a mistake, but keep listening. Be sure and play this on Thanksgiving during dinner. I know I will. I think musicians should pay attention. This is a very underserved area of music. There is Christmas music, and even for Halloween, but Thanksgiving is neglected. When is the last time you heard a new Thanksgiving song come out on the radio? I will wait.

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Scary Saturday History!

Hello, and Happy Saturday! I haven’t had a Saturday off in months. So, today is a rare treat.

Did you know there have been lots of other Epidemics and Pandemics in history? Some of them were pretty scary too, being that modern medicine is what it is. Even basic cleanliness and having soap was scarce for some of these historical illnesses. Imagine not being able to wash your hands, bleh! Without gloves, face masks, social distancing or even the knowledge to know to do these things, lead to a lot of deaths.

Be sure and watch the short video below to learn about some of these very scary times in History. Don’t lose any sleep over it though.

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The Elephant In The Room

Welcome back to another Thinking on Thursday topic. While I was going to do a Dementia article today, I have been reading a lot about Obesity and how it is affecting people who get Covid. This has kind of been known in the medical field, but now others are starting to talk about it more with data becoming more available. But, in general, people don’t want to discuss the issues of obesity and Covid or any health-related issue. Did you know that body fat is important, but that you should not be carrying more than 20% body fat on your body? There will be 3 websites for you to visit and read more about this, with all of the various studies done.

Did you know, regardless of age, if you are obese you have a 48% increased chance of dying from Covid 19? Even if you are overweight, and not obese, your chances of getting a serious infection and becoming hospitalized increase exponentially. Plus, according to this article, fast food in 2020 increased by like 40%. Fast food is one of the worst things you can eat if you are trying to avoid obesity. In general, and I would say almost all, fast food is high in fat, salt, calories, and sugar.

So, when I thought about this I thought well it must be due to breathing issues due to obesity and chest wall expansion. But, it actually is way more complicated than that. Excessive adipose tissue increases inflammation which can cause the Cytokine Storm that is so deadly for people who get Covid. It also decreases Immunity, causes thicker blood which makes you more prone to blood clots, and other complicated factors. They think this is why younger people are starting to die from Covid, due to Obesity. Plus, if you are obese you are more likely to have other comorbidities like Heart Disease, Cancer, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, and Metabolic Syndrome in general.

So, why should you care? Well, for one thing, if you are overweight or obese, you may not be ready to die or be in the hospital for an extended period of time. It is imperative that you socially distance, wear a mask, and get vaccinated at least until Herd Immunity can be reached. While none of these things are perfect, used together they can protect you quite well. I also think due to the massive mishandling of Covid in the US we are most likely heading towards seasonal bouts of Covid. That means we most likely will need to learn to watch for flare-ups and take proper precautions as needed. While masks are a huge, contentious issue, I don’t see them going away any time soon.

This should be a wake-up call to anyone who needs to work towards a healthier weight and better metabolic health. Trust me I am one of those people, too. I have never been thin, and I carry the pudge around the middle especially after having children. But, I also work hard every day to modify my diet, lifestyle, and exercise habits to constantly improve. You can too! It is hard work, no doubt, but it is worth it.

https://immunityageing.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12979-020-00212-x

https://www.science.org/content/article/why-covid-19-more-deadly-people-obesity-even-if-theyre-young

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/if-you-are-at-higher-risk

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Mediterranean Mashed Potatoes!

I am sticking with the Mediterranean alternatives to Thanksgiving sides. If you have CKD or any inflammatory disorder or are thinking of ways to prevent Dementia, the Mediterranean Diet may be the way to go. There are not tons of butter or heavy cream in these recipes. You will find one recipe to read, and some that are from Youtube. They kind of all have the same idea with a few variations. For the first one, I would not use Pine Nuts, as they are not the best option for CKD, but I would use Sunflower Seeds instead. I also would add a few more spices such as Paprika and Turmeric.

Now, if your family might not be feeling healthier dishes at Thanksgiving but it totally would benefit your health, just make smaller dishes of the two options. That way those that want the less healthy mashed potatoes can have them, and others can have the healthier version. Please note potatoes are very high in Potassium. If you have CKD limit your portion sizes or leech the potatoes prior to cooking them. This will help reduce the Potassium in the potatoes. I love potatoes and I eat them regularly. I do not have an issue with Potassium, though.

These are kind of short posts this week, as I have family coming to visit starting today.

Mediterranean Mashed Potatoes

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Some Different Takes On Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole, you either love it or hate it! At my house, it really is not a hit, though my husband asks me to make it every single year for nostalgia I think. It stays in the fridge for what seems forever, and I don’t think it is the healthiest dish to eat.

However, I found some variations on the traditional dinner side, leaning towards a Mediterranean-type dish. If you have been following along this month, and next, I am talking about Dementia. The foods we eat may increase the risk of Dementia. The Mediterranean Diet may help prevent Dementia.

One thing I found interesting is that there is a Greek Olive Oil. I mean it makes sense, but I have never seen it in stores near me. But, apparently, it has some differences from Italian or Spanish olive oil.

I also do not care for Feta cheese, though it is very popular in Mediterranean dishes. I will use Ricotta or Part-Skim Mozzarella.

I think I will make a small green bean casserole for nostalgia reasons, and then one of the other variations. I like fresh green beans, but frozen would be ok for me too. This is the first year in a very long time that I don’t have to work the day after Thanksgiving. So, I can relax and just enjoy the day.

Check out this variation. I think I would just use low-fat milk as I don’t think coconut milk would work for everyone else. I also would leave off the bacon, and use one of the cheese options I mentioned above.

This one has Parmesan cheese in it, and I could totally do a fresh lower fat Parmesan cheese. This recipe also calls for organic ingredients, but if you can not afford them, then just buy what you can afford with the lowest sodium amounts.

Most of the others are a variation of the dish in the video below which is a traditional Greek dish.

Let me know in the comments if your family loves or hates the traditional Green Bean Casserole.

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