Observations of Life

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What if life flowed along with tranquility, like a beautiful arrangement of music, or a rippling stream of water, or an eagle in flight?  We can all make that happen.

Life is the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual.  To exist is to continue to be, to have life or the function of vitality.

When your mentality disappears, and there is no vitality as you function in life, what does this mean?  I think of those with dementia.  They are disappearing mentally, they do not function with vitality in their existence.  Does life cease if you cannot be that total productive, normal functioning human being?  After all Life is – The period of birth to death.

I noticed when I was a caregiver that people acted as if those with dementia did not exist.  How sad!  The person with dementia was still alive, still in their body, and still functioning to an extent.  Yet, people acted as if they were afraid of this person with dementia.  They actually acted as if they were afraid to treat them as a human being. After all dementia means you cease to exist.  Right?

I knew as a caregiver that my loved one was still there.  My brother does not know me anymore, but I know how much he still means to me.  I know I love this person who is afflicted with dementia.  I watched my loved one suffer when others ignored him.  Those with dementia can not express themselves as society expects.  Those with dementia do not understand why others shun them.  How does it feel to stand on the edge of a group of people and never be included in the conversation?  I know how I would feel, I would feel shunned and left out.  I saw my loved one with dementia: cry, suffer, become more disoriented and confused.  I saw the sorrow.  I saw their existence as a human being discarded by other people who chose to classify them as an unessential, non-existent human being.  A human being that was dispensable, and unimportant as a person.

Some feel the person with dementia is void of essence.  Essence being the most significant element, quality, or aspect of a human being.

I tried to help my brother, tried to fill the void in his life.  Caregivers try to physically and mentally help those in their care.  I tried to protect my loved one from those that turned their backs and acted as if he was not present.

You see, those with dementia dislike their caregivers, become angry with their caregivers, do the opposite of what the caregiver ask of them.  Why?  A caregiver has to assume the role of a parent who is helping a child.  Remember how your children act when you try to direct them.  A caregiver is doing what they think is best, but to those with dementia you are simply trying to rule their lives.  They think they are quite capable of ruling their own lives, after all, they always made their own decisions.  A caregiver tries to be their friend, but they do not want you ordering them around and they stop talking to you and avoid you.  They actually begin to hate their caregiver.

Those who come in contact with a person with dementia need to step up and treat them as if they were normal human beings.  This eliminates the stress in the person with dementia and also in the caregiver. The concept of how you treat someone with dementia also holds true of how to treat any person with mental or physical disabilities. Society has the habit of ignoring or scorning anyone who they consider inferior or different.

Help those who need help, help those caregivers who feel overwhelmed.  I have shed many tears watching how others dealt with my brother.  I have learned many life lessons from my experience with dementia.  I have never shunned or turned from a person with any disability, my Mother instilled that asset in me.  Mom would always tell me, I was not better than any other person on this earth.  I know that I am not better, we are all equal.

There are a lot of cruel, uncaring people in society.  I also know there are large numbers of good caring people on this earth.  I know many of my fellow bloggers truly care and would help in any way they could.  I thank all of you, who step up to the plate, and help others when you see someone who needs help.  God bless you.

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Giving Dignity Back To Those With Dementia

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These are a couple of blossoms, from my peach tree, which I photographed yesterday. My brother J.R. loved to walk around my yard and smell the flowers.

Once again I have read the book “Dementia Beyond Drugs,” by Dr. G. Allen Power.  I mentioned Dr. Power in my blog post “Dementia – A Different Approach,” January 19, 2015.  Dr. Power’s concept of little or no drugs is wonderful.

When I cared for my brother J.R., for two years in my home, I chose not to give him any antipsychotic or any other type of drug. I wanted J.R. to be able to function at his best during the time I cared for him.  I admit J.R. was hard to handle and he wandered a lot. When I placed J.R. in a nursing home nine months ago they immediately drugged him into a comatose state.  I talked to them many times about these drugs, but all they did was constantly change doses and drugs according to J.R.’s behavior.  They took J.R.’s dignity away him and gave him an almost non-existent life with these drugs.

When you cannot care for your loved one anymore you have no choice, but to place them somewhere.  I fought a hard, costly battle to obtain Medicaid for J.R.  Finally prayers were answered and we obtained long-term-care funding.  My daughter and I searched long and diligently for the right nursing home in which to place J.R.

I will not infringe on Dr. Power’s copyright by quoting what I have read in his fantastic book.  I will interpret my views, of what I have read, in my own words.

When residents with dementia were placed in situations with children and pets – beautiful friendships and happiness occurred. Why, you wonder, because children and dogs are not judgmental.  The dementia patients had increased meaning in their lives in this type of interaction.

Nursing homes are not viewing those with dementia as productive human beings.  The nursing homes are disrespecting, dehumanizing, and disconnecting dementia patients from what life they have left on this earth.  I do not think nursing homes are doing this deliberately, but because they wish to control their patients.

I know from experience that elderly and dementia people are lonely, helpless, and bored. I have dealt with my mother, who had dementia, until her death and am now dealing with my 3 siblings who are in different stages of dementia.  Those in nursing homes need to be able to live their latter days of life with happiness and dignity.  They are no less important than the rest of the human race on this earth, especially in God’s eyes.

Medications are not important to dementia patients.  Drugs are important to caregivers and nursing homes.  What is important to a dementia patient?  Love and caring.

Dementia patients need a different type of interaction than normal people.  We need to talk to and handle them in a slower, calmer manner; make visiting with them more meaningful; they need a restful, calm, quiet life; give them the dignity you would give any person you interact with; genuinely smile, laugh, touch them softly, make connections; they need a quiet home in which to live, because they do not understand chaos.  Those with dementia function as a child, their life is going backward as opposed to a small child’s life.  I remember my brother J.R. telling me months ago, he liked his nice, big, new home, but it sure was noisy.  He is right, it sure is noisy!

God bless all caregiver out there.  I know just how hard it is to keep your sanity through the stressful process of care giving.  There is still stress and decision-making once you place your loved one in a nursing home.  If you are like me, you never wanted the responsibility of ruling another person’s life.

Things People Say About Life

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This pond is the view from the North window of my house.  Often I watch the ducks, cranes, and geese land on this pond and enjoy themselves for a while. I spend a lot of my life outdoors, totally enjoying everything nature has to offer.

I ran across a few quotes on what some famous people think about life.  My Mother use to say you get out of life what you put into life.  Mom also told me quite often that Life was Boot Camp for Heaven.  Life does get rough at times, like boot camp.

“The first half of our life is ruined by our parents and the second half by our children.” Clarence Darrow, lawyer and author 1857-1938   (Thought this was funny.)

“May you live all the days of your life.”  Jonathan Swift, satire writer (England) 1667-1745  I think what he meant by this is that often we are just existing, letting time get away from us, and not enjoying the days we live on this earth.

“No man is a failure who is enjoying life.” William Feather, publisher & author 1889-1981

“As soon as a man acquires fairly good sense (in life), it is said that he is an old fogy.”  Ed Howe, journalist 1803-1937

“To make headway (in life), improve your head.”  B.C. Forbes, journalist-Forbes Magazine & author 1880-1954

When you’re sitting there bored, something I often hear from people, get up and do something about the boredom.  Live life to the fullest, fast and furiously, even if occasionally you have to slow down for the speed bumps.

Nonsense Leads to Existentialism

I was sitting the other day watching the news on television.  After 20 minutes the words, stupid and nonsense popped into my head.  We call our t.v. sets in America, “Boob Tubes.”  Very appropriate name for a device I have often thought of throwing out into the middle of the yard!

I took the word, “Nonsense,” as I have often done before and opened the dictionary for the definition.  I follow through on words using a definition word from the word I begin with. This is a habit of mine.  I cannot decide if I am trying to extend my vocabulary or I am just weird.  Bear with me on this one, it is unusual.  If I lose you in the middle of this post that is fine, I totally understand.

NONSENSE:  Words or language having no meaning or conveying no intelligible ideas, things of no importance or value,  meaningless, an idea that is absurd or contrary to good sense.  TRIFLES, ABSURD conduct, language or action.

TRIFLES:  Talk nonsense.  Something of little value, substance, or importance.

ABSURD:  Stupid, ridiculously unreasonable, unsound, lacking order or value.  The state or condition in which human beings exist in an irrational and meaningless universe and in which human life has no ultimate meaning.  EXISTENTIALISM.

EXISTENTIALISM:  (There have been numerous books, spanning centuries, written on this subject.  Existentialism was quite prevalent in the U.S. in 1941.)  A chiefly 20th century philosophical movement embracing diverse doctrines, but centering on analysis of individual existence in an unfathomable universe and the plight of the individual who must assume ultimate responsibility for acts of free will without any certain knowledge of what is right or wrong or good or bad.

Quite a world man has created for himself.  I did not know the word existentialism existed until I opened my dictionary.  I think we all need to clean up our act and be nicer, more kind, and discern between right and wrong, good and bad. I think God created a world, much better than anything man thinks he can create. ♥

So you see, Existentialism, of man seems to lead right back to Nonsense.