Thursday, May 7, 2009

Healthy, frugal, easy, refreshing ways to keep hydrated

As the temperature rises, what will you choose to quench your thirst? There is nothing as important for the brain as keeping it hydrated. Our brains are about 80% water.

If you wait until you feel thirsty to have a drink, you are already dehydrated. It is essential to drink often throughout the day. When it is very warm or when you are perspiring, you need to be particularly careful. Living in Phoenix, this is critical. Many people who move here and do not make it a point to drink enough develop kidney stones. If this is occurring, that means the brain has been severely deprived of its required hydration.

To get the optimum function of the brain, it just has to have enough water. When there's Alzheimer's in the family, this is one area where we need to give our attention.

For good hydration, it's important to have drinks that do not have caffeine. And it's easy to choose drinks that are heavily laden with sugar. Sure, water is the best choice, but it can get monotonous.

I've developed a number of drinks that do not have sugar or caffeine. These have helped me stay fully hydrated and refreshed.

I've always enjoyed the drinks in glass bottles like Snapple or Arizona Ice Tea or Fuze drinks. There's something about that really cold bottle and chilled drink that makes them special.

The problem is that there are not any drinks that I have found in glass bottles that are sweetened with Stevia, the only natural artificial sweetener. It is actually made from the Stevia plant.

So in order to have that cold bottle/chilled drink effect, I save the glass drink bottles and wash in the dishwasher. I wash the caps by hand so they do not rust.

I created this combination as an alternative to water that is not sugar sweetened or artificially sweetened.

I enjoy having the fresh squeezed lemon juice.
When the fresh juice is not readily available, I use unsweetened Kool-Aid lemonade packets.

Black Currant Lemonade

Juice of 2 lemons or 1 packet Kool-Aid lemonade
three droppers of liquid Stevia (available at Sprouts or health food stores)
2 quarts of water
1-2 cups of unsweetened Black Currant juice

(Other juices I use are Just Cranberry, Just Pomegranate, Just Raspberry.
I get my juices at Trader Joes or Sprouts. They have no added sweetener.)

Fill recycled glass drink bottles and refrigerate.
Enjoy a wonderfully chilled, refreshing and healthy beverage!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Are you a grandparent taking care of your own parent?

More and more boomers are now grandparents AND are faced with the responsibility for their parents. Demands from both ends of the family spectrum. The sandwich generation is indeed a reality.

58% of the grandparents in the U.S. are boomers.
That's 27 million boomer grandparents.

Boomer grandparents may live close by, but more likely they live at a distance. Instead of the family all going to grandmother's house as in the old days, it's more often the case of grandparents traveling to their families. With long distances to consider, it makes more sense most of the time for the grandparents to be the ones traveling.

And then, it's likely that the boomers' parents may live at a distance as well. That can be a lot of bouncing around trying to keep up with everyone in the family. Working full time either in an employed sense or as a business owner is another huge demand on the boomer grandparent.

Boomer grandmothers may enjoy reading stories written by 27 grandmothers, exploring grandmotherly emotions and experiences.

Barbara Graham: Eye of My Heart: 27 Writers Reveal the Hidden Pleasures and Perils of Being a Grandmother

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Video: The Face of Alzheimer's Disease

I found this video to be an interesting look into the lives of individuals dealing with Alzheimer's in their family. Every situation has its unique characteristics and yet there is that common thread of the patient just not being themselves.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Worrying can make it so...

Have you had the feeling that you are not remembering things well anymore? I know I have.

And now there is a study showing that when we worry about aging and losing our memory, we actually do have memory problems.

AND those with more education showed the greatest effect on their performance on memory tests when they are worried. This is probably because those with more education place a higher value on their cognitive processes and therefore are more concerned and perform at a lower level. These were tasks in math and memorization.

For the testing, participants were told they were being tested to see how they did as compared to younger people. This created a psychological "threat" creating the worry state.

In a study at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, psychology professor Tom Hess and his team found that worrying about aging and memory loss can actually become a "self-fulfilling prophecy."

I know when I realized that Mom was having problems and was then diagnosed with Alzheimer's, I found myself not remembering things and overreacted to that, feeling as though I was right there on the path to AD myself. When there's Alzheimer's in the Family, it's really important to be aware of this possibility. With the awareness, it's easier to keep things in perspective as you support your parent in getting needed care.

Check out the article. Very interesting.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Let's Make a Date ToTalk this Week!

Tonight I decided I'd finally make a video with the webcam I purchased months ago.
You can check it out here.

Quite a learning curve for me to do this! Lot of funny false starts! And I've got to figure out why the quality isn't crisper. It's a high quality Logitech recorder and should have higher resolution.

I'm so excited to share with you the program I am developing! I support business women in staying sane, healthy, and professional when they have a parent with Alzheimer's disease.
I'm making it a priority right now to connect with many women who have been or are now faced with this challenge in their lives.

If that's you, I would love to talk. I'm setting up 30 minute appointments so that we have time to share wisdom we've acquired through experience. Hopefully our time together will be a support to you as well as a wonderful resource for me.

Just click on this link to take you to the contact page. I'll email you so we can set up an appointment to meet either by phone or in person. I live in Phoenix, Arizona.

I look forward to hearing about what you have experienced in having a parent with Alzheimer's or what you've learned from others who have Alzheimer's in the family.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Grandchildren Are Also Part of the Process

I love this video I found on YouTube. Hearing about having Alzheimer's in the Family from a child really touched me.

This situation with Alzheimer's in the family is different from what my family has experienced. We have had the experience of taking Mom's great grandchildren to the Care Center to visit her. It's difficult for them to feel comfortable with her because of her lack of verbal skills, the unfamiliar environment, and Mom's appearance that has changed so much. Even the anxiety of their parents, Mom's grandchildren, is felt by the little ones. All of the great grandchildren are under 10 years old.

Family has always been top priority to Mom and she still shows a positive reaction to seeing the children. The great grandchildren live all over the U.S. All the families have made the effort to come to visit.

Something we did to help the children feel a bit more comfortable was to bring Mom out to a living room area in the Care Center that feels more like being in a home situation. It's also important to plan so that someone can be with the children when the visit goes longer than they can tolerate. Short connection is the best. It's difficult to keep the children with Mom for very long because of their discomfort and the sometimes intense stimuli for Mom.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Is Your Fitness Supporting You in the Marathon of Caregiving?

Having a parent with Alzheimer's, whether you are doing the care at your own home or visiting and supporting your parent at a facility, the "progression" of the disease can go on for many years. You need to have the physical stamina as well as emotional support to weather the storm of these many years of concern, grief, and even the guilt

... guilt of feeling you are not doing enough, guilt of not being able to do SOMETHING to take your parent out of this situation they would not want to be in, AND the supreme guilt of feeling it would be a blessing for your parent to die. Ouch! We can go back and forth with wanting them to be at peace and then feeling like a terrible child to want their parent dead.

Whew....I feel anxious even talking about that to you.

So, back to the exercise. What can you do to increase your stamina, stimulate your endorphins that contribute to a more positive emotional state, and alleviate your stress?

It depends on the amount of time and freedom you have to take time for physical movement. You can do various exercise routines in your own home. With the multitude of DVD's available for many types of exercise, you can work out when you have a small segment of time. And it's not so important to have a huge amount of time in the exercise mode. What the latest research is showing is that short bursts of strenuous exercise are the most effective way of increasing your cardiovascular system and controlling or releasing weight.

If your schedule allows it, I highly recommend participating in organized workout classes at a physical facility. This gives you some social connection as well as a very energizing environment.

I've made my fitness a high priority the last few years. I've always enjoyed working out, but have amped it up as the stress and grief have been with me since Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

When there's Alzheimer's in the family, there is a cloud hanging over with everyone wondering what will happen next. Will the patient know us the next time we visit? Can we plan a vacation or do we feel as though at any time, we'll need to be with our parent?

I've enjoyed Yoga and Platform Pilates, Exercise Ball classes, and weight machines and the elliptical previously at Bally's... I combined this with Curves for awhile to incorporate a quick, mindless workout that I could fit in easily.

At the beginning of the year, I decided to join 24 Hour Fitness. Had a great deal buying a 2 year membership through Costco. I just happened to see an ad in their online mail and jumped at the opportunity. After joining, I learned that they had a New Member Challenge and signed up for that and looked at how I could earn points. I say I'm not a competitive person, but it seems when there is a challenge I do get engaged!

I saw that if I did 100 workouts in the 6 months, I could earn 2 extra points. In calculating all the points possible, I could see that I could qualify for a BodyBugg, a product by Apex that 24 Hr Fitness offers for sale from $199 - $249 if I earned the total possible points of 24. The BodyBugg allows you to easily keep track of calories burned. You wear it on your arm while working out or all through the day.

AND, I checked my records yesterday and see that I worked out over 100 days in the last four and a half months! I enjoy a variety of workouts from cardio in the water, Yoga, Zumba (great vigorous dance class), Turbo KickBox, the elliptical machine, weight-training machines, and Salsa Dance classes. I also enjoy being outdoors, whether walking around my neighborhood lake or hiking our urban mountains here in Phoenix.

Cross training is the very best way to develop fitness and a healthy Body Mass Index. I make a point of planning a variety of activities each week. One of the keys to staying on schedule is having all the proper clothes and equipment lined up. I use those canvas L.L.Bean bags to have everything ready to go for water work and yoga.

I can't tell you how much this physical exercise has supported me in staying Sane, Healthy, and as a result more Professional! I highly recommend your finding some way of moving your body on a regular basis. You'll survive the marathon of having Alzheimer's in the family and even thrive in the midst of a challenging situation.