Tim McGraw Tribute To Glen Campbell

Tim McGraw tribute to Glen CampbellIn one of the most poignant moments at this year’s Academy Awards show Tim McGraw delivered a tribute to country singer (and legend) Glen Campbell.  If you weren’t aware, Glen Campbell is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.  His disease has progressed far enough that he isn’t able to perform like he once did.  So if you’re going to attempt to replace an icon like Glen Campbell, you might as well do it with a modern superstar.  Up steps Tim McGraw… And in the true spirit of Glen Campbell’s last song, he delivers an incredible rendition that moved the audience to tears.

Tim McGraw Tribute to Glen Campbell at The Oscars

As we wrote back in November, “The song “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” was written especially for Glen Campbell’s recently released documentary called “I’ll Be Me” by PCH Films. The lyrics are eerily poignant, and this piece will forever be known as Glen Campbell’s last song.”  Enjoy this Tim McGraw tribute to Glen Campbell!

Product Review: SafeWander

SafeWander Wandering Detection Device

Photo Credit: SafeWander.com

Most product reviews I do are pretty straightforward, we either like it, or we don’t.  I typically review products that are game-changers, new to market, or have been doing it right all along that they deserve to be mentioned.  I decided to review SafeWander without even testing it yet, it’s still in beta, but it’s a game-changer.  It might also make you cry.  I’ll wait while you go grab your tissues…… ok, ready?

Alzheimer’s Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.

Alzheimer’s disease affects 5.2 million patients in the U.S. alone, 65% of them also wander. -Alz.org

Fifteen year old Kenneth Shinozuka lives in a multi-generational home in New York City that includes his grandfather who has Alzheimer’s disease.  After several frightening incidents when his grandfather wandered out of the family home in the middle of the night, Kenneth decided it was time for him to solve this problem.  He wanted to create a simple solution that could detect wandering.  Out of the concern for his grandfather and his aunt who was his primary caregiver, SafeWander was born.

SafeWander: Instant Alerts for Wander-Detection

SafeWander is a flexible pressure sensor that is worn on the heel or in a sock.  In addition to creating the sensor, Kenneth then added a wireless signal to the sensor and created a smartphone app to alert a caregiver to the user activating the sensor.  Since his grandfather’s wandering was happening at night, the sensor works perfectly to alert the caregiver when his grandfather steps out of bed.  I presume the same would apply to someone getting up out of a chair.  SafeWander has caught 100% of his grandfather’s wandering and has brought peace of mind to his family.

Did you grab the tissue?  See Kenneth talk about his journey in the heartwarming video below.

SafeWander is being beta tested in memory care settings and so far the response has been very positive.  While not yet available to the general public, SafeWander will be releasing product in early 2015.  This review will be updated once we are able to get our hands on SafeWander.  The big picture here is that Kenneth says that he wants to focus his career on finding solutions for those with Alzheimer’s. “I’d like to solve some of the mysteries of the brain, and invent tools to ultimately, I think, cure Alzheimer’s and other mental conditions that our aging population suffers from.” You go Kenneth, we can’t wait to hear more from you.

In the meantime, if you are looking for additional resources for wandering, consider the options below.

Alzheimer’s Association: The Alzheimer’s Association is the go-to website with research, resources, and links to local chapters.

GPS Trackers: There are a variety of products on the market designed to locate people and objects via GPS- I found a great list here.

GPS Smart Sole: Such a great idea that I had to include it- A GPS enable insole that fits right in a shoe.  No bracelet or jewelry required!

Alzheimer’s Patient Shops For Flowers In Act Of True Love

alzheimers patients and wanderingMight as well grab a tissue now… Yes, before reading this post or watching this video.  If you know anything about Alzheimer’s Disease, you probably know that people with dementia can get confused and wander at times.  Did you know that 6 in 10 people with dementia will wander?  It’s an incredible statistic and it can have very serious consequences.

The Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org) says that “A person with Alzheimer’s may not remember his or her name or address, and can become disoriented, even in familiar places. Wandering among people with dementia is dangerous, but there are strategies and services to help prevent it.” A few of those strategies include the assurance that all basic needs are met, using devices to signal when a door (or window) is opened, and keeping car keys out of sight.

True Love -“A Moment Of Clarity”

Back to that tissue advice.  Did you grab one?  OK good…  So imagine when Doris Amrine of Little Rock, Arkansas noticed that her husband Melvyn (a dementia sufferer) turned up missing.  Melvyn normally needs help walking around the block, so this was particularly concerning.  Melvyn had given flowers to his wife every Mother’s Day since the birth of their first child.  The day he went missing was the day before Mother’s Day.

Even though the mind doesn’t remember everything, the heart remembers. – Doris Amrine

When police finally found Melvyn, he was lost but he knew what he was doing.  Police reported, “It was absolutely a moment of clarity for him”.  He was trying to find flowers for his beloved wife.  With their help, he completed his mission proving that at times “Even though the mind doesn’t remember everything, the heart remembers.” Enjoy the video.

Glen Campbell’s Last Song

Glen Campbell's Last SongLegendary country singer Glen Campbell is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.  Diagnosed back in 2011, Glen Campbell set out with Kenny Rogers to plan one final international “Good Bye” tour which was stopped short in late 2012 because of complications.  It would have been the last leg of his international swing… But alas it was time to rest, and to fight his last battle on the home front.

Alzheimer’s Disease isn’t discriminatory.  It hits country stars, rock-n-roll stars, fathers and sons… sisters and mothers.  It’s the most common type of Dementia, affecting a staggering 5 million Americans today.  From als.org:  “An estimated 5.2 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease in 2014. This includes an estimated 5 million people age 65 and older and approximately 200,000 individuals under age 65 who have younger-onset Alzheimer’s.”  Dementia recently reared its ugly head again recently with revelations that Robin Williams may have been suffering from Lewy Body Dementia.

The song “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” was written especially for Glen Campbell’s  recently released documentary called “I’ll Be Me” by PCH Films.  The lyrics are eerily poignant, and this piece will forever be known as Glen Campbell’s last song.


I’m still here, but yet I’m gone
I don’t play guitar or sing my songs
They never defined who I am
The man that loves you ’til the end

You’re the last person I will love
You’re the last face I will recall
And best of all, I’m not gonna miss you
Not gonna miss you

I’m never gonna hold you like I did
Or say I love you to the kids
You’re never gonna see it in my eyes
It’s not gonna hurt me when you cry

I’m never gonna know what you go through
All the things I say or do
All the hurt and all the pain
One thing selfishly remains

I’m not gonna miss you
I’m not gonna miss you

Top 5 Dementia Articles for 2014

Articles on Dementia: canstockphoto1476746We thought it fitting to provide you with a new top 5 list to ring in the new year.  Listed below are the top 5 articles on DEMENTIA for this, the first week of 2014.  We hope you find it both interesting and informative.  As always, if you have comments, suggestions, or additional resources to add we invite you to participate in our comments section below!

Top 5 Articles on Dementia

1.  Bringing Dementia Patients Back To Life (The Atlantic; Jan. 5, 2014):  This article focuses on the many misconceptions of a dementia diagnosis, and it focuses what dementia patients CAN DO, not what they can’t.  Money Quote: “In some cases, unresponsiveness may say less about a patient’s disability than a failure on our part to offer something worth responding to.”

2. Heart Disease Could Be Tied To Dementia For Older Women (Reuters; Jan. 2, 2014)  Reuters reacts to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association entitled Cardiovascular Disease and Cognitive Decline in Postmenopausal Women: Results From the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study.  This study looked at the relationship between heart disease and cognitive decline in elderly women.  Researchers confirmed the association noting that “Women who’d had a heart attack, in particular, were twice as likely to see declines in their thinking and memory skills”.  Money Quote:  “Understanding the connection between heart disease and dementia is important because heart disease is reversible but Alzheimer’s disease is not, O’Brien said.”

3. What Is The Global Impact Of Dementia (CBS News.com; Jan. 4, 2014)  CBS News VIDEO discusses the global impact (including economic implications, human implications and potential therapies). Money Quote: “Where we’re really lacking – is drugs that can hit that inflammation response where the brain’s immune cells are turning against it.  We really have nothing that can help you.  Ibuprofen and current anti inflammatories won’t do it.”


4. A Daily Dose Of Vitamin E Slows Ravages Of Dementia (Daily Express – UK; Jan. 1, 2014)  For the first time, US researchers have found a benefit of adding Vitamin E to the diets of mild to moderate dementia sufferers.  Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital and the Veterans’ Administration Medical Centers in Minneapolis are reporting that “the annual rate of functional decline among dementia sufferers was reduced by 19 per cent thanks to a daily vitamin E supplement”.  This particularly study noted that those taking Vitamin E were able to carry out everyday tasks for longer periods of time.  Money Quote:  “Now that we have a strong clinical trial showing that vitamin E slows functional decline and reduces the burdens on care-givers, vitamin E should be offered to patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms.”

5. The Younger Face Of Dementia: Ottawa Man Shares Wife’s Battle With The Disease (CTV news.ca- Jan. 6, 2014)  When people think of dementia they think of it as an older person’s disease, but as Matthew Dineen explains – his wife was just 41 when she began exhibiting signs of the disease.  Today, Lisa Dineen lives in the secure wing of a Ottawa nursing home, a stand-out among the elderly residents there.  A year ago she was diagnosed with FTD (Frontotemporal Dementia) a devastating brain disorder for which we know no cure.  Money Quote:  “We have people who get a divorce … their families leave them because some of them start acting very inappropriately. They don’t understand that it is a brain disease, they don’t understand that they are not doing it on purpose.”

What Does Alzheimers Disease Feel Like?

Family members and caregivers experience many things when caring for an Alzheimer’s patient.  One of the more common feelings (aside from caregiver burnout) is a high degree of frustration.  Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease can be exhausting, especially if the caregiver has little experience with Alzheimer’s issues.  Ever wonder aloud… What does Alzheimers Disease feel like?

A new patented training experience is helping people experience Alzheimer’s and dementia symptoms, and it’s proving to be a wonderful training tool for caregivers (and family members alike).  Geriatric Specialist P.K. Bevelle (founder and CEO of Atlanta-based Second Wind Dreams) developed a sensory alteration tool which simulates the effects of “age-related cognitive or physical decline”.  In other words, it simulates what it’s like to live with a disease like Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Volunteers are fitted with gloves, and some fingers are taped (to simulate arthritic joints, etc.).  They also get fitted with shoe implants which make it more difficult to walk.  Then the most interesting part of the simulation… Volunteers wear eye goggles (which simulate macular degeneration and/or cataracts) as well as headphones that mimic the confusing sounds that many Alzheimer’s sufferers complain of.  The results are astounding.  Simple tasks become difficult or near impossible.  Something as simple as “finding a white sweater” is an exercise in futility.

We found a dramatic video posted on YouTube, that puts P.K. Bevelle’s training tool to the test.  It’s utilized by a real caregiver (a family member to someone with Alzheimer’s disease), as well as a news reporter covering a story on caregivers.  After just 12 minutes in the virtual Alzheimer’s environment, their lives were changed forever.  Being able to relate to what Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers go through gives people a perspective they never could have imagined.  After watching this video, we hope you gain some new perspectives on caregiving,  just as we did.

Where To Turn If You Suspect Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse Resources

We’ve all heard the horror stories… Caregiver neglects 82 year old in her care.  Son spends elderly parent’s savings on liquor and motorcycles.  The list goes on and on.  Would you know where to direct someone if they suspected elder abuse?

Well we’re here to tell you!  The Administration on Aging’s National Center on Elder Abuse has a great resource that provides a state-by-state resource guide that provides hotline numbers, statewide data, and statistics pertaining to elder abuse.  Click the interactive map to link up with this valuable resource.

As always, if you have some strong suspicions, please call your local authorities!  This is an issue that is incredibly under reported.

Saying Goodbye To A Parent Or Loved One

saying goodbye to a parentHuffington Post is running a great article entitled “Saying Goodbye To A Parent” by Betty Londergan.  Many of us won’t have the privilege of saying goodbye because many times death can be acute, immediate and sadly… surprising.  For the lucky ones, being able to say-your-peace, and receive the same back can be incredibly fulfilling.

My husband was able to experience this with his grandfather many years ago.  His “Grandpa Joe”, a WWII veteran was dying of cancer that had spread extensively throughout his body.  He had been in and out of the VA in Spokane Washington… On and off chemotherapy…  And finally in his late 80’s he had had enough.  Weeks before he went into the VA (his final visit) my husband and his brother drove up to Spokane to spend some time with Grandpa Joe.  It was unlike any other visit they’d ever had.  The normally rough-and-tough Joe was extremely frail but still relatively lucid.  On this visit, Joe would open up about the war (he rarely if ever spoke of his year of grueling service as a medic in the war overseas), and he even initiated a discussion about what each grandchild had meant to him during his adult life.  Grandpa Joe knew this was the last visit he would have with his grandsons.  I know that tears were at full flood stage.  Each of the boys (then in their 30’s) were able to share their favorite memories and thank Grandpa Joe for being such a wonderful grandfather and friend over the years.  They also both (literally) said goodbye to Grandpa Joe one last time.

Being able to say goodbye, can be an incredible rewarding and fulfilling experience.  In her article, Betty Londergan calls being with a parent while they’re leaving this world “the great privilege”, and I must say I totally agree.  As a social worker, I’m around families dealing with these issues on a regular basis.  Some are good at it, and some not so much.  Most people know that in life there are no guarantees, so it’s important to take the opportunity to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.  Tell them you love them while you have the opportunity to do so in this life.  It will eliminate (or at least minimize) the “I wish I would have” notions, or the “I should have told them what they meant to me” regrets.

Have you had the “privilege” to say goodbye a loved one before they passed on? How did it go?  What would you do differently?  -Share your thoughts in the comments below

The 10 Early Signs Of Alzheimers Disease

A special report published recently by the Alzheimers Association, noted; “An 10 early signs of alzheimers diseaseestimated 5.4 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease in 2012.  This figure includes 5.2 million people age 65 and older and 200,000 individuals age 65 who have younger-onset Alzheimers.”  According to CNN this number is expected to rise to 16 million by 2050!

The Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org) has published a list of warning signs and symptoms of someone suspected of Alzheimer’s Disease.  This is an important list, and we’d encourage you to pass it along to others that may need this valuable resource.  Knowing the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, can help keep you (or your loved one) out of trouble should these signs start to occur more regularly.

“The 10 Early Signs Of Alzheimer’s Disease”

  1. Memory Loss That Disrupts Daily Life (like forgetting names and appointments and remembering them later)
  2. Challenges In Planning Or Solving Problems (like making errors when paying bills or balancing a checkbook)
  3. Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks At Home, At Work Or At Leisure (like occasionally needing help with the settings on an oven or DVD player)
  4. Confusion With Time Or Place (like getting confused about the day of the week, and remembering later)
  5. Trouble Understanding Visual Images & Spatial Relationships (like difficulty reading or differentiating colors)
  6. New Problems With Words In Speaking Or Writing (like having trouble finding the right word to use in conversation)
  7. Misplacing Things & Losing The Ability To Retrace Steps (like misplacing something and retracing steps to find it)
  8. Decreased Or Poor Judgment (like giving money to telemarketers)
  9. Withdrawal From Work Or Social Activities (like not attending events with friends)
  10. Changes In Mood & Personality (like becoming easily irritable)

“Studies presented at the (2011 International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease) conference reinforced the notion that signs of Alzheimer’s may develop in the brain 10 to 20 years before any symptoms begin.” -CNN Health

The Senior List Check MarkIf you or anyone you know is experiencing any number of these signs you should consult with medical personnel immediately.  For further information and a thorough explanation of each of the symptoms above, visit alz.org.

Also Read:

A Letter From a Mother To Her Daughter (very touching)

Find a Caregiver Support Group

Your Mom Has Dementia… How Do You Keep Her Safe?

Mom Has Dementia

Dementia Safety Precautions

“Mary” posted a question to an on-line caregiver-group that I want to share with all of you.  Her mom has dementia:

“How do I keep my parent, who’s suffering from dementia, safe while I’m at work?” – Mary

Here are some suggestions from the Alzheimer’s Association brochure, “Staying Safe”:

  • Be sure to have working fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in the house.  Test them regularly.
  • If you are out of the home during the day, use appliances with an auto shut-off feature, such as coffee pots.
  • Install a hidden gas valve or circuit breaker on the stove so your loved one can’t turn it on.  You can also consider removing the knobs when you leave the house.
  • Store grills, lawn mowers, power tools, knives, firearms and cleaning products in a secure (that means locked) place.
  • Discard toxic plants and decorative fruit that may be mistaken for real food.
  • Store medications, vitamins, and other dietary supplements in a locked cupboard.  Remove sugar substitutes and seasonings from kitchen tables and counters.
  • Supervise the use of tobacco and alcohol.  Both may interact dangerously with your patient’s medications.

thumbs upDementia & Wandering

More than 60 percent of dementia patients will wander.  The danger is that they can become lost and die before they’re found.  The Alzheimer’s Association recommends the use of their MedicAlert-Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return program.  There are other, similar programs available, which you can find on-line.

Even if your dementia patient is equipped with one of these tracking devices, prevention is still the best plan:

  • Short term memory loss can cause anxiety and confusion in a place that’s large or contains lots of people, such as the market, a theater, a restaurant, a shopping mall or sports venue.  That confusion can cause patients to wander off in search of something that will quiet their sense of panic.  The best strategy is to keep away from places that will induce this behavior.
  • Be on alert for wandering if your loved one wants to “go to work” or “go home,” if he or she is restless or has a hard time locating familiar place in the home such as the bedroom or bathroom.
  • Other ways to prevent wandering include placing deadbolt locks on exterior doors either high or low, and controlling access to the car keys.

One of the best things you can do when your patients are showing signs of anxiety which may lead to wandering is to give them plenty of assurance that you will not leave them alone.  Try distracting them by giving them repetitive tasks, like folding laundry or helping prepare dinner.

Keeping your dementia patient safe is really a matter of being aware of their reactions and anticipating problems before they actually occur.

Blessings, Joanne

*photo – freedigitalphotos.net