Thursday, October 29, 2009

Family Update - All is Well

Apparently I haven't posted since Dad's traumatic header down a flight of stairs on August 8th. He and my daughter were attending a birthday party for a long-time friend of Dad's. The party was held in their church basement. As Dad and Deb were leaving, they climbed a flight of stairs and Deb told Dad to wait and she would grab their jackets. While he was waiting, he apparently became dizzy and took a dive down about eight steps, face forward and head down, coming to a stop on the landing.

To make a long story much shorter, he spent three days in ICU and ten days at a rehab center. He has had home health care since that time, mostly due to a large wound on his leg that is slow in healing. He is diabetic and healing this wound is a major consideration. Thankfully, the wound care people are taking good care of him.

David's Visit

The second major event this fall was the visit by my other daughter, Barb, and her son David. You will see his picture in the previous post. They stayed for approximately two weeks, and were missed before they even left the driveway. Texas is a long way from Michigan, and we have no idea when we will see them again. Thank God for cell phones with the ability to send pictures and short videos. We are able to keep up to date on David's growth and his activities.

Dad's 87th Birthday
The third event this fall was Dad's birthday on October 18th. He turned eight-seven-years-old (87). What a milestone. His sister turned 92 on the same dad. We didn't do anything really special, just had a quiet day of football and special dinner, but he did receive numerous birthday cards and phone calls throughout the weekend.

If you haven't had the chance as yet, stop over at the Elder Care and check out what is happening. We are up to 266 posts at this time and still going strong. Lot's of changes there recently in the look of the site, but the same intent - to support caregivers and the elderly - is still of utmost priority. We celebrated our 1st birthday in early August. We had a birthday cake, balloons, and of course Beyer's sugar free pecan ice cream.

Just a quick update. Hope you get a chance to visit us somewhere on the web. We are still here although we don't post as often anymore.

Let us know what is going on in your life. We would love to hear from you and how you are doing with your care giving. Take care and hope to hear from you soon.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

September Will Bring a Family Visitor to Our Home

We are all atwitter here since we learned our grandson/great-grandson will visit us in September. Now two-years-and-four-months-old, David is growing fast. We have received quite a number of photos via cell phone, well over a hundred at last count.

About twenty short videos also allow us to watch him as he grows. He is becoming quite a young boy.

Long distant grand parenting is difficult when we see such wonderful changes taking place. I would love to be with him in person, but I am thankful that modern technology allows us to stay in touch pretty much in real time.

I have a picture that I framed of David and his Dad soon after they left a local restaurant one evening. The cool thing about the picture is that while they were in the restaurant I received two videos showing David and his family while they were eating.

Now when I look at the picture, I can remember, or watch once again, how he behaved while eating. Almost like being there in real time.

We haven't yet tried Skype, although I think being able to see and talk to him via that type of resource would be a great addition to our photo and video arsenal to keep Grandma and David in touch with one another.

I know that I am where I am supposed to be as far as caregiver to my father, but I certainly miss the physical closeness, i.e. hugs and kisses, I could have with my grandson. Thankfully modern technology helps us stay in touch.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Shoppe Opened, Shoppe Closed

Unfortunately, the Shoppe at Elder Care Cafe has closed. Sometimes what we would like does not materialize as we envisioned. I will continue to write reviews as appropriate and relevant books or movies become available, but the shoppe for browsing will no longer exist.

Life seems to be a series of experiments. As we try various opportunities, we learn what works and what does not. Hopefully, I will always continue to look forward, and be willing to try new territory. No matter how old I become, or where I live, or what happens in the future, I hope that I continue to grow, move forward, and try new things.

How about you? Are you settled in where you are, or are you willing to experiment, reaching out into the unknown, and try something new?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

You're Planning On Living How Long?

About six months ago, my dad was scheduled for a four hour session related to his heart condition. The cardiologist was running a one hour test and a three hour test. Dad adamantly declared he did not want to go through the test again. After talking to my siblings, we decided to let him make his own decision and therefore he did not have the test.

Last month we got a letter from the cardiologist who had rescheduled the test for Friday, April 3. Although Dad really did not want to go through the ordeal, he said, "Well, if I'm going to live to be a hundred, I guess I might as well stay healthy."

We arrived at the office about 8:45 a.m. and left a little after 1:00 p.m. with Dad looking pale and weary and declaring, "I'm never having that test again!"

After a quick very late lunch at a nearby Arby's, he felt much better. Friends of his, the wife is a distant relative, had accompanied us to the appointment and we thoroughly enjoyed our lunch and the drive to and from the doctors office. I think their presence made the whole event a little easier for Dad.

But, I bet we have a little different response from him the next time the cardiologist tries to book an appointment. What do you think?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Country's Family Reunion DVDs Review

As most readers know, my Dad has had limited vision all his life. He also was born color-blind. He attended the Lansing (MI) School for the Blind during high school, and has not had a driver's license since he was young.

At eighty-six-years-old he spends much of his time listening to talking books and watching TV (sitting right next to the TV). One of his favorite channels to watch is RFD. He enjoys the many old-time music shows featuring his favorite singers and musicians from the past.

We had purchased a series of videos from Country's Family Reunion, but he gave his video/DVD player to one of his grandchildren. A couple of weeks ago I bought him a set of DVDs showing hours of the Family Reunion shows.

I happened to have a 17" TV/DVD that I placed on an end table across the room from his TV. He can set in the rocker/recliner next to the smaller TV/DVD player and watch the DVDs. He quickly learned to operate all the buttons on the remote, and now watches the shows anytime he gets tired of listening to his books. It also causes him to move to a different part of the living room, which I think is good for him.

The shows are hosted by Bill Anderson and feature singing and conversation by major stars from past years. Occasionally they show outtakes of old performances from the 1950s - 1980's with comments by those who knew the performer, or by the performer themself.

I watched several hours with Dad and the shows are such a joy to watch for country music fans. The DVDs are produced and available from Gabriel Communications, 125 Belle Forest Circle, Suite 101, Nashville, TN 37221. You can reach customer service by calling 1-800-820-5405.

I highly recommend this series to any country music fan who would like to revisit a bygone era, and catch up with where those stars are now. The senior set will especially enjoy seeing their favorites.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Elder Care Express

The Elder Care Cafe is definitely growing up! Today the site for caregivers and elders not only got a new Shoppe to enjoy (sorry, no Starbucks as yet), but it also has a newsletter - The Elder Care Express.

The Elder Care Express is a weekly newsletter highlighting the happenings at Elder Care Cafe. You can sign-up right here:
==> Elder Care Express

We will keep you updated about further changes to our flagship site!

Elder Care Cafe Shoppe Added Today

Today the Elder Care Cafe received a new Shoppe which contains books, movies, health and beauty products, health care products, and any other items that may apply to baby boomers, caregivers, aging seniors, and family members.

Individual book, movie, and product reviews will also periodically appear on the site and will be added to the Shoppe's main page.

The Shoppe is colorful, handy, and filled with a growing number of items. When you have chance to check it out, you will find it here ==> Elder Care Cafe Shoppe

As always, let me know what you think.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Haircuts, Bearhugs, and Sore Ribs

Yesterday, an extended family member (my daughter's youngest sister) came over to the house so she could cut Dads' and my daughters' hair.

When Sarah walked in, she gave Dad a big hug, whereby he said, "Ooh! Be careful, my ribs are sore."

Sarah and Deb expressed concern about how he injured his ribs. Dad grinned and said, "Well, the women at the senior center hug me so hard it hurts my ribs."

Hmmmmm! Anyone in particular, Dad?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Text and Pix Messages - A Wonderful Thing

This picture is David and his mom fishing from the pier in Port Aransas, TX

Dad and I have received numerous text messages, pictures, and videos from my Texas-based daughter. The good news is that we are receiving numerous pictures of my grandson as he grows. We don't have to wait for pictures to be developed, sent by snail mail, or even wait for belated trips to the post office.

I love hearing that little "ding" letting me know there is a new picture available. Now, if I can just get the pictures uploaded to my computer, that would be great. The videos are a riot, and we can see David in action. The funny thing is, he is either sleeping or moving around in some manner. He loves to move rapidly forward and back when he is sitting in his highchair.

And the other day a picture arrived where he is sitting in the little antique chair Dad and I sent at Christmas time. The funny thing is, he was sticking his tongue out at us when the picture was taken. Now, I wonder who put him up to that?

Anyway, I hope you have the capability to send and receive instant messages to long-distant family members. I know it has really enhanced our lives!

Keep those pix and text coming, kids - we love them all!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Before You Go...

While you are visiting Elder Care Cafe, take a look at the pictures on the sidebar.

This blog was started as a journal to share the story of my Dad and my care giving/receiving journey, and to share information and experiences with other caregivers. The more formal extension of this blog is at

I joined Dad on September 7, 2006 so that he could continue to live in the house he had shared with my mother since 1970.

New Year's week, 2007/2008, my daughter and her family came to visit. During their ten day stay, we had the opportunity to bond with my new grandson, Dad's great-grandson. The two pictures on the sidebar were taken during their stay.

David Lloyd was 21-months-old at the time. We miss him dearly, and enjoy the calls and pictures we have received since that time. He is growing up very quickly; he will be two-years-old on March 27. Hopefully, he will visit us again while we are still here. In the meantime, we will watch for further snail mail, email, and cell phone pix!

Do you have a special person in your life who lights up your day? If they live far away, I hope you have plenty of pictures to enjoy.

Dementia and Disposition - Is there a Link?

A recent study suggests there is a link between Alzheimer's/Dementia and having a positive or negative personality. Although the findings were in the 50 percentile, there is a slim chance that positive people may not have as great a chance to succumb to the dreaded disease.

The writer of the article takes unction with the results of the study, noting that the researchers only visited the participants one time to determine whether they were a positive person or not. As anyone can have a bad day once in a while, it would seem further contact would be necessary to determine a persons personality.

To read more about this interesting study, and to find a link to the original article, click here.

To visit OurAlzheimer' home page click on the link. A part of Health Central, this site has numerous articles and information regarding Alzheimer's and dementia.

In your experience, do you think personality plays a part in whether someone will encounter Alzheimer's?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Thursday Thirteen Caregiver Blog Site List

On the blogsite Alzheimer's Notes, Mary Emma Allen noted how she found a number of caregivers who have created blogs about their experience caring for a loved one. Caregivers are using blogs to express their own feelings and struggles, to help others cope, and to realize that they are not alone.

Earlier this month, Mary Emma listed a group of blogs maintained by caregivers, and I was very blessed that this blog was included on the list. I would like to thank Mary Emma for all she has done to encourage others who are going through the physical and emotional challenge of caring for a loved one.

If you have time, please visit Alzheimer's Notes and thank Mary Emma for her blog as she has given the rest of us the wisdom and understanding she obtained through her own caregiving experience. Many times, once someone's caregiving time is finished, they choose to move on. Mary Emma has returned to help the rest of us along.

Thank you, Mary Emma, for your concern and your support!

You can read the article at this link ==> Thursday Thirteen.

If you know of any other sites that are written by caregivers, please leave the name of the site in the comment section. I believe it is important that we continue to support one another.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Seniors and Vitamin D

Last month I visited my doctor's office for a yearly blood test and prescription refill. My doctor told me all the doctors in the practice were "pushing" vitamin D, and he thought I should start taking it along with my daily multivitamin. I asked him if it would help the SAD (seasonal affective disorder) I was struggling with and he said, "Absolutely."

Yesterday his office called to confirm that advice, as apparently my blood test revealed I was depleted in that area. In fact, they doubled the amount I had already started taking.

Today I found several articles on Senior Journal dot com that affirmed my doctors advice. An increasing number of studies show low levels of vitamin D are an invitation for some deadly diseases to take over our bodies. As vitamin E is losing it's popularity, vitamin D is picking up steam as studies prove it is a helpful deterrent against diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

Check with your doctor, obtain a blood test if necessary, and follow your doctor's recommendation before proceeding with any dosage.

Those who spend a lot of time in the sun, drink plenty of milk, and obtain vitamin D in other ways, probably won't need any additional vitamin D. But, if you live in a frigid climate such as MI, as I do, and your diet is lacking in this essential vitamin, you may want to make sure you get the nutrients you need.

To read these important articles, click on this link => There are a growing number of articles that will confirm vitamin D is a most important nutrient for an increasing number of people, especially seniors.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Frigid? Who's Frigid?

It is colder than icicles in Michigan! In fact, the icicles are probably buckling under this frigid weather. Wow! This morning my computer said it was -9 F about 6:30 a.m. Our indoor/outdoor is hovering around 4 deg.

That said, Dad and I are doing pretty good as long as we can stay indoors. We are toasty warm, there is plenty of hot chocolate with marshmallows to be had, the cookie gremlin might be inspired to make peanut butter cookies sometime today, and I heard whispers that we might enjoy a nice hot bowl of potato soup tonight for supper.

Dad got a bunch of new talking books yesterday - mostly western theme with a couple of Zane Grey for good measure. He really enjoys listening to westerns.

For the first time in weeks the sky is blue, the sun is shining, but it is still frigid. I guess we better take the good news while we can.

What is your good news today? How's the weather? What's for supper? What are you reading and/or drinking? Inquiring minds want to know!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Healthy Lifestyle Initiative 2009

The main Elder Care Cafe has a three day healthy lifestyle initiative each week. Running from Friday through Sunday, each day has a specific theme. Friday posts are related to the Body, Saturday is specifically about the Soul, and Sunday discusses the Spiritual aspect of our lives.

Today's post was about Healthy Walking at Any Age. Check it out and join in as we strive to live a healthier lifestyle throughout 2009.

Did you set any resolutions or goals for 2009? Were they health related?