De-mystifying De-list-ifying

My phone rang while I was eating lunch today. Grabbing my phone, I saw an unfamiliar number. I decided to answer anyway because the care home where my Mama lives have several phone lines and I didn’t want to take the chance that it was a number from them that I hadn’t added to my ‘contacts’ yet.

Nope, it was a sales call. Annoyed, I resumed my lunch. It suddenly occurred to me that I had read an article in a publication sponsored by the California Bar Foundation that addresses unwanted phone calls. It listed various places you can call or visit online to get your name and contact info off of call lists. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I hadn’t followed through yet.

As soon as I got the chance, I hunted down the publication and began the process of getting off of the call lists. There is a phone number listed for the National Do-Not-Call Registry, which is managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). To register, call 888-382-1222 or go to the website

I decided to go to the website, where they tell you that this list never expires and very kindly allow you to check to see if you might already be on it. After clicking on the blue ‘Verify Here’ button, I simply entered my phone number and email address and in a short time, received an email from them that said, “National Do Not Call Registry – You Are Not Registered”. Easy. And then all I had to do was to go back to where I began, but this time, choose the brown ‘Register Here’ button.

The article also provided a site to have your name removed from mailing lists which can be filled out online, or downloaded and mailed in.

But wait! There’s more! You can also ‘Opt out’ of credit agencies’ pre-approved credit offer mailing lists. Call 888-5-OPTOUT (567-8688) or opt out online at
This may seem like too much work just to save ourselves the time of hanging up on sales calls, or tossing junk mail but, remember; those with cognitive impairment are incredibly vulnerable to these types of pitches.

We used to have a neighbor who loved ordering things from catalogs. Because of that, her name must have been sold to lots of lists because she was constantly being solicited by both telemarketers and door-to-door sales visits. If we saw someone knocking on her door, my husband would usually go check out what was going on to interrupt and intervene in some way if need be.

It is up to us to keep our loved ones as safe as we can from those who would try to prey on their emotions through sales pitches. A little time spent now will save in many ways later.

What experiences have you had with unwanted sales pitches?

Who are you?

I’m not saying I’m predictable, but on the rare occasion, if I happen to act uncharacteristically, such as ordering something different off a menu, or suggest we see a Sci-Fi movie rather than a Chick flick with a good ending, my husband will say, “Who are you and what have you done with my wife?

I believe we are all a bit predictable to some degree. After folks have known us a while, they might be able to anticipate some of our reactions to certain questions or events. The way in which others see us respond to various occurrences might actually be the result of our ‘social filter’. Something might annoy us, but since it would be impolite to show the annoyance, we smile and let it go.

Now, I’m not saying that it isn’t a good idea to be polite, show finishing-well-in-life-questionconsideration and act kindly to others, but some recent observations have convinced me that we might want to do a bit more than ‘act’.

I was attending a class recently that my sister teaches. She was recounting a recent visit she and a friend of hers made to our Mama (who is in the final stage of dementia).  During the course of the visit, her friend remarked how sweet and kind our Mama has always been, and that the dementia didn’t seem to change her personality any—she was still as sweet as ever. My sister responded that she believed that it was because Mama was so nice on the inside, and when she lost her ‘veneer’ it didn’t change who she really was—that it wasn’t simply a social nicety. At that point, her friend quipped, “Uh, oh, I better begin working on becoming nicer on the inside now, so when I lose my social veneer, it won’t be such a dramatic change.

Another person in the class said that they had heard it put that, “We are who we are, and as we age, we become more so.

The bible teaches us about the need for certain qualities such as showing mercy, genuinely forgiving others and ‘walking humbly with our God’.

There is no time like the present to work on becoming a better version of who we really are.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind? 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And days o’ lang syne!

The new year often brings with it certain hopes and aspirations. This is the time for new beginnings, do-overs and fresh starts. We tell ourselves that perhaps this year we will do better, be better, live better. The ‘R’ word gets tossed around a bit, if not verbally, at least the general idea of a resolution to eat better, get more exercise, or improve in whatever area we perceive we fell short in last year.

If you do decide to make a change or two, consider becoming more social. The Alzheimer’s Society has conducted a study which shows that 42 % of family and friends mistakenly think that once a person with dementia stops recognizing loved ones, they don’t benefit that much from spending time with them. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, family visits can stimulate feelings of happiness, comfort and security.finishing_well-in-life-connect

Staying connected and taking part in activities helps a person with dementia feel less isolated.

Alzheimer’s Society is calling on people to make a positive New Year’s resolution to spend time with people with dementia and help them take part in activities they enjoy to keep connected.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “After spending time with friends and family over the festive period, New Year can be a bleak and lonely time for people with dementia and their carers. It’s so important for people with dementia to feel connected throughout the year.

“Spending time with loved ones and taking part in meaningful activities can have a powerful and positive impact, even if they don’t remember the event itself. We’re urging people to get in touch with us and find out how we can help you stay connected.”

If you have hesitated to visit someone because you are not sure what you would talk about, remember, it really doesn’t matter what you say. Simply entering the room with a smile and taking their hand can create a connection. As far as what to say, try reciting scripture, reading poetry or the newspaper. Perhaps picking up a novel you were interested in and reading a few chapters each visit.

Is someone waiting for you?