“What can she do?”

…that was the question a friend of mine asked me recently. She told me her Mother-in-Law just moved in with her and her husband from a rehab center following a knee replacement. The family had begun to notice she was beginning to become forgetful and was repeating herself fairly often, so they were worried about her living alone.

My friend loved the idea. She had some time off work and looked forward to spending some quality time with her lovely Mother-in-Law. At first, it worked out well – they had fun visiting and enjoying each other’s company. But then my friend had to go back to work. Suddenly, Mother-in-Law got bored.

I asked what sort of things did her Mother-in-Law like to do in the past. It turned out that she used to sew. Due to dementia, it seemed too risky to have her use a sewing machine, so we discussed other types of sewing, such as mending or hemming.  My friend remembered that she used to love to quilt, so she was going to find out if sewing the blocks together by hand might be an option – finishing the quilt wouldn’t be the goal – rather simply enjoying the process.

Discovering what your loved one enjoyed or was talented at prior to the onset of dementia is the key. Did they knit or crochet? Perhaps something like a working on a jigsaw puzzle might also be an option if your loved one has an interest in it. Grown-up coloring books have become very popular and might appeal to an older mind.

An important thing to keep in mind is that even though your loved one has diminishing abilities and might even act like a child at times, their likes and dislikes are still mature. Don’t insult them with a Barbie coloring book or puzzles with pictures of ‘Sponge Bob’

Each person has their own individual set of interests, skills, and talents, so it may take a while find just the right type of activities that will keep their interest. This process may require you to be both patient and flexible.

Sometimes a person just wants to feel useful. My Mama loved folding towels so I would sometimes quietly throw a bunch of clean towels into the dryer to fluff them up for a few minutes and then bring the whole pile of warm towels to her to fold. Mama loved it! At first she would hug the towels for a few minutes and enjoy their warmth and fragrance. Eventually, she would become surrounded by little stacks of neatly folded towels.

I also found a list that might also contain some helpful ideas: 50 Activities for Caregivers to do With People Who Have Alzheimer’s or Dementia

At the end of the day, your loved one simply wants what we all want – to know we’re loved. Some days will be better than others, but remember: You’re doing the best you can, and so are they.

It’s beginning to look , (smell & sound) a lot like Christmas

One of my favorite Christmas decorations.

🎼Jingle Bells, Yuletide smells, Christmas on display – bringing back the memories of a long past Christmas day.

A Christmas tree trimmed with old fashioned decorations and stockings hung by the fire along with the wonderful smells of gingerbread mingling with the sharp fragrance of pine and familiar songs of the season all work together to invoke memories of Christmas past.  Our senses are doorways through which memories can flow.

According to an article in LiveScience.com, Brain’s Link Between Sounds, Smells and Memory Revealed: Sights, sounds and smells can all evoke emotionally charged memories. A new study in rats suggests why: The same part of the brain that’s in charge of processing our senses is also responsible, at least in part, for storing emotional memories…Previously, scientists had not considered these sensory brain regions all that important for housing emotional memories, said study researcher Benedetto Sacchetti, of the National Institute of Neuroscience in Turin, Italy.

Since the Christmas season is chalk-full of sensory delights, this is the perfect time to take advantage of anything that could stir up memories in your loved one.

For example, if making gingerbread houses or gingerbread men was a beloved annual tradition, then the smell of gingerbread baking or the sight of a gingerbread house could trigger fond emotional memories of happy times past.

The Christmas wreath on our front door.

Pine trees are another seasonal smell that is fairly easy to come by this time of the year– even just a few boughs can produce that wonderful fragrance.

According to Fifth Sense, The sense of smell is closely linked with memory, probably more so than any of our other senses.

Besides smells, the sights associated with Christmas such as decorated trees, poinsettias and twinkling lights might provoke a sense of joy accompanied by a memory or two of yesteryear.

Sounds abound as well this time of the year. Christmas songs and hymns are ring out everywhere you go – stores, coffee shops and even offices. Churches sing many of the beloved Christmas hymns and if your loved one has attended church prior to developing dementia, going to a service will provide a plethora of sights, sounds and smells of the season.

Since the senses are connected to memories, it is possible to provide your loved one with memory-triggering pleasures year around, but at Christmas, it is almost as if the whole world is in this process with you. So as much as possible, take the time to enjoy the sweet-smelling, merry, twinkling, singing most wonderful time of the year.

Merry Christmas!

Twiddle de dee

I remember watching my grandma twiddle her thumbs back when I was a little girl. It fascinated me. She did it all the time – usually while she was sitting in her favorite chair and either visiting or watching TV. She told me it was good to have something for your hands to do while you were waiting. That made sense to me and I remember trying to copy her when she wasn’t looking. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal now, but back when I was very young, teaching my thumbs to twiddle felt like a huge accomplishment.

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This one is from AbuelaVicky found at Etsy.comhment.

It turns out that no matter how old you become, it is still good to have something for your hands to do. Last year I wrote a post called For that Fidgety Feeling” about something called Fidgety quilts. I loved the idea.

When my Mama lived with us while she was in the middle stages of dementia, she constantly needed something to do. Prior to the onset of dementia, she both knitted and crocheted. But as the dementia became more and more pronounced,

BizzieLizzieKnits
This one is from BizzieLizzieKnits found on Etsy.com

she found it difficult to maintain any type of ongoing focus.  She would quickly become bored and forget what she was working on.

We kept her busy with short-term activities such as folding warm towels, sorting colored beads into small bowls according to their color, and one of her favorites: picking lint off of sweaters. Before dementia struck, Mama was very detail oriented. It made sense as she was a laboratory scientist and paying attention to details was extremely important.

If I had heard about fidgety quilts back then, I believe that Mama would have loved the idea. The fact that they don’t require any special skills or knowledge to play with the various ribbons, buttons and interesting items attached to the quilts makes them perfect for every ability level.

I recently watched a short news video on BBC titled: “Lancashire knitters ‘twiddle muffs’ dementia tool plea” where there was a plea for area knitters to make and donate “twiddle muffs” to local hospitals. The muffs are a great idea – especially if you are a knitter. If you don’t knit, you can still purchase a Twiddle muff for your loved one. They seem to be a bit less expensive as well as more portable than the ‘Fidgety Quilt’ so would make a marvelous Christmas present for a loved one who tends to get fidgety.

Twiddle Kitty
Twiddle Kitty

Once you begin to look, you will discover a whole world of items designed to help give loved ones’ fingers something to do and perhaps reduce periods of agitation.

If you happen to be a knitter perhaps you might consider creating a few extra twiddle muffs to bless someone who could use a thoughtful and helpful gift this Christmas season.

Jack Hansen re-retires (again)

55 years in the world of education just might be enough for Jack Hansen, but he’s not saying for certain that the third time for retiring will be the charm. When asked why he continued to return, he responded simply, “I missed it.”

Jack was recently recognized by the School Board for all that he has done to enhance education in California.

Todd Brose, Superintendent of Red Bluff Joint Union High said, “Jack Hansen has had a profound impact on education during his 55-year career. As an educational leader in Tehama County, he collaborated with many school districts developing leaders and finding solutions for the betterment of students. Red Bluff Joint Union High School District thanks him for his service and wishes him the best of luck. Thank you Jack.

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Jack Hansen

He came by his love for the teaching profession honestly as his mother and older sister were both teachers (his father was an attorney), and he was able to see first-hand both the rewards and challenges of the classroom. He didn’t initially plan to go into teaching, but after doing some volunteer work during college, he became hooked.

When Jack began kindergarten in 1944, his teacher might not have predicted that he would have a career in education: On the first day of school once he realized that his mother had left the room, he had a couple of tearful hours adjusting, by the end of the day, all was good.

Jack’s career began back in 1961 when he taught in Sacramento. In 1966 he was hired in Yuba City as a principle and at the age of 27 he was the youngest person on staff as well as the youngest principle in the state of California.

Jack’s vocation, which spanned from teacher, to principle, to superintendent, and school board member has taken him to a variety of counties, but Hansen believes that the 25 years he spent in Tehama County were some of the most enjoyable.

There have been many changes in the world of education over the past several decades, but Jack believes that the one thing that has not changed is the need to interact with the kids and building relationships. There are more electronics and tools for teaching, but it still comes down to interaction.

If Jack had to name his most rewarding and most challenging positions, he replied that they were both at the same time. He spent a year in a dual role as Superintendent of Red Bluff Elementary and Principle of Vista Middle School in the early 1990s.

Jack and his wife Cindy love to travel – especially enjoying river cruises, they have been fortunate to have visited a good part of the world. They have 8 children and 10 grandchildren, most live in California and one even lives in Red Bluff – they love spending as much time as possible with them.

Being an avid golfer, one thing that Jack really enjoys about retirement is that he gets to get out on the golf course about three times a week.

When asked again if he was done, he replied: “If something challenging or interesting comes up again, I’ll consider returning to the workplace.”

Only time will tell.



Has your world been touched by dementia? My recent book, “Finishing Well: Finding Joy in the Journey”, is a collection of stories and  tips finishingwellinlife3Dcoverabout doing life with my Mama. May it encourage and inspire you to find the joy in your own, unique journey.

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Joy has the ‘Wright’ idea

I just had a delightful phone conversation with a dear, old friend of mine, Joy Wright. It’s not that I have known her for so many years, but Joy is one of those people that once you become acquainted, it seems that you’ve been friends always.

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Joy Wright pauses from sorting blankets for a photo at the Recycle The Warmth 2016

She is interesting and amusing, compassionate and energetic. Joy’s personality reminds me of an M&M (not the kind with the nut inside), colorful and hard on the outside and sweet and soft on the inside.

We met one year when she volunteered to help at “Recycle The Warmth”, an annual project that provides blankets and warm coats to anyone in need. We immediately hit it off and she has returned to volunteer every year since.

Joy, who was born in 1928, has always been a bundle of energy. She is involved in a variety of projects and volunteer activities. I knew she was a busy girl, but until recently, I had no idea just how busy. Joy operates on the principle that when she sees a need, she tries to fill it – not wait for someone else to come along. Well, she certainly filled a need at Recycle the Warmth – coming early and staying late.

Joy’s  willingness to jump in and do what’s needed even captured the attention of the Soroptimists International of Red Bluff. They awarded her  Senior Citizen of the Year 2016 at the annual Farm City Night banquet hosted by the Tehama County Farm Bureau.

Other ‘needs’ that Joy is trying to fill includes “Alternative To Violence” (ATV). She was one of the founding board members. Joy also volunteers at the P.A.T.H. shelter three times a month as well as helping with the Presbyterian Church’s annual Thanksgiving dinner they offer for anyone who might find themselves alone on the holiday.

Joy spent 14 years as the then newly–minted ‘Executive Housekeeper’ for St. Elizabeth Community Hospital where she oversaw ‘all things clean’ in her own, unique style.

After retirement, Joy returned to college and received a BA in Business Administration from Simpson University. She can be seen regularly doing various office projects at the Shasta College Tehama Campus – she began when it was on Palm Street before they built the nice, new campus on Diamond Ave. Her focus there now is proctoring tests.

But wait….there’s more! Joy is also a member of the Soroptimist International Red Bluff whose motto is: “Improving the Lives of Women and Girls” – a perfect fit for her. For over a decade, Joy has also been involved in providing the ‘building guards’ for the Tehama District Fair each year. The guards keep an eye on things and watch over the exhibits during the fair.

Wow. It makes me tired just thinking about it. I asked Joy why she is so involved and she told me about something she read on a wall in Truckee where her husband was working for PG&E back in 1969: “Not here on Earth to see through each other, but to see each other through”.

Joy is well named – it’s what she brings to those in her world. She is always at the ready with acts of kindness that will help see someone through.

 



Has your world been touched by dementia? My recent book, “Finishing Well: Finding Joy in the Journey”, is a collection of stories and  tips finishingwellinlife3Dcoverabout doing life with my Mama. May it encourage and inspire you to find the joy in your own, unique journey.

Find our group on Facebook 

Are you a Caregiver? Do you know one?

 

William Shakespeare wrote:  “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Most family Caregivers I know fall into that last category.

It turns out that November is National Family Caregivers Month. Caregivers are typically folks who stepped up to finishing_well_in_life_cargvrthe plate and accepted the role of caring for parents, spouse or other loved-ones.

This is a good time to celebrate the contribution of those volunteer friends and family members who care for loved-ones – not by a pat on the back, but in some concrete ways. Family Caregivers are certainty heroes, but not ‘Superhero’s (meaning they can go on endlessly and never tire).

Usually Caregivers are not complainers and are often reluctant to ask for help. Because of that, I thought I would offer a few suggestions that will provide concrete help for those who are either a Caregiver or a friend of one.

  1. Friend: provide a meal for someone who is caregiving. Caregiver: Accept/request a specific meal.
  2. Friend: Offer to sit with a loved one.  Caregiver: Accept the offer for someone else to sit with or visit your loved one.
  3. Friend: Offer to run errands.Caregiver: Accept the offer and make a list.
  4. Friend: Clean/do laundry (even taking larger bedding to a laundromat.  Caregiver: Accept the offer – you can’t do it all.
  5. Friend: Ask your friend specifically what you can do to help.  Caregiver: Accept the help, answer honestly.

Additionally, ‘Progressive Care Partners’ offers some very specific ways to help the unsung heroes in our world. Click on the following link for ideas: 10 Ways to Celebrate National Family Caregivers Month

Remember, you can’t do it all whether you are the caregiver or friend. Sometimes the best help may be a welcome visit that provides a temporary distraction.

Whimsical joy

While engaging in a lovely chat with a friend of mine, I learned that she had recently embarked on a journey of caregiving. I wanted to give her a word of encouragement or comfort. She didn’t ask for advice, although she had said that she read my book,  “Finishing Well: Finding Joy in the Journey” and had gleaned some information which she felt might be helpful and ideas that she would try to keep in mind.

My heart broke with the knowledge of what would likely be a long journey ahead of her. It is no easy task. Many of our loved ones require constant supervision and need help with everyday activities. I hoped that she would have the strength to endure in the difficult times. She mentioned that this was not something she had taken on alone – which is such a blessing as it divides the load and shares both the joy and sorrow. Since she is a believer, my friend will also be drawing on the strength and comfort that comes from the Lord.

Joy is what will be needed for this endeavor. I encouraged my friend to find as much joy as possible by finding social networks and opportunities for her loved one to laugh and smile.

Look for ways to increase the music artistic expression in their world. Sometimes it will be a challenge to go out in public due to mobility limitations or possible inappropriate behaviors.

My sister, Peggy Whitten has a great saying that I love to quote when it comes to caring for a loved one: “They can’t enter your reality, you have to enter theirs.”

Some days their reality may seem like you’ve stumbled upon a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. That’s okay. Try to discover what activities you’re loved one might enjoy doing, (although this may change over time).  I would encourage you to venture out when you can. Help your loved one go to their place of worship, attend concerts, browse art galleries, feed ducks at the park, or visit a zoo.

Do whatever your loved one enjoyed prior to dementia and even add a few activities whenever possible.  When it comes to food, help your loved one share a meal with others whenever possible, whether it’s at a restaurant, with a church group, or a local senior center. Dining with others may also help promote better nutrition which is crucial.

Is there something that will give your loved one a sense of purpose? finishing_well_in_life_towelsMy Mama enjoyed folding towels. I often would bring them to her still warm from the dryer – she would hug the pile of towels and smile large. Eventually, she would begin folding and stacking them next to her. She enjoyed it so much that I must admit there were a few times I took clean, folded towels out of the linen closet to toss them into the dryer in order to give her something to fold. She also loved sorting colored beads and picking nits off of sweaters.

Anything, no matter how silly it seems, if it helps your loved one feel as if they can still do something to contribute is a worthwhile activity. Remember, the journey can be long, use your imagination to lighten the load and find all the whimsical joy you can.

World traveler gathers ideas to plant in his garden

Visiting historical places around the globe is a good fit for a history major who loves to travel. Len Stohler has always enjoyed exploring new places – even as a young man, he sold two steers in order to raise the money for a Boy Scout trip that stretched from his home in South Texas up to New York, Chicago and St. Louis. He also made a couple of trips to California to visit his great grandmother in San Jose.

After graduating from Baylor University he began attending Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, located in Marin County. His original plans were to become a minister, but eventually he switched directions and decided to become a teacher. He finished the credential requirements at San Francisco State.

In 1969 he came to Red Bluff to teach junior high. Len also served as the district’s Technology Mentor Teacher. With a major grant from Apple, Inc, he was able to work on a project that was presented at a national computer conference. During this time, he also oversaw school activities such as the yearbook and newspaper as well as photography.

Back then, photography was mostly the art of shooting and developing black and white film. He mentioned that the Daily News gave Vista a much-needed projector during that time. Today, photography is quite different, but Len has kept abreast of the latest technology. He even gave me some tips on how to use my new iPad.

He also introduced the “Bay Area Writing Project” in the district, a form of writing that focused more on fluency than form in the first drafts. It promoted more creativity in writing making it more enjoyable. He marveled that when encouraged, junior high students were so insightful and good at writing.

finishing_well_in_life_len_stohler
Len Stohler stands in the beautiful garden he created to enjoy year-around color and a variety of wildlife.

After retiring, Len spend many years as a member of the School Board. In 1995, Len experienced a heart problem that required open heart surgery. That episode offered him a second chance in life and the opportunity to consider new projects and activities. One thing that blossomed from his new lease on life was the idea to plant a garden similar to the style he had observed on a trip to China in 2006.

The concept of a Chinese garden is that it should be compact, asymmetrical and pleasing to the eye. The garden should also have a focal point. Len’s beautiful backyard garden has a wooden walkway surrounded by a wide variety of colorful flowers, shrubs and trees.  His delightful garden is an attraction to a multitude of bees, birds and wildlife. While visiting with Len at an outdoor table in the shade, I was fortunate to watch, among other things, flocks of tiny finches, big black bumble bees and darting humming birds appreciating the flowers.

When asked why he gets involved in so many different things, Len responded, I’ve always want to learn new things. I know I don’t have the answers – there’s always something to learn.”

A multitude of other interests compete for his travel and gardening time. His great love of theology has led him to become active in a number of ministries and activities at the Presbyterian Church in Red Bluff.

Len has also been a long-time member of the “Sons In Retirement” group known as SIRS. He has held many offices in SIRS including ‘Area Governor’, a position whose area includes Mt. Shasta, Redding and Red Bluff.

Len has a son, Bill who lives in Hawaii. He is a Senior Project Manager for AECOM. He loves diving and is a very talented underwater photographer (Len’s living room wall display many of his son’s photos).

Exploring interesting bridges has been added to his love for traveling, as well as writing Travelogue articles for the Red Bluff Daily News.  A love for theatre and movies are also part of Len’s world – which all adds up to a life that is well lived and well-traveled.

 



Has your world been touched by dementia? My recent book, “Finishing Well: Finding Joy in the Journey”, is a collection of stories and  tips finishingwellinlife3Dcoverabout doing life with my Mama. May it encourage and inspire you to find the joy in your own, unique journey.

Find our group on Facebook 

Avid hiker explored the world and now captures local history

Hiker, backpacker, mountain climber. These are just a few of the interests that have driven Gene Serr to explore the great outdoors. As a young man, he climbed Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the “lower 48″ states, three times – once he even spent a very cold night on top of the mountain. He has also climbed Mt. Shasta and over 20 other 14,000-footers in California and Colorado.

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Gene holds an ice axe passed down to him by his father that he used to climb Mt. Shasta and for a winter climb of Mt. Lassen.

Born in Yuba City in 1925, where his dad was a Farm Advisor, his family moved to Stockton where he spent his formative years before moving to Davis where he graduated from high school.

Selected for the Marine College Training Program at UC Berkeley, Gene received a Civil Engineering degree as well as a commission in the USMCR as 2nd Lt.  He was called up for the Korean War, and served a few months at a supply depot in Philadelphia.

His education continued at Colorado State University – receiving a MS in Irrigation Engineering. His Master’s Thesis caught the attention of the US Geological Survey in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he worked for two years before moving back to California with the Bureau of Reclamation in Santa Barbara. While there, Gene helped plan the Casitas Dam on the Ventura River and the Twitchell Dam on the Santa Maria River.

Gene married his high school sweetheart, Nancy Wilson, in Davis in 1951. They eventually had two sons, David and Jeff, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, with another on the way.

Nancy, who passed away in 2005, was a wonderful artist. A memorial exhibit of her work was held at the Tehama County Museum in 2011. She worked in a variety of media, particularly oils and watercolor, also silk screen and batik. Beautiful paintings hanging on the walls of Gene’s lovely home attest to her talents. Gene established a Nancy Serr Art Scholarship at Red Bluff High School in 2016.

Gene and Nancy loved to travel. They were able to visit many countries and continents, including Australia – with stops in New Zealand and Tahiti as well. Other trips included China and several visits to Europe. Gene was able to find the small village in Germany where his family had lived before immigrating to the United States a few generations before. Places in the U.S. also provided fun and adventure for them when they took their jeep to Alaska for a driving tour. The beautiful pieces of pottery and carvings Nancy brought from their travels adorn their lovely home.

They spent many of the hot, summer days up at a cabin they owned in Mineral, which was the ideal base camp for their numerous hikes in Lassen Park and surrounding areas.

Starting in 1957, Gene worked for the California Dept. of Water Resources in Sacramento until 1966, when he was transferred to the Northern District in Red Bluff.  Here he worked on various projects and programs, notably the Davis-Grunsky program, which provided loans to small water districts to construct water systems. He retired from the DWR in 1988.

Curiosity about the lumber flumes that came down from the mountains led Gene to discover a second career in researching and writing articles about the history of Tehama County. He became an active member of the Tehama County Genealogical and Historical Society and served as editor of the Tehama County Memories for several years. Gene also helped write Tehama County, 1856-2006; Tales from Ishi Country; and Mineral-Mill Creek Place Names. He served as Regional VP, Conference of California Historical Societies.

A member of the Red Bluff Presbyterian Church, he is also involved in Kiwanis, Sons in Retirement, Nature Conservancy and several historical organizations.

Gene usually has several history projects going at the same time. He said, I enjoy the research and try to fit the puzzle together . You’re always missing pieces, but you do the best you can to fit the pieces together.

One of his current projects is Mary Ellen Place and Trail, about 20 miles west of Red Bluff.  It is a remote area that will require some serious hiking to reach. He is considering the use of an ATV to get there, assuming he can get permission from the property owner.

Gene intends to keep working his history puzzles as long as he can.

 



Has your world been touched by dementia? My recent book, “Finishing Well: Finding Joy in the Journey”, is a collection of stories and  tips finishingwellinlife3Dcoverabout doing life with my Mama. May it encourage and inspire you to find the joy in your own, unique journey.

Find our group on Facebook 

Sleep? Oh yawn

So it turns out that sleep may not be overrated after all. The amount of sleep you get may have an impact on whether or not you get Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers are beginning to see a more definite link between sleep and beta-amyloid and Alzheimer’s. Beta-amyloid build-up in the brain may lead to a vicious cycle – it disturbs sleep and impairs memory, which can trigger additional build-up of Beta-amyloid  — the protein that makes up the toxic plaque that is the most common suspect behind Alzheimer’s.

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have also found compelling evidence that poor sleep – particularly a deficit of the deep, restorative slumber needed to maintain memories — is a conduit through which the beta-amyloid protein may trigger Alzheimer’s disease attacks the brain’s long-term memory.
Our findings reveal a new pathway through which Alzheimer’s disease may cause memory decline later in life,” said UC Berkeley neuroscience professor Matthew Walker, senior author of the study to be published in the journalNature Neuroscience.

How does it work?

“Sleep is helping wash away toxic proteins at night, preventing them from building up and from potentially destroying brain cells,” Walker said. “It’s providing a power cleanse for the brain.”

According to a recent research study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, that analyzed the sleep patterns of adults 70 and over found that those who slept for shorter amounts of time and had poorer sleep quality, had higher levels of Beta amyloid, a brain plaque that is an indicator of Alzheimer’s. That’s not to say that if you don’t get enough sleep, you’re destined to get Alzheimer’s disease, but there does seem to be a link between the two.

“These findings are important in part because sleep disturbances can be treated in older people. To the degree that poor sleep promotes the development of Alzheimer’s disease, treatments for poor sleep or efforts to maintain healthy sleep patterns may help prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer disease,” said Adam Spira, PhD, lead author of the study and an assistant professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Mental Health.  

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Wayne Owensby is demonstrating a yawn

Besides avoiding the usual suspects of caffeine and alcohol, there are other of practices that can help. The easiest one is yawning and stretching – in fact, it’s so easy that you are probably trying to stifle a yawn right now.

Make this part of your going-to-bed routine: Begin by opening your mouth wide to simulate a big yawn. Reach out your arms and give them a good stretch. At first, you’re just going through the motions, but after several yawns and stretches, your body and brain will get the message that it is time to sleep. Then notice what this does to the quality of the sleep that follows. What you will discover is that something about stretching and yawning prepares the body and brain for sleep.

Here’s a video to get you yawning: Contagious Yawning: Why We Do It, What It Shows About Us

I don’t know if my Mama had sleep issues in the early stages of dementia, but sadly, in the late-stages of this disease, sleep seems to be one of her superpowers.

Sweet dreams.