Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Repairs for The House That Cleans Itself

Except for mowing the lawn, hubby can bark orders to get someone out to fix things at the house with his Alzheimer's impatience. And so it was we had our garage door fixed twice recently, and we are still not happy with the expensive repair that didn't fix the problem. I now push the button to bring the garage door down, and then have to push it again quickly so it will not open immediately. I have to do this when I come home in the garage and when I leave with the garage door remote control. One feels that the garage door people just want our money for a whole new door.

In 2000  when we first married our tastes in shopping were so different. This was before the Alzheimer's entered our home, Home Depot and Lowe's used to be my husband's favorite stores. He was always buying tools and using tools. We both had more income then and could buy more. I went along with all the fine things he did for the house those first years because we were fixing our retirement home. He put up fences, installed a doggy door in the workshop, made a compost pile, made a wonderful mail box stand on our property for four homes here in the country, put up shelves for me, painted rooms, and made a workshop for himself that carpenters who have worked here since envy. But Home Depot or Lowe's was never my favorite place to shop. I liked places like second hand shops, antique shops and at times the Mall.

Home Depot purchases
for repairs
Hubby no longer really shops. He will stay in the car or sit in the store while I shop. But if I was to be serious about The House That Cleans Itself and the suggestions in the book, I needed  repairs and would have to go to those places he used to love. We hadn't been charging at Home Depot, but one can spend $300 for supplies and pay $50 for them over six months without being charged interest. So I actually stepped out of my comfort zone and shopped at Home Depot and racked up $300 in supplies. And then I had to take back items because I am not an experienced Home Depot or Lowe's customer or handiperson for that matter. The sink faucet was wrong. New lights didn't need to be replaced over the vanity, but our clever carpenter just went into my husband's workshop for a quick fix and was able to put in two sockets for my electric curlers and hair dryer. I took back the other light fixture with only one plug to Lowe's and got a refund. 

Hidden now behind existing light

I didn't realize this solution was possible, but our carpenter saved us money. Now I can plug in both the hair curlers and hair dryer and fix my hair at the vanity in the bedroom. Actually all I have to do is turn the light switch on and light, hair dryer can be turned on and curlers are all on. I use hair spray at this station rather than in the bathroom where I put in my new hearing aids. (I do not need hair spray on the hearing aids.)  I love this vanity for makeup and hair now! Guests do not see all of my hair and makeup stuff in the second bathroom they use. My station in the master bedroom is now complete.

The carpenter then installed new mini-blinds in the living room. The old ones were essentially broken.
You can hardly see them, but they are there.
The carpenter put up a new shelf in den to get that power strip off of the desk. One of the women in the Facebook private group for The House That Cleans Itself had a yard sale and ended up giving me this shelf for my devotional area. Before this shelf, chords competed with my Bible study area.

Power strip up and away
I love how my Nook and Kindle just look like books, but are getting charged in the meanwhile. It was essential that I have a separate area for my devotions, or I would get distracted by the computer or the TV. Now Mrs. Clark, esteemed author of The House That Cleans Itself, would camouflage those chords, but I can't do it all, folks, and this shelf works for me in our den.

Finally, the deck in the back yard was stained. Who was the carpenter for repairs that my husband used to do? Jake's son who learned from his dad and he did a great job! Jake helped his son while hubby just watched TV and I was gone. How nice to come home to a finished vanity area in the master bedroom and a finished devotional area and the other repairs!

Not afraid of Home Depot any more, I got plants and soil for the front yard at Home Depot. Yard work is coming my way for Area # 8 and perhaps before the guest bedroom Area # 7 is fully finished. Our climate is beautiful this winter. Who wouldn't want to garden in pleasant weather and catch the weeds before the April showers come!

Sigh! My tastes in shopping are now changing!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Time and Caregiving

Time has such a different feel with Alzheimer’s. Our loved ones live in the moment and visuals of what is happening recently or in the past begin to have less recognition.

Joe is a blogger friend with dementia and I regularly read his blog posts for insight into my husband’s thinking. Joe put it exactly when he wrote on Friday: time is no longer a part of my thinking or doing.

Perhaps time is one the most difficult concepts that a caregiver has to wrestle with in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s. I observe my husband’s use of time as he tries to keep up and to keep acting normal. His Timex watch tells him not only the time, but all so the day of the week and the date. He insists on having a typed schedule for the day, but then doesn’t refer to it.

Nornal hunger signals do not get to him, but he does check his watch to see if it is time to eat. I have to tell him it is time to shower, time to shave, time to eat breakfast, time to take his pills, time to leave the house. He can then rebel when I tell him it is time to do something. For example he will say I am not taking my pills tonight and then several minutes later you might tell him it is time to take his pills and he will take them!

The caregiver is told to never argue with the loved one. You will just go round and round  Yes, they should, but no they won’t. Yes, he said he would do something, but no he is not going to. Your patience is often tested to the limit. Others do not realize the struggles you go through and you do not want to expose others to the difficulties because, I suppose, you appear like a nagging wife or are asking for help yourself. You want to preserve the good name of your loved one.You try to be wise, establish those routines and plan as best as you can. 

Since our loved ones do not have a sense of time and responsibility, you often can capitalize on the attributes that they do have. They can be occupied with what they love to do. Our Alzheimer’s friend Jake loves yard work and being occupied productively. He will not remember all he has done even when you show him visually what he accomplished, but he is very happy with the doing.

My husband will want to do what the group is doing and what his friends are doing. He absolutely loves being a dog owner. Does this sound like childish behavior? Yes. Can I treat him like a child? No. That will not go over well.

My days as a caregiver are spent “going with the flow” and "flowing" with whatever. My responsibilities have increased and bitterness can set in. However, my husband did not ask for this disease, and I am often doing the best I can under the circumstances. I cannot afford to be bitter. I just need to get better--better at managing time myself and finding opportunities to grow in my faith.

I have referred to The Daily Audio Bible on this blog and for years have been going through the Bible this way, listening and often reading along. Yesterday morning one passage was in Mark 6:30-56.  Jesus had just fed the 5000 from five loaves of bread and two fishes. Mark is interesting because of the word immediately in many verses including vs. 45.  Then immediately another emergency came up for Jesus and the disciples--it was windy on the sea. Jesus calms the sea and says in verse 50, It is I; do not be afraid. Verses 51 and 52 follow:
Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.
LORD, do not harden my heart. Help me understand immediately when my patience is tried that you are there to calm the seas. My husband may not do something immediately, but you are immediately there for me. Help me remember about those loaves. Do not harden my heart.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Senior Health: Part Eight

I was approved for hearing aids!

I will not have to learn sign language

unless I have nothing else to do! 

Yesterday I got them! 

Sure, I hear,

but not well,

and under the line

of acceptable hearing.

Why did I decide to get tested?
  • To see if I can be a better listener to people in my life.
  • I am in Toastmasters and cannot evaluate speeches that aren't clear to me. I remember years ago when I was in my 40s a senior citizen in Toastmasters taught me to speak up. Now I want people to speak up and even told a lawyer in Toastmasters he should enunciate, but really it was my hearing that has been the problem.
  • My sister-in-law, Sally and my husband all notice my poor hearing.
  • I do not hear children well and stopped substitute teaching in elementary school for that reason. When I teach youth and adults I often have to tell them to speak up and classroom talk is often garbled to me.
  • Others laugh at things and I have to ask what was funny. Imagine missing out!
  • It was time. Hubby says something in another room and I cannot hear him. I go to see what it is.
"You should have heard me the first time," he says and we laugh because we both know due to his Alzheimer's he cannot remember what he said.

You can hardly tell
I have them on.
My audiologist Shanin told me about a program with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. This took some time, but I was approved and my hearing aids were funded so I can teach and live without hearing impairment.

You can hardly tell I have them on with these behind-the-ear Siemens instruments. The manual says "life sounds brilliant". Shanin first crumpled paper when I had them on. What a difference! These aids have a thin tube with an open tome for natural sound and a part that goes into the ear that enhances highs where my loss is, I use a battery and monitor how long it lasts by marking the calendar. If there is a small whistling when I put my hand behind my ear, then the battery is still good. I take them out at night and will open the battery door to save that battery. I also take them out when I shower, swim, have my hair done. They have two programs; I can switch from all sounds to only hearing sounds in front of me.

What a difference! I think I like them! Yesterday morning I got my new hearing aids and last night I taught a three hour session of my current class for DUI offenders. When I taught last night I could hear the students. Now when I substitute teach students will not sound like they are mumbling.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Picking Strawberries Is a Tradition

It's strawberry picking time in Plant City area.  Soon the area will be abuzz with the Florida Strawberry Festival February 28 to March 10. See here.

Field across from Turkey Creek Middle

I saw this strawberry spirit first hand when I substituted in Agriculture at Turkey Creek Middle School on Valentine's Day, where, of course, there is a large strawberry field. The students planted strawberries in October and now they are ready for harvest. Two schools are next door to each other. J. S. Robinson kindergartners escorted by teachers and chaperones walked next door to pick strawberries in the middle school's strawberry field with the FFA (Future Farmers of America) middle school students on Valentine's Day.

The FFA Produce Stand where kindergartners gathered

The middle school students had already started picking strawberries, but soon paired up with the kindergarten students.
Kindergarten teacher Ms. Stevens

Chaperone Shirley Culpepper

Shirley Culpepper grew up in the area and remembers this fine tradition of picking strawberries when she was a child. 

For the young guests

At the end of first period it started to rain and we brought all the students back to the AG building which has two classrooms with a bathroom in between. Rain didn't stop the fun, because Turkey Creek AG teacher Ms. Sparkman had a plan. In one room the kindergarten classes watched the movie "Jammer the Strawberry"  (http://flastraberry.com/education/fammer-videos/ ) and enjoyed coloring books from The Florida Strawberry Growers Association. Funds from the produce stand also purchased cookies and drinks for the kindergartners. 
All in all a good time was had by all including this substitute
who enjoyed strawberries and other fresh vegetables. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Cards

♥     ♥    ♥     ♥

Tuesday was Plant City Senior Center day as usual for our husbands. Hubby and I picked up Sally and Jake in our gas guzzler and drove them to the center. Then Sally and I had errands. We ate lunch (a quiche and salad) at Fresco in downtown Lakeland. We headed for our monthly Alzheimer's Association support group in Plant City.

Jake called Sally on her cell phone and we left the meeting to pick up our husband's at the Senior Center. We are always so surprised what they do there that we might not have thought of. Jake enjoyed a jigsaw puzzle and I think Sally may get him some from a dollar store.

The next stop was the Hallmark store and two husbands went inside to buy their cards while Sally and I went in other stores. I bet their conversation in that store was hilarious.

My card to hubby says:
Making good memories in every simple moment,
Laughing at life and at ourselves,
Taking care of each other's heart
I love the years we've shared and I love you.

My photo album is not done, but hubby was very pleased I am making it. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day.

Hubby's card is so sweet!

For my wife with love
Though sometimes we may fuss a bit,
I know darned well it's true--
I got the world's best "BETTER HALF"
The day I married you!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

New Updated Edition of The House That Cleans Itself

The updated version The House That Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark came Wednesday. That first version has sold over 100,000 copies. Wednesday I sat down on the deck to read the updated version, enjoying nutritious Plant City strawberries, a small avocado and a few almonds. Double treat of food and book The additional subtitle of the updated edition  is "8 Steps to Keep Your Home Twice as Neat in Half the Time". You can order that book from Amazon at the lower right of this blog.

The first thing I was curious about was the donut tray. Did she have it in the second book? Yes she does.

p.  184 in first edition vs. p. 52 in new version

My  Leaning Two-Step Sorting System
I thought about the difference in the 2007 and 2013 editions. In six years the author has been living this book and writing novels. That jelly rack or donut rack holds her research. It's probably more sturdy than my Office Depot file that helps me with the two-step sorting. My drawers pictured include Pending, Correspondence, Receipts, Health, Toastmasters and Taxes. It is so wonderful to now have all my tax information together. These are not projects, but broad category sorting that the author recommends. The white top box includes my daily mail that I sort through once a week and were it not for the paper clutter in Area #7 I am fairly paper clutter free now. However, I do not want a donut rack in my home. It is not pretty. But I do have projects to finish and Area #7 (the guest bedroom disaster area I blogged about earlier this week) can help house projects. What Mrs. Clark's donut or jelly stand translates for me is horizontal places for projects. I do have horizontal spaces in Area #7 on a wall rack that can house sewing and other crafts including photo albums. She suggests:

Create a project area in a different room where anything left unfinished after one sitting will be left alone until I can get back to it. (p. 52)
The updated book does seem to ease up on some suggestions in favor of concepts. Her COVERT
system takes a backseat (chapter 20) to her emphasis on 8 steps in chapters 4-11.  The 8 steps are:
  1. Become a detective. She asks you to try to be detached, analyze the evidence of the problem, figure out the reason, and figure out the root cause. I saw evidence that I had tried a system, that it had gotten out of hand and I couldn't maintain it with all going on in my life, including adjusting to my husband's Alzheimer's.
  2. Change the house to fit the behavior. This point was emphasized in the first edition that I wrote about earlier on this blog. (See labels for The House That Cleans Itself on this blog to read about what I have done beginning last fall.)
  3. Stained rug
  4. Create a first impression of clean. She covers sight zones, but also adds the concept of "inevitable invisibles"which she defines as
    those things that contribute to an overall feeling of disorder or disrepair--staines, tears, rust, grayed edges and nicks--but that you rarely notice because you've been living with them so long that they have become invisible to you. (p. 62)
    An example of one is our rugs which were professionally cleaned, but moisture deep down eventually came to the surface so the surface of the rug was no longer clean. We have our own expensive carpet cleaner in for repair. I will get a lesson in how to operate it when I pick it up, since my husband no longer cleans our carpets as he once did.
  5. Think like a hotel. The author covers stations, up and away, and barnacling (the tendency to pile stuff on horizontal surfaces) so you can't easily dust.
  6. Aim for simplicity. She again asks these three questions about stuff::
    1) Is this item worth my time?
    2) Does what I get from this item provide a fair trade-off considering the time I'll have to spend cleaning and storing it?
    3) Do I want to spend another second in the future fooling with it, or do I want to get rid of it now so it will no longer cost me a single moment of time? (p. 99 in the 2007 edition and p. 81 in the 2013 edition)
  7. BEFORE picture shows my good potential,
    but just collection of projects to go through
     and not any active projects.
  8. Explore the "why". You have to discover why you are housekeeping impaired. Mrs. Clark discusses several senarios, or whys. I am thinking through the evidence in the above photo that point to poor housekeeping.  
  9. Make it a team effort. I must admit that I have a hard time with this one because hubby does very little now and I do not have troops to rally. Perhaps I will step up and ask for volunteers especially in the yard, garage and workshop.
  10. Put God at the center. She quotes Proverbs 16: 3 which says,
    Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

Certainly the LORD has been helping my efforts as I go through this house, and the discipline of prayer and Bible study is so important to me. I want God to be at the center of my efforts each and every day. I know He is guiding my caregiving of my husband and I know people are praying for us.

My husband's memory is slowly leaving his mind and I realize that I need to make photo albums soon before I finish Area #7, the guest bedroom. Lots of photos are in that room and I set up the same table that was in Area #4 as a project place now. Usually I would do a project in the den or on the dining room table, but now I have a project place picking up on Mrs. Clark's suggestions. I am now trying to get a photo album of some sort done for my husband by Valentines Day. It is the green drop down one at the right pictured below--much easier than a Creative Memories album, and it will fit nicely on his new DVD coffee table.

Station for creating photo albums

Love having this place to work that is not in the sight zone. When we have overnight company, it will be changed.

The updated book emphasies label makers. I have an Electronic Dymo Labelmaker and am ordering Dymo tape for it so I will be able to mark containers in the home.

This 2013 edition  of the book also has a glossary of terms and a chapter on yard sales. It was so much fun to read this book and gain new concepts about my housekeeping and de-cluttering efforts.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Blog Announcement

I read a lot of blogs and comment on many of them. People make money on them. Barb and my pastor have suggested I do the same--that I monetize Plant City Lady and Friends. So this post is to announce that I will have monetized this blog (if you all buy something) by the middle of next week. You can buy books I recommend  through Amazon by clicking on the Widget at the right. I may change those books for time to time, but here are the first ten I have selected.

Mindy Starn Clark's updated edition of The House That Cleans Itself is on that Widget. I am reading the updated edition now, and of course have been blogging about the first edition since last September on this blog and have a YouTube talk on the first edition. I was the first to put a review of the new book on Amazon and of course will blog about the updated edition on this blog.

The Organized Heart by Staci Eastin I reviewed here. Recently the Housewife Theologian also reviewed this book here. Although she doesn't write about Alzheimer's, Staci's book has brought so much calm in my Christian life.

Dr. Mary Newport's Alzheimer Disease: What If There Was a Cure? is a top viewed post here on this blog (over 250 have read this post) and you can buy it off of my new Wiget. Early on in my husband's disease even before her book came out I was in contact with Dr. Newport.

My first book review was The Coconut Oil Miracle here. The world seems to be upset that I write about coconut oil here, but it does help a lot of ailments, and anedoctablly it slows down Alzheimer's and helps with our loved one's mood.

A Promise Kept is a classic for married folks dealing with the dementia of their spouse. I bogged about keeping your marriage vow and this book here.

I'm Still Here is a book that haunts me and I look for what in my husband is still here. .

Learning to Speak Alzheimer's is a "go to" book for me. Probably will write about it and need to master the concepts in this book.

I often use two classic books, Mayo Clinic Guide to Alzheimer's Disease, and The 36-Hour Day, which I have included on the Wiget. Both are too big to review here.

Finally, I put my book, Getting Off the Niceness Treadmill, on that Amazon Widget. Here the book is cheaper than its original price on Amazon. (However, the cheapest way to read it is a Barnes and Noble eBook, folks.)  See http://www.gettingoffthenicenesstreadmill.com/index.html 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Beginning Area # 7 of The House That Cleans Itself

Once there was a couple who loved having company including overnight company. They had bought their dream home in 2001, during the first year of their marriage, and it would eventually be their retirement home, they hoped--not too big, but big enough. Now she also needed room for sewing and a few other projects, so he calls this room the "craft room". She wants to call it the "guest room" and had her husband install shelves on the wall for her stuff.

It is the junk room and we are that couple. It is in our house-- Area #7 of my blogging about applying The House That Cleans Itself, by Mindy Starns Clark.

Can you make out a bed there?

Once there was a plan above.
My sister-in-law said on July 5, 2008, "Life is not long enough to organize everything." I found her great quote going through clutter. And I found other stuff misplaced as well! Do not, and I repeat, do not expect a report on Area #7 anytime soon. I will either get busy on this "ginormous"* mess, or get discouraged along the way.

It was a pleasure to have company recently and Areas #1-6 were finished.

Above you can see the dining table set for company and the chandelier that my husband put up before Alzheimer's.
Area #6 Small Garbage Can and Carol's Station by Hubby
Our dog would always invade an open small garbage by my husband's DVD coffee table, but now it is not accessible to him. Hubby calls me to sit by his side and I don't have a coffee table for my things, but a side table, what author Mindy Starns Clark calls a "station". I do not share my husband's interests in movies most often, but I have made myself a station here for things I read, magazines, newspapers, and have a lap desk for my notebook computer that I can put on my lap while I sit by his side. He is just happy to have me there and I m happy to have my station by my side to entertain me.

Monday night I spoke at Toastmasters. The title of my talk and Power Point was "The House That Cleans Itself" and I so went over my time limit. The talk was videotaped  for all the world to view my "ginormous" messes and modest successes. I brought extra junk bunkers to give away and got some takers at Toastmasters! This talk is on YouTube at: http://youtu.be/tlM_DbNkOwc

Hubby of course went with me to Toastmasters and then we went to the Olive Garden for a late supper. Both of us take half of our meal home now. Over dinner he forgot about my long-winded presentation because of his short-term memory. This is why he sees the same video from his collection over and over again. Maybe if I show him that YouTube, he will remember. Have to get photo albums together for him soon, and there are photos in Area # 7 that will help me.

Do you have a room like our guest bedroom?


*"Ginormous" is a word from Marianne's blog here.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Interview With Blogging Friend Dana

At the beginning of January this year, Dana's husband, Steve, went on to be with the LORD. She has blogged eloquently in his last days and since his death. Dana and I both have a lot in common—Christians, authors (Dana wrote Galatians: An Exploration of Faith and Freedom, and I wrote Getting Off the Niceness Treadmill) , widows (Dana now and I have been) and caregivers for husbands with forms of dementia. We both used to teach full-time in public schools, but she was elected to the school board. She describes herself as a Type A busy person. Like Dana, I used to live in California (northern, although she lives in southern California) and I used to sell Mary Kay (I like to think my skin care is the reason I don't look 68).  I have been gone from California for years, and gave up selling things because it didn't work when I was too nice (another story). She enthusiastically has sold Mary Kay while being her husband's caregiver.  I have that flexible schedule with part-time teaching that she has with selling Mary Kay. We pieced together this interview from Facebook, her blog and email.

Carol: What has been the most difficult part of your husband's Early Onset Alzheimer's for you?

Dana: The most difficult part of Steve's illness for me was the astounding, rapid deterioration of the last year. He'd plateau, then suddenly lose an aspect of living--speech, or leaning to one side, began stumbling over nothing. then he'd be ok, and suddenly couldn't climb up steps to the City of Riverside's Senior and Disabled bus to Care Connexxus Adult Daycare  I made sure to describe each major incident in my blog, so readers could walk with me through the details, and gain strength for their own trials. The purpose of my blog is to teach, encourage, build up and strengthen other believers, and even have unbelievers get saved. The focus is on Jesus' work in my life, and the lives of our family, and by extension, Jesus' work in the lives of other believers.

Carol: And you have not hesitated to write all of that. You also have not hesitated to share about your grief at this early date. Why is that?

Dana: In answer to the question about reflecting on grief now, I certainly do want to reflect, even publicly, as I do whenever anyone asks how I'm doing, in group or individual conversations. I take that as an opportunity to witness, to share my testimony, because God has been so very close to me, by the power of His Holy Spirit, that I'm amazed that He chose me for this trial, and I feel it is for the purpose of making Him and His ways known to as many who care to inquire after our wellbeing. I shared with our Home Fellowship group that believers' testimony is not only, "Once I was lost, and now I'm found" (or saved), but our testimony is ongoing, because God is daily at work in our lives in a miraculous way.

Carol: Absolutely He uses grief for our sanctification and the example to others.

Dana: Remember, I learned in my caregivers' course, which God used to save me from becoming utterly overwhelmed, that I've been grieving the loss of my husband for at least two years. The term "pre-grieving" was one I picked up on immediately. The husband I'd been married to since 1981 was already gone by 2011, despite a healthy body and perfectly normal appearance. It was becoming a matter of time before he'd need round-the clock care, which happened in late 2012. I would have had to hire three shifts of help, so an assisted living placement was a far superior choice.

Carol: Early Onset I understand is a fast disease. Did Steve talk early on about his awareness of the disease?

Dana: Yes, Steve talked about his disease a lot, and was very eager to try natural remedies. Remember, his brother had passed of the same dementia in 2010. He was very sad, but tried to fight on, exercising, doing puzzles, reading. We delayed a diagnosis until he no longer could work, because he kept working various ever-less demanding jobs and didn't want his outstanding reputation and resume to be tainted. So I'd say, after trying truck driving school, so maybe 2009. Not clear here about truck driving school.

Carol: How did he show his frustration as the disease progressed and how did you handle this?

Dana:  Steve got frustrated back when he wasn't too bad off, still taking care of the property, able to go to church and with me, to the store, and even to Disneyland (2010).  At that time he didn't have a problem staying home alone. He would get frustrated when issues like fixing the step on the RV would come up, for instance, \ and he'd be fearful when traveling in the RV, even though, ironically, he's the one who taught me to drive it.When we were camping with friends, he had trouble putting up the sun shade on the RV, and got really frustrate. One of the husbands in the group came alongside, and patiently spent 2 hours with him.

Carol: So Christian friends were there to help Steve.

Dana: For believers, we need to have the kind of godly friendships that allow us to ask for help from other men at church, and those friends came right away, feeling honored to do so, to serve in this way.. For two years in a row (2010 & 2011) we had friends come help Steve put up the Christmas tree, with Spirit-filled wisdom and tact, preserving his dignity, while getting the job done. But as his disease progressed, he became more sad and depressed, tearfully saying, "Everyone has something to do but me." and "All I ever wanted to do was to help people."

Carol: What decisions have you had to make this past month since his death?

Dana: The mortuary had to be selected, and then the next choice was cremation or burial. Next I spent time handling many legal and financial details, such as acquiring the official death certificates for life insurance, mortgage companies and banks. Filing the life insurance proceeds and Social Security Death Benefits have been the most time consuming tasks, still unresolved.

Carol: How are your adult children doing?

Dana: I've kept open communication available with the kids, so they know that any and all of their reactions are normal, expected, and not likely to go away soon, as the grieving process unfolds. Add to that the possibility of inheriting the cruel, life-shortening familial dementia that lurks in half of the genes, and I have much to pray about for my kids.

Carol: Has it been hard to get back to regular activities and your business of selling Mary Kay?

Dana: I find that I'm a little vague and inattentive when it come to my business, although I am back to booking appointments and attending events. My former excitement is building back up again after a month off, as I draw on God for energy. I still have moments of disbelief that I'm now a widow. A daily look on the surface doesn't show much change in my routine and our house looks the same. I got a minor speeding ticket--the first in a decade--at the bottom of a steep hill near our house due to inattention, or more likely oblivious familiarity. Despite some vagueness and occasional loss of focus, when I look in the mirror, I see a woman whom God is moving forward.

Carol: How are you dealing with the loneliness?

Dana: My pregnant daughter and her husband have finally moved into the house providing companionship and help.

Carol: You love Scripture as evident in your blog. What promise in Scripture has spoken to you in recent days?

Dana: Psalm 121:3, 7, 8 which reads

He will not allow your food to be moved;

He who keeps you will not slumber. . . .

The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.

The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in

From this time forth, and even forevermore.

I would say that those verses from Psalm 121 have been very precious at this time in my life.

Carol: I enjoyed your book, Galatians--very practical and insightful. What will your next book be about?

Dana: Would like to write a devotional, or one day start again on my book about dementia. :)

Carol: I continue to follow your blog, learn from you, read your next book and pray for you, my social media friend.

Senior Health: Part Seven

GERD, Gastroesophageal Reflix Disease,  is apparently something I have or maybe had. I have been hospitalized three times in my whole life--once at age five for tonsils, and twice briefly last fall. The first time I was hospitalized in the fall for flu and vomiting.   Then I was put on Omeprazole for 30 days for GERD, a prescriptiion similar Prilosec that you can get over the counter. You need to not keeping taking this medicine as it can interfere with healthy bones, so 30 days did it for me. I took that pill very carefully in the morning and waited an hour in the morning before my coffee (they don't really want you to have coffee, but the Swede in me has to have it). Now I do try to do sensible eating like no spicy foods, no chocolate (gulp), not eat two hours before going to bed, and have a raised head when I do go to bed so I do not have those acid reflex problems when I am trying to sleep. It works.

I must admit that I am a serial dieter. Made "life time" at Weight Watchers some 40 years ago. I have lost weight in a healthy manner numerous times and then perhaps with emotional eating or busyness gained it back. The last weight gain was from being upset about my husband's Alzheimer's. In 2012 I lost over 25 pounds and feel so much healthier with energy to spare.  I can lose more, but in 2013 I also want to be careful about what I eat and what I feed my husband.

Hubby used to have a "ginormous" appetite--a real meat and potatoes guy. He is starting to change and eats less than he has before, so I need to plan nutrition in what he eats. I think with Alzheimer's his hunger neuons in his brain are disappearing, so I need to use my brain for him. He often wants me to finish his food for him, and this has perhaps resulted in a plateau in my losing weight.  I just need to say NO to finishing his food and track my food as well as his--the Weight Watcher system.

My husband gets Ribonucleic Acid (RNA). I buy it from our chiropractor and there is also a link here. MedicineNet.com has information here. I do think that RNA helps my husband's thinking, despite his dementia.

We both take CoQ10 as I read somewhere that one should take it with cholestrol inhibitors. Hubby takes Simvastatin and I take Atorvastatin at night and we both have those CoQ10 pills along with fish oil tablets. Are you concerned about my husband's cholestrol with the coconut oil my husband takes?  His blood work is always great and his doctor has no problem with his good and bad cholestrol.

CoQ10 is also in food:

This site here gave me CoQ10 levels in selected foods Food Coenzyme Q10 concentration [mg/kg]:

heart 113
liver 39–50
muscle 26–40
heart 11.8–128.2
liver 22.7–54.0
muscle 13.8–45.0
heart 116.2–132.2
sardine 5–64
red flesh 43–67
white flesh 11–16
salmon 4–8
tuna 5
soybean 54–280
olive 4–160
grapeseed 64–73
sunflower 4–15
rice bran /
peanuts 27
walnuts 19
sesame seeds 18–23
pistachio nuts 20
hazelnuts 17
almond 5–14
parsley 8–26
broccoli 6–9
cauliflower 2–7
spinach up to 10
grape 6–7
Chinese cabbage 2–5
avocado 10
blackcurrant 3
strawberry 1
orange 1–2
grapefruit 1
apple 1

The above list gave me an idea for a strawberry, avocado, spinach. almond (and coconut oil) salad and I am working on perfecting the recipe.

Speaking of strawberries, the annual Plant City Strawberry Festival is coming up! Workers in my rural neighborhood are busy picking.