Friday, July 30, 2010

The Mediteranean Diet

The Mediteranean Diet is supposed to be so good for us--helps prevent or slow down dementia says this article:  Strengthen Your Brain.  The 2010 "John Hopkins White Page Memory" book also reports:
Mediterranean diet? Researchers generally attribute its health-promoting benefits to two factors: 1) a high intake of fruits and vegetables, and 2) higher-than-usual intakes of olive oil and fish. Fruits and vegetables are rich in free-radical-fighting antioxidants like vitamins A, C. and E, which can quench inflammation in the brain. Research shows that inflammation and oxidative damage from free radicals may play a role in the brain changes typical of Alzheimer’s disease.
The heart-healthy aspects of the Mediterranean diet also may contribute to its ability to slow cognitive decline. The Mediterranean diet promotes health blood vessels, and that means improved blood flow to the brain and better cognitive function. By contrast, reduced blood flow through arteries clogged with atherosclerotic plaque can lead to changes in the brain that can impair memory and thinking. *
Rarely can you have beef on this diet, but my husband often will ask about a meal, "Where's the beef?" And fish? He likes fried grouper.  I put out fish in the refrigerator to thaw, but dared not yet spring this on him yet. However,  I was determined to start the Mediterannian Diet today.
Without going shopping, here is what we had today to start on this diet. Breakfast was oatmeal with walnuts, coconut oil and non-fat milk. Lunch was Chicken salad sandwich mixed with olive oil mayonnaise and coconut oil, and Activia yogurt mixed with blueberries. Dinner was a big salad, yellow rice with olive oil and black beans. Watermellon was the dessert he had before dinner while I was fixing dinner. ONLY, he did not eat the yellow rice and black beans. Legunes will be a hard sell for him, but fish will be a harder sell.

"How did you run out of ice cream?" he asked after dinner. I offered him applesauce instead, but he said "No, that's all right." Should not have let him fill up on watermelon before dinner.

The diet according to John Hopkins:
The overall dietary pattern known as the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids from fish has been found to reduce Alzheimer’s risk by 40 to 60%. The diet includes lots of fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and nuts and is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats (found in olive and canola oils, almonds, and avocados). Dairy products, eggs, and poultry are eaten only in moderation, and red meat consumption is rare.
They give these six rules (my comments are in red):
1. Center meals around plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, not around animal flesh. Check for today, except he did not eat the black beans
2. Use monounsaturated fats, such as olive or canola oil, instead of butter, margarine, and other oils.Olive oil as well as coconut oil was in the chichen salad sandwich.
3. Eat fish and seafood at least twice a week, and choose these protein sources much more often than red meat and poultry. Chicken sandwich for lunch--hope to mix it with tuna fish to diguise the tuna next time--he hates tuna, although once I caught him eating tuna noodle casserole that I was making for my lunches for a week. Getting fish into his diet will be so hard.
4. For snacks, try a handful of unsalted nuts, a cup of nonfat yogurt, or a cube of low-fat cheese. Had yogurt and walnuts.
5. Choose fruit for desserts rather than cakes, cookies, and ice cream. Luckily out of ice cream! Had blue berries and watermelon.
6. If you drink alcohol, enjoy one glass of red or white wine with dinner. None.
I have the six points above posted on the refrigerator. I mentioned to him we are going on the Mediteranean Diet, but not to lose weight for him. I am afraid he will loose more weight on this diet if he doesn't like the food, but want so much to have it benefit his brain health and slow down the dementia. Tomorrow he will probably forget that he agreed to the Mediterannean Diet. 

FlyLady mentions this: Use half olive oil and butter whipped together. Spreads easier, better for you and less saturated fat than regular butter. Now for me I am going to put a little coconut oil in with this mixture. More on FlyLady in a week or two before my yard sale.

August 17th my husband is going to be evaluated by a neurologist at an Alzheimer's research center to see what kind of dementia he has. Then he might fit into a research study. Wouldn't it be nice if that research study meant he had to follow the Mediteranean Diet--just wishing!

* Footnote on John Hopkins Research Papers: I ordered The 2010 Johns Hopkins Memory White Paper and can canceled it before 30 days or I would have paid $32.90 to keep it. John Hopkins also offers a free quarterly newsletter. By this they mean that you join a charter membership for around $149 and get four newsletters "free".

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Plumbing Problems

You see, folks, my husband does fine, but today, Thursday, was another one of those days like last Monday when I was a basket case. We live in the country outside of Plant City and have well water and water softener tanks to get rid of the rust. Now I knew that a couple of tanks were low and my neighbor put bleach in one and salt in the other on July 19th. The house water seemed fine--until last night.

Rusty water this color was now in the sinks and the toilets!

My imagination went soaring and I got very little sleep last night. Surely the plumber, if I could get him to call back in the morning, would tell us we had a huge bill and lots of inconvenience. It would take a long time to fix and we would have to use paper plates instead of the dish washer, take our clothes to the laundromat and buy lots of bottled water. I imagined we couldn't afford to tear up the pipes to the house to get everything fixed properly.

"Call the plumber," hubby says, and I worry about the cost and then the inconvenience. When the husband is still in charge as the leader but no longer remembers how to maintain the property, it puts a huge load on the wife. He has turned the finances over to me now and I know we have very little in the budget at the end of summer for contingencies. We have had an expensive roof repair and air conditioner repair this year, not to mention a $500 riding lawn mower bill and a $1100 car repair bill. Not another unexpected expense!

This morning after the plumber finally returned the call, I called Kerry and you will see she prayed for me today at 2 pm in the comments at the right with the last post. At about 3:30 the plumber shows up. $72 and three bottles of bleach. Everything is fixed we think.

Thank you Lord and thank you Kerry and cousin Chuck for praying. I know Sandy was also praying and two churches in AZ and TN! I think I will go run the dish washer with good water.

Update 8/4. Air in the pipes and cloudy water still. Got tree trimmers out here this morning for a big truck to come this afternoon; well plumbers will fix a pipe going down to the well. We went elsewhere to shower.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Missing Keys, Appointments and a Full Moon

What a day! In the morning my husband could not find his keys. We also had a Watson Clinic appointment for 12:45. He is most upset about the loss of the keys and we went to get copies of them for $7. I resist getting a copy of his car key which is $60 at the locksmith's and $100 at Ford and suggest that they may turn up sometime this week at the house.

Next he didn't want to go to the doctor's appointment and so reluctantly I call to cancel the urology appointment, obeying my husband, although not a wise move in my opinion. He is very mad at me, a mood he does not remember later. I even called my pastor. He is sick, he says. We go home.

After getting his equilibrium at home, he agrees to go to the doctor, not remembering his earlier sickness, anger and refusal to keep that appointment. I call the urologist on our way to keep that appointment and they can't affirm he had an appointment. A quick check at the primary care physician's office and we discover it is for the carotid doppler exam instead. He had taken the message for today's appointment, but not the detail of where the office was--urology or heart. I had assumed it was urology.  At least we made it! I wonder if the results of the carotid exam will help determine why he is slowing down.

On the way home from the appointment my husband realizes he has put me through some hard times in the morning, but doesn't remember what they were exactly and I bring up the specifics. Says he will have to carry a tape recorder. We are back on good terms, but I wonder if this is the beginning, the foreboding of times to come that I have been reading about.

Suddenly after being home about an hour his keys show up and he has no memory of missing the keys in the morning. I ask where they were--"in his pocket," he says. Now we had checked that pocket along with numerous other places in the morning. Sure glad that we didn't buy the expensive Ford key replacement. Later I mention the keys, and he says, "Oh yeah! I have to find those keys!" Total frustration I have.

By dinner time I am in no mood to cook. I have zeroooooooo spirit left in me. He sees this and we decide to go out to dinner. At dinner I tell him the story of a wife trying to cope (my story today) and suddenly we start to laugh. He teases me because I wanted to use his cell phone to see if my cell phone was in my large purse: "You mean you can't remember where you put your cell phone!" Got my equilibrium back!
Thank you, Lord, for our wonderful love for each other, bearing all things, and laughing at the end of the day. Thanks that we found those keys and got to the 12:45 appointment with the correct doctor. Lord, help me deal with anger and forgetfulness in my husband when in happens and help me to remember we had this bad day with the full moon in the evening to laugh. Thanks for the people who maybe read the first draft before we went to dinner and prayed for us. Help me accept whatever is coming down the road.  Amen.
8/3 UPDATE. Carotid doppler stable! Great!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Be All There

In the last several months I have been going to careging training and a caregiver's support group. Ask for help they say. So I did. There are tasks that my husband used to do that he no longer does. My neighbor helped me with one of them--maintaining the pump and well. Other caregivers understand.   

Well, folks, someone once suggested to me, "We want to help, but you will just have to tell us how." That was almost twenty years ago when my late husband died. Such a good thing to say to a widow. So I did ask for help. I had someone "babysit" me while I disposed of my husband's clothes--sad task of a widow. My pastor then also send people over one Saturday just to help around the house. Now I also need help or the sense that I have people I can call who care.

Be all there with my husband. My husband is delighted that I sit my his side while he watches TV. Now I am trying to reorganize the household, have a yard sale to simplify our house and to raise money, etc. Lots of things to do in the house. But sitting by his side is so important. How thrilled he was last year when I got a Notebook computer so I could sit by his side while he watches TV. We communicate  while I sit by his side--a touch, a smile. I let him initiate the conversation because what I might say often doesn't sink in. We have had two dates this week--he looks forward to going out to do things with me and gets all dressed up even though I say his jeans are okay.

Be all there. Who shepherds us? Do our pastors? An excellent blog I read today calls pastors to "be all there" for their flock. See--On Listening Pastors I wish I had the help of extended family. I wish I had a sense that someone is shepherding me as I go through this lonely road of becoming a caregiver to my husband. I cry out on blogs or e-mail sometimes to people who don't live here.

I am alone with the sense that my best friend, my husband, can't bear some burdens now (burdens about him). Then it is that I come to Scripture. So rich. The Lord is my husband. He will not suffer your foot to be moved. I cannot make it through the day without Him, meditating on Scriputre, and prayer. But Scriputre also tells us to bear one another's burdens.

"Are you all there?"


Monday, July 12, 2010

Research on Dementia and Alzheimer's

My husband has been taking Vitamin B12 and I learned at my first caregiver's training session last week that this is beneficial; one of the 50 types of dementia is a B12 deficiency.  Also I read in the link below that for Vitamin D is beneficial and it is easy to add into the diet as a supplement.    
The researchers classified participants as being cognitively impaired if they scored in the worst 10 percent of older adults in the study. They found that the odds of cognitive impairment were about 42 percent higher in those people who were deficient in vitamin D, and 394 percent higher in people who were severely deficient.
Walnuts helped Alzheimer's mice. Tea consumption seems to help also according to the link below. We regularly have walnuts with our coconut oil oatmeal.  We are always drinking Lipton Diet Green Tea, rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants. We buy the 126 oz gallon type jug and use it to fill up the 16 oz plastic bottles--saves money.

Also of interest is diet and exercise in the Framingham Study.. 
One such long-term trial is the Framingham Study, a population-based study that has followed participants residing in the town of Framingham, Massachusetts since 1948 for cardiovascular risk factors, and is now also tracking cognitive performance. . . .The researchers found that participants who performed moderate to heavy levels of physical activity had about a 40 percent lower risk of developing any type of dementia.
This is news from Alzheimer's Association 2010 International Conference
Meanwhile it is the middle of the night as I write this and my husband comes out from the bedroom to this computer where I am writing this and I tell him that I am so proud of his memory score and glad he takes Vitamin B12. He has no idea about this blog really, but goes back to bed. Like the Proverbs 31 woman, he trusts me.
We tease each other about the laundry basket. He keeps claiming I bring the laundry basket back to the bedroom full of dirty clothes when he has brought it to the utility room. If he would think about it, his clothes do get cleaned and I don't bring the hamper with dirty clothes back to the bedroom without washing the clothes first. Dirty clothes just fill up that basket and he has time lapse memory!
I am researching cheaper ways to do his expensive medicine and also getting him into a research study in Tampa. Also, will have his vitamin D and B12 levels checked and see about what kind of dementia he has. I am wondering if it is not Vascular Dementia, one of the categories brought up at my caregiver's workshop last week.
The dryer bell just rang now. Off to take care of that laundry!

8/16 Control diabetes and depression. Research from France

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Yesterday I went with my husband to his doctor. We discussed how expensive his medicine is and she made some changes which can save money.  Basically she said, "I don't want you to mortgage your house for his medicine." I will write more about this with a forthcoming post.

Before he took a that thirty question test, she repeated what I had heard her say before. "I don't understand how you worked so long."

"It was his long-term memory," I said and she seemed to agree.

In front of him she said, "His dementia will not be getting any better!"

"Should we see a neurologist to see what kind of dementia he has?"

"You can," was the reply but we didn't arrange for one yet.

After she left, her nurse came in to give my husband THE TEST. He scored 25 points! Now mind you in December of 2008 he scored 22 out of 30 and she told him point blank, "You have dementia." His points have been going up, with the last one being 24 out of 30 six months ago. I was prepared that we were going to go downhill especially after she said, "His dementia will not be getting any better!"

It has occurred to me that I am fretting too much. I have been reading books that fan my worry and tomorrow I start a three session caregiver's class. I have been a widow once, and I am just going to enjoy being his wife and ask our Lord to help with the worry. Look up these verses--some of my favorites.
Philippians 4:6,7,12,13 and I Peter 5:7
So tonight I told my hubby that I was going to a health class tomorrow. He wanted to know what kind. I said it is a class for me to be the best wife I can be for you to train me in caregiving for dementia. I didn't use the A word--Alzheimer's. He seemed to feel I am making a mountain out of a mole hill. Just trying to be the best wife I can under the circumstances, sweetheart!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Beauty of Thy Peace

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,

Forgive our fev’rish ways!

Reclothe us in our rightful mind;

In purer lives thy service find

In deeper rev’rence, praise. . .
Drop thy still dews of quietness,

Till all our strivings cease;

Take from our souls the strain and stress,

And let our ordered lives confess

The beauty of thy peace.
I finally found what I could find in no other hymn book or on the Internet! Yesterday I was dusting and discarding books on a bookshelf, happily doing what needed to be done, when I found an old hymn book with my long-lost hymn! Let our ordered lives confess the beauty of thy peace. When you get things done there is more order. Then when you rest in God's providence there is more peace.

What robs our peace? Fretting about the future. When it finally dawns on you that you are a caregiver, you wrestle with all that this entails. You get prepared, read, get a support group. But it is one day at a time, one responsibility at a time, joy and peace all the time. Thank You, Lord God. Take from our souls the strain and stress.