living your best to the end

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients share hope and humour

“I’m 62. I was diagnosed at 46. You do the math” Christine Bryden, Person with Dementia 16 years of living with Alzheimer’s and Christine Bryden’s making the audience of 300 laugh and cry at A Changing Melody: A learning and sharing forum for persons with Early Stage Dementia and their partners in care. No surprise that Alzheimer’s is the second most feared disease (Cancer being #1). What I learned from the Forum helped put that fear into more practical perspective.   On overcoming fear and stigma: Fear of what others may think often prevents getting diagnosis. Get in early and get help early! Your life has meaning. Focus on relationships based on love and connectedness. Don’t let fear mask your worth. Reach out over the barrier of stigma to help overcome fears. (author’s note: doesn’t that apply to many health issues?) (An example from an audience member) “I talk to people in airplanes about having dementia. At first, they simply don’t believe it.”  (love it: educating a captive audience) From Mary McKinley, Canada (who organizes social events at retirement home, she uses an online journal set up by her son.) “Feeling is, we with dementia have no insight. That is so wrong! I have to use drugs to help deal with anxiety in others. Noise and sound are amplified. Multiple conversations are  really hard. Part of my brain that controls anxiety has no sense of proportion; Key words are: SLOW DOWN! The processor in my brain is struggling. When I need I quiet time, hiding out in the bathroom is a solution. However, my brain doesn’t send ‘bathroom’ signals....

Funerals: rites, rituals and traditions

We’ve been sending off our loved (or not so loved) ones since the beginning of time. While our End is always the same (dead is dead, however the end may have come) the rites, rituals and traditions take on as many different forms as there are cultures. Long-standing tho these may be, new ones are being created. In this age of environmental consciousness, Cracked.com reminds traditional burials are not the most pro-Earth way of leaving the planet, especially if your body is full of embalming fluid and your coffin is made of lead-lined processed wood. An eco-friendly idea is planted: “Become a Tree” The Bios Urn is “a biodegradable urn made from coconut shell, compacted peat and cellulose” which comes with a tree seed. After you die, someone packs your remains into the thing and presto – you start to grow.  And hey, with the interest in Vampires, from Funerals to Die For – here’s an oldie but goodie  method to protect yourself: In the late 1800s, New Englanders would gulp down a cocktail of water and their family member’s ashes in order to keep them from returning as vampires. For more modern (traditions in the making?) funerals, here’s a thot: The remains of a loved one can be launched into deep space for only $1,000. Fascinating funeral traditions from around the world From Matator Network: In Tibet and Mongolia – where the frozen ground is a factor, making in-ground burial too hard – their ‘dust to dust’ ritual is a Sky Funeral, where the body is blessed then left as food, in some cases its dogs, in others...