Barbara Webb: Turning Her PPMs into BBMs

Dear Family and Friends,

I’d like to share another post from Barbara Webb, whose husband, Al, is now in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease where he is still active, but needs an increasing amount of help with daily activities.   Barbara’s 95-year-old mother has also declined recently. Totally active until six months ago, she is now in a nursing home. Sadly, her physical decline is accompanied by some dementia and hallucinations.

What I love about Barbara’s posts is that they’re very honest about the realities of living with Alzheimer’s, but she always finds the blessings amid the heartbreak. Today, she shares with us how she does that:

“Although this is the time of the year that many are counting their blessings and looking forward to celebrating the holidays, this time of the year can also bring on sadness and depression for many.

“My life has changed a lot in the past few years.  Instead of enjoying the golden years with trips and checking things off my bucket list, I am caring for two people who I love very much.  Although I understand that I am truly blessed to be their caregivers, I also long for the good old days.  This does cause me to be sad at times and even somewhat depressed.  I have nicknamed this my PPMs – my “poor pitiful me’s.” But the other day I had an idea.  Every time I get the PPMs, I would like to turn that around to the BBMs – my bountifully blessed me’s.  Here are some examples of making those changes in my mind:

“When we can’t travel long distances anymore,

Be thankful for all the memories of trips we have taken.

 

“When I am worried about being in the donut hole for Al’s medications,

I am thankful that we have the resources to pay for those medications.

 

“When the chill is nipping at our door,

I think about the wisdom in moving from Florida to be near family to help us.

 

“When my schedule is jammed full of doctor appointments for Al,

I thank God that he gave doctors the knowledge to care for those in need.

 

“When I feel angry that I have to now drive everywhere we go,

I am glad that I am able to drive so that we are not dependent on others or public transportation.

 

“When I give my mom a massage that she loves so much instead of thinking about the millions things I have to do,

I look at her face and see how relaxed she is and am thankful that I can give her that peace.

 

“When I feel the walls of the smaller home we now live in crowding in on me,

I am so thankful we downsized when we did to make upkeep easier.

 

“When our wonderful neighbors offer to help,

I accept with thanksgiving knowing I am also allowing them to be blessed.

 

“When Al tells a silly joke for the hundredth time,

I try to be glad that he still has his wonderful sense of humor.

 

 

“When Al can’t remember something,

I am glad that God has given me a good memory (at least so far!).

 

“When I think about how neat and clean my house used to be,

I look around at the mess and think of Annie and say I will clean ‘Tomorrow”.

 

“When my mom calls totally confused and wants me to go there immediately because ‘the men’ are in her room and I need to get them out,

I am glad that I am able to calm her down to the point she can relax and go back to sleep.

 

“When I feel I am pulled in all directions and to the breaking point,

I am thankful for a caring support group of people who listen and know what I am feeling.

 

“When I need a little extra help from a therapist,

I am glad that we were able to find one who understands us so well.

 

“When Al wants to eat constantly,

I am thankful that he has an appetite and can be well nourished.

 

“When I am exhausted from dealing with insurance companies, bank statements, paying bills,

I am thankful for the insurance we have and the ability to pay those bills.

 

“I could probably go on for a lot longer, but I think you get the general idea.  This holiday season, and beyond, I am trying to look at my BBMs instead of my PPMs.  I am not always successful but I am trying.  I am finding that when I do this, my sadness lifts and I can smile at all the blessings I do have in my life.  I think that sometimes when we are so focused on the tasks at hand, we tend to lose sight of the big picture. Remembering my blessings not only makes me feel better but also enables me to be a better caregiver and wife.

“So I would like to invite all of you to concentrate more on your BBMs and less on your PPMs.  I bet if you sit down and make a list you will be surprised at how many blessings you truly do have. And how much better you feel.”

Thank you, Barbara, for your perspective.  And may you all have a blessed Christmas.

BonnieBarbara and Al Webb at Rolex

 

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Surprise Walk Registration Blitz TODAY

We are having a Surprise Louisville Walk to End Alzheimer’s Registration Blitz today!  Get your team members registered at alz.org/walk to qualify for some great prizes.

1.  Professional Caregiver  with the most registrations during the blitz wins a Root Beer Float Party for registered participants.

2.  Corporate Team with the most registrations during the blitz wins a Bagel Breakfast Bagel Breakfast Party for registered participant.

3.  ALL TEAMS :  For every 10 people registered, your team’s name go into a drawing for Churchill Downs Box to enjoy after the Walk on Sept 6.

4.  Any team not yet registered who registers today will get a team photo after the Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Go! Do! Register for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s! Thank you!

Need help? Email Whitney Vogel, wvogel@alz.org

Walk Team Networking Event at Bristol in Jeffersonville July 15

Dear Family and Friends,

team week two invite

 

Members of Walk to End Alzheimer’s teams can get a lot of great ideas from each other, and the Louisville Walk 2014 committee wants to make sharing ideas as easy, and fun … and YUMMY … as possible.

Please mark your calendar for Tuesday, July 15 at 5:30 p.m. for a team networking event at the Bristol in Jeffersonville.  The Bristol is providing appetizers, and there will be a cash bar. We also have some GREAT door prizes – a $50 gift card to Huber’s Orchard and Winery and a $25 gift card to the Bristol – but you can only win if you’re there.

Walk team members can also pick up Casual for a Cause and Forget-Me-Not fundraising materials, yard signs, posters and other supplies to make your fundraising colorful, fun and most importantly, successful!

I’d love to meet more of you who are dedicating time and energy to raising money for Alzheimer’s research and local programming through the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.  And I want to introduce you to next year’s chair as well.

Hope to see you on July 15.

Bonnie

HopeLine Grant Helps Prevent Abuse of Elders with Alzheimer’s

I wanted to share this article from Teri Shirk, Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana (reprinted from http://www.VZWMidwestArea.com)

Barbara and Al Webb at RolexBarbara Webb, whose husband, Al, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease six years ago, usually lays out the clothes Al is to wear each morning. But if Barbara doesn’t remain the in the room to make sure Al puts them on, she’s likely to return and find he has hung them all back up in the closet and is waiting patiently for her to hand him his outfit for the day.

“I can’t speak for what goes through his mind, but I do know what goes through mine – frustration with my inability to help him more, sadness at what we have lost and fear of the unknown and future,” Barbara says. “I try to remain calm and patient and remember above all else, he can’t help himself; it’s the disease. But it isn’t easy for me, either.”

Following Al’s diagnosis, the couple decided to go public with their story so they could raise both awareness and funds for research and programs to help those facing the disease, which now afflicts 5.2 million Americans and leads to more than 500,000 deaths a year. Similar to about 70 percent of individuals with Alzheimer’s, Al still lives at home with Barbara, and she provides the growing level of care he needs.

Programs offered by the Alzheimer’s Association have made it possible for people with Alzheimer’s to stay at home longer, and for their caregivers to deal with the stress created by the toll the disease takes on the entire family. That caregiver stress, the vulnerability of a person with dementia who cannot remember or talk about being hurt and the aggressive behavior of some Alzheimer’s patients, all raise the risk of patient abuse. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Geriatrics found that 47 percent of participants with dementia had been mistreated by their caregivers.

Recently, the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana received a $9,600 HopeLine from Verizon grant for programs that help prevent caregiver abuse in families living with Alzheimer’s. The HopeLine grant will help fund support groups that enable caregivers to build an external support system, which provides a healthy outlet for venting their frustration; a 24-Hour Helpline (800-272-3900) that caregivers can call in moments of crisis; and early stage classes that help families dealing with Alzheimer’s understand what’s happening to the patient’s brain and learn what behaviors to expect.

Barbara credits the early stage classes with helping her know what to expect and find strategies for dealing with her frustration.

“When he asks me the same question over and over again and I want to scream, I have to take that deep breath and tell him one more time the answer to his question,” Barbara says. “I try to remain calm and loving because if I have learned one thing, it is that it doesn’t help to raise my voice, and you can’t argue with an Alzheimer’s patient. It only exacerbates the situation and leads to more frustration.”

If you would like to learn more about the programs available from the Alzheimer’s Association, please visit http://www.alz.org/kyin.

Bonnie

TEAM WEEK COMPETITION – Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card Today

 

 

Team Week 1 Day 2014

 

Team Week One – “Summer Blockbusters” – June 16-20

Dear Family and Friends,

This summer, we will be holding several “team weeks” designed to encourage you to get going on your team building and fundraising activities for this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Our first team week is June 16-20, and we will be offering “Summer Blockbuster” themed prize incentives for you to register your team members. So start talking to potential members now and plan on registering them next week. You could win movie tickets and other great prizes. And who doesn’t love a good summer movie! Team Week 1 2014   Thank you so much for your support!!!

Bonnie

Advocacy Opportunity – Federal Funding for Alzheimer’s Research

Dear Friends and Family,

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services has included additional funding for Alzheimer’s disease research in their budget recommendations. Now, we need advocates to ask the full Committee to support additional funding for critical Alzheimer’s research.

There are currently more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and that number is poised to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Worldwide the numbers are even more staggering, with 44 million people now living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Alzheimer’s, the country’s most expensive disease, costs our nation $214 billion annually with projections to reach $1.2 trillion a year by 2050. Yet today, for every $26,500 Medicare and Medicaid spend on caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) spends only $100 on Alzheimer’s research. That just doesn’t make sense. Smart investments in other major diseases have shown great success and are paying off, both in terms of cost and lives saved.

Please tell your  Senator that Alzheimer’s can’t wait and increased funding for research is desperately needed to stay on the path for a scientific breakthrough.

Thank you!

Bonnie