Tag Archive | healing

The Fallacy of “Silver Bullet” Solutions to Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease

There are no silver bullet solutions for dementias and Alzheimer's Disease. Believing otherwise is both ignorant and dangerous.There are no “silver bullet” solutions to the growing epidemic of dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease among the human population

Almost daily, there are reports – from the internet, which is a numbers game in terms of reliability and accuracy of information (the more hits a site gets, the higher it appears in the search engines), not an indicator of expertise and factual information – of “silver bullet” solutions to these neurological diseases.

I suppose, because of the devastating effects of the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease that our loved ones experience and we, as caregivers, intimately deal with as we go through the journey with them, that we all our susceptible to a measure of magical thinking that leads us to even remotely consider or believe the most outlandish – and patently false – claims that a solution will reverse or cure these irreversible and incurable neurogically degenerative diseases.

What makes me angry about the “silver bullet” solutions that keep cropping up is that they prey on the vulnerable (and that includes us, as caregivers), giving false hope and, often, reaping a huge monetary reward (if they’re selling the “silver bullet” solution) at our expense.

This conduct is shameful. This conduct is cruel.

How can we as caregivers avoid falling into the “silver bullet” solutions trap?

We must thorough educate ourselves about dementia and what's true and what's not.First, we must educate ourselves and study diligently to learn and know the facts about dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease. We must understand the physiology, neurology, and neuroscience of the brain.

Going Gentle Into That Good Night has many, many articles that detail, from a layperson’s point of view, each of the dementias, including Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as factors in their development and the prominent indicators of each type of dementia.

you-ought-know-dementia-going-gentle-into-that-good-night-book-coverSecond, we must understand dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease in terms of their steps and what to expect in each stage and how to walk with our loved ones with these neurological diseases through each step

This is not the oversimplified stage progression that the Alzheimer’s Association (which does not include details of exactly what happens in a detailed and sequential way and nor what and how we caregivers successfully navigation through the journey of these diseases).

Without a deep and thorough understanding of how dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease begin (often decades before any overt symptoms appear), progress, and end, we will be susceptible to the false information and misinformation of “silver bullet” solutions, which will do neither our loved ones or us any good, and will only add additional unnecessary suffering to our journeys through these neurological diseases.

Ignoring or avoiding this aspect of our educational process will not make the development of the development and progression of dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease go away. Instead, it will only make the journey for our loved ones and us as caregivers harder, more painful, and more sorrowful than they should be or need to be. The choice is ours.

Discern between credible information and uncredible information about dementias and Alzheimer's DiseaseThird, we need to become experts at discerning credibility and balderdash in the information coming at us.

I see articles all the time (not in just discussing dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease, but everywhere in life) from websites that are clearly not credible – look at the website name first and that will give you good insights into the quality of the information source – (and the information is misleading, at best, and totally false, at worst) presented and endorsed by a surprisingly high number of people as “truth.”

That is because of profound, and in many cases, willing ignorance. We, as caregivers for our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease, cannot afford to be ignorant about these neurological diseases.

There are plenty of snake oil propagators and sales people on the web. They want you to believe them either because they want to make a name for themselves or they want your money. Or both.

It’s that simple. We must be vigilant to not fall for the snake oil propagators and the snake oil sales people. We – and our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease – will be the losers in this equation. Always.

Humans have an unbelievable capacity for magical thinking in spite of the facts and evidence to the contrary right in front of them.And, fourth, we have to recognize our own capacity for magical thinking. Even as children, we have an innate capacity to believe things that are unrealistic or untrue, but they are how we want them to be.

That is part of being human. While there is an aspect of this ability that feeds imagination and creativity productively, the majority of it leads us to the unhappiness of disappointment, disillusionment, and denial of what’s right in front of our faces.

That does us no good and it does our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease no good. In fact, it does us all a lot of harm in the long run.

We must be willing to confront these neurological diseases head-on, realistically, without the blinders of illusions and false hopes hindering our competent, compassionate, and loving care for our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Our loved ones are depending on us to do this. They deserve our best and most-well-informed efforts on their behalf because they’ve placed their trust and their lives in our hands.

What will we do?


Beauty in the Breakdown – You Sure?

This resonated deeply with me. Music is such a powerful force in our lives. Since Mama died, there is much music that we shared throughout our time together that I simply can’t listen to without tears flooding my eyes as memories run their movies, crisp, clear, and vivid through my mind.

Unlike Kay, I’m not a big fan of techno-pop, preferring alternative, indie, and grunge, but I listen mainly to Radio Paradise, an internet music station that plays the most diverse range of music that I’ve been able to find, and they have played “Beauty in the Breakdown” by Frou Frou.

Ironically, it caught my attention the first time I heard it as well. I immediately saw the double meaning in my own life.

Mama’s breakdown. There was no beauty to that to be sure. However, there were beautiful moments throughout the journey. Two are prominent in my mind, when in the middle of all the chaos, confusion, and pain, Mama was delightfully Mama again. I’ve never been able to explain the timing, however, because both were just before big changes. One was the Saturday morning before Mama’s breakdown several hours later and the other was the Saturday and Sunday morning before Mama went into her death sleep in the early hours of that Sunday afternoon.

My own breakdown after Mama’s death. Beauty? It certainly doesn’t seem to be true on the surface.

I’ve never been a visibly emotional person. I worked hard, diligently, painstakingly at “controlling” my emotions all my life. I have always been very deeply affected by things and people and situations, but I found ways to keep a tight lid on that so it never showed and built fortresses around myself to protect myself.

Those fortresses began to crack after Daddy died. I never knew how deeply, how long, and how hard grief could be. I also never knew that the hole left in a heart from losing someone you love never heals completely. But I had Mama to take care of so it helped me move on quickly, burying, I think, much of what I was trying to come to grips with, and get back to the business at hand. She needed me, and that was more important.

But when Mama died, the very foundations of those fortresses seemed to have collapsed. It seems that every emotion I suppressed, hid, buried, ignored decided it was time to deal with it. All at once. In an overwhelming flood that has been difficult, to say the least, to try to sort through, make sense of, and get past.

These days, it seems I can barely speak a sentence without my voice cracking and tears welling up in my eyes. It seems as though everything is right beneath the surface waiting to just spill out without warning. I have cried rivers of tears and yet there seems to be no end to how many rivers are left. I keep thinking at some point there just can’t be any more tears, and then they come again.

But although right now I seem to be drowning in this ocean of tears, I recognize the beauty in it. Because there is some healing in the process. I’ve learned that sometimes to fix something that’s not working right or well, you have to take it completely apart, and put it back together the right way, piece by piece. And that takes time.

And, like Kay, I do recognize this about myself: “I recognize that I’m a much kinder, gentler version of my former self. For that I’m grateful.”

Dealing with Dementia

letgo Music uplifts my mood. It helps me focus and makes me happy. I will typically be listening to techno-pop — it’s better than caffeine if I want a pick-me-up.

I first heard Let Go by Frou Frou when watching Garden State (I thought it was on at the closing of an episode of Gray’s Anatomy — a show I never really watched, but Internet sources won’t validate my recollective memory on that point). It’s been in my head, but never on my iPod, so I finally downloaded it last week. I like the tune and the focus on “letting go and jumping in.”

However, today this song brought me to tears as the words hit me very differently. For a few weeks I’ve noticed a decline in my Mom. When I arrive at her community she is in the living room playing bridge with a new group of residents. Now…

View original post 362 more words