Alzheimer’s Avoidance – Blog 1: An Introduction

Worried you might get Alzheimer’s or Dementia in the future? Do you know someone who has Alzheimer’s/Dementia and are trying to find ways to slow the rate of deterioration? This series all about Alzheimer’s Avoidance will hopefully answer those questions as well as any other questions you have on the topic!

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is going to be the first blog in our brand new Alzheimer’s Avoidance series. This series is all about the steps that we can take to reduce our chances of getting Alzheimer’s/ Dementia. If you know somebody that has got Alzheimer’s/ Dementia this series will be helpful to find out some of the things we can do to help reduce the rate of deterioration for these cruel illnesses.

Although we cannot directly stop someone from getting Alzheimer’s, there are a few steps and methods that we can do to help reduce their chances of getting the illness. The methods that I talk about in this series are not going to be guaranteed to work but there is a chance that it can help someone. I will be writing about all of the methods and techniques that I have found through research when I found out that my grandmother had Alzheimer’s. If you know any methods/ techniques yourself and would like them to be in the series please get in touch with me and we can arrange something.

The blogs in this series are more than likely going to be a little bit shorter than my usual blog size but I assure you that the content will still be worthwhile and will be planned and thought about with great detail. At the minute I am planning on writing about one technique/method per blog but that can be subject to change.

In regards to how many blogs are going to be in this series, I have not set an exact number in place yet. At the minute I feel like it is going to come down to a few different factors. First of all is how the series is being received by all of you, our readers. If people are not enjoying the series or want to see something else being covered then I will more than happily move on to a different topic. The second major factor is the content that I am going to be covering in the series. If I do get through all of the content that I want to cover in this series and there are no more ideas for future blogs then I will finish the series and start a new one up to replace it.

I am really looking forward to writing this series as Alzheimer’s is a topic that I feel very strongly about. For new readers to the page, the first series that I wrote on this page was all about Alzheimer’s Acceptance. I cover quite a lot of interesting points in the series so if you are interested please check it out. You can find the links to all of the blogs in the series through our Blogapedia page.

Thank you all for reading and I hope you have a great day! If you have any thoughts or queries about this blog or indeed any other blog I have written please get in touch with me! All feedback is appreciated –  be it positive or negative!

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!

£5.00

James

Alzheimer’s Acceptance: Blog 5 – Final Conclusion

Hello and Welcome to the final blog in The Alzheimer’s Acceptance series!

This blog is going to be a conclusion to the series and is going to wrap up some of the key points that we have talked about. I originally planned to make this series longer than what it is going to be by talking about different techniques that I have used to manage the stress and obstacles faced however I think it will be better to do in a different series.

As I have discussed in the previous blogs in this series acceptance is a word that can have a million definitions. Its difficulty can fluctuate based on the situation, the people involved and the environment in which it takes place. It is advised that to fully accept an entity/obstacle one must break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks.

I have really enjoyed writing the blogs in this series. Although the series can be seen as quite sad and emotionally based it is also a series that I felt like I needed to do. Writing in this harsh reality style is a good way to portray some stories which people are usually too scared or not comfortable in talking about.

Accepting Alzheimer’s is one of the hardest things that I have had to do in life and in all honesty, it is not something that you fully understand until you are in the position where you have to do it. I had read so many stories about it before going through it myself and had never once expected that it was going to be as hard as it was to do.

If you do ever find yourself in this position and need support, please do reach out. No matter how hard or how much you are suffering, there will always be someone there to help and support you. Please do not go through this alone, people can help you more than you may know at first.

Thank you for reading! If any of you have any questions about this series or any of my other blogs, please contact me. All feedback is listened too and appreciated!

James Sweeney

Alzheimer’s Acceptance: Blog 4 – Personal Experience

Hello and welcome to the Alzheimer’s Acceptance Series!

This is the penultimate blog in this series, Personal Experience.

If any of you read the story that came attached to the blog last week you will already know of what happened when my grandmother forgot me for the first time. It was one of the hardest hurdles I have had to jump over in my life. It was a hard hurdle but a necessary one.

Accepting Alzheimer’s is often a challenging but necessary obstacle. Once you accept that someone has Alzheimer’s then it allows you to develop ways to support them. This blog is going to talk about some of the experiences and struggles that I have had in accepting Alzheimer’s.

The first challenging that I had with Alzheimer’s was hearing that my grandmother had the illness. When I was first told by my mother that my grandmother had the illness I did not really know how to react. Thoughts whirred through my mind and I found myself asking should I be mad? Should I be sad? What should I feel?

I couldn’t comprehend how a standing stone in my life had now become like a broken pebble on the beach, broken away from its original self. In these months where I did not accept the illness, it caused lots of sleepless nights and damage to my university work. I had to learn how to be resilient to the illness before it would break me as well. This was but one of the obstacles I learnt to accept.

The next major obstacle came when visiting my grandparent’s house. I use to spend nearly two days a week when I was younger, a time which has sadly decreased in the more recent years. After hearing that my grandmother had Alzheimer’s I found it increasingly hard to visit their house. I was scared of being forgotten and I was scared that the person I would see would no longer be the person I grew up with. Even now after I have fully accepted my grandmother’s condition, I still find it hard to call over as much as I used to. It’s an obstacle that I am close to fully accepting and one that I am still thinking of ways to overcome it.

These are just two of the large obstacles I have had to understand and overcome in regard to my grandmothers Alzheimer’s. There have been many other obstacles that I have learned to accept but I thought it would be best just to focus on one.

Thank you all for reading the penultimate blog in my Alzheimer’s Acceptance series! Next weeks blog is going to be a conclusion to the series. I hope you’ve enjoyed the series, it has been a rather sad but informative series. If anyone has any feedback, questions or queries please get in touch with me!

James Sweeney

Alzheimer’s Acceptance: Blog 3 – Personal Alzheimer’s Story

Hello and Welcome to Sweeny’s Blogs!

This is the third blog in my Alzheimer’s Acceptance Series, My Alzheimer’s Story.

Today’s blog is going to be based around a story that I have written about the first time my grandmother forgot who I was. The story is quite a sad story but provides a real insight into the realisation for how Alzheimer’s can affect everybody’s lives.

The story is only on its draft phase at the minute so there might be changes added to it in the near future. Even though the story does take quite a sad and bleak narrative it is an excellent story to read. It is a very personal story that was quite hard to write.

You can view the story here: Alzheimer’s story

Thank you for reading! I know this blog is shorter than others but the story itself is very long and took a long time to write. Hope you all enjoy this weeks blog, if you do have any comments or feedback please let me know! If you have any questions or queries please get in touch and I will do my best to answer them all.

James Sweeney

Alzheimer’s Acceptance: Blog 2 – The Term Accept/Acceptance

The term ‘acceptance’ is used a lot in day-to-day conversations, but do we really know what it means? Is accepting Alzheimer’s an easy task to do? How do I accept that Alzheimer’s is now in my life? Today’s Alzheimer’s Acceptance blog looks at the answers to these questions and more!

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

This blog is going to discuss the definitions of the terms accept and acceptance. In the blog, I aim to discuss what these phrases mean, how they relate to Alzheimer’s, the effect that they can have on both our Mental and Physical Health and about how even though the words are only short words, their definitions carry with them much larger impacts on everyone.

The words Accept and Acceptance are words used almost instinctively in day to day life. Usually, when you use the word you don’t really think about it as a complex word, a word with a deeper meaning in some instances. This can be the case with numerous words. Their original definition may seem easy to comprehend however if you look deeper into the meaning it can lead to questioning the majority of what you already know.

The Oxford Dictionary defines Acceptance as an “agreement with or belief in an idea or explanation”.This definition seems very easy to understand and digest. However, it is not always that simple. When it comes to Alzheimer’s and similar illnesses such as dementia the word Acceptance can have a much more of an impact and an insightful meaning.

In my experience Accepting Alzheimer’s was an incredibly hard thing to do. I didn’t know what to even try to think of first let alone try to understand certain parts. Do I accept that my grandmother, one of the most influential people in my life, will never be the same? Do I accept that I will slowly have to watch my grandmothers memories fade away? For all of the secrets that I told her to become non-important?

It was these questions that revolved around my head on a daily basis. I found myself asking questions such as Why My Grandmother? What has she done to deserve this? Will she forget me? How will I move on with that? These questions almost seemed impossible to answer in my eyes at the time. I could barely sleep which led to me getting even more frustrated with these questions.

The interesting thing with acceptance, however, is that you can break it down to very small pieces and work your way up from there. You slowly begin to accept that even though the grandmother, friend or relative that you know will never be the same person again, they are still there. There is still a piece of the person there, no matter how small it may seem to be.

You slowly learn your own way of how to accept these small milestones and you work forward from there. In order to maximize the quality of life for the person who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, you need to fully accept the condition, no matter how impossible it may seem.

The way that I learnt to accept the fact that my grandmother had Alzheimer’s was by putting my mind purely on creating my Alzheimer’s Awareness website Don’t Forget Me: http://www.dontforgetme.org.uk. I needed a way to channel my emotions into something with a meaning. A resource I could use to help others who were going through similar experiences, a way to create a community around this horrible illness.

The motto/slogan for Don’t Forget Me came from here: For every memory lost, another is formed. This was the slogan that I used to fully complete and comprehend my grandmother’s condition. I understood and accepted the fact that even though the grandmother I knew all of my life was going to slowly disappear in front of my eyes. I learnt to try and make newer better memories to try and replace the memories that have been lost or forgotten.

Thank you so much for reading this week’s blog for Alzheimer’s Acceptance. This blog was an interesting one to write as it allowed me to link in my own personal experience alongside a method of how I coped. As with every blog I post all feedback is greatly appreciated, please message me what you think. If you have any queries or questions please get in touch.

I understand this is a longer blog than usual so I want to say a big thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the next blog!

James

Acceptance isn't always paper-thin, sometimes it's like climbing a neverending staircase - James Sweeney

Alzheimer’s Acceptance – Blog 1 -Introduction

Hello all,

This is going to be the first blog in my new Alzheimer’s Acceptance series. This blog is going to act as an introduction into the series of blogs that will be released in the upcoming weeks regarding this topic.

Acceptance. A single word with hundreds of meanings and hundreds of obstacles. To accept a new reality or a new set of obstacles are things people face in day to day life. This series of blogs is going to focus on the different variables and facts you need to acknowledge and accept in relation to Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is a very complex and interesting topic that can really be confusing to get your head around. People try to tackle it as one subject and one milestone which has ill-advised effects on both our Mental Health as well as our Physical Health. To even try and understand an illness such as Alzheimer’s as just one entity can ultimately make acceptance next to impossible. To truly acknowledge and accept what is going on in someone’s head and how to cope with it you need to break the condition down into smaller more manageable milestones.

By splitting the problem into smaller manageable milestones, you allow yourself to increase your understanding on a step by step basis, slowly learning and accepting each point as appropriate. This helps your mind make sense of what is going on and allows you to think rationally about the right steps that you need to take. Breaking down the problem eases the pressure on both you and the person suffering. You can slowly understand different bits gradually, instead of having to do it all at once.

Thank you for reading today’s blog! I feel like I am really going to enjoy writing this series as I am going to be able to link my own personal experience in with the topic. If anyone has any feedback on this blog or any other blogs that I have done please do get in touch! If anyone has any suggestions for blogs they want to see or feedback they want to give then please do not hesitate to message me as well!

Thanks as always,

James Sweeney

Learn to walk before you can run 

Alzheimer’s: The Bookcase Analogy

The Bookcase Analogy is a theory I first found through a video, which was created by The Alzheimer’s Society . The theory is one of the many theories used to describe how Alzheimer’s affects a persons mind. The Bookcase Analogy is a great way to describe and visualise Alzheimer, as well as the effect that it has on your life.

The Bookcase Analogy is an excellent theory used to describe the affect Alzheimer’s has on a persons mind. The theory starts out like this: Imagine a persons mind as a Bookcase. As you get with every Bookcase, there are several shelves on the Bookcase. In our example each shelve is a decade(10 years).

Now imagine the Bookcase gets damaged. When books fall off the bookcase they are lost and/or misplaced, this is similar to how Alzheimer’s affects the mind. The books in this instance correspond to memories. If they fall off the shelf they are lost or missing. This leaves gaps in the shelves and or memories. This can lead to certain people having to relive the death of a loved one or numerous other tragedies that have happened in their life. This can be very upsetting for the sufferer.

These absences of memories can be very confusing to the person who has Alzheimer’s. These can lead to them having enlarged emotions. What I mean by this is that certain emotions can be amplified by this stress. Sufferers can become very anxious, stressed, jumpy or any other sort of emotion caused by this stress.

Books can also be swapped on a bookcase. This is an excellent way to link a bookcase to Alzheimer’s. The swapping of books can be linked to how Alzheimer’s meddles with people memories. If a bookcase if damaged or the books are swapped it can cause great confusion and can possibly lead to violence not usually seen by some people who are suffering with Alzheimer’s.

Image result for confusion

This damaging of the bookcase can also lead go the sufferer getting confused about how old they are. People can suddenly think they’re 30 years old when they’re 70 or they could think that they are 80 years old when they are only 40. This confusion can also relate to mood swings. People can get really annoyed that they cannot remember certain memories and it cab lead to them becoming very angry or upset very suddenly. Although these mood swings are usually temporary, they can cause a great deal of unrest for the casualty and of course surrounding family and friends.

Thank you for reading and I hope you have learned something new today. Any feedback on this blog would be appreciated. you can either contact me via the contact form provided on the website or via the Facebook page.

James Sweeney

“It occurred to me that at one point it was like I had two diseases – one was Alzheimer’s, and the other was knowing I had Alzheimer’s” – Terry Pratchett

A Grandmother, Mother and to all a Friend

This is a poem I made for my Grandmother, when I found out that she had Alzheimer’s Disease. The poem is a very personal one for me and can also be located on my Alzheimer’s website, Don’t Forget Me. The poem acts a nostalgia train for me going through my life and the memories that I share with my Nana.

Note: Cap is a nickname that my brother made for my grandfather

A Grandmother, a Mother and to all a friend,
A person who would inspire you to the very end.

For a person who did so much for so many,
If she needed help she would try not to ask for any,
A nurse for years and a sister to her ward,
If you ever wanted to go for a walk she would be first on board,
A strong lady who could walk for miles,
Would take you up and down the aisles,
A Grandmother, a Mother and to all a friend,
A person who would help you to the very end.

For a Nana who devoted her life to Cap,
She could make a killer bacon bap,
A devoted wife, lover and a friend,
The two together were the complete blend,
A woman who would help no matter who you were,
Who would help you see clearly if your mind was a blur,
A Grandmother, a Mother and to all a friend,
A person who you would admire to the very end.

For a Grandmother who would go for walks down the beach,
She would always share advice, never to preach,
For all the walking we did on the rocks,
She never thought to comment on my very weird crocs,
For the rock pools we would look for all day,
A task that would need us to go all around the bay,
A Grandmother, a Mother and to all a friend,
A person who would guide you to the very end.

For a woman who could make the very best scone,
Any memories of her will never be gone,
A kind patient and incredible baker,
She would not even tell me off when I was a troublemaker,
A lady who could make the tastiest teisin lap,
She always would let me steal Caps cap,
A Grandmother, a Mother and to all a friend,
A person who would inspire you to the very end.


Thanks for reading my poem dedicated to my grandmother, my inspiration, my friend. If you would like to let me know what you thought of the poem, please drop me a message in the comments, through our “Contact” page, or through our Facebook page. Although my grandmother’s Alzheimer’s has stole the memories from her, they’ll never take them away from me!

Thanks,

James Sweeney