Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Looking For Little Miracles

Hello. This is The Daily Bone and I'm your happy doggie reporter Chester L. W. Spaniel. 

Another one of ghostwriter's dear little old people at the nursing home died on Thanksgiving Day. He was someone that everybody loved very much. That makes five deaths in the last month and a half! People always ask ghostwriter how she deals with the sadness of things like that. How can she deal with people who have Alzhiemer's disease, who have forgotten practically everything: how to talk, how to eat, how to walk, who don't recognize their families, and cannot remember what you just said two minutes ago. They don't know where they are and don't recognize anyone around them. Indeed this is a terrible disease. Ghostwriter sometimes calls it the eternal waiting room of purgatory. There is a key to providing care to people like that. You must be able look at the person, and imagine him as how he used to be, and give respect and honor to that. It helps to have photos or family stories about his life and what he did and knew and loved. Also, you must be aware that even though it might seem that this person has absolutely nothing left in his brain, there are still old memories in there, if you can just find the right trigger. 

Last night the nursing home had a little ceremony for the lighting of the Christmas lights and decorations outside the home. The staff crowded all of the residents into the rooms where the lights could best be viewed so that everyone could watch. One of the ladies who has advanced Alzheimer's disease, becomes very agitated when lots of people and commotion are around her. So ghostwriter put her in the back of the room where she could easily back out the door if she became too upset. They played some old Christmas songs—the kind that still have Jesus in them, that these days, the politically correct crowd has completely sucked out of the holiday—and everyone sang along. The lady heard the songs and began singing along too. She knew all the words of all the verses of these songs, even though she could not remember what she was just told a minute ago. It was like a miracle!

Oh come, oh come, Emanuel!

Ghostwriter says this is the kind of thing that has kept her working in long term care since 1981: looking for and finding these little miracles. My esteemed colleague Joseph (Joey dog) Spaniel and I are good subjects for discussion too. Ghostwriter will sit down with a group of people while they're eating a meal and show them pictures of me and Joey dog, then ask if they ever had pets. You would be surprised what pleasant memories that brings up. People with poor appetites will brighten up and eat more if there are good memories to talk about. We doggies are glad we can help! 

You can help too! Please visit your local nursing home! 


  1. Your Mom is an angel to do that type of work Dad took care of my stepmom when she had Alzheimers, refusing to put her in assisted care and caring for her at home. She always recognized him, and was gentle with him, but she was violent with others and there was a year I couldn't even go to visit as she'd try and attack me, thinking I was a strange come to rob them. I was there, when she developed pneumonia and slipped into a coma. I only remember the kind, loving woman she was, my Stepmom for 30 years after my Mom died young.

  2. It is hard to deal with so many deaths in such a short time. Mom was a hospice social worker and worked with Alzheimer's and cancer patients and understand what it like - sending special hugs

  3. We totally understand about the folks effected by that horrible disease... We have this new Neighbor guy...
    Mr. George... and We have taken Mom to his house... on the Walkin Strings... and Mr. George just LOVES to pet and Hold us... and talk about his beagle... that he SAYS is napping in the house...
    Mr. George does NOT remember his son and one Daughter... butt last week the daughter said... Dad Talks about Frankie and Ernie ALL the time... and by the way... his Beagle has been "gone" fur YEARS.
    SO, the family loves it that we visit and that their dad can Remember Us... BUTT guess what... when we arrive he always asks... What are their names? The GOOD moments OUTWEIGH the Not so good ones. RIGHT?

  4. We are so very grateful for people like your Ghostwriter. Our Dad's sister is only 64 and has early onset Alzheimer's. It is very sad to watch this lady who once had a vibrant personality be so lost. Her husband is also lost because of what he has to deal with every day. It is a terrible disease for the individual and for all those around her. We wish there were a way to make it go away. Thank you to your Mom and please give her lots of hugs from us.

    Woos - Ciara and Lightning

  5. It takes special people like your ghostwriter to help care for those suffering from this disease. Bless her heart!
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  6. It is a very terrible disease. When I was 10 years old, I went through my first experience with this with my grandfather who we lived with. It was very frightening for a child of 10 to see the grandfather they loved so much turn into someone who didn't even know who they were anymore. But it did help prepare me to handle the very same situation when my grandmother became ill when my own kids were the same age that I was with my grandfather. History repeated itself years later when my mother also developed the disease and didn't recognize any of us anymore. Our daughter Shelly spent 6 months in a nursing home/rehab facility and was just released last week. Visiting her a few times a week brought back so many memories of the nursing home atmosphere as most of the residents there suffered from various stages of Alzheimer's. We also noticed the bright look on their faces whenever we took one of the dogs down to visit Shelly. Your Ghostwriter is one very special angel.

  7. Ahh....yes, working in a nursing home has many bright moments. Growlmy says she just loves it when some mostly uncommunicative resident lights up their eyes or smiles and that makes her day....even if it only happens once. The small gestures and kindnesses we render mean so very much; especially to family members should they be there during these encounters, Its good for them to see those sparkles and smiles too.

    Hugs to your Ghostwriter, those losses sure touch those who have the privilege of getting to know them and love them so dearly.
    Last winter we lost 11 residents in short order...that was really hard, especially the few that passed rather unexpectedly.

    Singing seems to ignite a different part of the brain, because so many respond to that with joining in, etc. It calms them too when they seem agitated or have troubles falling to sleep...

    Pawppy's brother is in a care facility, too...he also has early onset Alzheimer's Disease, diagnosed while he was still in his fifties...sigh...
    What a scourge this is, and it knows no boundaries of whom it will afflict:(

    And yet, growlmy says she loves working there. She'll be there on Christmas Day, that is a special time indeed.

    We are glad you pups are helping your ghostwriter help her residents:))

  8. As you nose Chester Mum's Mum my Aunty Peggy has dementia and reading your post today has helped so much. It is a terrible disease, so hard for all those involved and knowing that there are kind caring peeps like your Mom around is very comforting. Luffs and hugs to you Mom for being so special
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  9. Hello there Chester L. W. Spaniel,
    I often go to the Nursing Home where my Nanna Dotty is (she is my Mums Nanna) she has dementia and is in a special room in the nursing home, I go and visit with my mum as dogs are allowed in and Mum makes sure that i walk around to everyone to give me a cuddle, they give me treats too and seeing me makes them all very happy! It is impawtand, especially around the Holiday Season to visit a nursing home to give them love! We are proud of your Momma for doing such a hard job and for giving love and care to those who need it! love and licks from your furiend Frank xxxxxxxx

  10. Bless your Ghostwriter for all that she does. Our mom went to visit our dad yesterday. He has Alzheimer's. He still recognizes our mom even though she only visits once a year. The latest is that he chokes on all foods and liquids that he swallows. It's awful to watch and she left the nursing home feeling helpless and sad. Mom prays a lot.

  11. We would like to send you some holiday wishes with our e-card. Can you share your email address with us? theoppackATgmailDOTcom. Thanks.

    Woos - Ciara and Lightning