Long Distance Caregiving – Research Builds Hope

Since I am an author, I’m constantly looking into how research builds hope. Plus, “The Unraveling of Reverend G” and the rest of the books in my series deal with Alzheimers and dementia. So research is a must.3D Rev G cover

 I find it easy and enjoyable to do research. I study everything I can find about caregiving, the latest meds and the possible causes for Alzheimers. Sometimes I come up with a new coping strategy.

Sometimes, my siblings already know more than I do and we chat back and forth about how the research might help Mom.

Recently, I discovered information about urinary tract infections. Apparently, older women can easily contract UTIs, yet don’t always feel the pain.

They can’t tell us how or where it hurts. Yet one of the symptoms of UTIs is frightening and realistic nightmares.

My mother has nightmares that seem so real to her, she reports them to the staff at the assisted living facility. She is certain that various family members are stealing her car, stealing her money, stealing her house, etc.

She concocts the most amazing stories, based on her dreams. My mother could have been an incredible novelist. Her stories are fascinating and believable.

More than once, the staff has called my sister to check up on one of Mom’s stories. When I told my sister about the research on UTIs, she scheduled a doctor appointment to have Mom checked.

So far, no UTIs. So Mom’s stories are probably one of the side effects of Alzheimers or maybe even some of the meds she has to take. But now we are on the alert for a possible cause for Mom’s dreams and stories.

hands heartEven though I can’t always find the answers to the questions we have, doing the research helps me feel as if I share an active part in Mom’s care. As the LDC and the researcher, I’m doing something beneficial and helping the family take care of Mom.

I’m also learning more about this disease and trying to prevent it from happening to me. I eat a Mediterranean diet, try to avoid anything cooked or stored in aluminum and I’ve completely eliminated high fructose corn syrup from my diet.

Beyond that, I plead with God every day to help my siblings as they care for Mom and keep us all from getting this horrid disease.

Then every time I forget something, I pray all over again and do more research.

The Diet that Fights Alzheimer’s

In my latest research, I’ve discovered several health professionals who suggest that the best food plan to prevent Alzheimer’s is the Mediterranean Diet.

What does this diet include?

  • Olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

Basically, the idea is to eat real food, the food that God created – not the junk that man has invented. Think figs, spinach, black-eyes peas and apricots. Eat mostly plants, less meat and include herbs such as basil, oregano, rosemary, lemon, garlic and mint.

Three rules from the Mediterranean diet include:

  • Cook and eat at home
  • Get most of your protein from beans and fish
  • Make Extra Virgin Olive Oil your main fat

Although I’ve followed this diet for several years, I now have even more incentive. I’d rather eat plants every day and remember what I ate than fill my body with harmful carbs and fast-food and then forget who I am. I’ve experienced enough family dementia and Alzheimer’s to last me several lifetimes, thank you very much!

Here’s a recipe I tried this week, using some vegetables from my freezer while buying several that were on sale. My rule each week is to buy whatever veggies and fruits are on sale, then chop them and freeze them. I make a lot of smoothies, stir fries and soups.

My recipe for this week included:

  • Fresh green beans – with the tips chopped off
  • Red potatoes – quartered
  • Butternut squash – diced
  • Basil and Garlic – ground up and sprinkled throughout
  • Golden raisins – just because I like to add something creative because it’s fun

I mixed everything right in the casserole pan, drizzled it with some EVOO and baked it for one hour at 350. Delicious!

So I’m trying to be even more proactive about my Mediterranean diet or as I sometimes call it – my food plan to fight off Alzheimer’s. How about you? Want to join me?