Thursday, 12 May 2016

Physical

Mum’s definitely slowing down. And it’s the physical stuff I notice the most. When she first moved to the rest home, Mum could walk confidently almost anywhere. She pottered around by herself - down to the shops, off to the library and round the block for regular walks. Now, outside of her room, she can barely manage a few steps without reaching for the support of my arm. The woman who took up yoga in her fifties then practised it religiously, every day for twenty years, now has the flexibility and spring of an abandoned sofa. Speaking of which, getting off the sofa is now a major operation - Mum counts, “One, two, three,” and I haul her up with both hands.

Suddenly, Mum seems to have lost all traces of aerobic fitness. A short stroll from my place to the corner store now seems like a half marathon. Mum stops after a few dozen steps to lean on a fence. Or admire some tiny flower. “How much further?” she asks. “I don't think I can go on.”

I’m a bit mystified by all this. There’s so much happening. Some of it’s obviously mental, while other parts are clearly physical. Over the past few years, Mum’s developed rheumatism in her knee. Medication lessens the pain but the stiffness persists. The combination of the two has caused Mum to stop walking which has seriously eaten into her fitness levels.

Then there’s the unsteadiness. My mother, who used to be quick, nimble and gardening-fit, is now positively teetery. Her shoes of choice are no longer sensible ones - old lady sling backs with nylon socks and slippery heels. For some reason, she’s losing sensation in her feet and with it her balance.

It’s a vicious circle that's spiralling downwards.

According to the research, physical exercise helps people who are living with dementia. A lot. An elevated heart rate increases blood flow to the brain, which slows cognitive decline and improves mood. Certainly some mood-enhancing activities wouldn't go amiss.

But life in a rest home doesn't encourage physical activity. There’s trips out in the rest home van, and resident’s rooms are vacuumed and their beds made by staff. Meanwhile residents spend long periods sitting and lying down.

When Mum phones me at work, bored and lonely, I used to suggest she went for a walk. These days Mum tells me she has no-one to go with. It’s true and without someone alongside to motivate and support her, Mum probably wouldn’t make it out the gate.

For Mum, her lack of fitness and energy is the thing she’s hating the most. So I’m trying something new.

Every Saturday I swap her slingbacks for a pair of runners. Whatever we do now includes a fifteen minute walk. It’s compulsory.

And these days, I’m mostly working from home. So I’ve started taking breaks, during the week, to walk with Mum. Five minutes to drive to the rest home, five minutes to get her ready, then a 15 minute walk. I’m back at my desk in under an hour.

The process is interesting for both of us. At the start we feel lazy and unmotivated. Mum’s knee hurts, she’s tired and the weather’s not the best. “It’s a bit inclement,” says Mum as we set off. We walk a bit further and things improve. Mum’s knee is starting to loosen up, our bodies are getting pleasantly warm and our feet have found a slow rhythm.

“There’s nothing like a walk,” said Mum the other day, as we made our way back down the hill to the rest home. “It makes you feel like you've achieved something.”

Hallelujah to that.

2 comments:




  1. I suffered from this horrible syndrome (ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE)...and it was horrible...for the past 3 years this has taken over pretty much all of my walking moments along with other medical issues. My family/friends have been with me through it all. But Today I am pain free!! I can't even believe how this all happened...I am just as amazed as, my family/friends are...none of us can believe how long I suffered and now in literally a matter of months I am completely pain free.
    How? Well let me tell you.....Months ago my Friend told me about something called ZOMO HERBS....I heard him, but I didn't listen.....I went on just suffering along, Then My friend Raval, talked to my wife about it one night, when I was at my lowest point.....just wanting to give up...this wasn't the way I wanted to live...always in constant pain..Raval said, I will send you ZOMO HERBS..... I started using it and the rest is history my friends, There was a light at the end of the Tunnel... The results were immediate, it did take my pain away, but not completely....it was not until I upped the dosage to 3 times daily that I saw complete results.....NO PAIN.....I became so thrilled over the results that I decide to share my testimony.....If I can help even one person and that person helps one person and so on...we can all be out of pain and regaining our lives back....sound good? I have my life back!!!! I want you to have yours back too! Simply try to reach the doctor on (charantova@gmail.com) for more information about his treatment process or how to get his medicine.

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  2. In my own case it was just over four years ago when my Mum began to sound different on the phone. She lived back East with my siblings and my husband and I were living on the West coast and in phone calls it became apparent that my Mum's voice no longer had the same tones of excitement and humor that she used to; and instead it was very flat. At the same time she began to tell us about a situation at work that just didn't seem possible; she was complaining that a group of fellow workers were conspiring to get her. Although Mum had much academic success as a teenager, her behavior had become increasingly odd during the past years. She quit seeing her friends and no longer seemed to care about her appearance or social pursuits. She began wearing the same clothes each day and seldom bathed. She lived with several family members but rarely spoke to any of us. Obviously this whole story seemed very unbelievable and we sensed something was wrong but had no clue as to what it could be. We recommended that my Mum quit her job and look for something else - as we began to wonder if she had a "mental breakdown" and would get better once out of the stressful job situation.
    In the case of Mum, she was having persecurtory delusions, auditory hallucinations and negative symptoms that had lasted for at least Three years. All of these symptoms fit with a diagnosis of Dementia. Her story reflects a common case, in which a high-functioning young adult goes through a major decline in day-to-day skills. Although family and friends may feel this is a loss of the person they knew, the illness can be treated and a good outcome is possible as it all got better when we started using a herbal medicine for her through Aparajita.
    My recommendation to people who are either wondering if they have DEmentia or wondering if a friend or loved one has Dementia should contact aparajitatan@gmail.com. I think one of our key problems was that we didn't do this in the early days of my Mum's illness as we never thought of a natural alternative for her.

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