The holidays are a time for tradition. Growing up in an Irish, Catholic family we always went to midnight mass. We got to open one present Christmas Eve and the rest Christmas morning.

Mom would start cooking sometimes two days before. The house smelled of pumpkins and sage and cranberry. To this day when I smell cranberries, I see a … Read More

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Gifts for the Parent Who Has Dementia

Only 28 shopping days left for Christmas. While we are busy searching for the perfect new gadget for our kids and a sentimental gift for our spouse, what do we do for the parent who has dementia?  As my mom’s Alzheimer’s progressed it was a challenge but we found some things she loved.

A List of Gift Ideas:

  1. Gather
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Happy Thanksgiving

When I was 7 years old, we had a typical Thanksgiving with my brother, two sisters, grandmother and my mom. As we sat down to our modest dinner, I noticed my highly-anticipated favorite dessert was not on the table. I started to cry, then wail for my sugary companion. When my stern British grandmother asked, “Why was I making such … Read More

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The Healing Power of Music for Alzheimer’s

Music brings back very specific memories for Alzheimer’s residents.

I cranked the volume on the Internet 70’s station my wife had programmed into her car. Music from my teens bellowed throughout the SUV. I tried to sing along to songs from Badfinger and Bachman Turner Overdrive, only getting about 20% of the lyrics correct.

Then Cher came on and sang … Read More

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The Holidays with Those Who have Alzheimer’s

As holidays approach, we start to wonder what do we do with our loved one who has Alzheimer’s.

This was always a big issue with my mom as her disease progressed. Do we invite them to dinner? Do we have them sit at the table for a formal dinner? We are no doubt nervous about the potential unpredictable behavior of … Read More

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Looking Your Best

My mom always used to say, “If you look good you will feel good.”

She would encourage me to get up, take a shower, comb my mop, shave and put on pressed clothing when I was sick. Mom was a stickler for fashion, but her premise was sound. Somehow if you get up and go through the actions of normalcy, … Read More

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Grandma’s New Home Away From Home

When I was 11 years old, my mother had no choice but to move my grandmother into a nursing home. For me, the change was particularly difficult. “Granny” had been a constant, soothing presence in our house and in my life after my parents divorced and then again after my older siblings moved out. She never failed to welcome … Read More

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Knit Picky

I have a true confession that I cannot hold from the world any longer. Over the weekend, I bought not one but two cardigans….two….the garment of my uncle, who was also a monk.

Have I gone through some magical black hole of aging that takes over my ability to make sane fashion choices for myself? I remember ten years ago … Read More

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The Seat of Sage Wisdom

I remember sitting at the foot of my grandmother’s rocker listening to her tell stories. She would speak about growing up in India and Gandhi’s time. Being the fine British citizen that she was, grandmother would speak of the glory of British rule. She taught me about commerce, language and cuisine. Everything that “Granny” said, I hung onto … Read More

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My Dog Taught Me So Many Things

Our family German Shepard, Zorro, was diagnosed with blood cancer in June and fought a hard battle, but he lost on Thursday night and passed away. I have owned about 14 dogs in my life, but none better then Zorro. He had a great heart and soul. He was a selfless companion and one I had many conversations with about … Read More

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  • Saturdays with GG

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    “I am confident this book will aid so many people traveling through this confusing and painful life journey.”
    Barbara Van Wollner, whose father “Big Al” experienced dementia in his final years.