“ALZHUMOR”: USING LAUGHTER TO LIGHTEN THE MOOD OF CAREGIVING by Maria Deneau

“ALZHUMOR”: USING LAUGHTER TO LIGHTEN THE MOOD OF CAREGIVING by Maria Deneau

MARIA MARTINI DENEAU

I’ve started noticing that the conversation around Alzheimer’s disease is always so heavy. Like, dead weight heavy. It’s about time we started changing that tone–especially for the folks and families doing the caregiving.

There’s some funny “shit-ake mushrooms” being said and done while experiencing this bizarre world of dementia, so I figure that until we cure this dumb disease, we have to learn coping strategies, like how to laugh. Swearing is another one…which you’ve already figured out.

For those of you who are still reading, here re some coping strategies and stories that I’ve either heard about from a family caregiver or a facility caregiver, or that I have experienced firsthand in my own adventures as the daughter to a mom with Alzheimer’s. I’m also a public policy advocate/ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Association and a professional in the geriatric healthcare world. So, I have seen  A LOT. Most names shall be “made up” for the simple fact of privacy, but these stories are just too darn funny.

ALZHUMOR COPING STRATEGY NO. 1:  MEET THEM WHERE THEY ARE.

First and foremost, as a family member or caregiver, this is the most important thing to understand about this disease: you HAVE to meet your person where they are, figuratively speaking. If they think it’s 1953 today, then you better get out your poodle skirt and American bandstand records. If they think it’s 1973, same thing! Hot pants and Brady Bunch episodes…but stay away from the fish bowl, if ya know what I mean.

So, my friend and fellow advocate “Laurie,” in her home with her mother, takes care of her grandmother with dementia. They are the only caregivers for this delightful old gal, and one day, after doing exercises with her, her grandmother started cracking up out of nowhere. Laurie asked, “Nana, what’s so funny?” Her Nana finally stopped laughing and shouted “I’m getting married!” Laurie said “To who?” and Nana replied “I HAVE NO IDEA!” and kept cracking up! So, they both just sat their laughing their guts out. Laurie didn’t correct her or get upset. She’s way beyond that. Instead she just enjoyed a humorous moment with her Nana.

ALZHUMOR COPING STRATEGY NO. 2: THEIR REALITY IS YOUR REALITY.

You never know where they might take you with this one, so just go with it every single time. Literally.

I used to work in a nursing and rehab center, and there was one resident “Marilyn” who was slightly ornery, but always had a perplexed smile on her face. She had a lot of kids and grandkids, so with her dementia, she found comfort in baby dolls. Her daughters would bring in clean baby doll clothes and bonnets for this doll of Marilyn’s and it was pretty cute. One day, I was helping staff get everyone down to the dining room for lunch and told Marilyn “Come on! I’m gonna give you a ride!” (She was in a wheelchair.) As we went down the hall, she was rocking and singing to her “baby” and it was a very sweet moment. I stopped and asked her quietly, “How’s your baby today, Marilyn?” She looked up at me and without missing a beat, said “It’s just a doll, you idiot!” She was lucid for just a brief moment, clearly. We both started laughing so hard. By that point, she had no idea why she was laughing, but that just solidified why I do what I do!

ALZHUMOR COPING STRATEGY NO. 3: HALLUCINATIONS ARE NORMAL. DON’T ARGUE.

“Ted” was a pig farmer all of his life in Southwest Michigan and ended up with Alzheimer’s. He still lived at home in the family farmhouse. HIs adult children were stressed out by his hallucinations and sought counsel from the local Alzheimer’s Association in Kalamazoo with the program coordinator and social worker, Barb. One day, they called her completely distraught because Dad was running around saying that there were pigs and children running through the house. They kept trying to calm him down by telling him that there WERE NOT pigs and children running through the house. This only agitated him more. Barb calmly told them to acknowledge this. So, one day when Ted started screaming again about the pigs, his son quickly picked up a broom and started yelling “SUEEEEY!” and sweeping the pigs to the door. His sister opened the door and out the front door he swept those pigs! They slammed the door and turned around. Dad went and sat down in his Lazy Boy and said very matter of fact “Bout damned time somebody listened to me!” and was quiet for the rest of the evening.

My biggest takeaway here is to just keep it light as much as possible. If it’s funny, LAUGH! If it’s not funny, LAUGH. There isn’t a damn thing that you can do to control this disease and its tentacles. “Dr. Octopus ain’t got nuthin’ on Alzheimer’s.” I’m certainly not trying to “make light” of the horrors of this disease, but to encourage you to “be light” when going through your day. Next week, I’ll share three more stories to make you smile.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Maria (Martini) Deneau is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio and is the only daughter of four children born to Bernard and Evelyn Martini. She is a graduate of The University of Cincinnati and is currently employed by Kindred Healthcare in Southwest Michigan as a Home Health Specialist (Account Liaison) and has worked in senior healthcare since 2007. Maria serves as a Board Member for Fund Development at Senior Services of Kalamazoo County and also serves as a Networking Board Member of Professionals Focused on Aging in Kalamazoo, MI. She has also been recognized by the state of Ohio Senate for Outstanding Achievement and exemplary service to the community and its youth while living in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

This article first appeared in The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement publication. Previous articles on the subject of Alzheimer’s have also appeared in Columnist with a View (columnistwithaview.com).

 

“We Invented Jesus Christ” — ANCIENT CONFESSION FOUND

“We Invented Jesus Christ” — ANCIENT CONFESSION FOUND

[EDITOR’S NOTE:  The following article is NOT the belief or opinion of Columnist with a View or its publisher and editor. It is an interesting point of view, however, promoted by Biblical scholar Joseph Atwill. Readers are encouraged to do some research on Atwill and the subject before forming an opinion concerning the subject.  Google:  Joseph Atwill]

American Biblical scholar Joseph Atwill will be appearing before the British public for the first time in London on the 19th of October to present a controversial new discovery: ancient confessions recently uncovered now prove, according to Atwill, that

the New Testament was written by first-century

MANUSCRIPTS OF A LATER PERIOD

Roman aristocrats and that they fabricated the entire story of Jesus Christ. His presentation will be part of a one-day symposium entitled “Covert Messiah” at Conway Hall in Holborn.

Although,to many scholars, his theory seems outlandish, and is sure to upset some believers, Atwill regards his evidence as conclusive and is confident its acceptance is only a matter of time. “I present my work with some ambivalence, as I do not want to directly cause Christians any harm,” he acknowledges, “but this is important for our culture. Alert citizens need to know the truth about our past so we can understand how and why governments create false histories and false gods. They often do it to obtain a social order that is against the best interest of the common people.”

JESUS AS SAVIOR

Atwill asserts that Christianity did not really begin as a religion, but a sophisticated government project, a kind of propaganda exercise used to pacify the subjects of the Roman Empire. “Jewish sects in Palestine at the time, who were waiting for a prophesied warrior Messiah, were a constant source of violent insurrection during the first century,” he explains. “When the Romans had exhausted conventional means of quashing rebellion, they switched to psychological warfare. They surmised that the way to stop the spread of zealous Jewish missionary activity was to create a competing belief system. That’s when the ‘peaceful’ Messiah story was invented. Instead of inspiring warfare, this Messiah urged turn-the-other-cheek pacifism and encouraged Jews to ‘give unto Caesar’ and pay their taxes to Rome.”

[Jesus Christ] may be the only fictional character in literature whose entire life story can be traced to other sources.

STATUE OF JESUS

Was Jesus based on a real person from history? “The short answer is no,” Atwill insists, “in fact he may be the only fictional character in literature whose entire life story can be traced to other sources. Once these sources are all laid bare, there’s simply nothing left.”

Atwill’s most intriguing discovery came to him while he was studying “Wars of the Jews” by Josephus [the only surviving first person historical account of first-century Judea] alongside the New Testament. “I started to notice a sequence of parallels between the two texts,” he recounts.

“Although it’s been recognized by Christian scholars for centuries that the prophesies of Jesus appear to be fulfilled by what Josephus wrote about in the First Jewish-Roman war, I was seeing dozens more. What seems to have eluded many scholars is that the sequence of events and locations of Jesus ministry are more or less the same as the sequence of events and locations of the military campaign of [Emperor] Titus Flavius as described by Josephus. This is clear evidence of a deliberately constructed pattern. The biography of Jesus is actually constructed, tip to stern, on prior stories, but especially on the biography of a Roman Caesar.”

How could this go unnoticed in the most scrutinized books of all time? “Many of the parallels are conceptual or poetic, so they aren’t all immediately obvious After all, the authors did not want the average believer to see what they were doing, but they did want the alert reader to see it. An educated Roman in the ruling class would probably have recognized the literary game being played.” Atwill maintains he can demonstrate that “the Roman Caesars left us a kind of puzzle literature that was meant to be solved by future generations, and the solution to that puzzle is ‘We invented Jesus Christ, and we’re proud of it.'”

Is this the beginning of the end of Christianity? “Probably not,” grants Atwill, “but what my work has done is given permission to many of those ready to leave the religion to make a clean break. We’ve got the evidence now to show exactly where the story of Jesus came from. Although Christianity can be a comfort to some, it can also be very damaging and repressive, an insidious form of mind control that has led to blind acceptance of serfdom, poverty, and war throughout history. To this day, especially in the United States, it is used to create support for war in the Middle East.”

Atwill encourages skeptics to challenge him at Conway Hall, where after the presentations there is likely to be a lively Q&A session. Joining Mr. Atwill will be fellow scholar Kenneth Humphreys, author of the book “Jesus Never Existed.”

[This announcement/article first appeared in CORESPIRIT.  It is not under copyright. Joseph Atwill has written a work of speculative non-fiction called Caesar’s Messiah, “which argues that the New Testament Gospels were written as wartime propaganda by scholars connected to the Roman imperial court…” Wikipedia. Many articles about Atwill and his work can be found through Google. Atwill’s book can be purchased through Barnes & Noble and Kobo.  Robert Eisenman, Professor of Middle East Religions and Archaeology says, “If what Joseph Atwill is saying is only partially true, we are looking into the abyss.”]

 

FATHER’S DAY: A GOOD REMINDER OF CHANGING SOCIETY by Diane Mufson

FATHER’S DAY: A GOOD REMINDER OF CHANGING SOCIETY by Diane Mufson

West Virginia can take pride in establishing Mother’s and Father’s Days. Due to the urging of Anna Jarvis from Grafton, West Virginia, Mother’s Day was initially recognized in 1908. The first reference to celebrating a day to honor fathers was proposed at the Methodist Church in Fairmont on July 5, 1908, following the Monongah Mining Disaster in December 1907 when 361 men died and about 1,000 children were left fatherless.

Looking at the path to creating a national holiday honoring fathers reminds me how fathers’ roles have changed and continue to do so in our country.

1908 was a difficult year for Fairmont, so their idea of a national holiday for fathers didn’t receive much publicity. Yet, at the same time, people in various areas sought a special day for the same purpose. In 1910, Sonora Dodd, from Washington state, wanted a holiday to recognize her father’s efforts in raising the six children in her family after her mother died in childbirth.

Jane Adams, a Chicago social worker, Harry Meek, a Lions Club International leader, and others over the years pushed for a day to recognize fathers. In 1966, President Johnson issued the first Father’s Day proclamation, and in 1972, President Nixon signed this holiday into law. Interestingly, since the Middle Ages, recognition of the importance of fathers was celebrated in Catholic Europe as St. Joseph’s Day on March 19th.

During the time this American holiday was proposed, fathers’ roles were clear and traditional. Dad was to provide for and control his family’s finances, be the boss and have social freedom. His spouse was in charge of domesticity and children. One problem with this model was that, contrary to public opinion and TV shows, father did not always know best.

According to the Pew Research Center, today, Dad is the sole breadwinner in a minority of American families. About two-thirds of families now need both parents to work to meet all their expenses. Dad’s and Mom’s roles are now often intertwined in childcare and economics. Int he 1960s, I fondly recall the shock displayed by some of our acquaintances when they learned that Maury was giving our new baby boy the midnight bottle and changing diapers. Men just didn’t do those things at that time.

The “Just wait till your father gets home” statement is a rarity today. Most mothers feel quite competent to discipline their children and the fact is that fewer than half of all American families have the old traditional family pattern. Single parent families are now frequent, often leading to economic problems and an exhausted parent. The stay-at-home dad is becoming increasingly common. About two million fathers are providing primary child care services for their kids.

With the legalization of same-sex marriages, there are now thousands of children being raised in families where there are either no dads or two dads. Additionally, millions of children have stepparents and multiple father figures.

Whether or not one likes the direction that American families have taken in the past few decades, the reality is that children benefit from having really good and caring parents of either sex who truly care for and protect them. As we grow older and become parents ourselves, we recognize that parenting is a tough game and we appreciate and understand our parents even more.

So in honor of Father’s Day, here’s wishing fathers everywhere a great day and the recognition that while this role has definitely evolved in our ever-changing society, it remains vitally important.


[Diane W. Mufson is a retired psychologist. Her email is dwmufson@comcast.net. She lives with her husband Maury in Huntington, West Virginia. This article first appeared in the Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch on Thursday, June 15, 2017.]


 

DREAM BIG — IT MAY COME TRUE! by Milt Hankins

DREAM BIG — IT MAY COME TRUE! by Milt Hankins

I always dreamed of being a writer. It started when I was a youngster. I began by publishing my own community newspaper on a Hektograph. Now, most of you are way too young to know what a Hektograph was, but it was a gelatin-based system of, well, mimeographing–a very very primitive, early-type of a scanner! Everyone within a two mile radius bought my newspaper. The only people I had to write about were my neighbors, and I’m sure they wanted to know each week what I was writing about them. It wasn’t long before a local grocer actually purchased a full page, weekly ad (with specials and all) in my newspaper.

Then, when I started learning to type, my folks borrowed the money to buy me a portable typewriter. I used it all through my first year in college; and my sister used to laugh about finding crumpled up sheets of paper behind the sofa in my room. I would write something and thinking it wasn’t good enough, rip it out of the cylinder and start over again. I’d crumple it up and toss it behind the sofa…just like Ernest Hemingway!

Those are very early memories. But, as time went on, I wrote more and more and, eventually, published more and more. I started dreaming of starting my own magazine. Something I had always wanted to do…and the advent of the computer and the internet made it possible. If I could afford it!

ME–A FEW YEARS AGO!

I started writing weekly columns for newspapers about twenty-five years ago (maybe longer); recently–the past six years or so–I have written a regular, weekly column for the Huntington, West Virginia Herald-Dispatch. Long before I started with the Herald-Dispatch, I did a weekly theological column for a small newspaper in south-central Virginia, and, before that, I wrote freelance columns, articles, and articles for magazines and journals.  I thought about attempting to syndicate a column, but I never got that accomplished. Along the way, I also managed to write several novels (unpublished) and, since retirement, two published books.  Both of them are available on Amazon; and I can tell you, neither was a bestseller!

In July of 2015, I decided to bite the bullet and venture into the area of blogging, but I didn’t really want a “blog” per se. I wanted what I call a “webzine,” an on-line kind of magazine which would feature the work of creative writers far and wide on a wide variety of subjects. Of course, I would contribute, too. I had no idea how much the venture would cost, but it wasn’t long before I discovered it was somewhat expensive! Especially during this period when I am building up a readership and am unable to attract advertising.

So, the webzine COLUMNIST WITH A VIEW was born and began to grow. In fact, with the help of social media (especially Facebook friends) and constant, brazen advertising it has grown farther, faster than my wildest expectations. Columnist with a view is now read in every state in the United States and in over sixty foreign countries. ABSOLUTELY FREE TO THE READERS!

Still, for me, running the magazine is enormously expensive in time, energy, and…well, money! The webmaster and monthly maintenance fees, website name, etc., and, to be perfectly up-front, we are running out of resources in the money department. That brings me to this point.

First, I filled out all the forms for GO FUND ME, but I could not bring myself to go that route. Then, with help of my wife, we began to think of ways we could solicit financing without being “scammy” or pushy. We are NOT going to stop what had turned out to be an extremely rewarding project. Imagine, if you can, the joy of knowing some of your writers, who have never been published in a small, local paper or magazine, are being read all around the globe!

The truth is, however, that we could use a little bit of financial assistance from those of you who enjoy Columnist with a View. So, we’re just going to bite the bullet and ask you, if you enjoy the articles, are pleased with what you see in Columnist with a View and would like to help us out, we’ve come up with the way you can do so. Incidentally, eventually, we’d like to be able to pay a stipend to our writers!

With over 6,500 subscribers and many non-subscribing readers, we think even a very small donation from those of you who can afford to, and would like to, would be more helpful than you could ever know. We aren’t asking for a subscription fee. We’re just asking for a little help.

If you would like to contribute to the support of Columnist with a View (columnistwithaview.com), here’s how to go about it:

WHEN YOU VISIT THE WEBZINE, click on DONATE HERE and it will automatically take you to our GO FUND ME page.  It’s that easy!   Or, you can simply type into your browser:  www.gofundme/columnistwithaview 

AND THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!

 

 

YOU MAY BE A “GEEZER” IF…. by Ernie Tucker

YOU MAY BE A “GEEZER” IF…. by Ernie Tucker

I like the “you may be a redneck” jokes by Jeff Foxworthy. He is a little crude to be sure, but it’s good redneck humor in my mind. I’m thinking about going on the road with my own, “you may be a geezer if…” theme, since I know from personal experience what a “geezer” is. (I may be over-qualified) Here are some of my observations:

1. If you’re older than any person in the obituaries… “You may be a geezer.”

2. If your idea of a sexy car is a very, very big, four-door sedan… “You may be a geezer.”

3. If your teen-aged idea of cool transportation was a square-shaped Cushman motor scooter… “You may be a geezer.”

4. If you not only forget to zip up, but you sometimes forget to zip down… “You may be a geezer.”

5. If you remember, with some affection, the ’37 flood that devastated the Ohio Valley…”You may be a geezer.”

6. If you remember when male swim garb was brief, tight, woolen, dark-colored, and sported a belt…”You may be a geezer.”

7. If your only birth control device began with an “R” and it’s been several years since you bought a pack…”You may be a geezer.”

8. If you knew by heart what your draft lottery number was…”You may be a geezer.”

9. If you became a teacher and have since discovered that most of your students have retired…”You may be a geezer.”

10. If friends whom you haven’t seen in years, greet you with a cheery “You’re looking good,” but they mean, “I thought you were dead,”…”You may be a geezer.”

11. If your parents spoke of the turn of the century and they didn’t mean this one…”You may be a geezer.”

12. If you back out of your driveway never expecting someone else might be using that same road…”You may be a geezer.”

13. If your turn signal is still on a half mile after you’ve turned…”You may be a geezer.”

14. If your friends no longer ask if you are preparing for the future (unless it’s your preacher)…”You may be a geezer.”

15. If no one cards you anymore in a restaurant…”You may be a geezer.”

16. If  senior discounts are automatically given without your asking…”You may be a geezer.”

17. If you let out more air than you take in…”You may be a geezer.”

18. If you doze off in the middle of a conversation…”You may be a geezer.”

19. If you think preservatives in foods are there to make you live longer and better…”You may be a geezer.”

20. If your children seem to be divvying up your possessions…”You may be a geezer.”

21. If you finally know everything but no one wants to hear about it…”You may be a geezer.”

22. If you need to make new friends, or you have no friends left at all…”You may be a geezer.”

23. If the better part of your conversations involve your past and present ailments and medicines…”You may be a geezer.”

24. If you speak into a cell phone as if you were talking into two tomato cans joined by a string…”You may be a geezer.”

25. If you use expressions like “In my day” and “When I was a boy” or “My mother or father used to say”…”You may be a geezer.”

26. If you think everything you should have learned should have been learned in school…”You may be a geezer.”

27. If you think that you would have done better in school if you had just applied yourself…”You may be a geezer.”

28. If you can remember what a p-38 can opener was…”You may be a geezer.”

29. If you can remember when T-shirts were white with nothing printed on them…”You may be a geezer.”

30. If, when the preacher says “You should be thinking of the hereafter,” you think every time I walk into another room I think what am I here after…”You may be a geezer.”

31. If you can remember when coal-fired locomotives filled the downtown streets with clouds of smoke…”You may be a geezer.”

32. If you think cars in the past were much better than present-day automobiles…”You may be a geezer.”

33. If you rant on and on about how much better public schools were in the past than they are now…”You may be a geezer.”

34. If you think Americans were more patriotic, better educated, more religious, and nicer in the past that they are today…”You may be a geezer.”

35. If what used to taste good to you now tastes bad, or you can’t taste it at all…”You may be a geezer.”

36. If you remember when most houses were painted white and lead-free paint was unknown…”You may be a geezer.”

37. If you remember when all phones were attached to a wire…”You may be a geezer.”

38. If you think you’re in mid-life, but don’t know anyone who is 140 years old…”You may be a geezer.”

39. If you think the 1950s were the best times in which to live in the history of humankind…”You may be a geezer.”

40. Lastly, if you feel compelled to add to this list,…”You are a certifiable geezer!”