28 February 2010

This Week's Lessons

The weather on Fort Carson is unpredictable. - Okay so I knew this one already.

Don't try and take a shortcut and dice a onion in your magic bullet.  - You come up with pureed/baby food onion.

Name brand clothing makes you at least a size bigger. - No explanation needed.

People don't understand me.  - This week I have been called aloof, and a mystery.  Really?!?  I thought I was an open book.

James Patterson is an awesome writer. - I have read 10 of his books now and the last two I read in the past week were amazing. (Sam's Letters to Jennifer and Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas)

What 10 items would be in your box?

At work we are trying to make life enrichment boxes for each of our Alzheimer's and Dementia Residents. I stated I would try and see what I could come up with and see what donations I could pull together. I understand that this is a weird list of items, but basically we want to get each resident there individual box.  When they are looking for something to do we can pull it out for them. You would be amazed at how much just holding an item that reminds them of there past can do for them. We are not asking for new items. If you have anything you would like to donate please feel free to contact me tandvjung@yahoo.com.

Our wishlist of items for our residents' Life Enrichment Boxes includes:

Stuffed animals - you may think it's kiddish but to some of our residents these are great comfort tools.
Bowling score cards - written on or blank
Balls - any shape and size and used or new
Golf Tees - used or new
Pin Cushions
Fabrics - scraps of any sort and kind
Playing Cards
Crossword books
Stationary - Cards and envelopes too
Postcards - from any place and time
Sheet music
Hymnals and Song Books
Costume jewelry
Dress-up - Hats, Scarves, gloves, any actual accessory or outfit from the 1940's to the 1970's
Kitchen stuff - old recipe cards and books, any old kitchen gadget or canister for food from that time
Seeds - For planting these have to be edible
Gardening tools and Gloves - these can be new or old. Yes, our residents are allowed to handle these items.
Fake flowers - these are for arrangements and other crafts
Paintbrushes - old ones are just fine
Calculators - (large numbers)
Office Supplies - old ink wells, fountain pens, typewriters (these can be electric), etc.
Music - 8-tracks, cassettes, even cd's (preferably music from 1940's to 1980's)
Make-up - this should be unused
Nail Polish
Old clocks
Perfume or perfume bottles

This has got me thinking about what would be in my box, (Don't worry I will narrow it down to 10 items). I know what I would like in my box at this point in my life.

My Life Enrichment Box
 Pictures of my family
My scriptures
Sewing stuff
Scrapbook stuff
Reba cd
Yellow ribbon
Kitchen supplies

I know it sounds like very little, but if you were to make a box to describe your life what 10 items would you have in your box?  Remember these residents have some form of dementia and can barely remember who they were, if they can at all.

20 February 2010

Lessons of the Week

This deployment is coming to quickly and is going to be hard. - Tommy is training in the field, and I have my first glimpse at what this deployment maybe like.  Kids going crazy, work, homework (with the kids), cook, clean, sleep (very little).

Close the all doors when I leave the house, and put up doggie gates. - Pixie (my chiweenie) is chewing through everything!  (In one day alone: my laptop charger, phone cord, a slipper of Tj's, Elaine's 1 week old Snow White doll is now armless, socks, and Tj's nerf football).

Walk to the car in the morning don't run. - I literally slid under Tommy's car when I went to warm it up.

Sometimes it's wise to give up the things you love. - Tommy asked me if I was sure I wanted to payoff my car when he would let me trade mine in, and I said no I love my car pay it off.  The payment cleared the next day and that day my radiator blew.

Remember to laugh, and laugh hysterically if need be. - All I can say is my job is a stress reliever and laughing definitely is the best medicine.

19 February 2010

Always a Smile

I spent most of my weekdays walking through the halls at work singing some sort of song. Yes, my job is trying, but it isn't all about showers and clean bottoms. It is full of love, laughter, imagination, and life.

One of my residents always has me give her a kiss on the forehead in the morning and say, "Good Morning Momma" or "Hi Momma." Most people would get upset by this but I walk in and say good morning and her first words are generally "Come give momma a kiss." Who am I to take this moment from her? It always makes me smile. Another resident who can be quite aggressive will randomly walk up smile at you and then give you a hug. This makes all of those trying times worth it.

There is humor in working with Dementia and Alzheimer residents. We have one lady that is a Great Grandma that constantly says "Hello, Grandma" to certain residents (she does not see herself as a Grandma). We have one that loves to play a version of sitting volleyball, and she gets a kick out of surprising you with a spike that can put many high school and college girls to shame. She will laugh hysterically when she smashes the 2 ft in diameter ball into you, and although you are in pain her laugh is contagious.

Imagination. Boy, one resident in particular you have to have a lot of this with. She picks imaginary things off the ground and hands them to you. Her favorite thing to hand me is her heroine. She will literally have tears coming down her face as she hands me this heroic woman. "Save her please the bear/lion/battle has hurt her. She is dying." No matter what I am doing I will take the hero in my hands and walk away. I will bring her back a few minutes later and hand her back to the woman with the tear stained cheeks. I explain she is completely heal and has been asking for her. The woman will smile at me and give me a huge heartfelt thank you.

There is so much life at work. I don't see elderly residents when I go to work, but rather lively and strong women and men. We have a resident that is close to a century old and still has the spirit of a 20 year old. We take weekly walks and ride the exercise bikes together. We talk about any thing and everything. As we talked one time recently she pointed out the huge firs that surround work (her home) and some other trees. She told me of the patience and love God must have to nurture single trees for so long to make them so strong and healthy. She then joked he must have done the same for her. I believe whole hearted this country born and raised woman has been nurtured by God.

Yes, I am a bit obsessed with work, but it is what I love. These are the people that set forth the paths for our lives to take. I also know that most of the residents I care for do not remember their pasts, who I am, or much of anything, but they are still human. This is my career regardless of what changes may come in my life. I feel a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment at the end of each day. I know some may read this and think why don't I just tell them "how old they are?", "their mom/dad/child is dead", "snap out of it", or just the truth, but Why make them suffer over and over. Instead I take a step into their reality, whatever that maybe. No I am not lying to the residents. I am simply living their paths of life with them.

04 February 2010

I am not doing to well with keeping this thing up to date.

Things have changed a bit since we moved to Colorado. Well, I guess not things, but me. I am working and there for no longer do to many crafty things, cooking, or much of anything other than work, clean and sleep. As I have said before I love my job and therefore putting these things off for a bit is fine by me. However, I am the life Enrichment Manager at work on Mondays. This means I bake, do crafts, manicures, games, and really anything fun with the residents on Mondays to help keep them active on our full-time Life Enrichment Managers day off. It is neat because we do a lot of the things that I would do with the playgroup back at Fort Hood, such as pine cone bird feeders, cookie decorating, and much more.

The kids are doing great! Elaine is in Preschool and Tj is in Pre-K. Can you believe that they are both bringing home homework? Elaine is three and Tj is four and YES they have homework almost every night. TJ is now reading and writing words, and speaking some Spanish, (I wish I remembered those four years of Spanish I took). Elaine is day trained in potty training finally, and we are working on the night. They love the snow, going to school, and their trampoline. Oh yeah and our new doggy.

Tommy got me a Chihuahua/Daschund mix puppy (aka a Chiweenie). We named her Pixie and she is such a lover. I never thought I would own what I call a purse dog (any small dog that people tend to dress up and stick in little doggie purses), but yep I have one. And to top it off I bought her sweaters...lol. My excuse for this that its cold in Colorado, she is short haired, and tends to get cold easily. Ok, okay she also looks too stinking cute in them! She is already spoiled rotten and it will probably only get worse when Tommy deploys.

Yes I said it, Tommy is deploying. He will be leaving between June and August for Afghanistan. This will be his third deployment, and no it doesn't get easier. You get used to certain things and you expect stuff, but nothing ever makes the idea that he maybe injured or killed easier. Yes, I knew what I was getting into when my husband chose this, but we didn't think certain things would happen that have, but that is for another blog entry. So anyways, he will be going to an area in Afghanistan where more than likely we will have to go back to writing actual letters by hand for communication. This is going to make it extremely hard for the kids, who already ask when Daddy will be home when he just pulls CQ (24 hr. duty). At least the deployment will only be for a year. I will be staying in Colorado for that year.

I am going to try and keep this blog more up-to-date and I honestly don't know how I will do or what I am going to write about, but we will see. I will also be updating the layout so let me know what you think. Write soon.

Oh yeah, feel free to add me on Facebook. Yes I am an addict!