Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Improv Theater For Young Onset Patients!

The poet William Stafford (1914-1993) wrote: "Let the bucket of memory down into the well, bring it up. Cool, cool minutes. No one stirring, no plans. Just being there."

To me, that means "take the pressure off yourself, relax and let those old memories come if they want to." I reminisce a lot these days, and often I have found that the old memories trigger the most recent ones. It doesn't happen a lot, but it does happen. Kinda like trying to think of that actor or actress you like so much, and that name being "just out of reach", and suddenly, when you're not even trying to think of that name, there it is.

We have Young Onset Alzheimer's, NOT death, and these are the days for working our brains and sharpening our cognitive memories. There are all kinds of "brain games" online and advice at your local Alzheimer's chapter to help you get started. If you happen to have a Kindle, there's a game called "Every Word" which I play, where you try to make as many words out of a bunch of letters as you can for a high score. It's free to download, and Dondra and I play against each other all the time now.

In the last installment I mentioned that one of the items of discussion was a support group for those of us with Young Onset Dementia and that this will be on the agenda of those responsible for making that happen.

However, I was pleasantly surprised Monday morning to hear a "Your Health" report on NPR about just that. Please click on the link, and while you're there, please also take a listen to the tape of one of those "Improv" sessions.

It's good to know that the private sector (in this case a theater group) is getting involved in making life a little better for those of us with Young Onset. If you're reading this as a member of a local chapter, why not contact Looking Glass Theater and find out the particulars on how to do this in your community?

More and more of us are being diagnosed with Young Onset, and while some may still be able to work, many cannot and maybe you know of someone who can't and has tried several times to be approved for SSDI (Social Security Disability Income or "disability"). If so, you may not know about the Compassionate Allowance Initiative recently initiated by The Social Security Administration, which will expedite your claim under certain conditions. Click the link to see the list.

If you've already applied and are "in the system" and waiting, waiting, waiting, please don't give up!!!! It took me almost 3 years to get approved (lean years indeed), but it finally happened for me. The link you just visited contains a menu which will lead you to an Alzheimer's bulletin board and I encourage you to check it out, become a member, ask questions and most importantly, keep your morale up and keep you thinking positively.

The unwanted homeless pet overpopulation continues nationwide. If you can, please visit your local shelter and adopt a new friend. If you can't, then please go here
The Animal Rescue Site
and click to feed. There are many pet food companies who contribute food for both dogs and cats and it costs nothing to click the button to help provide for them. Do it! It will make you feel good!



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