The Demons of Dementia

It has been almost 4 years since my father was formally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Cognitive Disorder.  And I imagine for my mother and sister it seems like a lifetime.

My father is still living at home and over the past 4 to 6 months he has started to exhibit more Dementia.  On any given day he will ask about his mother, who died in February 1982.  Sometimes he will awake in the middle of the night, walk outside his bedroom and start having conversations with someone and everyone is sleeping.

His day consists of morning stretching, reading the newspaper from cover to cover; however, he couldn’t tell you the day of the week or what month it is afterward and its listed on each page of the newspaper.  He will then clean up and sit in the chair and watch TV.  His Alzheimer’s has made his hearing loss worse and even when he is wearing his hearing aides its difficult for him to hear what you are saying at times.

Over the course of the last 12 months or thereabouts my father has become more and more resistant to taking a shower.  From reading some articles online and talking with friends whose parents or loved ones who have also been afflicted with this same disease, it seems as if they become afraid of the water…almost like a child.  That being said, its always an uphill battle to get dad to shower.  When he finally gets into the shower he can’t remember if he shampooed his hair and my mother will have to tell him over and over again that he has already washed his hair.  His short-term memory loss has progressed significantly, and when I forget things it scares the hell out of me that perhaps I have this to look forward to in the future and I am not quite 60 years old.

The one thing that has not been impacted by the Alzheimer’s and Dementia is his appetite.  Dad loves to eat and will often have his lunch, get up from the table and go to the bathroom.  When he returns back to the table he will ask mom, “when are we going to eat?”

When friends and family get together to visit either at their home or at mine, dad will be in the room with everyone else and listen but very rarely does he speak.  If you engage him in conversation directly he may reply with merely a few words.

If I take mom and dad to the doctors or somewhere such as that and they are together he will sit in the backseat and mom always sit in the front.  When I took dad to the VA Hospital for his hearing aids it was just the two of us, so he sat in the front seat with me.

I made it a point to drive by the Teamsters Union Hall to see if he knew where we were going.  When we got in front of the structure I asked him, “dad do you know what that building is over there” and he saw the bold letters on the front of the building and replied “TEAMSTERS”.  I then asked him if he recalled ever being there before and he just looked at me and never replied.  Dad spent many hours in that building attending union meetings while employed at UPS.  Dad was a Union Steward for may years and he also served as Recording Secretary of Teamsters Local 41 during the years that Danny Johnson served as President.  I was always proud of how strong he felt about his UNION.

After leaving the hospital he saw a United Parcel Service truck parked along the street, this is where he was employed before he retired.  He said to me, “look its a UPS Truck”.  I asked dad, do you remember driving a package car at UPS and he did not respond.  As we entered Downtown KC and started northbound on I-35 the Bond Bridge over the Missouri River came into view.  My dad looked at me and asked me in a very troubling voice “where are you taking me” I said, dad I am taking you home.  He questioned me again and said I have never seen that before, he was referring to the bridge.  It became apparent to me at that moment in time that dad was very confused and quite worried about where I was taking him.  That is the first time I have ever experienced this reaction  or this state of confusion when we were alone together in the car.  Dad has always had a history of telling me how to drive to a certain location or questioning why I took this route as opposed to a route that he would have chosen if he was driving himself.  Over the past year he has abandoned the backseat driving and merely just sits back and complains about it being too cold or too warm…

I will apologize if I am repeating myself if I have said this before in earlier postings but as I was walking into the VA Hospital and holding onto Dads arm and hand I had a  flashback to my early days as a child.  It was Dad who was leading the way and he had my hand and I was holding on for dear life,  now the roles have changed and I was leading the way.  Dad is getting feeble and since he doesn’t get any real daily exercise in the form of walking a trip to the VA Hospital is like an excursion.  They do have a shuttle bus; however, the day that we were there we just couldn’t time it right to get a ride to the door or to our car.

My parents were at our home on Thanksgiving and they will be with us again on Christmas Eve.  This will be the last Holiday that we spend here in our home as we are in the process of moving soon.  The newer home will have easier access for mom and dad but I am also concerned that the new surroundings may in fact confuse him even more.

None of us know from day to day what is in the cards or what hand we will be dealt.  We are truly blessed to have both of our parents still alive and living at home.  I don’t know what my parents would do without my sister and the sacrifices that she makes to put them first.

Sooner or later we will be faced with making a decision as a family of what we will need to do to provide dad the care that he needs and to take some of the physical and mental burden off of our mom.  Although dad is the one who is sick, my siblings and I have to also consider whats in the best interest of both of our parents.  I hope and pray that neither of our parents will ever have to go and live in an assisted living facility.

Right here in the northland where we currently reside we have seen an overwhelming amount of Assisted Living facilities being built, many of which include Memory Care Living.  This in itself is proof that there is a greater need for Americans who are living longer and are afflicted with Alzheimer’s or Dementia.  According to data that I have read from the Alzheimer’s Association, there are over 5 million Americans living today with this disease in 2017; they estimate that by the year 2050 that number will rise to 16 million.  Read more here.

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest Blog Post and I would like to wish you all a Happy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year,  from our family to yours.



Posted in Aging, Alzheimer's, Dementia, Parents, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Lessons Learned this Political Season…

Our nation is a melting pot of different ethnic backgrounds, religious and political views and many other differences. We just completed an Election cycle that is part of our Democracy and outlined within the Constitution of our Republic. Regardless of the outcome we have new political leaders in Washington, DC and at our State and Local level.

Many of us including yours truly were very vocal about our own political views on Social Media in the past 6 to 8 months. My comments were never to make anyone wrong, but to merely state my own views regarding which candidates I thought might best serve as our elected leaders, based upon my own core values and ideologies as it relates to myself, my family and moreover the members of my own Union (IAFF) as well as my brothers and sisters in Organized Labor all across this great nation.

I participated in some spirited debates regarding my views on candidates and issues, but I always tried to be respectful of my friends, relatives and co-workers values and positions. If I offended anyone along the way, I tried to apologize and keep myself from losing a friend or making an enemy.

Some of my friends and family members accused me of being stupid, unpatriotic, a frickin’ liberal retard (Libtard) and many other names that are not worth listing. It caused me some displeasure to see that standing up for what I felt was right, caused me to lose a few friends along the way.

What truly hurt was to see some of the private things that were sent to me on Social Media that were down right hateful. I mean it really hurts to see people that I have so much respect for and value them as a true friend to see the hate and venomous things that they had to say about people: Muslims, Jews, Blacks, LGBT, Women, Liberals, Republicans and Democrats. I am sure that others can relate to what I am saying and that is why you have routinely seen me refer to the movement that followed Mr. Trump as the Party of HATE.

What I have known for quite awhile now is that the vast majority of members within my own union identify themselves as Republicans (62% to 65%) have conservative views. That is their God given rights to have those views and I respect them. This time around they were in the majority so it seems, but there will be some consequences as a result of the people that they helped get elected.

What I learned after the Election was that most of these brothers and sisters are so misinformed or out of touch with how these decisions will impact their working conditions locally, within our State and moreover by the US Congress.

Decisions in Washington, DC such as Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) will have a direct impact on the health insurance policies that our union negotiates for us with our employer (Active Members and Retirees). The appointment of a conservative minded SCOTUS will more than likely continue to give more support to corporations, and weaken unions throughout our country.

Here in Missouri, our Governor Elect Eric Greitens has promised to make Missouri a “Right to Work” State and pass “Paycheck Deception”. Most of my young brothers and sisters in the fire service naively believe that can’t impact me as a Public Employee. Well, you are so wrong and you are about to experience your worst nightmare.

Right to Work will eliminate Prevailing Wage Laws, which will bring down Skilled Labor in our State and drive down the wages for our brothers and sisters in the Building & Construction Trades, Teamsters and others. Those decreases in salaries will have huge financial impacts on our municipalities where we live and bargain for hours, wages and working conditions. You say how could that be? If our Earnings Tax here in Kansas City is based upon 1% of what individuals make that reside or work in our City, look at what happens when wages go down and jobs are lost due to Right to Work. The E-Tax in KCMO greatly impacts Public Safety Budgets and helps us comply with the NFPA 1710 Standard for Minimum Staffing Guidelines of a 4-person crew. Do the math and you can see at least 100 members being laid off, because their positions will be eliminated forever.

Paycheck Deception, lots of members are not fully aware of what that term means. The long and short of it: each year the union will have to get the members to authorize dues deductions from their payroll. If a member doesn’t want to pay dues, he or she can become a SCAB, and enjoy the same benefits; including hours, wages and working conditions of those who pay dues. There isn’t anything that the union can do to these individuals defined to be within the bargaining unit because it is the law.

What I have known throughout my 30+ years as a member of my union is that sometimes you have to get your ass kicked so badly to realize just how good you had it before you wanted change. I will remind some of you that wanted change a few years ago and how did that work out? No pay raises for 7 years, overtime pay went from time and a half to straight time, and now we have a 2-tiered pension system.

What I learned was this is the right time to say goodbye and I am truly blessed to have my time. I wish nothing but the best for my brothers and sisters of my union and the others within organized labor across our nation; however, I fear the worst is yet to come and if that happens those individuals who chose to vote the way they did will be faced with the facts that they did this to themselves. We have met the enemy and it is staring us in the face when we look in the mirror.


Posted in Politics, Right to Work, Unions | 1 Comment

Someone’s Watching from Above

Most of us would agree that when we were small we had at least one person in our family that you looked up to as your favorite or perhaps a mentor.  The most significant thing that I can recall as a child was we were always with our family.  One of my earliest idols was my cousin Anthony C.

My father was an only child but he grew up in his grandparents household with his aunts and their children and it was a large family.  My mom was the oldest of two and we spent equal amounts of time with both sides of their families when I was growing up.

Times were much different in those days, we had big holiday gatherings, picnics and we often just went visiting our family members.  I can remember many a night when someone would just drop by with a cake or a pie and my parents would put on some coffee and we would sit around the table and shoot the breeze.  These were precious moments of my childhood that I still reflect on to this day.  This was long before cable television, the internet or video games.

Many years later I became of legal age to operate a motor vehicle and that opened a lot of new doors for me to expand my horizons and search out for new things.  My friends and I all had a Citizens Band (CB) Radio in our cars and some even had one in their homes.  Well, my cousin Anthony C. had a radio shop in my neighborhood and I enjoyed stopping and visiting with him and his friends at his shop and spent countless hours listening and learning about a new and innovative technology that they had discovered.

Anthony and his friends were ahead of their time and they had invented a way to have a CB radio in their automobile and a telephone keypad that allowed them to call anyone from a repeater that they had installed in an undisclosed location in Old Northeast part of Kansas City, MO.  I am telling you that these guys were the first person to have a car phone and as soon as Ma Bell found out about it they forced them to take it down or they would be sued.

December of 1981, we had two tragic events that impacted our family deeply.  One of my grandmothers sister Aunt Bessie became ill and we were all visiting her at the hospital.  On the evening of December 2nd my cousin Anthony C. went home from the hospital and had a massive heart attack and passed away.  The next day my Aunt Bessie passed away and we had a double funeral.  Anthony had a wife and two small children.  Shortly after Anthony’s  death his wife left Kansas City and moved her family to the Chicago area…that was the last time I saw Anthony’s wife and children.

I lost my grandmother in February 1982. later the year I was married in October.  In 1986 I was fortunate enough to be hired on the KCMO Fire Department, and two years later my wife delivered our first child and less than a year later our second was born.

Following the traditions of my own family we attempted to spend every weekend that I was not on duty at my parents home.  We visited with my fathers aunts and uncles and we carried on the same beliefs in strong family values.

We spent many a night or weekend in the company of my Aunt Rosie and Uncle Ralph, the parents of Anthony C.  I could tell how much they missed having their grandchildren here in Kansas City and they talked about them all the time.

Fast forward to today, 2016…

Besides being a Firefighter I work for an organization that sells Union Made websites and in the courses of my duties I routinely will contact one of our existing clients and talk with them about our newest products and encouraging them to update their website.

On Thursday, March 10th, I called an IAFF Local that is located in St. Charles, Illinois and I asked to speak to someone with the Union regarding their website.  The man I spoke to informed me that the man I needed to contact was at another station and his first name was Tony…he provided me the phone number of the other firehouse and at the same time I was looking at their website and I noticed the names of the officers for the local were listed and his name was Tony C.  The same last name of my deceased cousin Anthony C.

As soon as I hung up the phone I immediately called my mother to ask her if she could recall the name of my cousin Anthony C son?  She said, Michael what in the heck made you think about that today.  I filled her in on what I had just learned and that I was going to try and make contact with this man and I would get back with her later to let her know the outcome of my conversation.

After making several attempts I finally was able to talk with Tony C.  I identified myself by my name and the organization that I work for and the reason for me calling him today.  After a short conversation I told him that I was also a Firefighter for 30+ years here in KCMO and I asked him if he had any family members here in KC?  Tony replied, yes as a matter of fact I do.

I said to Tony, I bet your grandmothers name was Rose and her husbands name was Ralph and he was amazed that I knew these facts.  He asked me how I knew these facts, my response was that Rose was my Nani Conjetta sister and that his father Anthony was someone I always looked up to as a mentor in my young life.

It turns out that Tony went into the military just like his father and after serving decided to go into the Fire Service.  Tony is now 38 years old and a 17 year member of the Fire Department.  After a lengthy chat we exchanged phone numbers and are now connected via Social Media.

After ending the phone conversation with Tony I sat there in my chair and I cried just like I am right now as I write about this event.  I truly believe that someone upstairs was looking after me on that afternoon and he felt it was time to connect the dots.  Call it what you may but I truly feel it was some type of divine intervention and I am convinced it was my cousin Anthony C that made this happen.

I contacted my brother afterwards to inform him of what had just happened.  He couldn’t believe it as well and remarked about how strange it was that after all this time we were reunited with Anthony’s son.  I then called and updated my mother and she was just as shocked.

The next day I sat down with my crew at the firehouse and explained them what happened the day before and they too were just as mesmerized as I was about this once in a lifetime chance reunion.

I am extremely happy to be reunited with our lost family member and moreover to learn that both Tony C. and I are both Firefighters, or as Tony put it, nice to have another “Jake” in the family.  Jake is a term often used for Firefighters in the Eastern part of the States…

Thanks for taking a few moments to read my latest post.


Posted in Family, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Raising Parents

Some of us are fortunate enough to grow up in a stable home environment with a mother and father and whether we like it or not we learn the good, the bad and the ugly about parenting firsthand from our folks.

Once we leave the nest and go out into the world some of us are blessed enough to meet a partner who is willing to spend his/her life with us and we start to raise our own family.  In the early years we are meeting ourselves coming and going and trying to balance our time between work, family and living life as a mom or dad.

As our children get into school and start to participate in activities such as music, volleyball, cross country etc. it adds another layer of time management to be at all of their events.  Trust me I know firsthand as I have two (2) that are less than twelve months apart.  I have a unique work schedule as my work shifts consists of 24 hours on-duty and 48 hours off -duty.  I have missed out on a lot of events over the past 30 years but I tried my best to attend all the events that I could when I was not at the firehouse or the union hall.

Now that my children are young adults and I have more time on my hands I am starting to do things for my aging parents.  Both of them are now in the eighties and if I could do anything different, I would have been a lot more involved in their lives while they were still in their seventies.

I should have been going to their doctors appointments and getting to know their physicians a decade ago.  Hearing things first hand from a doctors mouth instead of second-hand from your parents is not always the best enlightenment of the facts.

The simple fact of the matter is as we age we get more forgetful; I am already experiencing my own challenges with memory loss in my late fifties.  What I am trying to say is that if you have the time to be more personally involved in your parents lives, it will be more beneficial to your parents wellness and give you peace of mind that you are dialed in on all aspects of their health and wellness.

The most precious thing we have in this lifetime is TIME.  None of us know how long we will have our parents, I am truly blessed to have my dad (85) and mom (83) still in our lives.  On the other hand, none of us know when our own number will come up, that being said I am spending more time with my parents now than I have over the past 30 years.

Something I have learned about the work that I do as a Firefighter, it is all about giving back to the community where I live, and I have thoroughly enjoyed doing this career for as long as I have been and  I realize it even more as I start to approach retirement age.

My parents have lived their whole lives for me and my siblings, that is just the kind of people my parents are and I am damn proud to be their son.  Now, its all about giving back to them and doing everything that I can for them.  Life is a viscous circle….I often crack jokes and say, “we come into this world in diapers and we may damn well may go out in diapers.”  I hope and pray it never comes down to that in my own life, but there again it just “Depends”.  It does however, prove my point about the cycle of life here on earth.

For me, it was all about looking at priorities and seeing what was in the best interest of my family as well as the public’s safety that made me come to the conclusion regarding my father and driving.  Taking the car away from my father set off an explosive chain of events as I have written about that in previous blog posts.  Not allowing him to drive for his own safety and the safety of others was truly my only motivation to removing him from operating a motor vehicle.

I never imagined just how much this would impact my own personal life by getting rid of the automobile which impacted their ability to be self sufficient, such as taking themselves to doctors visits, grocery store etc…I have a sibling at home who works full-time but she does a yeoman’s job of assisting with taking them places and going shopping for them as well as looking after their personal needs.

Now that I am more involved in their lives I think I pay more attention to the world outside of my own family.  I see more and more seniors driving vehicles that should clearly not be operating a motor vehicle.  The first thing that goes through my mind is why do their children continue to let them drive?  Do they realize what’s at stake?

It is quite a sacrifice to make to look after your parents, but they did it for me when I was growing up.  I recall dad working 60+ hours a week to send us three kids to catholic school, and take us on summer vacations etc…

Now that I am have more time to devote to my parents and it gives me a sense of comfort knowing that I can somewhat pay them back for all they did for us and at the same time while they were taking care of their own aging parents.

Where did the years go?  What I am trying to say is I have become my own parents.  As I reflect back on the decisions that my parents made with regards to my grandparents, I am attempting to use those same guidelines for the decisions that we are making now for our parents.  One thing is for sure, they need our help now more than they ever have before.

In closing I thought I would share some words of wisdom from a very funny person:

“By the time you’re eighty years old you’ve learned everything. You only have to remember it.” George Burns (1896-1996)

Mike L.

Posted in Aging, Alzheimer's, Dementia, Family, Parents, Seniors, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Father’s Day 2015

Today is a day when we honor the men in our lives that we have known as Dad, yes that is right it is Father’s Day.  For me I have always considered my father to be one of the strongest men I have ever known, both physical and mentally.

It is no secret, we had our differences when I was growing up and we didn’t always see eye to eye on things.  As a matter of fact when I was about 18 years old I thought my dad was on of the dumbest men I have ever met…by the time I was 22 I found out he had gotten a lot smarter and most of what he told me about life and world was all true.

My father lost his dad at the early age of five and grew up without having a man in his life.  He was raised by him mom and his aunts and he lived with his grandparents.  After he graduated from High School he worked for a short time and one day he came home to an envelope that notified him he was going to be drafted into the US Army, so he went down and enlisted in the US Navy during the Korean conflict.

In the four (4) years that my dad served our nation proudly he grew up and became a man.  After leaving the Navy he met my mother and they were married a few years later.  They had a daughter that my mom carried full term but something went wrong within the last twelve hours of the pregnancy and my older sister was still born.

Approximately 18 months I came into the world and I am the oldest of three children.  My father did the very best he could to be a father and a good provider.  My dad never had a father figure in his life to learn from, or to know what to do and what not to do as a mentor.  My father definitely had his own way of thinking and doing things, he was always a strong willed man and I always feared him growing up.

Today, my father is 85 years old and just within the last year the Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Cognitive Disorder has really taken its toll on him mentally and physically.  In May 2014 he walked several miles after refusing to get into the car with my mom and sister because they would not let him drive his own car.  Now 13 months later he is lucky if he can walk across the street to get the mail and he has really slowed down.  Several times a month he normally gets out with friends and some of his retiree’s to have breakfast and/or lunch and it has always been a top priority for these outings.  Within the past few months he has canceled at the last minute and said he is not up to going,  this is so uncharacteristic of dad.

His short-term memory is just about non-existent.  Mom will send him to the garage or basement to get an item of food from the refrigerator or freezer and he will return to ask her what am I supposed to get?  This will have a few times and it has resulted in mom having to write down the item(s) that she wants on a post it note.

This terrible disease has robbed his ability to know much about his surroundings.  He will read the newspaper from cover to cover and afterwards he can’t tell you a single thing he just read, the day or date which is on every page of the newspaper.  When he asks you what is the weather like outside you will tell him its June and his reply is do I need a jacket, he is not able to comprehend seasons and/or temperatures for the time of the year.  He is able to carry on short conversations but will often not be able to complete what he is saying and other times he is fine.  The one thing that you must have when you are dealing with a loved one in this condition is patience, take a deep breathe and pray.

Today, when I called him on the phone to wish him Happy Father’s Day he asked me where I was today, I responded at the Fire Station.  He thanked me for calling him and then asked me when I was going back to work at the firehouse, I told him I am here now and I am not certain he realized who he was talking to by the end of our short conversation.

That being said, it has been a very difficult day and it has been downright depressing.  I am truly thankful for still having my father, but it is so heartbreaking to see him in his current state of mind.  I know that his worse days are ahead of him and I am thankful for having him still in our lives and our family will do whatever we can to make him comfortable and watch over him like he did for us when we were growing up as his children.

My thoughts are with all of those who have already lost their father and I hope that if your parents are still alive you never have to deal with them being afflicted with this terrible disease.

Happy Father’s Day!

Mike L.

Posted in Alzheimer's, Dementia, Father's Day | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

It’s incredible how the mind works…

Over the past sixteen months we have started to see a continual decline in dads physical condition now that he has been diagnosed and being treated for Cognitive Disorder and Alzheimer’s.  His posture is deteriorating and he is now having to use a walker in the house and a cane when we take him to a doctor’s visit, church or dinner.  To see him become so frail in such a short period of time is difficult to comprehend; dad has always been such a strong man and in good physical conditioning.  He is also 85 years young…

The most amazing thing is that dad has always had daily routines that he has done for over a decade while living in their current home.  It is truly amazing that this man can remember to do certain daily tasks and other things he routinely does he can’t retain the information, his short-term memory is terrible.

I will give you an example, he wakes every morning and goes to the kitchen.  He will turn on an electrical switch to ensure that the lights on the outside of the home will come on later that day when it gets dark.

Afterwards he will complete his exercises and then sit down and have a bowl of oatmeal.  A few weeks ago, he forgot where the oatmeal was located in the kitchen, something he does consistently everyday.

Dad is constantly cold and raises the thermostat near 80 degrees which is quite uncomfortable for my mom and sister.  They have a heater in the garage for extreme cold temperatures to keep the car warm but moreover to make sure the waterlines running to a slop sink in the garage does not freeze.  My sister will turn off the heater in the garage and dad sneaks back downstairs and turns it on at the electrical breaker box because its chilly in the garage.  When you confront him about the thermostat he responds, I don’t touch it anymore I am tired of hearing them complain about the heat.  It is now April and he can not comprehend that it is Spring, he no longer look at the date and determine the temperatures or the season.

Another one of his daily routines is to not put his hearing aids in until he cleans up or takes a shower.  Dad says he doesn’t want to forget to take them out of his ears before he gets into the shower.  If you call the houses in the morning and he answers the phone he can’t hear anything and he screams at the phone…I find it so aggravating trying to communicate with him when he is not wearing the hearing aids.

Last month we took dad for a hearing test and the Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist stated that for dad’s age and his overall mental situation dad is still able to hear relatively well with his hearing aids.  We are thankful to the VA for providing the hearing aids to dad since he is a veteran and the equipment they are providing is top of the line according to the doctor who did dad’s hearing test.

The most important thing that we learned when talking to the Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist was the importance of dad wearing his hearing aids at all times while he is awake, except for showering of course.  The hearing aids are a key component of making dad comprehend what is going on in his surroundings.   All the time dad is awake and not wearing the hearing aids it adds greater confusion to his brain, which is already struggling to make sense of things due to his Alzheimer’s.

As soon as we left the doctors office mom and I discussed this several times with dad on the car ride home.   One month later, my dad still refuses to put his hearing aids in his ears until he has cleaned up for the day.  Sometimes this could be as late as 10:00 AM, so for 3.5 or 4.0 hours that he is awake he can’t hear anything and is essentially is living in his own little world.

So the main reason for sharing this latest post is to stress how important hearing aids are to patients that have been diagnosed with these types of mental illness.   Wearing the hearing aids from the time you wake till the time you go to bed will lessen the chances of additional disorientation to a patient who is already dealing with living in a confused state and keep them more alert to their surroundings throughout their day.

Thank you all for your support and I hope sharing this information with friends and family can be beneficial to you or your family if and when something like this should happen.


Posted in Alzheimer's, Dementia, Hearing Aids, Seniors, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

When is it time to take away the keys?

One of the areas that I have been striving to bring attention to with this BLOG is the number of individuals who have been diagnosed with some type of Dementia, Cognitive Disorder or Alzheimer’s and are still operating a motor vehicle.  The responses that I have received so far have been very positive, but I still feel like its almost considered a taboo subject that no one really wants to talk about unless or until it falls in your own lap.

Surprisingly enough there are NO Federal Laws that I have been able to find that directly deals with these types of issues because each State has their own autonomous laws determined by their Legislatures or Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

As a resident of the State of Missouri I would like to see us improve our current laws to include more rigorous testing for those diagnosed with mental illnesses regardless of age. Currently in Missouri,  drivers between the ages of 21-69 years of age renew their license every six (6) years.  Drivers over 70 years of age renew their drivers license every three (3) years, and are only subjected to take a road sign recognition test and a vision test.

Here are a few things that could be considered in Missouri which are currently in place in California (Dementia, Driving and California Law), as well as other policies outlined in this article Current Screening and Assessment Practices that have been adopted by 10 states across this country.

Here is an important Fact Sheet: Dementia and Driving.

When a parent or loved one starts to exhibit the signs and symptoms of early onset of Dementia, Cognitive Disorder or Alzheimer’s you have a duty to act responsibly in my humble opinion and do something about the situation immediately.  I don’t mean to upset anyone by what I am about to say…but how many folks are aware that their loved one has a condition outlined in the aforementioned sentence and has failed to do anything about it because of how it will inconvenience them or their lifestyle?  I would be willing to bet that you know a friend, a family member or co-worker that has a loved one who has shown these signs and symptoms of Dementia and they continue to let that loved one operate a motor vehicle.

It is a common fact that we are living longer and the chances are we will all have to deal with these types of mental illnesses if we live long enough according to the doctors I have spoken with regarding my father.  That being said, our government and elected officials should start to enact better legislation for putting safety first and protect others on the road by addressing these issues.

Posted in Alzheimer's, Dementia, Driving, Seniors | 1 Comment