Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Death In Slow Motion: Book Review

Published February 3, 2004
Eleanor Cooney admired her mother Mary Durant for being cool, stylish, intelligent and sophisticated.  Her mother's core personality traits were dismantled once Alzheimer's Disease started to take its toll.

In her memoir Death in Slow Motion, Cooney relays an enormous amount of detail regarding her mother's illness and its affect on Eleanor.  Despite Eleanor's best efforts, her mother was lonely, grieving, agitated, clingy, weepy, and complaining.

Interspersed between accounts of Mary's hardships are details about her interesting and sophisticated life during the decades prior.

Mary worked as a writer, editor and for a time a model. She lived in New York City for a time before residing for decades in Washington, Connecticut.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Win $100 for a Local Charity

Click on the image to meet the 10 award winners.
This post is sponsored by Medtronic.

What do many people do when they receive the gift of prolonged life?

They use that extra time to help others.

Service is at the heart of the Bakken Invitation--hosted by Medtronic.

Recently, I had the opportunity to read about the 10 Honorees for 2014. They are recipients of medical technologies. And they are using their extended life to help others.

To read about all 10 Honorees who demonstrate the concept of  "Live On. Give On," see THIS PAGE.

I am inspired by all of the recipients, but I would like to highlight the work of the most senior recipient for 2014.

 At 77, Mumbai, India resident Rajnikant Reshamwala enjoys improved vitality since receiving two stents as a treatment for his coronary artery disease in January of 2013.

A life-long volunteer, Rajnikant used his $20,000 prize money to support Sleeping Children Around the World.

This charity provides mattresses, pillows and sheets for children so that they can have the physical, emotional and intellectual benefits of a deep, restful sleep.

Rajnikant makes this observation:

"Helping others will satisfy your own soul, too."

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sleep-inducing Foods

Photo by nonelvis.
Just as some foods and drinks can cause insomnia, others can help induce sleep.  My own experience tells me that oatmeal over warm milk and topped with walnuts and a banana makes me sleepy. But after doing some reading, I have greater insight into why these foods make me sleepy.

This post is part of a series on insomnia.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Scar Tissue: Book Review

Published January 1, 1993
In 1993 Canadian author and politician Michael Ignatieff published a novel about a family's response to early onset dementia.  Scar Tissue was short listed for the Booker prize the following year.

Armed with this information, I decided to track down a copy of the book.  The narrator is one of two siblings adjusting to their mother's increased confusion.  The family also includes their father, a soil scientist and an immigrant from Russia. The mother is a painter.

The two brothers take different approaches to their mother's illness as influenced by their vocations.

The narrator is a philosopher. He saturates himself in images, emotions and theories. He mulls over the way dementia alters a sense of self, relationships and the ability to cast one's own life into a narrative.  He's on a never-ending quest for meaning.

His brother takes a more pragmatic approach by trying to identify the disease as it alters the material landscape of the brain.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Wrinkles: Film Review

Released 2012
Wrinkles (2012) is an 89 minute animated film that focuses on the friendship between Emilio and Miguel, roommates residing in the same multi-level care center.

Emilio is a family man and a retired banker--cautious and methodical.  Miguel is a free spirit, always looking out for number one.

Although a Spanish film originally, there is an English-language version.  Emilio is voiced by Martin Sheen, Miguel by George Coe.

The film also introduces a handful of supporting cast members, mainly those living and working in the same facility.

Yes, this is an animated film, but it shouldn't be mistaken for a children's story. It takes a fairly realistic approach to depicting the challenges some people face in late life.