Tag Archives: friends

The Other Side of the Couch – Losing a Friend

It all happened gradually – so gradually that until it had been going on for months, even years, it was hard to notice.  Taken individually, the changes could be explained.  Lost keys.  Forgotten purse.  Trouble with managing a smart phone.  Struggling with finding a word on occasion.  Each one of those experiences has happened to all of us at some time or another.

However, suddenly, all those things were significant, because more things began to happen, more often.

Someone who had been the most fastidious of people had hair that needed washing.  Someone who had always been full of ideas seemed to have lost her interest in others.  Someone who knew her city well began to be confused about how to get from one place to another.

When the day came when she tried to write a check and didn’t know how to do it – when she sat at lunch with us and forgot there was food on her plate – we knew.

We knew what we hadn’t wanted to know, that we had written off as depression, as Attention Deficit Disorder, as just growing older – we knew that our friend was facing progressive dementia.  Because of her family history, we also knew that this was most likely early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Our friend is fortunate in that she has a caring family who intervened, who helped her make the changes she needed to make.  She will be loved and safe.  Although she will no longer be in this city, she will be with people who love her.

Others who live alone and/or who have no family are not so fortunate.

We are facing an epidemic of Alzheimer’s and other dementias as our population ages.  What I have learned by going through this process with my friend is that it is all too easy to dismiss the visible signs of early dementia because we don’t want to know it is happening.  This denial does a disservice to the person who is suffering, because early detection and early use of the medications available that slow the process down are essential to preserving the functional parts of the brain.

This terrible illness that ultimately eradicates the person’s memory and ability to function can be treated (not cured, but treated).  If you notice any of these signs, talk to your doctor.  Don’t wait; don’t live in denial.  If you see a friend struggling, speak up.  In the end it serves no one to pretend that all is well.

This link discusses some of the early signs of dementia.  It is worth reading. The Alzheimer’s Association is also a wonderful resource and support for caregivers.

https://www.healthline.com/health/dementia/early-warning-signs

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP

Communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, proud native Nashvillian – in private practice for 30+ years. I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts. Contact me at http://www.susanhammondswhite.com.

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Happy New Year

 

L'Shanah Tova

This week marks the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah and the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.  For the Jewish community these are the most significant and most somber days of the year.  The 10-day period is marked by self-reflection, prayer, spirituality and perhaps most important, asking for forgiveness.  It’s notable that this time falls in the middle of the secular calendar, giving us another opportunity to refocus and recharge our batteries as we bid farewell to summer and prepare for the colder months ahead.

As I was anticipating this year’s holiday season and wondering, as I always do, if I will find the inspiration I seek, I received an email from a dear friend.  This friend has been through a tough year marked by a contentious divorce, the challenges of aging parents and worries about college-age children.  At the end of her email, she relayed to me some things she’s learned about herself this year.  It was filled with hope and optimism and…aha! Therein lay my inspiration.  So here I share with you some of my resolutions as inspired by my lovely friend of 20 years.

  1. Find time to enjoy simple pleasures. I am an adventure seeker and a high-energy person (duh!).  I will give myself permission to take a walk in nature without the goal of burning those extra calories.  I will take a bubble bath and not take work along with me.  I will listen to the music I really love rather than whatever is on the radio at the moment.
  2. Read more. Well, actually I read quite a lot, most of it news-related.  In fact I am quite a bookworm and love to get lost in a good book, but rarely allow myself the time.  This year I will read for pleasure, maybe even look for a book club.  Whoa!  Baby steps!
  3. Spend time with good friends. Hmmm, my life is already filled with plenty of amazing people.  But I find I tend to neglect spending quality time with those special friends who really “get” me.  These are the folks some refer to as “family of choice,” the ones who love me unconditionally and who, by their mere presence in my life, give me courage.
  4. Get more rest. This is perhaps the toughest goal of all.  See resolution #1.  High-energy people do not like to sleep much!  I usually subscribe to the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” theory.  However as I get older, I find I really do feel better with more rest.  So, without giving it an actual number, I pledge to add more rest to my days, or nights, depending on how it works out.

A short list, right?  Well I’ve learned it’s best to break my goals down into manageable chunks.  I find the spiritual goals are often the hardest to attain and to keep, but are also the most satisfying.  I invite you, even if you are not Jewish, to take this time to think about your spiritual goals and share them with us here at HerSavvy.

One more thing.  An important part of this season for Jews is asking for forgiveness.  So, if I have wronged you or caused you pain this past year, I am truly sorry and ask for your forgiveness.  And as we say in our tradition, May you have a sweet year filled with health, joy and prosperity.

About Barbara Dab:

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. She currently hosts two radio shows locally in Nashville, TN. Check out her website athttp://www.zoneabouttown.com.

Barbara is also creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation. Check it out at http://www.theperetzproject.com If you, or someone you know, is the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

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