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My experience with the stove
Iris L.
Posted: Wednesday, October 14, 2015 9:49 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18704

Consumer Reports magazine November 2015 issue cover story:
"A Crying Shame
Seniors and their families lose $3 billion a year to con artists.
What can we do to stop them?"

It is a 10 page article--good for information and resources as to where to report.

Iris L.

Posted: Wednesday, October 14, 2015 10:49 PM
Joined: 1/28/2013
Posts: 2659

The answer about what can be done is -- very little. These calls can come from halfway around the globe, in countries where the government does very little to stop them. We just have to protect ourselves the best we can and pray that there's a special place in hell for people who prey on the elderly and confused. That is the lowest of the low.

They didn't get any money out of me, and so far, my credit is holding steady. If anyone tries to open credit using my name, I'll know about it soon.

My one problem with unfamiliar numbers is that I make donations of clothing and household goods whenever the Purple Heart Vets have a truck in my neighborhood, and often the person who calls is a volunteer calling from their own phone to see if I have anything and telling me what day to leave it out on the porch. But I can tell them apart from people calling from Kolkatta India.

Jo C.
Posted: Thursday, October 15, 2015 9:44 AM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 13687

Yesterday, I began to think about the discussion regarding alz+ and using a fanny pack when she goes outside. What would I want in it under her circumstances?

Then I began to think about simple to use cell phones that are easy to use and are dedicated for seniors and those with special needs. What is available out there?

NOTE: I am going to mention a couple of brand names, I am NOT recommending these items and not encouraging purchasing them . . . this is for information only.

FANNY PACK: I would want:

1. House keys.

2. Cell Phone

3. Small, bright LED flashlight - With a wrist cord so when using it, I would slide the cord onto my wrist so that if I dropped it, I would have it on my wrist and it would not fall to the ground.

4. Loud whistle - I have one that is used by the military and have it with my earthquake stuff. It is extremely loud. It is called, "Storm Safety Whistle." I found it in a catalog, Duluth Trading Company, but it can be found online by entering the name of the whistle on Google. It is horrendously loud, no one would miss it.

5. List of Personal Information - My name and address; names and contact numbers of my significant others; name and contact for my primary care doctor; list of my allergies; list of my medical diagnoses. I would type this out and fold it carefully and put it inside a plastic sandwich bag to keep it neat and place it in the fanny pack.

If you have other ideas for what should be in the fanny pack, I'd like to hear them as I am going to make a list.

So as not to make this overly long and confusing, I will start a new post regarding cell phones.


Jo C.
Posted: Thursday, October 15, 2015 10:12 AM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 13687

I was looking for an easy to use cell phone for one of my LOs and this is what I found that would have been best in our situation, but my LO became very ill and then passed away, so we never purchased it, therefore, I have no way to confirm if it did the job well or not. Always research after purchase comments from users.

NOTE: I am NOT pushing this phone or saying you should buy it; this is ONLY for information as to what I found when researching for our own purpose:

JITTERBUG 5 Cell Phone: From Great Call Wireless

Especially for seniors and special needs:

- No contract

- No cancellation penalty

- Best selling cell phone for seniors

- Large numbers

- Backlit keyboard

- 5 star Urgent Response: Simply press the red number 5 button and you will be immediately connected to a live Response Agent who will quickly identify the user and track the location with a GPS technology. The agent can send emergency responders and can contact Loved Ones and will stay online with the customer until the situation is resolved - this is per their marketing.

- Has big buttons and large block letters

- Easy to navigate with Yes/No buttons

- Can voice dial

- Has speaker phone option on it

- 100% United States Customer Service

- One can add caller ID

- Has long distance and roaming

At the time I looked at this, it was and I think still is, $99 to purchase the phone.

Plans started at $14.99 for basic 50 minutes per month.

The next plan was $29.99 per month for 400 minutes.

There are other plans that go up from there.

One extra service that can come in handy is the MyCalendar function which will track appointments and special dates that appear on screen.

I do not know anything more, or about users experiences; I think this one may have been discussed in Consumer Reports, but do not recall that for sure.

One can do some research or have a significant other do research for you, but it is worth looking into for some people who would find this helpful.

The phone itself is nice looking. It is "clam-shell" in design which lets you close a cover over it; it is not large, and the one I saw was a really nice red on the exterior and black on the interior. The screen was a good size and the display was very easy to read.

Great Call Wireless has several different phone models; this one is:

Jitterbug 5.

Please alway be cautious to research comments from people who have used the phone to see how they like it and how service is; comments will almost always be mixed in most cases on most goods, but one can see the trend over time and will be prepared to know what questions to ask.


Iris L.
Posted: Thursday, October 15, 2015 11:51 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18704

Thanks, Johanna. The Jitterbug company also offers a smart phone for seniors with the same services.

I like the idea of a fanny pack. I always take my keys and a card with my name and contact information, and I have recently started to bring my cell phone with me when I go on my walks.

Iris L.

Jo C.
Posted: Thursday, October 15, 2015 1:52 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 13687

Hi Iris,

I may have been greatly mistaken; I thought that Great Call was Jitterbug's provider; I would have to research that but don't have the time at the present. As said, I may be incorrect so anyone researching, do it very carefully.

Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware still stands as good advice.


Iris L.
Posted: Thursday, October 15, 2015 8:39 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18704

This is what I was thinking about.

The Jitterbug Touch3 doesn’t just make it easy to stay connected to friends and family, the built-in health and safety apps and services can help improve your daily life and well-being.

This is not an endorsement.

Iris L.

Posted: Thursday, October 22, 2015 10:45 AM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020

To Whom It May Concern,

Every human makes errors from time to time. Forgetting something or having an accident does not make it a symptom of Alzheimer's or dementia, it just means that you are human. Healthy individuals forget things on stoves as often, if not more, than people with Alzheimer's. The difference between a healthy stove user and a person with Alzheimer's, is the person with Alzheimer's (if aware of their diagnosis and what their diagnosis means) generally takes a number of additional precautions when using a stove.

I think it is very important, here in this conversation, to differentiate what is and what is not Alzheimer's, because otherwise where do you draw the line? Should we say any healthy human, teen, or child (because they might be carrying the Alzheimer's gene) that ever burns their toast and sets off the fire alarm (because this puts other people at risk) should never again in life be allowed to use the toaster? And should we go further to say that if they don't like it too bad, because we have to protect them (and others)? No, of course not.

Normal people, when they make a mistake with the stove or toaster, learn from their mistake and take an even greater precautions in the future.

One of the big lies perpetuated in the dementia/Alzheimer's world is surrounding memory issues. It is a problem because people who have a family history of Alzheimer's, or who maybe have MCI and fear it may develop into Alzheimer's, in their fears, start seeing/perceiving every memory failure as being signs of the disease rather than just being a normal memory failure that all people have.

I am not discounting that there are not real problems in the later stages (emphasis on "later stages"). I am just distinguishing actual symptoms of Alzheimer's and dementia from things that maybe are "believed" to be symptoms, but are not actually symptoms of the disease process.

Like Alz+ shared, I also do not have a problem with memory as it pertains to using the stove - i.e. if I was using a stove, I would not forget that I was using the stove. I would not forget how to turn it off. I would not forget to keep sleeves from flames. I would not forget to use a hot pad. I might have trouble using a new stove, but only until I figured it out.

The true issue in Alzheimer's and dementia (as it pertains to this situation), is not memory, but rather the difficulty holding more than one or two things in one's mind at a time. So, if I am cooking and you come up to me and start talking about tomorrow's plans or asking to me to make decisions for you, I will not be able to simultaneously hold both things in my mind. If you do this, then there very well may be a stove fail. And, if so, then it will likely be attributed to the disease, but for the wrong reasons. In this particular example, it would not be a symptom of the disease per se, but rather a tertiary issue, not of the disease, but of the other person not understanding how the disease manifests and inadvertently hindering (rather than helping) the person with the disease. In this case, hindering in such a way as to cause real danger.

Those of us who are aware, and who are encouraged to be aware, of our cognitive issues recognize that we have cognitive issues and take active steps to compensate for them, like we make work-a-rounds and put in place adaptations to keep us successful in our tasks. This is the most common trait that I have found among those with young onset is the wealth of work-a-rounds they have come up with, and their hunger for more. Where we lack work-a-rounds, we see what we are struggling with, and often know exactly what would be supportive in the struggle. Most I have talked to are pretty clear in what they need for support. Likewise, Alz+ gave what would be helpful to her.

This is why I hope we (CG's and PWD) can learn to work together, so that CG's can put proper supports in place, that help rather than hinder. So that skills can be maintained, safely, for as long as possible.

In addition, a side effect of the dying brain, is an increased ability to stay focused on one task, such as using the stove. We are less distractible, left on our own, than pre-disease (this is common among people with Alzheimer's and dementia, and is actually what distinguishes dementia from depression). Again, this is something people who do not understand the disease process generally do not understand. However, you have only to talk with people with the disease to find that it is a common experience. Distraction for us comes in the form of outside sources. This is why, I feel, that it is vitally important that we get real information (from the source) about what the disease actually does so we can provide the newly diagnosed with information, like this, so they can understand the real issues they will face and better figure ways that they can compensate for them. I have yet to come across someone with dementia or Alzheimer's who is not hungry for and wanting for more information on how to compensate and work-a-round the disease.

Beyond that, very few people seem to (in fact I have not ever read it on here) consider the self-image, or needs of the person with the disease to maintain skill and function, beyond the sake of having function. We are people. Much of our self-image is built into our being able to complete our daily tasks. For a comparable, consider the emotional trauma of waking up from a car accident and no longer having the use of your legs. Much of the emotional trauma comes from the blow to one's self-image...what use am I now, how will I get by, and having to rely on others are all part of self-image. How does one heal from that? They do physical and occupational therapy to get tips and tricks and they put adaptations into place that allows them to retain function. But we do not (yet), as a standard practice, do this for people with Alzheimer's or dementia. But there is no reason we shouldn't. At the very least, we as CG's (I am a CG too), need to realize that along with caring for their bodies, we hold their self-image, their self-worth, their vulnerability, and their dignity in our hands as well.

When one is robbed of their dignity, self worth, and suffers too many blows to their self-image, many consider this their virtual death, which generally happens long before the disease takes their physical life.

My stance is one, and I am a firm believer, that we can, and should, provide our loved ones (and be provided by our carers), a quality of life that supports a person's value, that supports retained function for as long as safely possible, and allows for the emotional support in the grieving process as the disease slowly robs one of their life. I have done this for my mom for the last 10 years, and I hope to find a way for my daughter to do this for myself in the next coming however many years.

In addition, this is being done around the world for many notable people with dementia and Alzheimer's. Thinking here of Kate Swaffer, Christine Bryden, and Richard Taylor, to name a few. And we can all see the effects this kind of support has had on them, and what it allowed and allows them to continue doing...and the value that they brought, and continue to bring to the world. This is true for a great many other, less well known, people with dementia and Alzheimer's working behind the scenes as well. Indeed, Kate Swaffer writes about it and is quick to tell you when the subject comes up, that she feels that it is her involvement with DAI and dementia rights advocacy that is what is keeping her disease stable and even improving her function, that I would add, better than Aricept. Christine Bryden writes about it in her books, and is coming out with yet another book, she too credits her advocacy work for her continued function that astounds her neurologist. So amazed am I by the effects reported by the people who are working on things that matter in the world, that I consider it to be the most important (and most effective) part of the "Best Practices" line up, seconded only by socialization and Aricept, to keep function and mind for as long as possible.

I have said quite often in my posts about my own retention of function is out of necessity. When presented a great need for something, the brain can and will form new neural networks to compensate for failed and failing ones, even in Alzheimer's. The greater the demand on the brain for function, the greater the number of new neural networks are developed to provide for that need. This is the gist of neuroplasticy...and it is available to us all.

Lastly, the issues faced by people with Alzheimer's and/or dementia are inherently different than the issues faced by people with MCI or other issues...and they are often entirely different species altogether than the issues faced by CG's.

Posted: Thursday, October 22, 2015 10:45 AM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020

Iris L. wrote:

"When I first got married about 20 years ago, I took a "Cooking for the Family" class at the adult school. During every class I cut myself with one of the knives. My fingers did not have good control of the knives. That was at the beginning of my lupus diagnosis, and my fingers seemed to have no control at times.

But I soon stopped using the knives, because I did not want to draw attention to myself. I did not want the teacher and the school to see me as a risk, because I could not handle ordinary kitchen knives. Now, I use knives and I am cautious. However, a few weeks ago, I sliced the tip of one of my fingers."


To Iris L.,

Regarding cutting with knives. You wrote that you have trouble with them per Lupus, and difficulty controlling fingers.

One reason I *LOVE* the video support groups with people with dementia is that I am constantly learning new tips and tricks to get through the day. Someone, who also has trouble with knives, shared she uses a wire mesh glove that she got through OT that protects her hands when cutting things. Something you might also find useful.

Posted: Wednesday, November 4, 2015 12:05 PM
Joined: 10/27/2015
Posts: 38

I burned things too much, wandering out into the yard or other part of the house with something on the burner and the fire alarm blaring. My son took the nobs off of the stove and put them up. It happened so often, the dog now finds me and howels whenever any sort of alarm is going off. He now lets me know if the car alarm is going off, the drier is beeping, or the coffee pot is beeping. It's actuctually very helpful.
Posted: Wednesday, November 4, 2015 7:23 PM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408


Dogs are great like that! The dog may be sensing a difference and being more protective of you. What kind of dog do you have?

Jo C.
Posted: Thursday, November 5, 2015 12:39 AM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 13687

Dogs are SUCH good people! 


Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2015 7:59 PM
Joined: 10/27/2015
Posts: 38

My dog is a little beagle, named Mr. Marley. He stays by me all the time when I am home. When I walk through the house, he gently touches my calf over and over to assure me he is there. He's so sweet. It is a bit scary when you wake up an there are two big brown eyes staring at you from about 4 inches away, but I get a chuckle out of it when I get over the initial start.
Posted: Thursday, November 12, 2015 5:29 AM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020

Beagles have such great personalities. Love the name Mr. Marley.