Dementia: Us and Them

confusion
Confusion of early stages of dementia

We all have met up, at some time or other, with people suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Seeing their inability to function independently is frightening. We look at them and their family members with compassion. But that’s them. We are we. We are not members of that club. The Dementia Club. We chuckle a bit the next time we forget our keys but we know it’s normal. Certainly not a sign of the D-word.

And then one day, Chaya, a perfectly normal woman, your neighbor, the one you went shopping with a couple of weeks ago. The one who helped you out your washing machine broke. That neighbor whom you’ve shared your woes in raising your kids as you both waited for their school bus each morning  – she said something strange. It wasn’t the first time. You glanced up at her and were shocked to see that her face looked different – confused, helpless. Continue reading Dementia: Us and Them

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Alzheimer’s: Color Me Black.

elderly w companion
Alzheimer’s: The disease that destroys childhood memories

Malka* was enjoying a peaceful cup of coffee. Lunches were made for tomorrow. The laundry was in the drier and Malka’s father had gone to bed early. She was about to reach for something to read, a rare luxury, when the bell rang. It was after eleven. Who could that be? Coffee forgotten, Malka’s heart began to flutter. She pressed the intercom button and, her voice trembling, asked who it was. The voice was hesitant,   a bit embarrassed. A neighbor was just coming home from evening prayers and…She ran to open the door and there stood the neighbor with her father, dressed in pajamas, barefoot and looking very confused. Continue reading Alzheimer’s: Color Me Black.

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When Mommy Becomes a Child

Question Mark In Maze Shows Confusion And Puzzled
Helplessly lost in maze of confusion

It’s frightening. You feel helpless. Your mother who took care of you as a child has become a child herself. And it is you who must care for her now. Not just physical care. That would be difficult but still easier to handle. Now she needs you to guide her, to explain things like she did for you when you were small. To tell her again and again and again what she seemed to know yesterday. To guard her from danger – from a hot stove, from busy streets. And like a small child, she doesn’t want to be guided. She may lash out in fury. Not unlike you did at age four. But unlike a small child, she is not gradually maturing. It gets worse each day.     Continue reading When Mommy Becomes a Child

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A Letter Meant for You, Our Dear Friends and Supporters

The following was written by a trained volunteer in Ezer Mizion’s new program for the elderly designed to bring out the golden-ager from a pit of depression back into his world of family and friends. 

pr fileDear Ezer Mizion Staff,

How are you? I just wanted to share what happened last week with my sessions with the elderly. You really trained me well. You’ll see in a minute why I say that. Continue reading A Letter Meant for You, Our Dear Friends and Supporters

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Aging with Dignity by Kobi Arielli

pr depressionThis journey of mine into the heart of the Ezer Mizion world enters its eighth week. Every week, I reveal another chapter here, in our little corner. So far, we have only touched on a small fraction of the sweeping empire of activity.
Throughout this ongoing overview, during which I have met up with the people at work and have seen the various projects in action, I cannot help asking myself one question – a rather frightening one: What if all this did not exist? These are not government systems under official auspices. They are complementary, civilian, alternative systems. They are the product of private initiatives, supported by donations. They are a bonus that our civilian society is privileged to have at its disposal and that are so basic and self-understood!
Question: What does a family do when their loved one is stricken with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia?
The medical establishment will do its part to the best of its ability (in this case, that is easy enough: to inform the family that there is nothing to do…). But what’s next? How do you deal with a new reality in which a father or grandfather gradually loses his awareness and becomes helpless and disconnected, while his body remains whole and healthy? How do you protect him? How do you relate to him? How do you bear the pain and frustration? What do you do?
You turn to Ezer Mizion.
pr golden 2 14 yom tzilulim DSCF1639And what do you do in situations that are not quite so miserable, when you simply reach a stage where you are compelled to assist a parent or other relative who is gradually losing his independence and leaning on the care of others?
You turn to Ezer Mizion.
There, families of Alzheimer’s patients find their first hope for redemption from their impossible situation. They are presented with a course of action that ends up easing not only their burden, but the life of the patient himself. This takes place at the Organization’s Alzheimer’s Support Center, serving very many families in Israel.
This work is only a small part of the comprehensive system Ezer Mizion operates for the benefit of seniors and their families. Here, these precious elderly people, who initiated and established and exerted efforts and lovingly prepared everything for those who are now compelled to care for them and assist them – are given the special attention they have earned. A huge division of Ezer Mizion pools within it the spectrum of services needed by the senior and his family with an emphasis on setting up the environment so that the elderly individual will receive the optimum care.
Caregiver services, a counseling center, an empowerment center, walking groups, a variety of workshops, visits by volunteers, the Bonding with Motion program (a fascinating project that I intend to expand upon in the future) and more, without bounds.
I find it amazing. That there is an address. That there is somewhere to turn. That there is a way to ease pain that is not physical. That there is someone to talk to. That there is – Ezer Mizion.

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What a Difference!

Dear Ezer Mizion,

When I heard about the “Bonding with Motion” workshop to improve the physical capabilities of handicapped and home-bound patients, and especially when I learned that the workshop is geared for family members caring for these patients, I decided to check it out. I took a peek – and I was won over…

pr golden 2 14 yom tzilulim DSCF1639As a daughter of a mother who was diagnosed with dementia five years ago, we were looking for ways to keep Ima more active. Continue reading What a Difference!

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ALEH JOINS EZER MIZION TO BENEFIT THE ELDERLY Kivun Chadash – Gimla’im – Jan. 22, 2014 By: Dahava Eyal

I first heard about the program from Varda Kahana, director of the Ezer Mizion branch here in Rechovot, and from Anat Yules, the director of the Municipality’s Div

pr golden 2 14 Yom Tzilumim. DSCF1457

ision for the Benefit of Senior Citizens. I shared the Aleh organization’s interest in expanding and developing additional services for target populations of seniors with impaired function in order to continue actualizing the organization’s goals and contribute to enhancement of the quality of life for the elderly population in the city. They shared with me the details of the innovative program for the benefit of seniors with cognitive decline that had been in existence for several years.

In our discussions, the idea came up to form a collaboration between Ezer Mizion, the Rechovot Municipality and Aleh which will operate “Bonding and Building. This program was conceived by EMDA an organization founded by relatives of people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other similar conditions. Continue reading ALEH JOINS EZER MIZION TO BENEFIT THE ELDERLY Kivun Chadash – Gimla’im – Jan. 22, 2014 By: Dahava Eyal

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