Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Digital Storytelling and Our Family History

Story mapping is adding our own photos and stories to digital maps so other people can read them. One of the benefits that I can see is the connection between generations as we go through the photos and hear the stories. Then transcribe them into a digital format.

Research shows that photo albums often unlock memories of people who struggle with talking in the here and now. What a great way to interact. How many great memories they might revisit when they see their old house on Maple Street.

I am including 2 videos about Historypin. Historypin was developed by We Are What We Do in partnership with Google. They say Historypin is "Action 132: Share a Piece of Your History. Part of our campaign to get generations hanging out."

Take a look at the video's. Then invite someone to enjoy the magic of a memory as you go through your pictures. Telling stories so we can all remember.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Reading NPR's Update on Tom DeBaggio

I was blown away by the series Melissa Block wrote about Tom DeBaggio and his experience with Alzheimer's disease.

The early interviews were started in 1999, after Tom was diagnosed with Early Onset at the age of 57, by NPR's Noah Adams. All of the interviews were very poignant.I made some very personal connections as I remembered watching my mother succumb to Alzheimer's.

Tom wrote two books after he was diagnosed. I was particularly moved by an excerpt from "Losing My Mind" by Tom DeBaggio.

"The struggle to find the words, to express myself, has become insurmountable. I must now be done with writing and lick words instead. I will soon be stripped of language and memory, existing in a shy and unsteady forbearance of nature. I am on the cusp of a new world, a place I will be unable to describe. It is the last hidden place, and marked with a headstone.

I must now wait for the silence to engulf me and take me to the place where there is no memory left and there remains no reflexive will to live. It is lonely here waiting for memory to stop and I am afraid and tired. Hug me, Joyce, and then let me sleep."

Such powerful writing as he describes his final journey into the darkness. I am humbled as I read the interviews. I am moved to read both books and continue to learn about this disease. Because you see I am afraid that it may well be my own future that I am reading about.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Do You Know About 2-1-1?

Before today I had never heard of 2-1-1. The United Way has a website that gives the history and talks about the importance of 2-1-1.

This number serves as a way to coordinate community services. If you call the number the person who takes your call will help you work through the maze of services that are available in your community. In an emergency it helps people determine what services are available and how to get help.

I went to the United Way website that features 2-1-1 I learned that some states have had this service since 2000. In 2004 after the Katrina and Rita disasters FEMA encouraged states to implement this service in all states.

At the website the United Way is encouraging people to contact their Senators and Representatives to support passing legislature concerning 2-1-1. I would encourage you to find out more about this program.

If you have used this number or know more about it would you leave a comment telling about your experience?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June 15 - World Elder Abuse Day

Personally I think the Tag should read "Prevent Elder Abuse Day". According to the US Agency on the Administration of Aging 5 million seniors will be abused in the United States this year. That is a frightening statistic. Elder abuse comes in many forms: financial, physical, emotional, sexual and by neglect. They also say only 1 out of every 5 instances of abuse is ever reported.

There is a website that provides ideas on how you can get involved

How Did Father's Day Start

Father's Day is celebrated today around the world, in at least 50 countries. It got it's start when Sonora Smart Dodd was listening to a sermon, in 1909, recognizing Mother's Day.

She felt that fathers deserved equal recognition. Sonora was inspired to help create a day that recognized fathers. She and the Rev. Dr. Conrad Bluhm - minister at the Central United Methodist Church in Spokane, WA. The approached the Spokane YMCA. The first Father's Day was celebrated June 19, 1910.

In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge recognized Father's Day and urged other states to do likewise. In 1966 President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. In 1972 President Richard M. Nixon signed a proclamation permanently observing Father's Day on the third Sunday in June.

Father's Day will celebrate 100 years June 20, 2010. Commemorative activities are planned in Spokane, WA check out

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My Mobile Witness

I was going through some archived blogs on ilearntechnology and I found My Mobile Witness. It is a free service that you can sign up for. It is designed that if you are in a scary situation you can take a picture and send it to them. The picture can only be retrieved by law enforcement or a subpoena. They recommend taking pictures before a blind date, on unfamiliar trails take a picture of the sign.

It seems to me your family needs to know about it in order to let law enforcement know to check here for possible leads. But as I was reading about it I th ought about the times my Mother wandered off and before I kept current pictures of her to show to the police.

I also thought of my niece and many young people who in their daily living may be in harms way. I thought of the many hours it might save that would make a difference in finding them quickly.

Take a look at My Mobile Witness

and let me know what you think.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Living With Regrets

Today June 10, 2010 is the 3rd anniversary of my mother’s death. It is still so very difficult. In the beginning I had a very hard time moving past the pain and grief. I would go on - only to be ambushed by overwhelming waves of despair and loss. My tears turned to a deluge, flooding the present.

I felt my life was frozen in time. I was buried in my loss and pain, holding myself prisoner unable to free myself from the grief, consumed by regret.
Recently my friend, Carol, commented how lucky I was. She said, “Your mother was very loving and supportive. Even in her illness you knew she loved you. Some of us never know that kind of love from a parent.”

It is true, I am blessed. As I look back I have some wonderful memories.

I think part of the reason it took me so long to work through the pain was the regret. Mom was in a care facility the last 6 months of her life. She lost a lot of weight and became dehydrated. The hospital was unable to help. I regretted that when she needed me the most I had not been there. I had failed her.

I know that Alzheimer’s affects a person’s ability to swallow. My mother had a lot of dental problems that made chewing painful. I know intellectually that I did the best I could. Emotionally, I blame myself for being unable to take care of her. I know that the facility she was in did the best they could.

December 2006 I was hospitalized with Pancreatitis caused from gallbladder problems. I was in the hospital for 9 days. I did not have enough people to run 24 hour care while I recovered. So we had to move her to a private care facility. I wanted to bring Mom back home as soon as I recovered.

I returned to my teaching job in February. It was taking me much longer to recover than I had expected. Even when I returned to work I was unable to lift my mother by myself. I knew I was unable to care for her at home yet. All mother’s caregivers had other jobs by this point. Knowing this, I had planned to start hiring and training new caregivers as soon as school was out the end of May. Unfortunately, bringing Mom back home was not to be. She was hospitalized Saturday because of dehydration and died about a week later.

I still have regrets. There are days the tears cascade down my cheeks as I remember how tiny and vulnerable she was. I am learning to live with my regrets. Some days I just want to shout - "I want my Mom back!"