Chronic Fatigue, Dementia, & More @ Cincinnati

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from: Longevity Explorers | Cincinnati

Discussion Summary

Time: 00:00.   TOPIC: “Chronic Fatigue”.

Some Explorers have only heard of it; some have more personal experience.  One Explorer has had it diagnosed for her and she was on disability for it for a while.  She has a 2-3 hour window every day where she can have ‘normal/good/decent’ energy.  Outside of that, she experiences chronic fatigue.  If she goes more than that, she feels worse the next few days.  She can dress up okay and ‘look like she is fine’, but inside she suffers from chronic fatigue.

One Explorer, a healthcare worker (nurse) has heard of it; she knows that it is diagnosed periodically and that it is “real”.

It is hard to diagnose, compared to other ailments.  She worked for someone that specialized in dealing with chronic fatigue.  They use a lot of tests to make the determination.  The tests eliminate a lot of other possible explanations or other possibilities.

How is CF dealt with?  You just adjust.  Recognize your limitations and try to deal with it.  Go for a walk; get some fresh air.  Diet; eat better; CF is worse with a poor diet.  Stay hydrated.  Also, the Silver Sneakers exercise program is helpful for exercise and for socializing.  Isolation can lead to more severe problems

Time: 07:15.  Q: Where do you get help with CF?  If you go to a medical professional, what do they do?

One person likes to go online and educate themselves BEFORE going to see their medical professionals.  For another Explorer in 1991, it seemed hopeless.  She saw 13 doctors before she was diagnosed.  She also adds that if you are a single woman (i.e., not accompanied by a male), you aren’t treated as seriously.  You tend to be ignored.  All three of the women agreed with this.  Older women are often seen as “a menopausal woman”.

The nurse said that she would bet if we had 20 women in here that they all would say that they have been ignored at some time by medical professionals.  She pointed out that a female doctor finally listened and was helpful in getting her properly diagnosed (thyroid cancer).  

On a slightly positive note, the Explorer did add that NOT ALL male doctors are like this.  Some are very good.  In general, though, for older women, many male medical professionals (and some women too) tend not to listen very well to their problems and concerns.  Women doctors tend to better understand what women are going through.

Time: 12:35.   Topic Shift: “Women Our Age”: Older, Menopausal Women.  Betty Friedan and Betty Crocker.

Older women today have different opinions and attitudes compared to today’s younger women.  We grew up in the 1950s or so; we grew up between Betty Friedan and Betty Crocker.  We were kind of stuck in the middle.  

Many were raised to expect to be a stay-at-home Mom.  This is what you did; you took care of kids.  This was a good thing.  We watched ‘Father Knows Best’ on television.

Then all of a sudden many were caught up in a dilemma where women were supposed to get an education; these were transitional times.  At the time, for women raised in the 50s, this was a shock to them.

Time: 18:30.  (Circling back somewhat to Chronic Fatigue and adaptation.)

One Explorer hailed originally from Canada.  She mentions that they have more senior living or community options.  Have more smaller apartments and small homes that are better fits for older adults; more senior communities.  All of this helps make it easier to deal with chronic fatigue.

The US is slowly becoming more like this.  “Tiny houses” are becoming more popular and being built more, which can suit older adults pretty well on a number of fronts.

Time: 26:10.  New Topic: Difference Between ‘Normal Aging’ & Early Dementia.

Some suggestions were made for cognitive health: Coconut oil, puzzles; games.  Mind engagement; use it or lose it.  However, hearing problems or vision problems can potentially lead to or contribute to dementia.  They can reduce the stimulation you receive and therefore contribute to social isolation, which can lead to some dementia problems.

Mike (the facilitator) quickly summarizes a recent article published by St. Elizabeth Healthcare (a local healthcare organization) and written by Dr. Ty Brown (neurologist) about ‘normal aging’ versus dementia.

One Explorer mentions that it would be scary to begin experiencing some of these things, especially if you have some history in your family of dementia.  Some older people experiencing these things will try very hard to hide that from others and act like everything is okay and normal.  It can be very scary.

Forgetting where you parked is an example.  It’s very normal to do this once in a while, but you also feel very dumb and embarrassed sometimes when you do do it.  Parking in the same general area is one strategy.  Having remote activation with your keys can be another solution.

Time: 35:20.  Question on dementia: Do people with dementia realize what is going on with them, or are they not cognizant of their conditions and issues?  

One Explorer reports that she wasn’t sure if her friend was aware of her dementia, but she did have a feeling of being scared and frightened if their primary caregiver was not present.  It may not be same thing as being aware, but it was still an awful feeling for that person.

Another example: Dining at a restaurant and going to bathroom; then coming out and for 10 seconds or so not remembering where you were sitting or where you are exactly.  Not sure that that alone is dementia; just a scary feeling.

On the other hand, some individuals with dementia seem to get relaxed and feel happy due to their circumstance.  They appear happy in their own world, but not recognize anyone.  Some Alzheimer’s or dementia sufferers think people are going to steal their stuff, or see things that aren’t there.  It can get dangerous; can endanger others; e.g., putting empty pots on a hot stove.  Some can have more violent tendencies come out with dementia, when normally they were a very nice, nonviolent person.

 Time: 44:10.   Some Quick Mentions of Other Topics: Habits & Other ‘Simple’ Ideas To Help With Aging.

Forming habits is one way to help better cope with the challenges of aging.  Parking habits; medication-taking habits.  It is easy to forget!  Keep a journal for things like eating & time of eating; big help keeping track of the things you need to be doing.

Other ideas to help cope with aging include the Hurricane cane, various walker options and enhancements, a lift assister for helping smaller people assist and lift bigger people; and bathroom/tub hand rails and support handles.

Silver Sneakers is great exercise program, and also, activity centers are great; especially the Florence center.

 

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Chronic fatigue, Normal cognitive aging