My Parents Have Both Passed On to the Other Side

Passing On Together

I started writing about stroke prevention after my mother had a severe stroke in 2006 and later after my stoke in 2013.
I was able to see and learn first hand of the difficulties that a stroke victim faces and the challenges that caregivers face every day.
My father, James Eugene Belden, passed away from an aparent heart attack on November 5th, 2018.
My mother, Julia Mae Belden, left this earth shortly after that on December 11th, 2018. My parents were married for 55 years and loved the Lord and each other dearly.

Make Money While Disabled – Create Your Online Business

Woman writing working on a laptop

Are you physically disabled but want to work? You’re like millions of people around the world with the same financial problem. You can’t work and can’t make it on Social Security alone. What can you do?

Person in a wheelchair

Make Money While Disabled

Do you have access to a computer or better yet a laptop? working on a laptop

If YES, Then you can make money at home!

There are millions of people all around the world, some healthy and some with physical disabilities, but all of them are creating an online website that is their very own and something they can make great money on.

Are you fed up with living off Social Security? Do you have the time to learn and build something that is your own?

Then forget about being disabled and JOIN ME as I walk you through how to build your very own website.

3 Simple Steps to Build Your Own Online Business

  1. Find Something You Enjoy and are Passionate About.
    1. This could be anything you have an interest in. Do you like…….
      1. TravelPerson holding a picture of a flower
      2. Photography
      3. Knitting
      4. Fishing
      5. Furniture
      6. Antiques
      7. You name it, if you have an interest, you can find a way to sell it. You don’t need to own it either. You can sell things through what is know as Affiliate Programs.
  2. Tell the World About Your Passion.
    1. But you need people to visit your site. This is where Wealthy Affiliate will help. You don’t need any prior experience in website design or online marketing. They can help you start from nothing and have your first website built with two or three days.
  3. Keep Training to Improve Your Website and Your Product Marketing.
    1. Training is absolutely critical and this training is easy to follow. There are simple videos to watch that take you step by step through every process. You will have access to a helpful and encouraging Wealthy Affiliate Community that is up day and night around the world to help if you have questions.

It’s that simple. Within a few minutes you will be logged in and will be able to start your training for FREE to see if this is really right for you.

I Have to Admit That I Thought This Was a Scam to Start With

My son came to me over the Holiday season this last year and told me about this incredible opportunity to make money online. I quickly warned him about it being a Scam or a Get-Rich-Quick scheme and he promised me it wasn’t.

Well, you know how kids are. They will believe anything. I know I did growing up.

So, I did what any parent would do and I joined Wealthy Affiliate for FREE to take a look around. I was welcomed and advised to Click on the “Get Started Here” green tab in the top left corner of the screen to start my journey.

I took a few days off to think about if I really wanted to look into this but my son kept going on and on about Weathy Affiliate so I logged back in and clicked on the Get Started Here button.

Start words written on a sign
That’s all it took.

The training was so easy to follow and two days later I had my first website built and was getting it setup so the internet search engines would know where to look for me.

One Last Thing

I have had a stroke and now work from home. My mother had a massive stroke and my father has to take care of her Photo of husband and wife24/7 so I am very aware of what it’s like to be home bound and see the effect it takes on family members and finances.

My mother and father never get to leave the house and they struggle every month with making their finances stretch as they do their best to live off Social Security. and It’s never enough.

So, I’m not lying to you or telling you that you can do it too, in order to make any money off you. I’m in this the same as you are and trying to make ends meet, but it sure is easier to face the future having some hope that their is a brighter future that will help me with some financial freedom and flexibility.

It’s FREE to try out Wealthy Affiliate. You will know within the first week if it’s right for you and you won’t have to spend any money.

Wealthy Affiliate Banner

How Can I Make my Home Better for a Physically Challenged Person?

ADA bathroom

You now find yourself in the position of caring for an elderly family member or someone who has had a major health crises that creates real physical challenges. The question in your mind now is, what can I do to change my home, or their home so it’s easier to get around in and do the things you used to do but that are now much harder? Let’s brainstorm on some great ideas to help improve this situation.

Let’s Start With the Outside of the HouseWheel chair ramp

  1. Start by getting rid of any curbs or steps that lead into the house from any door. You may only be thinking of one entrance but it will be convenient and necessary for someone living alone to have all outside exits designed without steps or steep grades.
  2. You may think it’s best to use a permanent type of material, such as concrete, but you may want to consider a wood ramp or a metal, portable ramp, as you may sell the house later and the new owners may not want or need a ramp.
  3. Consider simplifying the landscaping so there is less maintenance.
  4. Add handrails to assist in walking.
  5. Consider adding a bench to stop and sit at if the walkway is long.
  6. Make sure each outside door, and inside door for that matter, is wide enough for a wheel chair.
  7. Be mindful of any bumps at the threshold of the doorway as this can make it difficult to maneuver a wheelchair over and may cause a tripping hazard.
  8. A key less entry may be a great idea to help with entering or exiting the home.


This is probably the area that is the first one people realize is going to cause problems.ADA compliant bathroom

  • Get rid of confined spaces, even if you have to tear out a wall or two. This is not just about wheel chair access but many times you will need two people working together in this space to take care of daily hygiene.
  • Install a large shower or a bathtub with a door.
  • The area around the toilet needs to be wide and free of obstacles.
  • Again, all doorways need to be wide enough for a wheel chair or another person helping the physically challenged person to walk.
  • Install handrails in the shower, tub, near the toilet and possible on each wall.
  • Install an ADA compliant toilet.
  • Make sure your shower has a place for someone to sit down.
  • Provide a portable chair or bench to use anywhere in the bathroom.
  • Ensure there is adequate room beneath any counter top for a wheel chair to fit under.
  • Install a shower head that can be disconnected and used by someone sitting down.
  • The flooring should have some texture to keep someone from slipping or tripping. Use a low pile carpet if you choose carpet. Don’t use any flooring that is difficult to maneuver a wheel chair around in. Rugs are a bad idea.


  • Allow room under that counter tops for someone who can cook but is mostly in a wheel chair.
  • Consider lowering sections of the counter top that would be easier for a person in a wheel chair to work at.
  • Most of the kitchen tools should be lowered where anyone can reach.

ADA compliant kitchen
Every person’s needs will be different to take special care to create the right situation for the need. You may want to hire a contractor who specializes in ADA compliant construction.

DoorsStairwell elevator chair

Use larger doors as they are easier to get through and often don’t cost anymore. 32-inch doors or larger are recommended.


Do yourself a favor and eliminate being in a home with stairs. If you cannot eliminate stairs than here are a few options:

Other Home Accessories to Consider


Final Thoughts

These lists are just the beginning of things for you to consider if you are physically challenged or if you are the care giver. Consult your doctor and other health care providers for more specialized information that is specific to your needs.

Remember, to find hope every day and have something to look forward to.

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas of other things I have left out and that should be included here.



What are the Health Benefits of Eating Blueberries?

Wild Blueberries

Do you need to improve your health? Are you in recovery and need foods that will help you in the recovery process? Do you just want to be healthy or stay healthy?

Eat Blueberries!

Raw blueberries

What are the Health Benefits of Eating Blueberries

Do you know what the health benefits of BLUEBERRIES are?

  • Improves mental health (memory)
  • Hearth healthHealth benefits of blueberries
  • Bone strength
  • May prevent muscle damage
  • Prevents skin damage
  • Improved blood pressure
  • May reduce risk of diabetes
  • Shown to prevent cancer
  • May reduce risk of obesity
  • May make your hair more healthy
  • Increased energy
  • May help fight urinary tract infections in women

Note: It is best to buy and eat raw blueberries.

Blueberry NutrientsBlueberry nutrients

Do you know your BLUEBERRY nutrients?

  • Blueberries contain anthocyanin
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B-6
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin A
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B-12
  • Zinc

Warning: Consult your doctor if you are on blood thinners as the Vitamin K may affect blood clotting.

Blueberry Facts

Do you know your BLUEBERRY facts?

  • Blueberries have flavonoids better known as antioxidants
  • They do not contain any sodium!
  • 10 states grow most of the blueberries in the U.S.
    • CaliforniaBlueberry bush
    • Florida
    • Georgia
    • Indiana
    • Michigan
    • Mississippi
    • New Jersey
    • North Carolina
    • Oregon
    • Washington
  • You can freeze blueberries in 4 minutes.
  • The blueberry bush is a relative of the azalea and the rhododendron.
  • Blueberries were first sold commercially in 1916.
  • You may be eating blueberries from South America between November and March.
  • More than half of harvested blueberries are shipped to fresh markets.

Why Aren’t You Eating Blueberries?

This is a question I just asked myself. I have had a stroke and have moderately high blood pressure that I am taking a prescription for; so, why have I not been eating blueberries? Why am I not adding blueberries to my healthy menu?

I actually do not know. But I can guarantee you one thing.

I will buy some blueberries on the way home from work this evening.

Wild Blueberries

NUTS! Foods that Reduce Stroke Risk

Small bowl of almonds

Several medical studies now show that regularly eating a variety of nuts will help reduce your risk of a stroke. There are several other dietary changes you can also make to help reduce your risks, but there is evidence that eating nuts may have the biggest effect.

Bowl of nuts

What are the Best Nuts to Prevent a Stroke

One study from the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that eating nuts can reduce your chances of having a stroke by up to 50%. The breakdown of this study can be found in an article from Nutrition Facts.

So, what are the best nuts to eat?

Can I go to the grocery story and get any kind of great tasting nuts I want, without caring about how much salt the nuts are covered in?

Let’s start with one thing that will clear up how much salt should be on the nuts. The American Heart Association recommends that you have no more than 1,500 mg of salt per day. That means you should only select nuts which don’t have salt and other spices added for flavor. Here is a list of healthy nuts I have found that may help with reducing your stroke risk:Bowl of Almonds

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Pistachios
  • Pecans
  • Hazelnuts

Nuts are Good for Me so Let’s Grab a BIG Bag

How many nuts should you have per day? I would love to hear your experience with how much to eat and if you saw benefits or negative side effects. Please leave a comment below and share with the rest of us.

You probably don’t need a doctor or dietitian to tell you that eating too many nuts can cause weight gain, which in turn has its own heath issues so you need to eat in moderation. Isn’t that true of most everything in life? Chose moderation and you will most likely be fine.

1 ounce per day of nuts should be what you should shoot for. One ounce isn’t much; it’s about one small handful.

Small cup of Almonds
My wife and I are going to a Natural Food store tomorrow to buy “raw” nuts. That means not processed and with no salt added. We’re going to combine all the nuts listed above into a bag so I can just get a scoop of nuts out (what I can fit into my hand). This will make it easy to get a good sampling of nuts instead of selecting one type of nut each day.


I do have one question for all of you. I’m not a big fan of walnuts so I am planning on leaving them off my list. Should I leave them out or do walnuts have a big enough health benefit to include them even though I don’t love them?

Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

I have recently written an article about how to eat healthy, which goes list other foods that you should also consider adding to your diet. You can check it out in the link below.

How To Eat Healthy


Does Lisinopril Work? Can it Help Reduce Blood Pressure?

Pill bottle

I met with my doctor this week and due to my family history of strokes, plus my own stroke, he wanted to put me on Lisinopril, a blood Medicinepressure medication (Lisinopril is the generic form of the drug Zestril). The simple answer is that it does work for me. The more difficult question is, how long will I be on it and can I improve my health so I don’t need it any longer?

Please allow me to make the point of this article clear before going further. I am not trying to convince anyone that blood pressure is great and life will be just wonderful if you will just take this one little pill. On the contrary. There are real health risks and side effects to any medication. This is more about my journey and how the medicine affected me and my plan to get off the medication with my doctor’s help.

My First Hour on Lisinopril

I picked up my blood pressure medicine in the evening of February 16th, 2018. I followed the instructions for taking my blood pressure with my Omron 7 Series monitor. I sat down at my desk and relaxed while doing some work. Once I felt relaxed, I took my blood pressure. Here are the results:

Readings Before Taking Lisinopril
I took this first blood pressure reading at 11:55pm and it wasn’t too bad, in my opinion. It was 134/85.

Next I set my timer and went back to work. I didn’t change a thing for the next 30 minutes other than taking one dose of a 20MG tablet of Lisinopril.

After the 30 minutes was up I checked my blood pressure for a second time.

Readings after taking Lisinopril
You can see the immediate reduction in my blood pressure to 122/82. That’s pretty great, right?

The last thing I would like to point out is after approximately 19 hours, it looks like the medication starts wearing off and I see a slight rise in my blood pressure reading at 6:46pm. I took my next days dose at about 7:30pm and waited for 1 hour, then took my blood pressure again. My blood pressure dropped back down immediately, as it had the night before.

So, Lisinopril does work for me but that doesn’t mean I’m happy taking it.

The Positives and Negatives

The positive was the immediate reduction in my blood pressure to “normal.” The negative was a little more subtle.

I felt different in the hour immediately after taking the medication. The best way I can describe it was the feeling you get in your head when you took one to many pills of your medication. Another analogy would be if you hadn’t had much to eat all day and you sat down for dinner and had a glass of wine before the meal came out. You would probably start sensing a little “something” and reach for some bread to hopefully ease that feeling, or you might like the feeling and ask for another.

I wouldn’t necessarily list this feeling as negative, as the medication did just help my blood pressure, however, It’s strange to feel a chemical change in your body, especially when it was such a low dose.

My Doctor’s Note/Pass for One Month

This is the more difficult question about how long will I be on Lisinopril.

I received a follow up email from the doctor about my lab results and what he noticed in it. He said at one point that he wanted to put me back on the cholesterol medicine or I would have to get onto a strict diet and workout plan.

I have a scheduled follow up appointment within 2 months and I don’t want to hear the words, “I’m going to have to up your Lisinopril dose and put you on cholesterol medication because you did not make enough healthy changes in your life.”

Ready, Set, GO!

Now, I’m looking at myself in the mirror, or more appropriately, the reflection in my monitor, and asking myself…..”how serious am I about staying off medication and getting off the one prescription I am on?”




I Met with my Doctor Today and We Talked about Blood Pressure

My Doctor

I finally kept my appointment for my annual physical yesterday. I was not looking forward to that. It wasn’t because I don’t like being poked and prodded. I didn’t want to see my doctor because I wanted nothing to do with the blood pressure discussion and the follow up prescription fight.


I Won the Fight!

Well, that’s not completely true. Maybe I was looking for a prescription drug fight but that’s not what I got.

I have been seeing this doctor for about 20 years. He has seen me when I was younger and more fit and he has seen me overweight after having a stroke so there’s not much for me to hide. He also knows me personally and has all kinds of history about me over the years.

The fight didn’t end up with someone all bloodied on the floor and me walking out of the office with my hands raised in the air due to my incredible victory.

Maybe next time.

Our talk was about – Can I Get Off Blood Pressure Medicine?

The exam went on like all of them. We started with the weigh in and the blood pressure test, which wasn’t that bad.Doctor

Next, we proceeded to the next phase of my standing on one leg, closing my eyes, touching my nose and reciting the alphabet backwards.

Oh wait, that is a different story.

The physical test revealed no residual effects from the stroke except my Doctor said I may still have a little slurred speech, which I promptly corrected, with a mumble, that I have been accused of mumbling my entire life and that I need to open my mouth and speak clearly.

Well, that ended that slurred, mumbled speech discussion.

So, we finally get to the part of the exam I hate with a passion. No, it wasn’t the exam that no one wants to get. It was the blood pressure prescription discussion

I started off the discussion with a plea. “Doc, I know I have to lose weight and that blood pressure is a critical indicator of my likelihood to have another stroke but will you please help me to get control of my blood pressure without medication?”

That was pretty much word for word what I said. What happened next kind of surprised me. He pulled up a chair and sat right in front of me and said, “You have to dramatically reduce your salt intake, get on a healthy diet, and you have to lose weight.” He then went on to tell me that he will work with me and schedule another checkup in 60 days but he wanted to put me on a light dose of blood pressure medicine so I wouldn’t have a stroke while I was losing weight.

The Doctor also told me, “I don’t want you on medication either, and let’s lose weight, exercise more, eat healthy and then I will take you off the medication, but, you have to do your part and lose the weight and change your diet.”

How could I argue with that?

I Left the Doctor’s Office with Optimism

Have you ever gone to see a doctor and left optimistic?

On a side note, my Doctor did tell me I was brave to come into the office during a challenging flu season.Optimistic Man

I understand that beating this high blood pressure issue really is my problem and not the Doctor’s. We all want the doctor to fix us sometimes and taking that little pill sure is convenient but that is only treating the symptom.

I was exhilarated that the doctor really was genuinely concerned about my health and my family history but he understood my concerns plus he saw the real root problem.

The Root Problem is Me!

I would, most likely, never have to talk to the doctor about many of my health problems if I maintained a healthy weight, ate right and worked out regularly.

I have written in several articles here that we need to take simple steps to improve our health and that I’m still working on these health issues of mine.

I will get this under control and will not give up, ever!

Sharing My Doctor’s Visit

I really wanted to share my visit to the doctor and the subsequent prescription medication discussion because I want you to see that Doctor’s are not perfect, but most of them want to see you get healthy.

The onus is on us to be real with our doctor about what we want and don’t want, but more importantly, we need to show our doctor we mean business and work with him/her to improve our health.

My next doctor’s appointment is in 59 days. Will I be sincere and work hard to make the improvements he wants to see?

I will let you know in two months.





Are You a Caregiver – You Understand the Difficulty of Earning Enough Money

Are you stuck at home? Do you have problems getting around or are you a caregiver that cannot leave for significant Laptop for Home Businessamounts of time? Have you ever asked yourself “how can I make money with an online home based business?” Can you have a business without having a product to sell? The answer is YES!

Is Social Security Enough?

My Mom and Dad have learned the hard way, more than once in life.

They have no retirement. We were poor growing up so we didn’t have much. Later in life they started making more money but they never put much of their money away, so when tragedy hit, they only had one option.

Social Security

Wouldn’t it be nice to not be in that situation?

So, here my parents are, both of them on social security. My Dad could still be working and making more money but he has to be with my mother 24/7 which leaves him out of a job he can leave the house for. There are millions of people like my Mom and Dad all over the world. What are they to do?Bills

I have talked with my Dad many times about his finances. My Dad is really good with money and he does a great job of making his money last but they do have to sacrifice. They wear old, worn out clothes, they don’t have internet, they had to get rid of the car because they couldn’t afford the insurance, gas and maintenance expenses.

The received a $40 dollar cost of living raise from Social Security one year, but it was such a strange “coincidence” that their health insurance rose by exactly $40 within the same month. Then, some government official has the nerve to tell them that the cost of living hasn’t gone up. Ha! Don’t make me laugh.

So, my Dad is sitting at home taking care of my Mother and has no ability to make any extra income. Well, he does wash windows for some of the neighbors but that just gives him enough money to plant a few flowers outside their back patio.

Is there another solution for millions of people in the same situation.


But wait. Aren’t’t there a lot of scams out there?

We Have All Been Scammed

So, you have kept reading so far but you’ve been scammed before and we all know that con artist like to prey on the elderly. Well, I’ve been scammed also and I want none of that myself.Scams

How can you tell you are being scammed?

  • Did the letter, phone call or text come out of nowhere?
  • Are they talking about a lottery?
  • Did they ask you to send some money?
  • Did they ask you to pay to start the program?
  • Did they tell you that there’s only a few spots remaining?
  • Did they tell you to keep it a secret?
  • Does it sound too good to be true?

The real problem here is that many seniors are not making enough money to make ends meet. We all want to believe that we may just get lucky and things will begin improving.

We all know the answer here. If it is too good to be true, then it is! There’s no “probably is.”

The only solution is to find a real opportunity that you will be able to work on at home and also realize that it will take some time and will require some patience. So, here’s the answer.

Wait! I Have Questions!Questions

  1. I don’t have anything to sell – You don’t need to have a product, in fact it’s best if you don’t with all of your responsibilities.
  2. I don’t know anything about working online – That’s great. Millions of people started out just like you.
  3. I don’t understand all the new lingo – That’s ok, neither did I.
  4. I’m not good with the internet – Is it too late to learn something new?

Usually, many of the questions are asked out of fear or lack of knowledge about a subject. Well, maybe it’s time to start working on something you are unfamiliar with because your current situation does not offer much hope for a better future.

The Opportunity is Wealthy Affiliate

I learned about Wealthy Affiliate from my son. He told me it was a great opportunity and I responded with “it’s most likely a scam.” He kept talking about this Wealthy Affiliate, so I decided I needed to look into it more for his sake. I needed some more support to show him how it was a get rich scheme, ponzi scheme or an outright scam.

LearningLet’s cut to the bottom line. Wealthy Affiliate turned out to be a great opportunity to earn money online. You can join for free and take part of the training course for free. They give you one week with unlimited access to the site and the community to experience the training and the community.

It took me two days to understand that Wealthy Affiliate was about quality training, building a website “For Free”, learning about how to create quality content and how to get ranked on Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Let’s be honest here. Wealthy Affiliate may not be for everyone because it does require some work on your part and patience to let things grow and become successful.

But, aren’t you stuck at home with no way to make additional income? Are you willing to look at an opportunity “For Free” to see if it may work for you?

You need some hope. You need something to look forward to. You need something to help you engage with the outside world. Isn’t it about time you start something and take one simple, “Free” step?

The Encyclopedia of Pragmatic Medicine Review – Holistic Medicine

Pragmatic Medicine

Product: Encyclopedia of Pragmatic Medicine & Holistic Medicine ReviewEncylcopedia

Place to Buy:

Size of Container: (11.2 ounces)

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

(Encyclopedia of Pragmatic Medicine, Product Overview

My Dad has been a stroke caregiver for my Mother for seven years now. He has been diligently looking for healthy alternative to prescription medicine since he was thrust into the caregiver role.

There were several times in his first several years as a stroke caregiver where medicine and the type of care provided nearly created significant health issues, primarily for my Mother, and then also for my Dad.

My Dad’s health issues centered around some blood pressure and cholesterol medicine along with the stress of being a 24/7 caregiver.

It took several years, but through some helpful advice and some trial and error they have been able to be off most of the medication they were started on and have now found natural vitamins and supplements that they are adamant about them saving their health and most likely their lives.

First Hand Experience at a Semi-Retirement Community

My parents live in a semi-retirement community, yet I would personally hesitate to call it that. Most of the senior citizens there have significant health problems and are mainly there due to the proximity to the hospital and rehabilitation facilities plus the condos are built solely for handicap individuals.

My Dad sees and hears day after day of friends that live near him struggling with mental and physical issues due to health problems. Most of these people are on massive amounts of medication.

Retirement Community

The insight into “excessive” medication or “negative side effects” of multiple medications started about one year after my Mother’s stroke. One of the first problems they discovered was the lower body muscles “locking up” or “stiffening up” due to the cholesterol medication. They tried several types of medication and finally found one, and at a lower dose, that seemed to have no negative side effects.

It was about this time that my doctor prescribed cholesterol medication to me and it didn’t take long for me to experience the same muscle “stiffening” in my lower body as my parents had described. I have been active all my life but within one week of starting one of the cholesterol medications, it became extremely difficult for me to even walk a “half” of one mile.

I bring this one example up that both my parents and I had to show some of the issues people, on some medications, experience. The other issue is that many of these people are not just on two or three prescribed medications. They may be on 10 or more.

I am no doctor. I am an engineer and a stroke survivor myself, and that much medication just sends warning signs all through me.

Holistic Medicine

Partial Definition: holistic medicine looks at an individual’s overall physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well-beingNatural Remedies before recommending treatment.

This brings us to the present time after my Dad tried several approaches, working with doctors, to “limit” the amount of prescribed medication they were taking.

After trying many doctors and health professionals near them and some on-line, they found one medical source they claim “changed” their lives.

Health Alert by Dr. Bruce West

They finally found a doctor that looks at your overall wellness, natural remedies, vitamins and supplements to keep people away from prescribed medication. He recommends a book that has a holistic approach to health and you can find it at the link below:

Encyclopedia of Pragmatic & Holistic Medicine Volumes I and II

You Need to Look for Yourself, Encyclopedia of Pragmatic & Holistic Medicine

We all need doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and other health providers but it is all of our “own” responsibilities to ask questions and do our very best to find ways to stay healthy or improve our health so the prescribed medicine will find less application in our lives.

Do yourself and your family a favor and start eating healthy, become more active as a family, take natural supplements and vitamins and look forward to a more healthy future.

Healthy Future
I hope you enjoyed this review. Please contact me if you have any questions about the Encyclopedia of Pragmatic & Holistic Medicine and leave a comment below.

Stroke Education for Caregivers – Caregivers Need Help Too

My father has become a full time caregiver since my mother had a serious stroke about 7 years ago. He has beenBook tornado diligent about leaning how to take care of my mother through this time but there were many days he didn’t know who to turn to or what sources to read. I have spent some time with my dad lately to find out what worked for him and my mother and most of the information in this article comes from his practical experience. This is His stroke education for caregivers.

This is advice from someone in the trenches who has found a way to keep both he and his wife healthy, out of the hospital and has kept my mom out of a nursing home.

The Night of My Mother’s Massive Stroke

I remember getting that call late at night from my sister. She lives near my parents so my Dad had called for her help right after calling 911. My sister told me that my mother was being rushed to the hospital and they thought it may be another stroke.

Hospital HallwayMy mother’s first several strokes, decades ago, were considered light strokes which she was able to recover from. This stroke was different.

I made the 4-hour drive in record time and I remember walking into my mother’s room and seeing her within 6 hours of the initial stroke. I remember talking with her and hearing the nurse talking about how they were going to run several more tests and keep her there “to keep an eye on her.”

My mother’s speech was fine at that time and then a second stroke hit her again right there while I was standing in the hallway right outside her door. I believe that is the point were my Dad’s long journey into the caregiver world really began.

One and a Half Months in Rehab

What I am about to write is not meant to be critical of the medical staff that treated my mother after this stroke. This is just my father’s recollection of what happened and how things transpired as he struggled to learn how to care for my mother.

My mother stayed at the hospital’s heart unit for about one week and then was transferred to a long term rehabilitation center connected to the hospital were she spent the next month and a half.

Times were tough for my dad at the hospital but I don’t think everything really settled in until he started seeing her recovery process at the rehabilitation center. He was able to stay with her there much of the time and had access to all the medical staff and physical therapist as he started to learn the real extent of what the massive stroke had done to my mother.

This first month was spent watching the rehabilitation staff work with my mother to discover what speech issues they were dealing with, the mental impacts of the stroke and to fully understand how quickly she was recovering and to what extent she may not recover.

This was a stressful time for my Dad but one of hope for a speedy recovery. My Mother and Father had always spent a lot of time in prayer and this remained the same for them there in the rehabilitation center.

My Dad asked a lot of questions and had a lot of information sent his way even though he may not have remembered it all. We always said my Dad was “hard of hearing” but he really was doing his best to understand this.

The month and a half was about up and the insurance company told the hospital that they were not paying for any more of the rehabilitation and that she wasn’t showing enough improvement. I remember my Dad being pretty upset at this as my mother really needed some additional specialized treatment from the rehabilitation staff. Well, this is a subject for another time and not one to get mad about once again.

It was just amazing to hear the doctor say that the insurance company was dictating how long she could stay even though it was the staff’s recommendation that she needed to stay longer. Maybe I should get off this subject.

My Dad’s First Month As a Caregiver

Maybe I should get to the point of this article. This is about my Dad’s journey to becoming a great caregiver for my mother and really stepping up to the plate and becoming the loving husband he was always meant to be. I must add here that my Dad’s love for my Mother and his dedication to her has surprised everyone in the family. My parents have been married for over 50 years and have always loved each other but this stroke put everything in a completely different perspective.

He learned about being a caregiver through “hard knocks.” He said he really didn’t learn that much from the doctor’s but he did agree that every stroke is different so he wasn’t blaming them. Most of his caregiver knowledge came from the rehabilitation center and through learning at home.Caregiver

He learned really quickly that stroke patients need a lot of fluids. My mom passed out at one point and my dad learned from the paramedics that she needed twice as much water as he had been giving her.

Another time the nurse noticed my Mom’s eyes looking “glassy” and recommend that my Dad get her medication adjusted.

A lot of my Dad’s caregiver education came from their continued long term rehabilitation at the Myers Center there in Springfield, Missouri. The staff has been a huge help to both of my parents. This is also the location were my dad was able to attend caregiver classes, for free, and learned a lot from other people who were going through the same things he was dealing with.

My Dad told me he wouldn’t wish what he had to go through as a caregiver on his worst enemy. No one can even come close to understanding what a caregiver goes through unless you have been in their shoes. My Dad told me that about 90% to 95% of the caregivers he knows have left their partner and put them in a nursing home. This isn’t a comment to disrespect caregivers, it’s more of a reality check on how hard it is to take care of someone full time. This has been challenging for my Dad to work with my Mother, now turn the tables and ask yourself if my Mother could even physically take care of my Dad if she was the caregiver.

My Dad spent a lot of time reading magazines, talking to other caregivers, and the rehabilitation staff. He had signed up for several mail order supplements and programs to help stroke victims, many of which he returned and got his money back. He finally found a few sources He and my Mother really love and trust.

One doctor that he swears by (and I assure you that my Dad doesn’t swear) is the Health Alert by Docter Bruce West. This is one of the doctor’s that puts the emphasis on health and supplements and wants to get people off their medication.

Dr. Bruce West
One thing he has learned from Dr. West is that Cod Liver Oil is important to helping with high blood pressure. They are taking several supplements to help with their blood pressure but one thing my Dad is always warning me about now is to not buy the “junk” in the stores. “You need to find companies that make the really healthy stuff.” That’s about as “medical” as you will hear my Dad get.

Through this time he as seen the need to be aware of how their prescribed medication is affecting them. He has had to ask doctor’s several times to change the medication, due to negative side effects. A nurse once “whispered” to him while at his home, when out of earshot of another medical staff member, that they need to do their best to get off the medicine and never be on more than three medications at one time.

I will be writing more on caregiver resource in the near future but suffice it to say here is that all caregivers need to research for themselves what is needed for the one they are giving care to because every situation is different. My Dad just want’s to warn people that “the medication is killing you” and that he thinks that many of the elderly deaths are caused by the medication and not just old age or accidents. He believes that the causes of deaths are attributed to other things when many times the death is due to things like kidney failure which can be traced back to the medication.

Once again, please remember that this is not a professional’s opinion, only the opinion of one caregiver who has been living this “challenging life” for more than 7 years now.

7 Years Later – How Has My Dad Made It Work?

One thing my Dad was emphatic about is that you need to find a doctor who will “really” work with you and try to help get Medicationyou off medication. My Dad said that “the medication was killing us.” That’s a strong statement but this comes from someone who has done all he can to improve both of their health and has a desire to live a long and healthy life free of medication.

My Dad started to sum up the long road to recovery and improving their health. He said “when it finally got to Life and Death, they realized they had to make a change.” He told me, “don’t wait until it’s too late. You need to make the changes now so you don’t find yourself in our situation.”

My Dad also added in a parting shot to me that “sodas are dynamite to your health.” That was not meant to be positive.

I would like to give you a link to a great resource on AARP. They have a quick summary of websites and phone numbers that caregivers and family members may find helpful.


My Final Thoughts for You and Your Family

Caregivers may have the most difficult job in the world. They do not get enough credit for all the things they have to do and no one really understands what they are going through.

My personal recommendation is that we all should do more to help take care of our families and help relieve those who are the primary caregivers. They need a break and some kind of vacation. It may not be much but even the smallest things can help.

I will leave you with this last thought.

My Dad can’t get away from my mother for more than about 2 hours but what we have done is for me to find time to come and visit them and wake up really early to head over to a restaurant together for breakfast. This is just a nice quiet time for my Dad to relax, drink some coffee, and just enjoy some quiet time were all he has to do is relax and enjoy is breakfast. This may not seem like much to most of us, but this is something he really looks forward to.

Oh, and we always take some strawberry crepes back to my mother so she can also enjoy a wonderful breakfast.