The Thing About Folds

I haven’t been writing much about the Art of Aging, because, well, I’ve been busy aging.  I have focused on my other blog, The Church of Heughanology, to the detriment of this blog.  However, I was having a fascinating convo on Twitter with a friend who was bemoaning the problems she was having with skin folds.  I realize that nobody ever talks about folds as it relates to aging.  I decided the topic needed attention. pizap.com14716603110741

We all have experience with skin folds from the time we are born. To make this easier, I like to call a fold, any place on your body that a part of your skin touches another part.  (Now I am not going to get into genitalia although some of my remarks and advice could pertain to that area of the body. Oh, who am I kidding?  I’m always getting into genitalia).  Some of the parts I am talking about are the armpits, between the toes, behind the ears, and your plumber’s crack (the place where your butt cheeks start to split).  I always loved an old joke I used to embarrass both of my teen aged daughters.  Whenever they were watching a movie with their friends where you could see a guy’s butt (especially their favorite movie star’s butt) I would say, “Aw his butt’s not so hot.  It’s broken.  It has a crack in it!”  I laughed despite their groans! But (no pun intended) I digress.


We all know that the aforementioned areas stink.  The stench occurs when sweat sets in these folds for any length of time.  The intensity of the smell (IOS) is the result of a chemical formula related to amount of sweat (S)/the amount of heat in the fold(HF)/the time both get no air or water (TNAW).   

pizap.com14716619566601Did any one notice that is WANT spelled backwards?  But (no pun intended) I digress. Frequent washing and regular clothing changes can prevent most of the problems with fold stench, but we also need chemical  help such as deodorants, foot powder, shampoos and feminine hygiene products (Oops!  I got into the genitalia thing!).  If you don’t think this is a problem, walk into any drugstore and there are walls full of these products!


Add the problem of gravity as we age, and a few more folds may develop.  No one tells you about this.  One day you’re walking around the house and a waft of stench passes under your nose. You turn around in circles, like a dog chasing it’s tail, when it dawns on you.  The odor is coming from that fold on your belly that developed after you lost 50 pounds or had gastric bypass or you just are heavier than you might like to be.  The result is the same, that stretched skin becomes a fold.  The same thing happens under your breast as you age and gravity takes over.  And those areas need air and water and powder, and deodorant, and something for chafing (not a dish).  


I mentioned a convo on Twitter about the fold problem.  It started because my friend’s husband very kindly said, “Can’t you do something about that smell? ” Of course my friend responded demurely, “As soon as you do something about those smelly oval things hanging between your knees!”   You have to give her some props for being so quick at her age.  


So, here are some practical steps to prevent odor, rashes and potential infections:

  1.  Clean area with antibacterial soap at least twice a day and after exercising. (If you don’t exercise, then you don’t have to wash as often.)
  2. Dry area thoroughly.  I find I have the most trouble under my bewbs.  This can be embarrassing, if like me, you get the bright idea to use your hair dryer set on cool to dry under your breasts.  When hubs walked in, he kindly asked, “Are you going to curl them now?”  He stopped laughing when I kicked him.  However, the hair dryer does work. imagesZVYJ3T1G 
  3. Apply baby powder (unscented) in the folds, but not too heavy or you’ll get clumps and that can cause irritation and odor which is what you’re trying to prevent.  
  4. Do not look in the mirror when doing this.  Severe depression could result.  The few times I looked in the mirror,  I thought, “OMG!  I’ve died and turned into Buddha!”
  5. Persistent rash or open areas on the skin, should be seen by a physician.  You might have a yeast infection or other more serious condition.

I have done my duty to the young people who will have fair warning about the perils of stinky skin folds.  I hope it was helpful for other older folks to see that we all have similar problems.  Now that I’ve opened the discussion about fold stench, next time I can talk about strange hairs in strange places (another joke God plays on older folks)!





To See or Not to See, That Is the Question

            What do I need with eyes?

I’ve hit another small bump along the aging highway.  My vision is getting worse due to both cataracts and glaucoma!  When I realized this could cause legal if not total blindness, I became very depressed about some of the things I would never see again.  In no particular order, they were:  Husband’s face, daughters’ faces, dog’s face, checkbook balance, colors, art, movies, trees, books, flowers, etc. etc.  If you put these two pictures together, this is what my vision is like now.

Vision with Cataracts
Vision with Glaucoma

I see things fuzzy with a lighted halo around them.  To ease your fears and mine, there are many ways to treat these diseases.  However, I couldn’t let this pass without exploring the funny things that can happen with impaired vision.  And then the snark began…..

First of all, I will be much happier when I look in the mirror or at my body. I won’t see hair on my legs, wrinkles, grey hair, nose hair, chin hair, or age spots.  My self esteem should soar.

What I look like…not so bad really. What do you mean, I need to shave?
What I imagine in the mirror. “Come here, boy, I’m gonna make you a man!”

Along with my self esteem improving, I should save a ton of money!   I won’t buy the “creams & emollients” that will make me 10 years younger (which I buy after viewing the infomercials at 3AM on  television)!    I have boxes and bottles on shelves in the linen closet.  I’ve been moisturized, peeled, smoothed, buffed, sand-blasted, tightened, acid-washed, wrapped, Botoxed, Juvadermed and bleached!   Results have been sketchy at best.   If I don’t see it, I won’t be bothered anymore!  Here are some of my more ridiculous purchases:

A 500 piece infomercial collection of anti-aging products with extremely scientific formulas all for the low price of $19.99 and they included a vacuum.
A 500 piece infomercial collection of anti-aging products with extremely scientific formulas all for the low price of $19.99 and it includes a vacuum cleaner.
This is a highly secret compound that diminishes fine lines and wrinkles. Hubs used it to smackle a hole in the wall.
A dermatological (not tested on animals because they were worried about killing them) solution to decrease size and color of age spots. By putting the Clinical reference in the name, we are supposed to think a scientist developed this and pay more.
A magical elixir put in gold bottles and jars containing a minute amount of golden Bedazzler sparkles so we will pay thousands of dollars and think we look better after we use it.

Because I love to read, I started thinking about talking books and so many images crossed my mind, I have to share them with you.  I pictured Julia Child reading the sex scenes from my favorite romance novel.  Think about her voice….

“I thought about other men I’d seen naked, but I picked the one on the right because he was the biggest!”
“It’s never easy to find the correct sized orifice in which to fit a big one. However, I persevered with humongously satisfying results!”
“He grabbed my ankles and spread my legs as far as they would go. Then he stuffed me like a Thanksgiving turkey.”

I could also picture Sam Heughan reading my recipe book so I can still “cook”.  Just imagine that Scottish brogue and that deep voice.

Take the butter and rub it all over the skin of the chicken slowly, so it will get crisp and brown on the outside while remaining moist and tender on the inside. Yum!
Take the butter and rub it all over the skin of the chicken slowly, so it will get crisp and brown on the outside while remaining moist and tender on the inside. Yum!
It is important to sample a bit of the prepared food before you lay it on the table. Little bites and licks here and there will assure a delicious outcome.
“It is important to sample a bit of the prepared food before you lay it on the table. Little bites and licks here and there will assure a delicious outcome.”

I thought about my Twitter fun and realized I could use voice activated messaging. However with Autocorrect there could be some interesting results. 

Original: I see Sam thinks we're number one.
Original: I see Sam thinks we’re number one.
Autocorrect: I see Sam sucks his thumb.
Autocorrect: I see Sam sucks his thumb.


Original: He looks cold and naked.
Original: Sam looks cold and naked.
Autocorrect: Him being naked is getting old.
Autocorrect: Sam being naked is getting old.

Which is clearly something I would never say!     Another TW problem would be others overhearing convos I might not want to share.  As it is, Hubs thinks I’m having a seizure if I laugh out loud at a convo.  Usually he just runs in, stuffs a padded tongue depressor in my mouth and walks away. If he heard the convo I was laughing at…..

@Norma D
@Norma D “Did U ever notice how one nipple is higher than the other?”
@Mr. Deville “Is the floor tilted? @Norma D. Nope. We’d see more of the Netherlands.
@Norma D Where is Cait's left leg? @M. Demille Is there a hole in the bench?
@Norma D “Where is Cait’s left leg?”
@M. Demille “Is there a hole in the bench?”

So, mid-September I will be having surgery on both eyes.  I hope to see things a little clearer both mentally and physically.  I just wanted everyone to know there can be a good and funny side to almost anything if you have the right attitude!  Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you drip on the floor, slip and fall.    Here’s looking at you, Fritters!

Wrinkled Sex

Shame on me, I have avoided the subject of sex for old people for too long.  Actually, I’ve tried to avoid the subject my whole life but what happens when I retire? I start writing a blog and become Norma D, so everyone expects me to talk sex. After all, I am the original cougar!

What do you mean I’m too old for you! I’ve got the body of a 40 year old! I even put on my tartan bow turban to look younger!
Look at those pecs! Come here boy, I’m gonna make you a man!
You know you want me! I’ll buy you a car! Come to mama!

It’s still commonly thought that “cougar behavior” is terrible, but this is not:

Did you bring my oxygen? I really need my oxygen. Did you bring my Viagra? I really need my Viagra.

I think it is because I don’t feel like an expert. I certainly wasn’t when I was younger.  I knew my husband as a boyfriend from the time I was 15.  I went to a dance (Senior Prom when I was 16) with him.  We were snuggling up in a slow dance and I asked him to move his car keys. When he asked why, I said  it was  poking me in my belly.   His face got red and he said, “That’s not my car keys.”  I looked at him blankly and couldn’t figure out what else could be that hard in his pants pocket or somewhere around that area.    He stammered around and I asked him if I should talk to my Mother about it.  He quickly said “NO!”   So he explained what it was (can you imagine how mortified he was?).

I have a sock puppet in my pants with a wooden head.  Yeah, that's the ticket!
I have a sock puppet in my pants with a wooden head. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

Many years later, hubs got a promotion and I went with him to the party.  I had a few drinks and told the Senior Prom Dance story.  He never lived down the nickname “car keys”.

car keys
Of course his keys were MUCH larger!

In my day sex education had to do with menstruation, fairy tale babies under the cabbage leaves, and lessons like this:

'I just know this lesson is going to be embarrassing.'

It wasn’t till I starred in a college play, that I got the idea.


Of course, I ended up like this:

Is that a baby?  I thought you were just storing up fat for the winter!
Is that a baby? I thought you were just storing nuts for the winter!

We married and stumbled along through the mysteries of sex, not always as smoothly as one expects! After almost 50 years we still say, “What’s that?”  It’s still a learning process. When we read “50 Shades of Grey”  (separately) we both came out of our respective reading rooms looking like this:


So, here I am trying to act like an expert on aging, and writing about a very important aspect of human life. The pleasure and pain of sex as we age.  (Are you scared yet?)

Some Warnings that Can Apply at Almost any Age

  • Don’t compare your sex life to the Jamie and Claire sex on Outlander
We think we need to try that leg straddle lock position again. It seemed a little awkward.

Those two people are actors who spend over 20 hours per week to stay in optimal shape for nude  scenes!  If they make a mistake, they get a do-over.  They have ease of access because both characters go commando.  Every move is planned.  There is no mess.  They don’t have to show what they don’t want to show. It’s a closed set (no children peeking in).   The lighting and camera angles are outstanding. And those scenes take one to two weeks to film!   Get Real!


  • Sex at any age takes humor.  I recall a great story about my oldest daughter.  She was about 3 and we had been visiting neighbors where she fell asleep. We carried her home and put her in bed.  Hubs was in an amorous mood, and our bedroom was a short way down the hall.  I said, “Ok. But be quiet.  She’s not fully asleep yet.” We got into bed, pulled the sheet over us and proceeded.   Sometime during our engagement, she must have peeked into the bedroom. Later, when I got up to check on her, she was wimpering in her bed.  I asked her what was wrong.  She said, “Where were you?  I couldn’t find you! Were you downstairs?”  Well, I was on the bottom so I said, “Yes, I was downstairs.” Then she said, “And what was wrong with Daddy?  He was jumping on the bed?  Did he have an itch?”  I said, “Yes he did (wink, wink).  She went back to sleep.  The next day, when hubs picked her up from the Christian Day Care she attended, she got into the car with him.  He was tired and concentrating on traffic.  She was chattering away as usual.  She said accusingly, “I saw you last night, Daddy!” He said, “Yea, I know.”  She said, “You were jumping on the bed!  Did you have an itch?”  He said, “Yea, yea, I had an itch.”  She said with import, “You know, if you wipe yourself better, you won’t itch!”  True story! 

blue bearred bear

Can you imagine her convo at the Christian Day Care Center that day? Humor is a necessity in  life and even more so as you age!

  • Old people having sex is not funny or foolish or laughable.  No one minds wrinkles if they both have them!  Intimacy is not date and time stamped (it never expires).   Mostly dead is still slightly alive.   Have fun and don’t worry about what other people think.


  • The decision to have or not have sex is highly personal as you age.   Many factors can affect sexual activity.  If the couple are satisfied with their sexual relationship (whatever that is or isn’t) is all that matters.  No amount of Viagra or Rephresh can force a partner to participate.   No still means no and yes still means yes!  Everyone just has to get on the same page!  Suffice it to say, if you’ve had a good sexual partnership throughout your life together, it shouldn’t become unsatisfying as you age.  There’s an old joke about an old couple passing each other in a hallway.  The wife says, “F–k you, old man!”  The Husband says, “F–k you. old lady!”  Then they agree that oral sex is still good at 90. 


  • I can see this will need more investigation.  I wish they would have written, “50 Shades of Grey Hair”.  But they didn’t so, for now you have me.  A definite case of:


A Touch of Dementia Part 2

Earlier I posted some important information about Dementia. I promised a series of articles, so I am continuing.  I hope the information I shared was helpful to someone and that you enjoyed my take on this complex issue. The next point I wanted to address is:

It’s not always the end of the world if you get an irreversible memory disorder.

What? It’s not the end of the world?  What will I do? What will my family do?  How can I live like that? 

Here are some important steps to take now, before you have a diagnosis or if you are in very early stages.

1.  Get Long Term Care Insurance – You can make money!!! Purchasing early results in lower premiums.


LTC insurance allows you and your family to have choices for your care.  Most policies offer a daily payment for whatever form of assistance you decide you need (home care, assisted living or nursing home.)  This extends your available money and lets you choose what works best for your needs.  My Mom got hers when she was 63 and paid about $3,100.00 a year which came to $65,100.   She started collecting money at 84.

My Mother received $200 + per day while she was in an assisted living for two years.  That came to about $160,000 and she paid $72,000 for room and board.

So:     72,000 + 65,100 =  $137,100

         160,000 – 137,100 = $22,900 profit.

She made money and was comfortable where she wanted to be for the remainder of her life.   (And her estate was not touched).  Squawk Box celebrated!

2.  Get your legal life in order while the attorney still thinks your competent (if he/she ever did).

If you live long enough to need supportive care after you can no longer make competent decisions, then get your wishes on file.  Wills, Estates, Trusts. Health Care Surrogacy, Living Wills, and other suggestions to add to your attorneys fees are important to execute.  (Please refer to My Mostly Dead Living Will posting on this site.)  Elderlaw Attorneys (rather than Johnny Cochran criminal type or 1-800- Ask Gary attorneys) are knowledgeable about what you will need.


3.  Say all of the good things you want to your family and friends now.  They will take better care of you later.  And as your inhibitions decrease….you’ll say all the bad stuff and not be responsible for it!  Win-Win in my book.


4.  Keep all of your Diana Gabaldon Outlander Books handy.  One way to appear “normal” is to read books.  With irreversible confusion you are often caught reading the same book and even the same page over and over.  Since this will not be any different from how you read them today, no one will notice!


5.  At some point, you will never be responsible for anything that happens to you or that you do yourself.

A good example of this is when you begin to hide everything to put them in a safe place for later.  It can be anything from donuts to false teeth, to thousands of dollars.   You immediately can dream up the most outlandish reasons for these items being missing, and you will believe them.  To hell with what everyone else says.  You have the answer.


6.  You grow younger over time and your addictions don’t matter!

One of the side effects of dementia is that you grow younger in your mind over time.  Your behavior reverts back to child like maneuvers. So, if you want your teddy bear with you, someone better make sure you have it or the tantrum begins!  If you have Twitter incontinence, it will be blamed on your baby like level of self control.   In addition addictions no longer matter.  If you have sex and want to do it again, people blame it on your memory.  If you eat chocolate over and over…you got it…Memory!    If you buy 10 copies of the latest magazine with Sam Heughan on the cover,  Memory again!  Another win-win.

I am not addicted to this man (I don’t know who he is). I have an irreversible touch of dementia. What do you mean I just drooled over him, again? Ridiculous! is he the President?

7.   Last but not least, you will not forget those most important to you. 

Contrary to what others tell you, you may forget the name or how they are related to you, but you don’t forget they belong to you.   As long as those you love know how important it is to have frequent contact with you, and learn to accept the glass half full, you can maintain a meaningful, if different relationship.  What does it matter if you think your daughter is an old friend from school?  If you take all the past out of the interaction and live in the moment, life can still be wonderful!  Love is love is love.

love is love

Please understand, memories are important.  They make you who you are.  But without them, there is still opportunity for life and love.  There is hope. I’ve seen it.

My Mostly Dead Living Will

During a recent Twitter convo it occurred to me that I needed to enhance the instructions in my Living Will.   I know that everyone who is aging (which is everyone unless you are already dead) has a Living Will to address your end of life care.  joke living willHowever, I realized I needed to add a few instructions that never occurred to me to address in the lawyer’s office.  So here goes and I am being perfectly serious here.

My Mostly Dead Living Will

Mostly Dead

The following instructions are to be followed if I am in an imminently terminal condition and unable to express my wishes under penalty of not getting anything from the REAL will (the one about money, money and more money).

1.  A team of highly trained Homeland Security personnel are to be sent to my home to remove any and all personal salacious material and equipment from my home.  This includes Videos, DVR recordings, erotic books, sex toys, computer sex site searches, dress up outfits, photos, selfies and any other evidence that I may have been a normal sexual human being.  (Please destroy my extensive seminude pictures of Sam Heughan and others of his ilk.)  After the team has destroyed the evidence, they are to be killed.  NO ONE MUST EVER KNOW.


2. Cancel any and all pending computer orders including those for clothing, shoes, purses, make up, books, videos, computer games, doggie dress up outfits, kitchen gadgets, magazines,  QVC shit, etc.  If my Dear Husband sees anything, he’ll keel over (and then you’ll have to start all over for his stuff related to Number 1). 

  Hair Care Purse th4EQ32CMQ thDFA89Z65  thS6GTBRI1


3.  Pack up all clothes that are not in my walk in closet.  This includes the ones in the double closet in guest bedroom, the boxes of clothes in the attic and at the storage unit, the bags of clothes ready for Good Will, the bags of things in the trunk of my car,  all sport related apparel, shoes and costume jewelry.   Again,  this is a preventative measure for hubs.  You might want to return the items with the tags still on.  Be sure to put that expensive gown in the Dry Cleaner storage on me BEFORE I’m cremated.

stacked boxes th1UH3G9UY th4IXBBQOU th6ZN4OFBA th07C8KGUG

4.  Get rid of all exercise & Weight loss equipment including Sweating to the Oldies Videos, Exercise balls, treadmill (take the clothes off of it and put them with the other clothes in #3), Thighmaster,  Weight Watcher Cook Books, Atkins powdered shake maker, Juicer, Pedometer, sketchers butt builder shoes, Yoga for Dummies video,  Nutrisytem menu planner, Stop the Insanity Program,and anything else you find.  I am a stellar weight loss expert.  I have lost over 1000 pounds in my lifetime.  You should start a museum.  (Another hysterical post for the future).

You can’t imagine what happened when the band snapped.


Ran in my bathrobe, tie got caught in the tread.
Ran in my bathrobe, tie got caught in the tread.
Has anyone ever had the air go out of this?


Started on the left, got to the middle, went back to the left!

5,   Finally, and most important:   The plug cannot be pulled before Diana Gabaldon finishes her last Outlander Series Book.  (She is currently working on #9). I request that the series on talking books be put on a loop at my bedside.   Hearing is the last sense to go and I have to know what happens to Jamie and Claire.  If necessary I will agree to artificial life support . 


Now think about what you’d want to hide, if you croaked tomorrow.

A Touch of Dementia


I think one of the things people fear most about aging is “losing my mind” aka Alzheimer’s Disease aka Dementia aka Senility aka “Sometimers “aka “out to lunch” aka “the porch light’s on but nobody is home” and on and on.  This will not be an easy article.  There is so much to share, I need to begin with the truths,

Here are some truths:

  • If you know you forgot, you don’t have it (Continued from my last article)
  • It is not “normal” for old people to become confused.
  • It’s not always the end of the world if you get irreversible memory disorder.
  • This will be a series of articles because there is so much to say about it, and I can’t remember it all today.

If you know you forgot, you don’t have it! (Continued)

In my last posting on the Art of Aging, “Help I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Remember What I Did with My Keys!” I talked about normal human  forgetfulness.  I want to share a favorite story about a person I knew with “a touch of dementia” to illustrate the difference between “normal” forgetfulness and irreversible confusion.

A lovely lady named Janet moved into my dementia care assisted living.  She dressed nicely, did self-care well, spoke sensibly, fed herself, and could find her way around the building quite well.    My staff said, “I don’t think she belongs here.”   Many times.  Then Janet would demonstrate she really did belong.

One day I ran into Janet and she was very upset.  I asked what was wrong, and she said that she had no money and her banker wouldn’t return her calls.  I contacted her banker and he told me that she had not called him.  So,  I went to my copier, and illegally printed several dollars (in black and white on one side only).  Then I cut them out and put them in an envelope.   My staff looked at me like I was crazy (they did that often).  I found Janet, handed her the envelope, and said, “Your banker stopped by and left this for you.”

After she peeked inside, she said to me, “Where is Mary (our Activity Director)?  I want her to keep this in a safe place for when I need it.”   She never asked for money again.   My staff could not believe that she didn’t notice that the money was patently fake!

Probably could have used this and avoided the stay in Federal Prison.
Probably could have used this and avoided the stay in Federal Prison.

Janet also visited me once a week.  She went to the access door that led to our front lobby, where my office was.  She would knock on the door until someone opened it.  She would come in my office, sit in the chair and say (every time), “I have to go back home.  I don’t belong here.  I only have a” touch of dementia”.   I volunteer for my church and I need to drive my neighbor around town.  I want to settle my bill and then go.”  I would tell her not to worry about the final bill.  I would send it to the bank and they would take care of it.  She would thank me, tell me what a wonderful place it was, hug and kiss me, and then ask to go back inside the secured area.

There are so many things that indicate I was dealing with more than “a touch of dementia”.  She didn’t remember that she didn’t drive anymore and her neighbor had died. The neighbor had driven Janet around.  The most telling action however, was the fact that she went right back into a secured area and didn’t even get upset.  Would a normal person go back inside?  No, they would walk out of the building as fast as they could.  She never did.

When I accepted another position, Janet was still there.  A couple of years later the facility had an anniversary and invited me to participate in the celebration.  I went to see Janet as soon as I knew she was still alive.   Janet’s disease had progressed a bit.  After a few minutes she recognized me (not my name, but that I was the “boss”).  She said, “I’m so glad I found you!  You know,  I have to get home.   I don’t belong here.  I only have a touch of dementia.“  We had a wonderful conversation, hugged and kissed, and she waved goodbye as I walked through the door from the secured area.  That was the last time I saw her.

I'm all packed up and headed home.  Not sure what I'll do or even where it is, but I'm going.
I’m all packed up and headed home. Not sure what I’ll do or even where it is, but I’m going.  Did I pack my bananas?

Clearly there is a vast difference between irreversible confusion and “a touch of forgetfulness.”

Under no circumstances is it normal for people to become confused, even if you’re 100.

I know I never forget, but I forgot what I'm supposed to remember!
I know I never forget, but I forgot what I’m supposed to remember!

If you forget anything, never forget this:   If you or someone you know suddenly becomes confused get them medical attention immediately.   There are treatable causes of confusion.

Here are a few but not all causes of reversible confusion:

Reaction to a Prescribed Medication – All Treatable

  • Dosage of medication is too high or low
  • Level of medication in the bloodstream (i.e. digitalis) is not at therapeutic level.
  • Adverse reaction to new medication

Medication Misuse

I said Drug Misuse not Drug Abuse!
I said Drug Misuse not Drug Abuse!

We all get medications for different illnesses.  Some are short term, for instance an anti-inflammatory for back pain.   When the illness ends, we stop the medications, but what do we do?  Put it in the medicine chest (just in case we might need it later) because it was expensive and worked so well.   Several years later your back acts up and you remember the magic pills in the cabinet.  However, the medication may be expired or might interact adversely with new medications you may have. Preventable.

With ongoing medications for chronic illnesses. Misuse can be missing doses or accidental overdose.  It could also be that we take our pills at inconsistent times.    Treatable.

Other Vitamin or Mineral Imbalances:   You’ve all heard of Vitamin D deficiency, well other imbalances can cause temporary confusion.  Treatable.

Post Anesthesia Reaction:    Sometimes people become severely confused after having anesthesia for surgery.   This is not normal.  Report it to your physician.  Treatable.

I cant stop laughing at the elevator walls closing in on me after I had oral surgery.
I cant stop laughing at the elevator walls closing in on me after I had oral surgery.

Brain Tumor: Confusion can be a symptom of a brain tumor.  A brain tumor can be removed.  You can get better!  Treatable.

Poor Nutrition:  Lots of people skip/ forget meals (especially under stress or depression).   If it’s done too often, confusion can be a result of poor nutrition.  Treatable.

Dehydration:  Inadequate fluid intake can cause confusion. Treatable

Electrolyte Imbalance:  A symptom of this is confusion.  Treatable

Lack of Oxygen/ Poor Circulation:    Self-explanatory and treatable.

Thyroid Deficiency:   Self-explanatory and treatable.

Head Injury:  Self-explanatory and treatable.

Infections:  One of the first symptoms of an infection in the elderly is sudden confusion or a fall.  Treatable.

I've fallen and I can't remember where my alarm is.  I must have an infection too!
I’ve fallen and I can’t remember where my alarm is. I must have an infection too!

Changes in routine or environment:   Have you ever become confused when you travel and wake up in a different room?  Change can cause sudden confusion for older folks.   Treatable!

Depression – Can cause confusion.   Treatable

Recent Loss of a Significant Person (Grief) –   Self-explanatory and treatable.

The only way to determine if your confusion is treatable, is to see your physician and have some tests done.

Let me remind all of you that I am not a Doctor or a Nurse.  I am simply a person who has spent a lot of time around permanently confused people.  They say that I am one of them which translates to “You get me!”  I hope something you read here is helpful.  By the way, do you know where I put my glasses.  I can’t see what I wrote.   Oh well,  it will have to do. I need a nap.

           The End
The End

Help I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Remember What I Did with My Keys!

Think about all of those times when you can’t remember a name, a date, an event, the name of an object, where you put your car keys, what date it is, if you took your pills, where you left your shoes, your bosses’ wife’s name, where you put your car in the mall parking lot, and countless other things we forget.  No matter how many times this happens, if you know you forgot, you don’t have it.  You should say, “It’ll come to me later.”  In the middle of the night, you wake up and say “Helen, that’s my boss’s wife’s name!” Then you breathe a sigh of relief and fall back to sleep. But “Normal People” (NP) don’t always handle things that well when they forget.

Even those with early stages of irreversible dementia, don’t cope very differently than NP when memory loss occurs.  They deny, they confabulate, they blame others, they get paranoid, they get angry, they panic and many other behaviors.  Here are some examples:

“I can’t find my car keys because my wife has stolen my dog”.   Not a logical response but one that is used to cope with the stress of the disease.  If the person can come up with a reason, he can stop worrying.  No amount of explanation from others will change his mind.  NPs do this too!

Yea, That's the Ticket!
Yea, That’s the Ticket!

“I know I am edgy, and it is because she stole my red silk underwear”.  She never had red silk underwear, nobody has stolen it, but an illogically logical reason for the feeling that something is wrong, can be comforting.  It is a coping technique used when she is afraid.  NP don’t go this far, but can make some pretty strange excuses.

liar gal

The reason people with irreversible confusion need to cope differently, is that unlike NP, they can’t remember at least once ever 3-5 minutes.  It is frightening when that happens.  The best response to this is to listen, validate feelings, use a little therapeutic fibbing, and don’t try to change their minds.  Here’s how to respond, “I know it must upset you that your red silk underwear is missing.   I am sorry that you feel so bad.  What can I do to help? “ She may say, “Call the police!”  I would then say, “The police will need a good description.  Want to help me write one down before I call?”   Within a few minutes, she will forget why she was upset and move on to bigger and better things.


Here is a beautiful true example of a caregiver (Mary) handling an upset person with memory problems.  There was a very tall man (Charlie) who had moved into an assisted living facility for memory impaired people.  He got up in the middle of the night and told the 5’1” Mary, “That’s my car out there in the parking lot and I want my keys right now.  I’m leaving!”  (Reality check – not his car, not his keys, not going anywhere).  Mary said, “I am sorry you’re upset, but there’s a reason you don’t have your keys.”  Charlie said, “Why can’t I have my keys?”   Mary responded,” Your driver’s license is expired.  Tomorrow, we can go take the driving test and get the keys to your car.  Would you like to sit with me and we can practice driving for your test?”  Charlie sat beside Mary and they practiced driving for about 4 minutes.  Charlie said he was tired and finally went back to bed.  When he woke up he had completely forgotten about the incident.  Had Mary argued logic with him, he would have become angry with her and the incident would have escalated.


I have had some of the best times talking with people with dementia.  In my early days in long-term care I was known as the crazy lady who talks with the crazy ladies. I learned that it is better not to stress when you forget things.  Here is a perfect example of not stressing.  One of my best birthdays went like this.  I was running a facility for the memory impaired.   My husband and two friends were taking me to Key West for my birthday.  The Friday before we left, the staff decided to throw  a surprise birthday party for me with the residents.   So here I was, cake cutting and singing completed, a slice of birthday cake in front of me on a plate, stupid hat on my head, , and sitting next to a resident who was enjoying her cake.

I'm sitting here with this stupid hat on eating cake, and you don't know who the party is for? Interesting.
I’m sitting here with this stupid hat hoping no one will light the candles!

Suddenly she looked at me and said quietly, “Whose birthday is it?”  I said, “It’s my birthday!”  She said, “Really?”  She stood up and joyfully started singing the Happy Birthday Song.  Everyone joined in, applauded, and returned to eating cake.   About 2 minutes later, she leaned toward me and said quietly, “Whose birthday is it?”  I said, “It’s my birthday!”  She said, “Really?” She stood up and joyfully started singing the Happy Birthday Song AGAIN.    Everyone joined in, applauded, and returned to eating cake.  About 2 minutes later, you guessed it, she asked again.  By the time I left for my trip she had sung the Happy Birthday Song at least 5 times.

Grounhog Day
Ground Hog Day

When our friends and I got on the plane to fly to Key West, I told them the story and we all laughed.  After we arrived in Key West and started cruising the bars and restaurants, our friends started acting up.  As we went into each business, they said loudly, “Who’s birthday is it?”  I said, “It’s my birthday!”  They  said, “Really?” and joyfully started singing the Happy Birthday Song.  We got free stuff at each place and had the best time we ever had there.  (Of course I had to wear the hat)   I owe it all to my very sweet happy friend who didn’t mind singing that song over and over.  It was like new, every time.

Episodes of memory loss happen to all ages.  You are born with a certain number of brain cells.  You never get any more and you lose them all the time.  In addition your brain is like a computer and retains all the various information you absorb over time.  Some of that information is vital and some is not.  The not vital stuff is often what you can’t remember.  The name of the star in “Gone with the Wind”  is not vital unless you are on Jeopardy.  Finding an exit during a fire is.  The brain prioritizes.  That’s why we forget things occasionally. Relax. Even if you don’t remember the name of your bosses wife, you can fake it till someone else mentions her name!


I have lots more episodes of being forgetful and you don’t think I’ve lost my mind, do you?