Monday, August 24, 2015

Karaoke Night

Last Friday night, we had our first "big" event for The DEANA Foundation. It was a "Karaoke For a Cause" night and we hosted it at an adult daycare facility in Riverside. I'm feeling so good about the results of this fundraiser that I wanted to share about it with you all!!

To start with, my favorite part of the whole night was being able to recognize and honor my mom. Even though she wasn't there physically, I was able to share with our guests about the woman who has inspired this foundation. It felt great to share some things about my mom and the woman she once was; the person she really is. It's important to me that my mom is remembered-not just for her strange and quirky behaviors from dementia.

We were privileged to have some special guests in attendance: two City Councilmen (one who is retired and one who currently serves Riverside county) as well as Riverside's Chief of Police. They were very happy and supportive of the mission we are trying to accomplish. City Councilman Chris MacArthur even got up and gave some remarks, thanking us for our work. It felt amazing to have their support!

We had a good turn out and all of our guests had a great time. The food was good; our DJ was awesome and kept the party alive. I was surprised at how many people actually got up and did karaoke! There were some really great entertainers in our crowd. We started the karaoke portion off with an opening performance. Our VP (Melissa) my friend (Mickelle) and myself dressed up and sang a song. My good friend, Ember, helped us to rewrite the lyrics to The Spice Girl's "Wannabe" to go along with our purpose for the night. It was silly and a lot of fun. (You can see the video on our facebook page).

So now for the important (and exciting) update. While our numbers haven't been confirmed yet, I can tell you that we raised well over $1,000 that night, which I would say is awesome for our first big event like this! In addition to that money raised, Care Connexxus awarded our foundation a grant that we can award to a family to give them a week of free adult daycare at their facility. Combined with the other money we have raised throughout the year, we are ready to start awarding our caregiving grants this fall!! I am feeling really excited about this! We still have lots of room to grow, but considering we've really only been off the ground and running for about 7 months now, I think this is a very big accomplishment. We anticipate our attendance to double next year and our supporters are already asking about our next event (stay tuned!)

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Steady Decline

A couple of weeks ago, my adopted-daughter got married. There was a wedding and reception here in California, followed by a reception in Colorado the following week (where my new son-in-law is from). My Aunt and cousins live in the same Colorado town as Cameron, so between wedding receptions, we drove out to Colorado and vacationed with family while supporting Maurina and Cameron with their family and friends out there. Needless to say, the past few weeks have been super busy, fun, stressful, exciting...such a mix of emotions!! My heart is so happy when I look at this beautiful picture. I love my family.

It goes without saying that I missed my mom terribly through this whole affair. My thoughts were turned her frequently and her absence was felt in our hearts.

It had been nearly two weeks since I'd seen my mom before my return last week. I wouldn't say that there has been a huge difference in the time that has lapsed, but there seems to be a steady decline week by week. My dad and I were talking the other day about some things that my mom used to fuss over that she no longer pays any interest to. I thought I'd write some of them down, just to mark her progression.

-Mom no longer asks about dyeing her hair. I think that concept is totally gone. She doesn't even talk about needing her hair cut! She used to fuss about having every hair in place as well; most days it looks as if she hasn't even brushed her hair (although I see the efforts being made...she has just lost that skill).
-Mom is losing concept of time and isn't so rigid on her routine. She still does things in "sections" of the day (morning, afternoon, evening) but aside from eating lunch at 12:00 and dinner at 4:30 (even that can slightly vary) she isn't strictly adhering to a schedule. She might nap at 1:00 on one day and 12:00 on another. I find her in bed often, as a matter of fact. She seems more restless these days and bounces around all day from bed to computer, to peering out the front door or window and devising a way to escape. Some days she will take her medicine at the wrong times as well. It isn't too much of a problem since most of her meds are supplements anyway, but a few times she has dropped a pill on the floor and it wasn't discovered until later.
-She will go longer and longer between shower days, to the point where we've now decided to set a shower schedule. On those days, either my dad or I will see that she gets through the shower. She resists and it takes a little force to get her in, but once she's in she knows mostly what to do (even though she uses half a bottle of shampoo every time!!)
-I've noticed that mom isn't using her Bath & Body Works spray anymore. Just a few months ago she was using a few dozen sprays every morning while getting ready (no exaggeration). She still uses the shower gel to wash her hands and moisturize her face (yes, you read that right), but I don't see or smell the body spray anymore. Furthermore, I haven't heard her nag my dad about going to Bath & Body Works in a couple months. I didn't realize that until I started typing. I bet the gals at the store are missing their sales ;)
-Mom's speech is continuing to decline. I've been pretty good at deciphering what she says, but even I am having trouble understanding what she says. I can usually pick out a word or two of what she's saying and make sense of which topic she's speaking of, but there are some times where I am completely confused at what she is trying to tell me.
-Mom still likes her walks, although the only place she ever goes is her sister's house or the Avon lady/friend up the street (I haven't been hearing about her as much the past few weeks though). She used to sprint up the street when we let her out to go walking. Her pace has slowed considerably. She can now sprint only a couple houses before she starts panting. Remarkably, she still insists on walking and getting her exercise, but she makes frequent stops and is panting and sweating by the time she will resign to getting in the car. It makes me nervous to let her walk too far for fear that she'll collapse, so we always have a car following behind to pick her up when she tires.

And there you have it-an update of the changes over the past few months.