Archive for the ‘Stroke’ Category

Lessons From The Hip

Posted on December 17th, 2014 by karen
Mom celebrating her birthday at rehab.

Mom celebrating her birthday at rehab.

by Kim Keller

I recently received one of those late night phone calls that you just know is full of bad news on the other end.

It was my sister, Karen. Our mom had been out with her girlfriends that evening, and she fell in the restaurant as they were leaving. Her friends rushed her to the emergency room where Mom was told she had fractured her hip and now required surgery.

Never the news you want to hear, especially right before the holidays. And, no matter how many times Karen and I have needed to help one of our parents through a health ordeal, and despite the years we’ve spent on In Care of Dad, detailing helpful caregiving protocols, we still feel the initial panic that overwhelms every son and daughter when their parents are suddenly injured or become seriously ill.

Luckily for us, our training kicked in fairly quickly, and we were able to apply the same basic principles we’ve been preaching these last four years. And that gives us considerable satisfaction on two levels: firstly, because we know our mom is now in good hands and on her way to recovery, and, secondly, because it tells us once again that the procedures and tips and guidelines we’ve been recommending here are indeed helpful and instructive.

But there’s always something new to learn and to share, and this time was no different. Here are some of the highlights:

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Getting Your Affairs In Order

Posted on July 27th, 2014 by karen

Caregivers Get Organized

by Kim Keller

You can peek beneath or behind nearly any object in my mother’s home, and you’ll find a little piece of masking tape with someone’s name written neatly across it.

“This is from my great aunt, Mary Priest, who was a Methodist missionary,” Mom explained, cutting a piece of tape for a little carved coconut that’s been fashioned into a decorative container. I’ve always loved this item, so I made sure my name was on the masking tape. “Mary brought it back from Japan in 1881!”

My mom loves organization. Keeping things orderly gives her a sense of peace and comfort. She also enjoys knowing that, when it’s her time to go, she is passing along the things she loves in an orderly fashion.

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Mind Games: Strengthening Your Brain

Posted on February 19th, 2014 by karen visual

For the next few weeks, we are featuring some of our favorite blogs from years past. This entry was first published by In Care of Dad on August 11, 2011.


by Karen Keller Capuciati

So who doesn’t have a story about their own silly forgetfulness? Searching for your eyeglasses when they’re on top of your head? Forgetting you placed a cup of coffee on top of your car as you pull out the driveway? Or, in my case, leaving my new iPhone on top of my Jeep as I drove off.

Now that was dumb!

My first thought is always the same: Wow, this must be the onset of dementia. But the truth is usually less dramatic. More often than not, we’re simply doing too many things at once and just too distracted for our own good.

Whatever the reason, wouldn’t it be cool to actually strengthen our brains? To be proactive in maintaining, and even expanding, our cognitive abilities? Current research on the topic indicates that brain capabilities can be improved at any age, which is a huge relief for those of us getting into age brackets where forgetfulness is an everyday battle.

Well, there’s a website called that’s full of innovative games created specifically to “reclaim your brain.” The games are fun and scientifically tested to focus the brain in the following areas:

  • Speed: thinking faster, processing quickly.
  • Flexibility: multi-task efficiently, thinking creatively.
  • Memory: improving name recall, remembering more.
  • Problem Solving: improving quantitative reasoning.

The games are designed to gauge your level of brain functioning, and they increase in difficulty as you progress. Points are attained to help you establish your own personal goals.

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Coming To A Screen Near You: Telemedicine

Posted on July 25th, 2013 by karen

Jetson's Telemedicine

by Karen Keller Capuciati

Just about every day, around 4pm, our mom makes sure her Skype account is turned on in case her friends call from England. This makes Kim and me smile — a couple years ago, Mom didn’t even want a computer, but now she’s videoconferencing like a pro.

It’s amazing how accessible videoconferencing has become, even among the older, supposedly computer-averse generation. It won’t be long now before videoconferencing is used for all sorts of purposes, including doctor visits. It’s called telemedicine, and it’s already in use in certain limited capacities. Imagine no more rushing to get the doctor’s office on time, no more waiting room with bad, out-of-date magazines, none of the stress that often comes with those sterile-smelling examination rooms filled with scary, invasive equipment.

In short, we’re talking about doctors being able to discuss, consult, diagnose and even treat patients while still in their pajamas. The patient, that is. This also means that patients can have medical monitoring of vital signs like heart rate, temperature and blood pressure done at home while the doctor reads the results in his or her office.

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Essential Hospital Discharge Planning

Posted on February 21st, 2013 by kim


by Kim Keller

“Nearly one-fifth of Medicare beneficiaries — roughly 2 million beneficiaries per year — discharged from a hospital return within 30 days,” according to the Medicare Payment Advisory commission.

That’s a frightening, and preventable, statistic. One major factor is poor discharge planning. The process is often rushed and slapdash, and fails to protect patients from relapsing and winding up back in the hospital.

That’s why Karen and I felt pretty fortunate that our mom’s recent stay at Shands Cancer Hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville was professional from top to bottom, with a well-considered discharge process.

It’s critical to get this step right. So, whether your own local hospital does this well or not, it’s a good idea to have a discharge checklist ready when you find yourself in this position. Here’s the one we rely on:

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Ten Tips For Mindful Holiday Eating

Posted on November 20th, 2012 by karen

by Karen Keller Capuciati

I have always been interested in learning about nutrition.  Over the last few years I’ve become more aware of the benefits of an alkaline-producing diet — essentially consuming more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while avoiding the acid-forming foods like meat, sugar and refined, processed foods like those that feature white flour or high-fructose corn syrup. I have heard fascinating accounts, one after another, of people who have stopped, and even reversed the course of, cancer, heart disease and autoimmune disorders with a plant-based (alkaline) diet treatment.

This became even more critical in my life when I was recently diagnosed with osteopenia, a lower than normal bone mineral density that can lead to osteoporosis.  My doctor recommended I read Food and Our Bones, by Annemarie Colbin.  This book, which I highly recommend, dispelled my previous inclination to “eat dairy for stronger bones.” Instead, the author confirms everything I have been reading of late — eat an alkaline, plant-based diet to reverse bone loss. This was the message I needed to finally take action with my current diet.

Starting slowly, I began to make little changes.  I started with getting a juice from time to time at the organic food store. It should be noted that these did not go down easy at first, but I kept trying new vegetable combinations and I’ve found a favorite: kale, celery, apple and lemon.  I tried new grains to replace pasta (which is generally made with refined flour). I replaced a sugary scone in the afternoon with sliced apple pieces and almond butter.  Little by little, I became thoroughly comfortable with these changes. I’m also happy to report that my husband Peter, who previously wielded a variety of arguments why we must eat meat and cheese, has enthusiastically joined me on the Eat Plants Crusade.

So, as we enter the holiday season, here are ten ideas to engage and maintain healthy eating habits:

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Essential Oils: A Gift Of Love And Wellness

Posted on November 8th, 2012 by karen

by Karen Keller Capuciati

It has been awhile since we published a “Gifts and Gadgets” article. But it’s November already — time to start thinking about those on your gift list. My sister Kim and I started a tradition years ago, which is to buy “our favorite things” as gifts. The idea is to simply exchange those items that we found added value to our own lives, whether it was a small luxury like a body cream, a book we couldn’t put down, or a gadget that made life just a little bit easier.

So, this year, I’m putting essential oils on the top of my Christmas list for my sister and my friends (Kim, just forget that you saw this until December 25th).

Essential oils are the aromatic liquids extracted from plants, trees, flowers, seeds and roots. They not only smell amazing, but they’ve been used since biblical times for relieving physical discomforts and calming frayed nerves.

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Posted on October 25th, 2012 by karen

From our garden to our table.


by Karen Keller Capuciati

“Someone has to stand up and say that the answer isn’t another pill. The answer . . . is spinach.”
— Bill Maher

I got a text late last night. A childhood friend told me that her father has lung cancer. It was a terrible shock, and I’m pained to think that someone so wonderful as her dad now has to battle with cancer.

What I wanted to tell her, and everyone dealing with cancer — or heart disease or diabetes, for that matter — is this:

WATCH the documentary, Forks Over Knives, and watch it now, rather than later.

This 90-minute film is chock full of research and firsthand accounts that illustrate a critical central point: Eliminating or reducing the refined, processed and animal foods from our diet can prevent, stop and even reverse serious chronic diseases like those mentioned above.

After watching this film, my husband Peter and I wrote in huge letters on our kitchen blackboard: EAT PLANTS! It was like sticking a flag in the ground to emphasize our commitment, to mark our territorial intent. The facts presented in the film are so persuasive, Peter and I were compelled to make this lifestyle change immediately.

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Ten Stroke Tips: Getting An Edge On Aphasia

Posted on August 1st, 2012 by kim

by Kim Keller

On the morning of September 14, 2009, Karen and I got a phone call from Marcella, one of our mom’s closest friends. She was distraught, urgently trying to explain that she just arrived at our mother’s house and there was something terribly wrong with Mom.

Marcella handed the phone over to our mother who couldn’t quite express what was wrong. She was struggling to find the right words. That little exchange was enough for us to know what was happening. We told Marcella to please get Mom to the hospital right away — she was having a stroke!

Karen and I were shocked, of course. Our mom seemed perfectly healthy, and we just didn’t see this coming. All we could do was cry together when Mom’s doctor finally confirmed our fears.

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Earthing: Can Our Planet Heal Us?

Posted on June 5th, 2012 by karen

Earthing Free of Charge
by Karen Keller Capuciati

You know when you spend a day at the beach with your feet in the sand and swimming in the ocean and you feel so relaxed, yet energized?  What if you learned that, instead of the power of the warm sunshine, it was the direct connection you had with the Earth that made you feel that way?

Clinton Ober, co-author of Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?, hypothesizes that direct exposure to the planet surface, through some form of tangible contact, provides health benefits.  His initial research has inspired a series of studies that are indeed supportive of his theory.

Geologists acknowledge that the surface of the Earth is teeming with a natural electrical energy continually replenished by the sun and an average of 5,000 lightning bolts striking the planet every single minute, not to mention the energy produced and radiated outward from the Earth’s molten core.  Ober believes that when we come into direct contact with this earthly energy — a principle now popularized as Earthing — it provides genuine healing properties.

It’s becoming evident to researchers in this area that since we’ve lost this natural groundedness, our immune systems have become dysfunctional.  They believe we have deprived ourselves of this essential healing energy by living in buildings insulated from our planet’s energy.  Even when we’re outside our insulated homes, we wear shoes that restrict contact with the Earth.  Once upon a time man walked barefoot and slept on dirt floors, and while that might not have been the height of civilized society, Earthing proponents would argue that our more primitive ancestors received more of the Earth’s essential healing properties than we do today.

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