I was old enough to vote in my first presidential election in 1972 when I was 21 years old. I voted Democratic then and since then I have always voted for the Democratic candidate often as a perceived lesser of two evils. I voted for Hillary Clinton last year not because she was a good candidate or a good person (in my judgment) but she was better than Mr Trump who was the most extreme political presidential candidate since George Wallace and the most “out of it” candidate since Ross Perot. Before I could vote, I lived through the presidencies of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon’s first term.
I have a neurodegenerative condition that makes me almost uncontrollably anxious at times, obsessive-compulsive at others, and not particular good at decision making. But more than ever, I think that Trump’s Fake Populism is a horrible way to run the USA and the World and I am pretty sure that in spite of cognitive decline my perceptions of Trump are accurate.
Trump’s behavior makes me very anxious and deeply concerned about the USA I will be leaving behind soon. A lot of Americans (according to recent polls, the majority) share my concerns that Trump is an extremely bad President.
I would personally feel much better if the USA required its presidential candidates to take non-partisan medical, neuropsychological, and psychological evaluations before assuming office and annually. My belief is that a group of actively practicing medical doctors enlisted in the Uniformed Services of the United States could make an overall assessment of an individual’s fitness to be “the most powerful person on earth” and commander in chief of the world’s largest army and largest biggest nuclear arsenal, as well as the architect and steward of the world’s largest budget. I note that medical doctors and other healthcare professionals in the US Uniformed Services have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. It is reasonable to expect that the medical practitioners of the United States Uniformed Services can use due diligence and state-of-the-art medical skills to ensure that an individual honored with the duties of the President of the United States is physically and mentally fit to deal with the stresses of the job. I also note that 14 members of the 115th US Congress (2017-2019) are physicians (and 2 are Democrats while 12 are Republicans) and that I have confidence that their medical ethics and competence in medicine would permit a nonpartisan panel to oversee such an assessment (even though I vote as a very liberal Democrat). Perhaps Mr Trump has a medical condition affecting his ability to perform the duties of his office or perhaps he is just a bigoted, narcissistic, incompetent jerk who is quite successful at manipulating the voters of the USA, even without the assistance of Mr Putin and his hackers.
Is my cognitive decline causing my perceptions to slip in their accuracy or are my observations accurate descriptions of living for several months in #TrumpWorld?
Click on the image to expand.
Note. None of the 14 physicians in the current Congress has formal training in neurology. Since a neurological assessment is an important part of a medical exam for a 70-year old person, independent neurologists of either political party should also be part of a supervisory and assessment panel.
I have been living with dementia since formal diagnosis in 2010 [and the reality that it started a number of years before that].
Objectively, there is no cure for the neurodegenerative condition I have and generally progression constant.
Subjectively I feel much better now than I did when I was diagnosed.
Over the years, I learned much from other persons living with dementia who live WELL. A number of them write about their experiences in blogs and in groups on Facebook.
I’ve tried to integrate the observations and successes with my training in psychology and practice over 35 years.
I feel better now than I did six years ago. I have medications that do not cure but do help control the symptoms I found most troublesome. I reprioritized my life and focus my energy on those activities most important to me, my family, and others. Even when others cannot fully understand why I do certain things, I take solace in the fact that I have concluded that there is a higher power in the universe and that it is my responsibility to try to understand her and convey what I believe I understand to others.
Click on the image below to see some of the ways I believe one can redirect feelings of anger and despair into living well with dementia and minimize the stress on family and friends.
I love mornings. I wake up with the rush of energy and clarity.
Mid-day, ugh. By 6 PM (dinner) things can be dismal if I did not take a NAP in the afternoon. The most useful naps seem to be those take after lunch.
Evenings can be mundane or great. Certainly not as bad as the afternoons. I need to be careful that I do not stay up too late. If I do, tomorrow afternoon could be worse.
These are MY daily rhythms. They may not be yours (or those of the person in your care). But do watch and see if the time of the day tends to relate to moods and concentration levels and creativity and social skills. When mine get bad, I try to take a nap.
Click on the mind map to expand it.
and here is a “fancier” version (content is identical).
Since 2012, this blog has tried to help persons with dementia and their caregivers learn to use mind maps and other visual thinking tools to simplify the journey through dementia and lessen some of the burdens placed upon caregivers and persons with dementia.
Mind mapping and other visual thinking tools are ways of representing ideas and communicating through pictures and diagrams. In addition to mind maps, other useful visual thinking tools are sketchnotes, doodles, diagrams, and photography.
I focus on mind maps because that is what I primarily use, but sketchnotes and other ways of representing information are also good.
Note that while I use computer programs, you can draw any of these diagrams with a piece of typing paper (if this is not big enough for you, tape a few pieces together), a pencil or pen, and a little care to print legibly. It is best to use a few colored pencils to make the diagram a little clearer but not necessary.
The important part of the diagrams is the organization and the words (ideas) you express.
The mind map below shows some of the people who might benefit from your diagrams including the person with dementia and YOU. Mind maps are a very powerful way of presenting information to others and organizing and remembering your thoughts.
Virtually any kind of information can be presented in a diagram. Here are some examples. As you collect such information you can make it available to others.
Persons with dementia benefit from knowing their schedules and what is coming up. It cuts anxiety. Doctors can absorb information from you rapidly, in context, and accurately. My internist and neurologist like to see them. Family members will like to see what is going on, and this is a way to manage and increase their own involvement in care. Mind maps about what the person with dementia likes and behaves can make your job an easier one for others to assume so that you can have some well-needed respite. Care notes can help everyone know what has been going on for the person with dementia.
Whether these notes are made by a family caregiver and loved one or made by a paid caregiver, they can be invaluable both for maintaining the quality of care and informing others the best ways they can help
My dementia is starting to get to the point where I have a lot of trouble remembering how to spell a lot of words. I am also having increasing difficulty writing a sentence that uses the rules of grammar correctly (not that I was ever really proficient in grammar but once upon a time I wasn’t this bad).
I have been trying the program Grammarly which is a grammar and spelling checker far more sophisticated than anything inside any word processing program (notably Microsoft Word and Apple Pages) that I have used. It also can be used with your blog, Twitter and other social media posts, and lots of other programs on the Mac or PC.
To use Grammarly you must be logged into the Internet. It is also fairly necessary to have a subscription instead of using the trial, free version. Subscriptions are about $12.50 per month depending on how you pay (monthly, quarterly, annually). I think it is well worth it for me. Hopefully, the program will help me trick you into believing that I am maintaining spelling and grammar levels even as I know they are fading without the computer assist.
Want information you created or curated to have the greatest impact? Then put it into a mind map. Not a mono-toned mess of straight lines at right angles but curves with colors and an organic style. A mind map utilizing rules that follow what is fairly well known about visual thinking. A mind map like the one below.