In the final years of my father’s life, he suffered with late-stage dementia, and of course that meant his family and everyone around him suffered. All of us were trying to help in any way possible.
My mother was his caregiver, and she took care of him until he passed away at the age of 88.
It was after he was gone when I stumbled upon information from others who shared their stories of reversing their dementia. I began reading and studying, simply because it was hard to believe dementia could be reversed. It was a fascinating subject.
With my studies came the realization that I had often been a witness to the reversal of dementia during my employment as a Registered Nurse in home health and hospice after changes were made in the patient’s plan of care.
A person with dementia can’t think straight. They show signs of memory problems, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.
The word “disease” can be broken down to two syllables – “dis” and “ease” – which simply means the body is not at ease. Where do we find answers? It seems there are three words we should bring into our vocabulary and openly discuss:
2) Toxic, toxin, toxemia
3) Detox, detoxification
If you are experiencing increased forgetfulness – your #1 job is to study the causes and make some changes while you are mentally capable of doing so.
If you have a friend or family member who is showing signs of dementia – your #1 job is to figure it out. You must help them.
Preparing supper is important. Mowing the lawn is important. Running errands is important. But your #1 job is to stop, read, and educate yourself.
In order to achieve health, we need to have an understanding of how our bodies work.
The body runs a detox process 24/7 continuously. We slow the body’s built-in detox actions by allowing disease-causing waste to accumulate; we can never turn off the detox process.
The more we stray from our natural foods, the greater the burden on the body. The greater the burden, the greater the waste load. The greater the waste load, the more disease conditions the cells have to work through, and consequently, the more symptoms of disease we suffer.
What we can control:
1) How much waste is created
2) How much clean water is available to help the body heal and detoxify
3) How much energy the body has available to clean itself
That’s it. How do we control these things? Proper diet, proper hydration, and proper rest.
All conditions of disease require the same path to return the body to a state of wellness. We must remove the cause and remove the burden of wrong foods being consumed so the body can heal itself and remove the waste burden which causes the problems.
If your loved one is experiencing dementia – something is poisoning him or her.
You have the incredible and important job of stopping the progression. Our brains are not supposed to stop working, even in our later years.
Our brains are largely made of fat cells, yet we have been acculturated to believe we are to eat “low fat” and ask what our cholesterol numbers are. Our brains are made of cholesterol. We become demented when our brains lose fat.
Personally, I am choosing to keep the cholesterol in my body just like it is, and not test or worry about numbers. I have chosen to study what causes heart disease.
Making changes is often not a big deal. But not knowing who you are and where you are is a big deal. Not being able to take care of yourself is a big deal.
My father suffered with short-term memory loss and often did not know he was in his own home. He didn’t recognize our mother, but he knew who his children were.
My youngest brother Steven, who has Down syndrome, lived with my parents. Dad couldn’t figure out how Steven’s van driver knew where they were, because Dad thought he was in a different home every day. Dad thought we were moving him to new houses, and he was irritated by it. He often asked the driver of his home-delivered meals how he knew which house to deliver to. Dad wondered how the dining room table was the same table, with the same tablecloth and salt and pepper shakers, no matter what house he was living in for the day.
I realize now that family members may not recognize the signs of dementia. The patient protects himself or herself by staying home more. The spouse becomes aware of problems and often participates in hiding or minimizing them.
Then something happens and the entire family becomes aware. For us, it was the day my dad walked in his socks, with no shoes, to my brother’s house and asked him for a ride home.
I remember stopping at my parents’ home one afternoon and asking Dad where Mom was. He said she went to Special Olympics bowling with the lady who ate lunch with them. I wondered who the lady was. Dad could not think of her name. He was trying hard to recall her name and said “Oh, is she Merle’s cousin? I can’t think.” He also said he had bought a desk for that lady.
I knew my mom was Merle’s cousin, and I knew Dad had purchased a desk for Mom in 1946, and the desk was still in their home.
I realize now I didn’t know any of the true reasons we experience confusion or disease. I was a Registered Nurse and followed the conventional medical model. After discovering what I now refer to as the “natural world,” I began studying. I was fascinated and encouraged by the information I was learning.
Armed with new knowledge, when my mother, at the age of 87, began to report she was experiencing increased forgetfulness, I was able to help her make changes. Not only did she report her memory had improved, she also spoke to us about all the other physical complaints that had resolved.
If you would like to know what I did not know when helping my father – here goes:
*I didn’t know blood sugar issues are a big player in dementia and mood. Both of my parents ate the standard American diet, and both experienced high blood glucose levels. My mother changed her diet, and her blood glucose numbers normalized. Mom needed to learn what “real food” is and is not. It may be safe to say most of us do not know what real food is.
*I didn’t know we do not inherit “dis”ease of the body. I had never read about epigenetics. I didn’t know that DNA is just bricks and mortar. Something is telling the DNA what to build, and that is all that matters.
*I didn’t know nearly all food is laden with artificial colors, flavors, chemicals, and sweeteners that affect the brain and increase confusion.
*I didn’t know why Dad seemed to have good and bad days. I didn’t know his exposure to toxins in his environment and in his food varied somewhat from day to day – making things go well or not so well on that particular day.
*I didn’t know most lotions, colognes, perfumes, make-up, soaps, toothpastes, and shampoos contain toxic chemicals. There are safe alternatives. A way to quickly replace those items is a trip to the local health food store. Get in the car and get it done. Today. Learn what ingredients are considered safe or not safe in every product you consider purchasing and applying to your skin. These measures are true for all of us – no matter what the “dis”ease of our body is.
*I didn’t know he was being exposed to harmful chemicals by those who visited him. Perfumes and lotions make their way into other people by way of the nose and by way of touch. All caregivers and visitors must honor this and stop using perfumes, as well as replace their own personal care items. Our perfumes, aftershaves, deodorant, and lotions profoundly affect us and those around us. Walking past others in a grocery store affects others in a negative way. Chemical injuries are real, and there are those who do not attend church services, meetings, and outings for they know they will be exposed to chemicals and perfumes from those around them.
*I didn’t know we should remove cleaning supplies from the house. Polishes and cleansers remain on surfaces. We touch the surfaces and are exposed to the chemicals again and again. Any kind of air freshener or cleaning spray goes throughout the home and into our lungs. I now agree with those who say bleach should not be in our homes or in businesses. I didn’t know we could clean everything with non-toxic and safe cleaning products like white vinegar, baking soda, and more.
*I didn’t know we could purchase safe laundry detergent. I didn’t know the chemicals in detergents, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets are neurotoxins which are absorbed by our skin 24/7. White vinegar can be used as a fabric softener. I now use wool dryer balls in the dryer.
*I didn’t know the chemicals in nail polishes and nail polish remover leach into our body. If polished nails are important to your loved one, there are some safe nail polishes to consider. Certainly manicures and pedicures can be a way to pamper our loved ones – so reading about this subject and finding a safe polish is something we can do for them.
*I didn’t know I should remove all pesticides and herbicides from the property. There are safe gardening practices that do not compromise our lungs, brain, and over-all health. Organic gardeners know how to get this done and are willing to share their tips.
*I didn’t know we should have put many houseplants in my parents’ home. Plants are fun to purchase and bring life into our homes. Aloe vera and other succulents are easy to care for.
*I didn’t know the harm of Wi-Fi and how to turn it off, especially at night. I didn’t know there is such a thing as radiation poisoning and how harmful wireless phones and cell phones truly are.
*I didn’t know there are nutrients that are essential to the body. I didn’t know a mineral from a vitamin. I didn’t know the difference between an amino acid and an essential fatty acid. It was confusing to me, and I really didn’t want to learn more – but I had to. I didn’t know that our food choices can provide the nutrition we need.
*I didn’t know all disease stems from the gut. I wouldn’t have known how to help him heal.
*I didn’t know it can be a great thing to skip meals. Dad wanted to skip meals. I could have monitored him for low blood sugar levels until we reversed blood sugar issues.
*I didn’t know the benefits of fasting or how to safely start fasting. Intermittent fasting is easy and can simply mean “not eating” for a few more hours each day until we learn more about it. I didn’t know the liver would like a break from the constant work of digestion and detoxification.
*I didn’t know the dangers of oral diabetic medications and even greater danger of injecting insulin into a Type II diabetic, who is already insulin-resistant. A type II diabetic is living with a pancreas that still produces insulin, but their cells can’t use the insulin properly. In other words, the cells of a Type II diabetic are “resistant” to the actions of insulin. Thus the practice of injecting more insulin is not therapeutic. There are many books and online lectures that explain insulin resistance and the difference between Type I and Type II diabetes. The pancreas of a Type 1 diabetic produces little or no insulin, so the act of injecting insulin into a Type I diabetic is appropriate and life-saving. Dr. Jason Fung, M.D. has authored several books that are helpful to those who need to read more. Dr. Fung also offers many free online lectures.
*I didn’t know Type II diabetes has been renamed as “processed food disease.”
*I didn’t know some researchers refer to Alzheimer’s as Type III diabetes.
*I didn’t know scientists had discovered the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Just as we have a respiratory system, cardiovascular system, and nine other systems, we have an endocannabinoid system. The ECS is involved in sleep, appetite, pain, inflammation, memory, and mood. Easy dietary changes to support endocannabinoid brain signaling would be the addition of flax or hemp seeds on a salad or in smoothies as well as an increase in Omega 3 fatty acids.
*I didn’t know we can “tox” ourselves out and create chronic inflammation in our bodies. I didn’t know chronic inflammation can be thought of as a fire going on inside the body – a fire that tears up our healthy tissue, including tiny blood vessels. This is why chronic inflammation is an indicator for heart disease, stroke, and basically every “disease.” All disease is toxemia. We are poisoning ourselves.
*I didn’t know that “comfort food” is not comforting to the body. A quick internet search for an anti-inflammatory diet leads us to a list of foods that are easy to incorporate into the diet. Got blueberries? How about avocados and tomatoes? There are foods that create an acidic blood pH and foods that alkalinize the blood pH. Alkaline is what we want.
*I didn’t know we should have opted for organic produce in order to avoid synthetic pesticides and herbicides that are found in abundance in non-organic produce. We eat it, our brains cannot handle it, and we experience increased confusion.
*I didn’t know gluten makes the gut more permeable, which allows proteins to get into our bloodstream and adversely affects our over-all wellness. There are many online recipes that incorporate the use of gluten-free flour.
*I didn’t know the body doesn’t know what to do with processed food, which I have heard is better referred to as “artificial food.” My dad’s house was full of processed food, snacks, and treats we felt he should enjoy. I didn’t know the standard American diet is mostly processed foods that make putting out the fires of inflammation nearly impossible.
*I didn’t know a healthy fat from an unhealthy fat. I believed the false “information” the industry continues to teach and promote.
*I didn’t know what an Omega 3 essential fatty acid was. I didn’t know anything about the 6s and the 9s, either.
*I didn’t know what the word “essential” means in the world of nutrition.
*I didn’t know our cells cannot be fooled. I do know I can be fooled.
*I didn’t know dementia is often medication-induced. I didn’t know prescription and over-the-counter drugs simply mask symptoms, and will eventually cause organ damage that can lead to the need for dialysis. I didn’t know drugs deplete essential nutrients and energy from our bodies and affect the body’s ability to rid itself of everyday toxic exposures.
*I didn’t know to insist upon a medication reduction schedule. I could have safely weaned my father from all drugs with the assistance of the physicians who put him on them. I did know the pharmacist could have been involved in advising the safest way to wean from every drug. I did know I could have looked the information up myself. I do know I would have had the final say in my father’s care.
*I didn’t know it doesn’t matter what 17-letter diagnosis gets assigned to our symptoms. All of us can reverse our body’s breakdown. My mother regained her health at the age of 87 and loved to tell her story to others. I now know the body has a way of healing itself.
*I didn’t know sugar is a relatively new development in the history of the human diet, and the body is not designed to handle it. When forced to metabolize sugar, the body compensates, but the results are catastrophic to our health. I didn’t know sugar is more addictive than cocaine.
*I didn’t know what can be found in tap water: pharmaceutical drugs, heavy metals, antibiotics, chlorine (which is corrosive to the human body) and more. Tap water is chlorinated water that travels through metal pipes. Our bodies need soft, healing water. There are many options including water filter pitchers as well as shower filters at a minimum. There are those who decide upon distilled water, reverse osmosis, or whole house filters which are easy to install. Your local water conditioning businesses can explain options.
*I didn’t know that pasteurization and homogenization turn our food into processed food. I did not know what is in a gallon of milk or dairy products – but I do now. All of us should read about this subject. The information is easily found with an internet search.
*I didn’t know some common cookware contains toxic chemicals that leach into our food. I replaced my favorite aluminum cookware with stainless steel and cast iron. I reheat food in a toaster oven. I now store food in glassware and avoid most plastics. Stoneware is a great alternative to aluminum baking sheets. I no longer own or use a microwave due to the known negative health effects.
*I didn’t know white flour is made from wheat treated with insecticides, pesticides, and fungicides. Up to 60 chemicals have been approved to bleach flour. I did not know white flour is a natural insecticide, and the human body does not recognize white flour as food.
*I didn’t know my dad should have sat outside in the sun, without sunscreen, for a short while each day. I didn’t know how important it is to put our bare feet in the grass. I didn’t know what “grounding” is. Dad would have loved some time outside each day.
*I didn’t know dry skin brushing increases circulation which helps the body rid waste. He would have appreciated any kind of skin brushing, lymphatic drainage, or massage. Our lymphatic system is the body’s “sewer system,” and it must be supported.
*I didn’t know the difference between a pasture-raised egg and a conventional egg. I didn’t know pasture-raised eggs are packed with nutrition and are considered a perfect protein. Poached eggs can help restore the needed fat and cholesterol our cells so desperately need.
*I didn’t know what an ingredient deck was – let alone I was supposed to read it and learn what chemicals are in a product before I bought it or consumed it.
*I didn’t know flu shots and vaccinations are made with mercury and heavy metals that cross the blood-brain barrier. I didn’t know vaccine damage is common and not rare. I didn’t know the ingredient deck in any given vaccine. The heavy metals are cumulative. The more you get – the more they accumulate.
*I did not know meal replacement drinks are actually highly processed, chemically-laden beverages. I never looked at the ingredient deck to see the first four ingredients in these drinks are very often: water, sugar, corn syrup, and milk protein concentrate. In other words, sugar water that creates widespread inflammation.
*I didn’t know one important form of thyroid hormone is T3, and the commonly used thyroid meds are T4. I did not know the body has to convert T4 to T3. A good analogy would be a savings and checking account. We have to transfer funds from our savings to checking in order to use it. Likewise, our bodies must convert T4 to the useable form of T3. Selenium and zinc are two minerals, of the 60 essential, that support the conversion. An anti-inflammatory diet can prevent or reverse thyroid issues.
*I didn’t know fluoride calcifies the brain’s pineal gland. I didn’t know the danger of mercury fillings in our teeth, and there are dentists who can safely remove the mercury.
*I didn’t know that coffee and tea can be full of pesticides. I didn’t know how detrimental caffeine can be to our health. I didn’t know the ingredient deck on coffee creamer reveals it is made of toxic chemicals. I didn’t know there are safe alternatives. I didn’t know there are organic coffees and teas which are very often found at the health food stores.
*I didn’t know monthly chiropractic adjustments are needed to locate and correct spinal misalignments that affect the health of our nerves, ligaments, discs, and joints. Misalignments also weaken our muscles and alter the energy that flows from the brain and nerves to all parts of our body. I would have gladly taken my father to monthly appointments.
*I didn’t know it is never too late to implement changes. Now I know dementia can be reversed, and I have witnessed it in person. Patients would often “wake up” from their confusion after admission to hospice services when medications were safely discontinued. Key word is “safely” as drugs are slowly being removed from our system.
*I didn’t know the above information is actually true for all “dis” ease of the body. All disease is toxemia.
*I didn’t know the body is capable of healing itself – no matter what the symptoms are labeled.
Here is what I do know:
*I do know caregivers are often exhausted and need family and friends who offer their time, assistance, and prayer for wisdom and restored health.
*I do know caregivers make decisions that can save their loved ones from this life-long disability.
*I do know this list could be much longer. It could be missing some important information. I have a nice collection of books I often lend to others.
*I do know I have not listed any references here – thus, everyone must take responsibility and research on their own. The above information is not to be viewed as treating, advising, diagnosing, or curing.
*I do know change can be hard. But choose your hard. Is “hard” found in making life-style changes and doing things differently or is “hard” found in watching your loved one fade away?
*I do know my favorite word is “cherish,” and I even wrote about it. My second favorite word is “study.” There is a whole body of knowledge out there. Take a look and decide for yourself.
We, as caregivers, know the changes we make will sometimes feel sacrificial in nature, and that’s okay. Our efforts will be a small price to pay as our loved one is on the road to recovery.
It can be done.
© Marlene Oxender 2022. Marlene may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org