Monday, January 13, 2014

Expect the Expected

Dear Friends,
I started writing this blog post more than a week ago when the temperatures were expected to dip well below zero, as I am sitting here making the finishing touches I am anxiously awaiting for my zone to be called so I can flush the toxic chemicals out of my water and finally wash and bathe.

The frigid temperatures, followed by a Silver Alert inspired me to write about one of the topics I am most passionate about. I know I have written about safety and Alzheimer's before, however I won't apologize for writing and rewriting on this topic over and over again. My staff is probably weary of me talking about safety, we are even including an entire workshop on the topic at this year's Caregiver University. But, it is just that important.

I will admit, I am so hyper about this topic because it does not come naturally to me. W grew up in rural West Virginia, where preparedness is absolutely necessary. W's anal retentive (and I mean that in a loving way) checks and re-checks, processes and plans were at first a bit of an annoyance. And then West Virginia hit a series of natural disasters, during which I would have probably starved, died of heat exhaustion or froze to death without his obsessive pre-planning. Yes, I am spoiled - I always imagined the grocery stores would be stocked with ample food, the electricity would only be out for an hour or two, solutions to all basic need problems would be fixed in an instant.

What W has taught me, and continues to remind me over and over again is that there are things in life you can expect to happen, and when you prepare for them, the unexpected is nothing you can't handle. Solve all problems? No way. But, make life a little easier? Big time. Survive? You betcha. For example, we know due to our beautiful geography, weather patterns and plethora of trees the power is going to go out at some point. W keeps a few extra cans of gas and monthly starts the generator just to make sure it is functional. (This is just the tip of the iceberg, I could go on and on about the planning, stocking, organizing - think a few steps back from doomsday prepping.)

Alzheimer's disease is no different. When we get a diagnosis of Alzheimer's there are so many variables to think about it can often be overwhelming. But when we sit down and analyze a number of situations we know we will face, and how we can prepare for them, and what will happen during the situation - it will not only make our lives easier - but could potentially save the life of our loved one with Alzheimer's disease and our own. Here are a two expected scenarios to get you started:

  1. Going to the hospital -> What paper work will you need? Are medications stored all in one place for easy access? Is there a phone tree in place to notify family/friends? Is there a list of all of my loved one's doctors and their contact information in one easy place? Transportation?
  2. Wandering -> Is my loved one enrolled in a safety identification program? Click here for more information.  Is there a neighborhood phone tree to notify neighbors to be on the look out? Family phone tree? Have I filled out a wandering assessment that might give clues as to first places to look? (For more information call our office at 800.272.3900)
Can having a plan prevent things from happening? Not always. Can we be prepared for every situation? Heck no! But, by having a plan you will be one step ahead of the storm. Our office has a lot of information about safety and preparedness and Alzheimer's disease, please call at 800.272.3900 or email


  • Despite the water challenges, our Charleston office is open! All of our office activities, include the community workshop tonight, will happen as scheduled. (Just don't inhale too deeply, we, like most of you, are a little smelly)
  • ADD YOUR VOICE! Join us for one of our three advocacy days at the WV Legislature - help us show our WV Legislators the importance of supporting individuals and families facing Alzheimer's or dementia. Click here for more information! 
  • Dancing Through Time launches THIS Wednesday! We are kicking it off with a press conference, stay tuned to find out who will be dancing to end Alzheimer's this year! Think you would be interested in helping to plan the details of this fun event? Contact Kim Matras!
  • Have you looked at our AWESOME Community Calendar? Check it out here! 
  • Calling all Charleston Young Professionals! Join our Starry Night planning committee! An opportunity to meet other young professionals who care about the cause of Alzheimer's disease! Contact Kim Matras!
  • Walk to End Alzheimer's Leadership Summit. Join us, Friday, March 7 for the 2nd Annual Walk to End Alzheimer's Leadership Summit. A chance to meet and network with others across the state that are passionate about Walk to End Alzheimer's! More information? Contact Kaarmin Ford
No Water? No Problem, Braised Country Pork Ribs
If there is a silver lining to the chemical spill (obviously looking at it through an extreme cup half full mind set), based on the meat selection at the grocery on Saturday morning, there were a lot more families eating home-cooked meals, together than there have been in a long time. Needless to say, the moment the ban is lifted I will be ready to hit my fave local food spots!! All that cooking and togetherness wore me out! W and I decided a one-pot meal was the way to go, so looking at the very very limited meat selection I decided upon boneless, country style pork ribs. Ok, a challenge I thought, not something I would normally pick up - so what can we do!

Turned out amazing! W and I ate the entire pot! Aside from the meat and a few vegetables that we picked up at the store, everything else we happened to have on hand. 

Braised Country Style Pork Ribs
  • Country Style Pork Ribs (bone-in would be preferred, but in a state of emergency boneless was just as good!)
  • 2 Carrots, large pieces
  • 2 Celery, thick chunks
  • 1 Onion, thick half moons
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 tbs. tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup wine or red wine vinegar 
  • 1/2 carton Chicken Stock
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. Humphrey's BBQ sauce (or your favorite hot sauce) 
  • 1 tbs. thyme
In a dutch oven or crock pot add onion, carrot, celery, garlic. Stir in tomato paste, wine, hot sauce and chicken stock. Add thyme. Place pork ribs on top of onion, carrot and celery mixture. Season with salt and pepper. If using a dutch oven place in the oven for 4-5 hours at 350. (I actually left it in for 6 because we were rubber-necking at the water company/nation guard workers outside of the house - at the 5 hour mark I turned it down to 250.) If using a crock-pot turn on high for 5 hours or until pork is done. You will know it is done when the meat just falls apart. Soo good on a waterless Saturday night! 

Stay safe! 

Until next week, 
Laurel K. 

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