Signs of Dementia

Service Dog     wheelchair

For some disabilities and diseases there are quick ways for others to recognize the disability and certain limitations with the individual. Things like a wheelchair, crutches, walkers, and disability assistance dogs easily identify an individual as having special needs. For dementia though there are usually no obvious signs. Jorge looks like a perfectly normal adult. Only when you begin to interact and communicate with him is when you notice something a little different. And this is usually fine, but in some situations it can be helpful for others to recognize that you’re with someone that may need additional help or assistance.

The Garcias traveled by airplane recently and the adventure through the airport had its ups and downs. The most tolling portions though were interacting with security personnel and the wheelchair assistance personnel. They didn’t understand what dementia was and that Jorge while he could walk and move around normally he could not easily take directions on how to walk through the scanning machines or to understand why he needed to sit down in the wheelchair. The employees would get frustrated and could not understand why a perfectly healthy adult wouldn’t listen to them.

Notification cards would only help if the person understands the disease and what the person can and cannot do. There are disabilities most people are familiar with like hearing loss, loss of mobility, and blindness, but other mental or development disabilities like Autism, Tourette’s, Down Syndrome, or dementia are less well known. So when Jorge interacts with individuals at the airport or even just people at the park they don’t understand why he’s acting the way he is and they don’t know how to help or what’s unhelpful. I think a huge step in the right direction would be more awareness for mental illnesses and how they can affect people. The brain is such a complex organ it’s hard for people to understand how a mental disability can affect people and it changes and it’s different for each individual with the illness. But the closer we can bring people to understanding would be helpful.

The other thing that I think could be helpful is a fun, colorful button or sticker that says “I have dementia. Talk to my family to learn more.” And then using this button as a way to spread awareness as well as a tool to provide immediate recognition that he may not be able to do things that you might think he could. So we’re going to look into getting some buttons created!

Healthy Lifestyle Changes for Commuting

 Eatwell Bowl & Spoon Eatwell Yellow Set

Article: CARS OF THE FUTURE

The other day Pedro and I were driving around and thought it would be a neat idea if there was a car where you could stand up and drive. Our ideas were around countering health issues of sitting down for too long. On long commutes and car trips back pains, leg cramps, and discomfort can begin to take it toll. The corporate office is the first arena where this health improvement has seen changes.  Both of our workplaces have adopted standing desks, ergonomic chairs, medicine ball chairs and other alternatives to combat the health issues of sitting at a desk for long periods of time. I think the car industry could be next to come up with creative ideas for people that want to stand while driving.

The car itself would need to be fundamentally different. The idea of a break and accelerator pedal would probably not exist in this new age car. I found an article about Toyota who has come up with a concept car similar to a Segway that drives based on shifting weight and body motions. Many car companies already have some features built into the steering wheel that lets you set cruise control, increase or decrease the cruise speed, and cancel the cruise control. This concept isn’t too far off from increasing and decreasing general speeds.

Pedro’s perspective coming from the car industry though is these models won’t appeal to car enthusiasts who enjoy the sport of driving. The concepts that allow for standing like the Prague Taxi of the Future are good for commuting or tourism, but are certainly not as aerodynamic as the new models of Teslas and Porsches. I think we’re several concepts out from a working solution, but that means there’s lots of room for innovation.

Daily Dementia Innovations

 Eatwell Bowl & Spoon Eatwell Yellow Set

Article: Tableware Designed for Alzheimer’s Patients

Author: pedro

It’s interesting to find the emergence of new products, innovations, and life hacks around Dementia and Alzheimer patients. Ones I’ve seen so far have centered around new styles of caregiving communities or around entertainment and music. This is the first one I’ve seen around food and eating, which I find more intriguing because of my Dad’s relationship with food.

The Eatwell product line is a series of plates, cups, and utensils designed to be easier for Dementia and Alzheimer patients to use. The products were also designed in a way where it’s the basic utility geared towards some common issues that these patients and caregivers have around meal times. The products are also less distracting with simpler colors, but it’s very similar to what you would expect to find in a barbie doll playhouse kitchen.

I like the psychology around this product innovation and the improvements they offer over typical eating utensils and bowls. We now exclusively give Dad bowls to eat in so he doesn’t scoop the food off the plate. But I also think minimizing the number of things in front of Dad while he’s eating is a critical component in keeping him concentrated on the current task. He will try to grab everything at once, so we rotate the items he eats and drinks rather than having all plates, bowls, and cups in front of him at one time. (This idea resonates also holds true with other activities like coloring and playing ball).

So I did some research after reading this article and found a single set (bowl, spoon, cup) on the website for $60. Unfortunately, that’s a bit pricy for me to realistically consider since that money should be spent on our caregiver, dental cleanings, and other improvements for his life. So I’ll be looking into lower cost solutions to see if I can achieve this same innovation.

Minority Demand

United Nations flag

ARTICLE: Suburban Senior Day Cares Cater to Dramatic Ethnic Population Growth

There’s a growing demand for day cares tailored to a niche group of minority adults. As the population of baby boomers keeps aging and the number of Dementia cases continues to rise, the demand for these day cares services continues to grow. The aging baby boomer population is also no longer traditional english speaking, American-raised adults. There is a growing number of culturally diverse individuals that come from all different backgrounds. Spanish. Chinese. Japanese. Russian. Groups that not only speak different languages (often with little to no understanding of English), but who also enjoy different activities. Music, interests, and activities they’re familiar with may be different. These individuals need care personalized to help them and better understand their needs.

In our experience, we’ve had issues finding a day care center where Dad feels comfortable and where the nurses can understand and meet his needs. As a human being he wants to be understood and this has been a challenge. It’s already difficult as some of his language skills and understanding declines, but then to add the complexity of him not understanding English makes it impossible for him to partake and understand the English instructed activities. We haven’t been able to find a Spanish speaking day care center in Atlanta. We did find one in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, but these cities aren’t the only ones with Spanish speaking populations anymore.

It’s also been difficult finding centers that ease the burden for the caretakers. The centers near us only have activities and support until 3PM. If my brother and I work until 6 what are we supposed to do? There’s a need for centers that are available during business hours – just like how child care centers are open a little before and a little after the traditional 9-5 work hours.

We’ll continue to look for the right fit for Dad.

– Pedro

Welcome to the Garcia Family Blog

WHO WE ARE

Family photo Christmas 2014

Family photo Christmas 2014 – Ana, Dorotea, Puddles, Pedro, Kelsey, Daniel, Maria, George, Simon, Sofia, Mateo, Rachel

Tumadro is the Garcia family incorporated. It was born out of the entrepreneurial spirit of the family and as the first step in creating the family company. The Garcia family is expansive, but the core family unit is Dorotea, George, Mateo, Pedro, Maria, Ana, Simon, and Sofia. The family has begun to grow with Mateo marrying Rachel and I dating Pedro. I’m lovingly called the IT Department by Pedro which is why I’ve taken the first step in managing this website and setting up a blog. My goal in setting up this blog is that they can begin to capture the hundreds of ideas and opportunities they come up with each day. That may be me capturing them to begin with, but over time their voices will be active on here as well.

The Garcia members are are entrepreneurs at heart – all ambitious to create something great and to do it together. They all have very different skill sets. Mateo in the medical industry making huge strides in South American sales as well as having degrees in physics and industrial engineering. Pedro is by far the most personal and relatable person I know – he can talk to anyone and makes friends so easily. He’s also got a degree in industrial engineering and is my go to Excel wizard. Maria is so talented in a way I could never dream up – designing amazing stages for some of the largest events in the world (superbowl, Ultra, rock of roll hall of fame, and many more). Ana is the free spirit – business focused but never settling for the easy road. Degree in international relations minoring in economics and business. She’s leveraged her passions working with several startup companies since graduation. Simon is the talented opera singer about to begin his college adventure studying under world renowned professors. Sofia is the two-time student body president of her high school (going for the third and final run this semester)! She’s also very musically inclined with a great Nora Jones kind of jazzy voice. I should mention they’re all musically inclined – singing, playing guitar, piano, trumpet, trombone, saxaphone. Dorotea heads the family and has a lot of the characteristics of her kids – artistic, great at connecting people, discovering opportunities, helping friends and family. George is the good natured father. He was a cattle rancher when they were all growing up in Colombia (they moved to the US in 1997). In the past few years George has developed Dementia. He’s young and this has put a lot of stress on the family to take care of him in a way that honors him. I think many of these blog posts will focus on that journey as they seek out more information about this disease as well as the battles they continue to face in helping care for him.

Ana, George, and Maria walking around in Atlanta.

Ana, George, and Maria

Mateo, Simon, and Pedro at Mateo's wedding.

Mateo, Simon, and Pedro

Simon, Ana, Sofia, and Dorotea

Simon, Ana, Sofia, and Dorotea

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHY AND WHAT

The intent of this blog is to capture ideas.

  • About dementia – how to prevent brain and function deterioration, breakthroughs in science, coping emotionally. This disease still has many unknowns and I think others are struggling with similar situations. Hopefully this blog may help others with ideas or provide an opportunity for idea sharing.
  • Home renovations and design – I bought a house recently! And it’s a bit of a fixer-upper, so if the family ever runs short of ideas (or more likely just hasn’t shared them yet) I may share some of the projects I’m working on in my house (idea sharing, feedback).
  • Opportunities – this entrepreneurial family is full of ideas and it’s time to start capturing some of them to see if it’s worth bringing them to life.

If any of these ideas are interesting to you I hope you’ll find this blog valuable. And I’ll try to flag the category of the blog post since these are pretty broad!

Please leave comments or email us with any thoughts, questions, or suggestions at info@tumadro.com.