Jeff Frasier

First post: May 5, 2022 Latest post: Jan 2, 2023
Thanks for visiting Jeff Frasier, aka Mountain Dude’s CaringBridge site.  We want to keep our family and friends updated about Jeff’s Alzheimer’s Disease progression and the ups and downs that it brings.  This is not a request for donations, it is just a way to keep you updated, and for me (Lori) to keep a record of our journey as a family.  
Jeff was diagnosed in 2018 at age 52.  His diagnosis is Dementia caused by something I call a cousin of Alzheimers.  It is called SNAP:  Suspected non-Alzheimers Pathophysiology.  Basically, Alzheimer’s is characterized by the collection of plaques on the brain.  There are two types of plaque which are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, they are amyloid and tao.  SNAP looks & progresses just like Young-onset Alzheimers, but it does not include amyloid, just Tao.  Since this seems like a technicality to me, and it does not change either prognosis or treatment, I just tell people it is Alzheimer’s.  
At the time, he was mostly affected by memory lapses and increased difficulty in administrative tasks, such as invoicing for his business and keeping track of his finances.  In 2019 we sold his lawn sprinkler business and he “retired.”  He was still able to drive and do maintenance on our property and vehicles.  Gradually, he lost his mechanical skills and his ability to fix things, or complete tasks became more and more difficult.  While folks who see Jeff occasionally often comment that “he seems good,”. “He is just like himself,”. The truth is, he is not himself.  He loses a bit more of himself every day.  
Currently, Jeff does well with basic self-care.  He is fine on hygiene, he still does the dishes (yay!) and makes our coffee most mornings.  He recently has been raking the leaves and he keeps the concrete clear with the leaf blower just like always.  Each morning he struggles getting dressed.  It is common for him to have his shirt on backward, or put on two different shoes.  He is no longer able to put his belt through the loops on his shorts and often will opt for elastic.  Buttons and zippers are very challenging, so we try to leave things half-zipped or buttoned so he can just pull it over his head.  Often he needs help with this as well.  
One of the saddest losses for Jeff is his ability to fix things.  As most of you know he is a “car guy” and has been working on cars since his souped-up Pinto he bought when he was 13.  Today, he is completely unable to solve mechanical quandaries.  His ‘58 Ford looks great and he recently had all of the upholstery done.  Unfortunately it has some problems mechanically, and though Jeff can sometimes diagnose it at a high level “seems like the carburetor,”. He is stuck beyond that.  He also cannot work out how to find a mechanic, or place a call to a business on his own.  He has to lean on friends, and thankfully he has some great ones, to help with repairs or with sourcing parts and mechanics to help.  But it is still a big disappointment for him and he often gets frustrated.  due to memory lapses, he may also call a friend numerous times about the same issue, not realizing he has already done so.  
One of the aspects of Alzheimer’s of which I was unaware is a tendency to depression and anxiety.  At times Jeff’s anxiety will spin out of control about something no one else finds worrisome.  He also tends to think people are mad at him.  His first instinct if someone seems agitated or frustrated is that he must have done something wrong.  Sometimes he will think about an interaction he had years ago, like with a customer in his business, and get worried that he can’t fix something or help them.  
I found this YouTube channel of a lady who does a really nice job explaining Alzheimers and how to best understand and help patients.  Here is a short video explaining the stages as “gems”. Jeff is somewhere between “emerald” and “amber.”  I highly recommend Teepa Snow’s videos to anyone who wants to learn more about the disease, and especially for caregivers.

Jeff and I are so blessed to have people in our lives who are always asking how they can help.  Right now, there are 2 ways you can help.  
First,  and most important, come visit Jeff and spend time with him.  He loves to have friends visit & hang out in the garage chatting.  It feels normal, and normal is getting more rare.  Many of you know that you do not need an invitation, but if you want to text or call me to see when is a good time to stop by, my number is 303-249-1397.  Jeff is home most of the time, but he still goes to bed pretty early!  
Second, since I still work full time, Jeff is at a point where having some “companion care” for a few hours each day is very helpful.  Right now between 2 of our friends, we have 3 mornings a week covered.  This is not home health care, it is just someone to hang out, maybe run errands or help with a small project (i e hanging a picture, changing a light bulb).  If you know of anyone with some time and patience and wants to earn a little $$, let me know.  It could be 4 hours one day a week.  
Finally, we need your prayers.  The kids are doing very well with all of this, but it is truly a sad, sad thing to watch Jeff fade away slowly.  Please keep praying.  
I will try to update this Site about once a quarter.  In the meantime, do not hesitate to call or text me 303-249-1397.