Mike Hughbanks Speaking Engagement 2/23/16

I will be speaking in Kearney Nebraska on Tuesday 2/23/16 at 12:00 and then in Grand Island at 5:30. The details are below. I have also inserted the link to an Interview with Country House Residence who is co-sponsoring the event with the Nebraska Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. I joined the interview via Skype.


I also included the link to the Kearney Hub newspaper article from an interview we had.


When: Tue, February 23, 12pm – 1pm Where: First United Methodist Church, 4500 Linden Dr, Kearney, NE 68847, United States Hosted by: Country House and the Alzheimer’s Association Cost: Free

When: Tue, February 23, 5:30pm – 6:30pm Where: Grand Generation Center, 304 E 3rd St, Grand Island, NE 68801, United States Hosted by: Country House and the Alzheimer’s Association Cost: Free

 Speaker: Mike Hughbanks – COO at DFS in Omaha before diagnosis of Younger Onset Alzheimer’s at age 58. One hour program including Q & A.
Hosted by: Country House and the Alzheimer’s Association
More Information: Mike Hughbanks is a Peer Outreach Volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association Nebraska Chapter. Prior to this role, he was the Chief Operating Officer at Diversified Financial Services (DFS) in Omaha. As one of three executives at DFS, Mike managed Human Resources, Information Technology, Customer Service, Project Management, and General Operations. In 2011, at the age of 54, Mike started noticing some memory and cognitive issues and in August of 2015 was diagnosed with Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Disease at 58. After the diagnosis, he and his wife made the decision to concentrate efforts moving forward on getting the word out about Alzheimer’s Disease. Mike has his own blog (omalz.com) and has been featured in many local and regional news stories. He is active with the Nebraska Chapter as a peer outreach volunteer and in early stage initiative development.
To register, call 800.272.3900 or online at http://goo.gl/forms/Yzfx4oLa5C. For more information, contact Susie Peterson, 308.520.3146 or supeterson@alz.org

Taking Control Of What We Eat.

This blog is by Debra, we made a commitment to each other to improve our diets.

Mike and I are working to reform our diets.  We think there is a lot more we can do to help lower inflammation in our bodies and in Mike’s case his brain.  There are reasons that the Mediterranean diet is looking more and more appealing.  Here’s why.

Some of the foods we are eliminating will be most of our red meat.  Most of us have read articles written about why we should eat red meat.  What I’m finding for people with Alzheimer’s is that red meat can cause iron to build up in the brain and might cause a good thing like myelin (fatty tissue that coasts nerve fibers) to be destroyed.  I’m pretty sure that Mike needs his brain to communicate as efficiently as possible.  We’ll be eating red meat once a week.

The Mediterranean diet uses more whole grains and beans to help fill in the protein slot.   I think we will be seeing more nuts in our diet as well.  Soy products, like tofu, which I love and Mike is so-so about, will be used a lot more.  Cook books have been ordered to help with flavor and texture.  I’ll let you know how it’s going as we incorporate this more into our every day eating!

Mike will be also adding pure DHA into his power beverages every day.  There are a lot of reasons to add DHA to our diets and now with the addition of Alzheimer’s to the list of reasons we have a growing reason to add DHA into both of our diets.  We’ve all read about Omega-3 fatty acids.  The DHA we ordered is vegetarian DHA, straight from the algae that the fish eat which gives us our Omega oil.  Think of salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, these are the fish that are rich in Omega-3.  We are going to be adding more fish to our diet but we will also be adding DHA in its pure form.

Other foods we will be eating more of include fish of all kinds, whole grains, dark leafy vegetable, low fat dairy, peppers, tomatoes, beets, ginger, turmeric, garlic, onions, olive oil, berries of all kinds and tart cherries.  Once I started looking at the Mediterranean way of cooking I could see that it incorporates most of this list.  I’m going to love it and Mike is going to learn to love it!!!

We invested some money into a Vita Mix blender.  We plan to start our day with a power drink.  Today we started with pomegranate juice, a whole peeled orange, lime and a mango.  Once we get the DHA we ordered I will be adding that to the drink.  We can add protein power as well once we fully understand what we’ve got with this Vita Mix!  Dark veggies will be added to this mix as well.  I don’t think we can eat too much of the dark leafy vegetables.

Mike might struggle with the veggie part in the beginning so if I can disguise the flavor a bit he will eat it without too much of a fuss.  I found a great recipe for garlicky white beans and kale.  It looks good to me but Mike may have a different opinion!  I think we will be making a dietary change over in baby steps!

We’ll see how he does but I’m thinking it might take a while to fully make a change over in our diet.  I can see the benefits so clearly.  Mike is very energetic about the change.  Every day we will be adding something new into our diet.  We’ll see how it goes!  I am very optimistic!  I will try to blog every so often on how we’re doing.  Giving up hamburgers may be more difficult than we know.  But we won’t know until we give it a try!

The cookbooks I’m using are authored by Paula Wolfert.  She has written nine cookbooks on Mediterranean cooking.  Paula was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s herself in 2013.  She was on the National Early-Stage Advisor Group in 2014.  I picked her books after watching a video in which she is featured.  She is an inspiration to both Mike and me for her enthusiasm to learn as much as she can about Alzheimer’s so that she could better help herself and others who have the disease.  I’m eager to get started!

Here is the link to the Paula Wolfert video that aired on PBS if you are interested.




What’s New

I can’t believe when I look at the calendar that it is Valentine’s Day. I am thankful because spring is close, but also wonder where the winter went. I spent some time preparing an outline/script for an interview Debra and I are doing with Positive Momentum for a TV Show series on Alzheimer’s Disease. When I am preparing for an event like this, I am painfully aware that it takes considerable effort to get ready to speak. In my old life at work, I would be able to multi-task daily and be able to handle meetings, make decisions immediately. It is frustrating to me that things do not come as easily now.

The last several months have been exciting. I am very deliberate about what I do and how much to get involved with. With Debra’s help, I do not let myself get overwhelmed or over commit on things. I think we have found a balance in our lives which was a difficult thing to do. In the past I tended to take on a lot of different things at once and now find that I have to prioritize and do one thing a time.

A New Early Stage Support Group started in January. This support group is for individuals diagnosed in the early stage of Alzheimer’s with several participants also Younger Onset like I am who are under the age of 65. Although I  helped setup this group, Debra and I will be participants. The meetings are setup to be educational for the first part of the meeting, then we split into two groups, the caregivers go into one room and the person with diagnosis (PWD) goes into a different room. The meetings are every other week and will end in April. We are excited about this new opportunity. I had the pleasure of speaking to most of the participants on the phone when we were setting up the group.

Partners in Aging Networking Meeting in January was another event I was asked to speak at. This group is an example of several groups in the Omaha Metro that meet periodically that represent many different businesses involved with providing care for our seniors. I typically talk for 10-15 minutes about what my life was like at work, a summary of my medical history, the process of the diagnosis, and then what my life is like today living with Mild Cognitive Impairment and memory loss. The message that I try to get across is that I want to raise awareness. I want people to know that Alzheimer’s is devastating, and that it is not just a disease that strikes the elderly.

The South Omaha Community Care Council (SOCCC) asked me to speak at their January meeting. I was amazed at the commitment, support, and dedication this group has for the South Omaha Community. I was in awe and felt very privileged to be asked to speak to this group. Their membership is a virtual Who’s Who of Omaha from businesses, education, government and health care. It was impressive.

February started with a presentation at the Joslyn Art Museum to staff members and docents on dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. My part on the panel was representing someone diagnosed with a form of dementia. There is a very exciting program at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York called the MoMA Alzheimer’s Project. There is a nationwide expansion of programs such as this. We are so fortunate in Omaha to have such a quality Art Museum as the Joslyn. This new program will get underway later in the year and is very exciting that individuals and their caregivers will have the opportunity to experience artwork to stimulate their senses. Music and Art have been found to be very beneficial to those in middle and late stage Alzheimer’s Disease.

Debra and I attended one of the first Early Stage Support Groups (ESSG) in Omaha to share our story last week. The ESSG’s are structured to have a beginning and ending date. The structure is not always the same as far as frequency. Some groups met monthly, others bi-monthly, but all have a defined program and sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association utilizing trained facilitators. That being said, there are new groups being started throughout the year as new people continue to be diagnosed which is the purpose of the group. The group Debra and I visited continues to meet on their own after their group officially ended. They are a close-knit group that continues to meet in a local church. It was evident to me that there is a need for continued socialization for these groups, even after the sponsorship officially ends. We were also privileged to have Dr. Reilly from Methodist Hospital in the group.

A new program, the Early Stage Social Engagement activities kicked off last week as well. These activities are designed to get participants of existing and past support groups together for social activities. Last week we had the first event, a potluck at Faith Christian Church in Omaha. Members from different support groups were represented. Future events include a tour of local brewery, a pizza night, bowling, and miniature golf. These events are scheduled through June of this year.

Still to come, next week I will be speaking at another support group in Papillion. I will also be doing a TV interview Thursday and newspaper interview on Friday promoting a speaking engagement in Grand Island and Kearney Nebraska the following week.

The last item for this post is good news. I was nominated by the Nebraska Chapter to serve a one year term on the National Early-Stage Advisor Group. It is an honor just to be nominated. There are 12 advisors serving currently from across the nation. The process just started so we will see how it goes, but it would be a honor to be able to serve in this capacity.

I will sign off for now, as always, our goal is awareness. This blog is not as much about Debra and me as it is about making people aware of Alzheimer’s Disease. More information is available at alz.org. Please send us your comments and suggestions, we do read everything that comes into the blog.

Mike & Debra