Ljubljana, the city of Best Alzheimer's Products Europe

If you are visiting this website from anywhere in Europe be sure to see
www.best-alzheimers-products.eu.

Holly and I just got back from Europe where we hammered out some of the remaining details with our European partners, Ana and Žiga, concerning expanding the reach of Best Alzheimer’s Products into the European Union. Ana initially contacted me several years ago. Her mother has frontotemporal dementia, and Ana knew long ago that there is more to caring for her mom than just ensuring that her basic needs were met. When she found our website she found confirmation for her conviction.

Ana and her business partner Žiga  live in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia, a small Adriatic country that nestles among Italy, Croatia, Hungary and Austria. To be honest, though I’d heard of the country, I couldn’t have located it on a map the first time Ana emailed me. But I knew it was in Europe, and I knew that Europe has a need. I knew that because of the number of visits our website receives from Europe.

Best Alzheimer’s Products is going Global! Announcing Best Alzheimer’s Products Europe!

Best Alzheimer's Products Europe - Ljubljana street scene

A Typical Street in Ljubljana, and By Typical I Mean Cuter Than You Can Imagine

It took some time, but our  European store is up and running. Not all of our products are available to the European market,* but many of our best are in Slovenia now and ready to ship to European destinations. And we are adding more almost every week. We are combing the continent for good products that are European made, but we will continue to export some of our favorites to Slovenia when suitable alternatives are not available.

Looking back, we accomplished a lot via email and Skype. But we are glad that we went in person to put some of the finishing touches on the deal, and to meet Žiga and Ana in person. We met some other great people as well, including Žiga’s wife Romana and their son Luca, and Ana’s boyfriend, Aleš. Romana will eventually help to run the company in Slovenia. Aleš promised to do what he can, when he can, to help spread the word.

Visit us and watch us grow!

Best Alzheimer’s Products Europe

Ana’s initial reason for reaching out was to explore the possibility of expanding Best Alzheimer’s Products into Europe. I was interested in her proposal. Very interested! Best Alzheimer’s Products has a fairly large international following. Our website gets thousands of visits from outside the United States every month; maybe thousands every week. We ship to foreign countries almost every day. But it is expensive to ship internationally. I have been looking almost since we started our business to find a more economical way to get our products into the hands of people outside our own country, people who need and can benefit from them. Ana was looking for the same thing.

Partners---Best-Alzheimer's-Products-Europe

All of the partners at dinner on our first night in Ljubljana. From left to right: Žiga, Ana, John, Holly.

Ana and I emailed and Skyped periodically for the next  months, but we were never able to move our idea forward. I am busy, and she is even busier. More of that later. It was a matter of timing, and our perfect time finally came. Alzheimer Europe, the umbrella organization that brings together Alzheimer’s organizations from all around Europe, scheduled it’s 2015 annual conference in Ljubljana. How perfect! The ideal time and place to announce our intention and inaugurate Best Alzheimer’s Products Europe had blossomed as if out of the ether.

Two expressions come to mind. “Timing is everything,”  and “Some things are meant to be.”

Now that we have been to Ljubljana and met them it is obvious that this was meant to be. Some time ago Ana had introduced us to Žiga, her partner in several of her business endeavors,but, of course we hadn’t yet met either of them in the flesh. Both Ana and Žiga were clearly excited about the prospect when she suggested during one of our Skype meetings that Holly and I come to Slovenia for the event.

WOW!

Holly and I had talked about travelling to Europe for several years, but it wasn’t for business reasons. I have family there. Holly had never been to the continent. Now, suddenly, here was an excellent reason and an opportunity. An international event at which to announce Best Alzheimer’s Products EuropeSlovenia was never in our travel plans before. Germany and Italy and France; maybe Scandinavia; maybe Spain. Nothing on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. Slovenia? Where’s that?

Best Alzheimer's Products Europe at the 25th Alzheimer Europe Conference

All of us at the 25th Alzheimer Europe Conference with Štefanija Lukič Zlobec (center), president of Spominčica, Alzheimer Slovenija

That was before; now we know exactly where Slovenia is. And oh what a week we had! We love Slovenia and now think of Ljubljana as a second home, even though we were there only five days. We can’t wait to return. And we have family there now!

The picture at the top of this page is one of the many iconic landmarks in this beautiful city, the Ljubljana dragon. Another landmark, St Nicholas Cathedral can be seen in the background.  There is legend associated with this dragon, and sometime I’ll tell you about it. I’m still learning.

Ljubljana is surrounded by mountains. From the top of the tower at Ljubljana castle one can see for miles in every direction; and in every direction are mountain ranges. One day soon I will know what those mountain ranges are, but for now suffice it to say that the view is breathtaking.

On our last night there we had dinner at the castle. The weather was beautiful. The setting was exquisite. And the company was fabulous! Romana and Aleš a joined us. Holly and I felt totally at home. During dinner Ana said it for all of us: “I feel like I’ve known you guys forever.”

Best Alzheimer's Products shared our last meal in Ljubljana at the castle.

The Courtyard at Ljubljana Castle (Ljubljanski grad)

 

 


*Some of the things we sell in the U.S. would not be appropriate in Europe for cultural reasons, or because of language requirements. Additionally, many things sold in Europe require a special certification, a “CE mark” that is the manufacturers assurance that the  product complies with the essential requirements of the relevant European health, safety and environmental protection legislation. Though our products have been tested and deemed safe for sale  in the U.S. market,  some of the manufacturers we work with haven’t gone that extra step to make their products available to European buyers. We are working with them.

We’re excited to see your interest in writing for Best Alzheimer’s Products! We are always looking for fresh perspectives and authentic stories to share with our readers.  That being said, we are very picky about the content we post on this site.  If you would like to submit a guest post please read the following guidelines and policies first.

If you are a family member or professional caregiver that has a story to tell but doesn’t want to write a fully developed article this isn’t the place for you.  We want to hear your story but please visit this page to do so. If you are a writer, blogger or expert, please read on.

We will post anything we think our readers will benefit from, even if it doesn’t fit within our normal guidelines. However, most articles (written by us as well) are based on the following guidelines.

  • Best Alzheimer’s Products covers topics on Alzheimer’s, Dementia, caregiving, alternative therapies, non-medical therapy, and quality of life, just to name a few.
  • We do not promote drugs, medical products or procedures.
  • Our goal is to better the lives of people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Every post in written with this in mind.
  • We will not post blatant advertisements.
  • Only original content will be posted. (if it’s already published somewhere on the web, we will not publish it)
  • Guest posts are unpaid.

Expectations

  • Your guest post should be well-written – please make sure to proof read and edit.
  • We prefer learning through stories.  Please think about one or two good stories to include with your article, or to base your article around.
  • Your guest post should be useful to our readers. Our readers are both family members caring for someone with Alzheimer’s and professional caregivers.
  • Your guest post should be unique.

Editorial Guidelines

  • Please include a bio of yourself. You may link to your website in your bio.
  • You may include 1 or 2 links in your article.
  • Please credit all your sources.
  • We will find a photo that will work with your article unless you own one you would like to use.

If you still have questions about your idea for an article, please contact us with the form below!

We reserve the right to edit your article to fit better with our audience.

If you submit an article to us you consent to not publish this article in it’s whole on any other site other than your own.  If you want to publish this article on your site please wait 5 days after it has been published and use the disclaimer “NAME OF ARTICLE originally published on Best Alzheimer’s Products” – with a link to the article on our site. You may publish an excerpt with a link back to the original article on another website. You also consent to the full article, extracts, or samples appearing in other Best Alzheimer’s Product’s projects or services. Don’t worry – we’ll credit you as author!

You retain the copyright to your work.

When you submit an article you agree to the above terms.

About our Website

Best Alzheimer’s Products is a trusted online source for information.  Aside from our website filled with pages of advice and information for the Alzheimer’s caregiver, we have an online store that sells alternative therapies, games and activities for a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia.  We have an average of 11,000 unique visitors to our informational website each month and this number is always growing. Our website ranks very high in search engines.

 

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Best Alzhiemer's Products | Holly and Bernice

Holly meets Bernice

Holly and I are both educated in the fields of education and psychology. We met while pursuing our undergraduate degrees, and married a few years out of college.

When we began planning a family, Holly started thinking about exchanging her teaching career for one that would allow her more time at home with her children. A search for someone to teach her the art and technique that she needed in her new profession led Holly to Bernice.

Bernice had been a successful business woman for many years when Holly first contacted her. She became Holly’s teacher and mentor. That relationship was the beginning of a special bond between Holly and Bernice. After learning from Bernice, Holly started a business practice that is still thriving more than thirty years later.

Time Marches On

Several years later we were busy raising three daughters. Bernice had retired and moved from her North Side apartment overlooking Lake Michigan to a condominium in Chicago’s western suburbs. Holly made it a point to keep in touch, knowing that Bernice had no family and very few friends. It was not always easy. A 45 minute drive through the outskirts of a busy city separated them. They spoke regularly, and Bernice was always invited to spend holidays with our family. Early in her retirement she sometimes did.

As time went on Bernice began isolating herself more and more. Her organizational skills, her obvious intelligence, and her social charms allowed her to hide her declining condition. Eventually, however, it became obvious to Holly that Bernice was losing her ability to function.

Bernice’s Pride and Joy

At ninety years old, she was still driving her favorite possession, a 1964 white Chevy Bel Air that she bought when it was new. Holly once met her at the doctor’s office and followed her home. By the time they got to Bernice’s home, Holly was a nervous wreck. She was amazed and thankful that Bernice hadn’t caused an accident, and convinced there must have been an angel riding with Bernice.

The “angel is my copilot” incident was just one of many that led Holly to suspect that Bernice was a victim of dementia. She was eventually diagnosed with probable Alzheimer’s disease.

Our kids were now grown and out of the house. Holly and I had more time on our hands, more time we could devote to Bernice, and Bernice needed just that. Unfortunately, neither Holly or I knew much about Alzheimer’s disease, but Holly jumped in with both feet, researching doctors and facilities, as well as the disease itself. It was not easy, but she finally got Bernice settled in the best Alzheimer’s care facility she could find.

An Idea Takes Shape

It was more than seven years between the time Holly first realized that something was wrong, and she finally got Bernice into long term care. In that time, she learned much more about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Medical theories and research, best practices for the care of people with the disease, medicines and drugs that do little and often have serious side effects, and the downward spiral of cognition and abilities that she not only read about but experienced watching Bernice; all these became a constant part of Holly’s life. Like the millions of other people that are affected by the disease, the Bernice that Holly knew was not coming back. But there was a Bernice still here. There was a living person with thoughts and feelings and needs. What about her?

Bernice, inspiration behind Best Alzheimer's Products

Bernice as a young woman.

By this time, I was thoroughly invested in Bernice. Having listened for years to Holly’s stories, I couldn’t help but be. Out of curiosity as much as anything, I started researching the professional publications and the websites of the various associations and societies around the world. As I read, two frightening facts stood out: there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and it is always terminal.

However, what many people fail to realize is there is still life after diagnosis, and it can, and should be, enjoyable.

This  fact began to surface as I read more and more. Amidst the reports of failed clinical tests, of unrealized hopes for this treatment or that potential cure, of staggering predictions of a coming Alzheimer’s epidemic, was a growing concern for the individual. Many researchers and caregivers were calling for a more humane standard of care for people with dementia. Many healthcare professionals were advocating treating the patient, not just the disease. I realized that this is exactly how Holly had been treating Bernice intuitively.

At the same time, Holly was becoming frustrated by the lack of resources available to her as a caregiver. Because of her teaching background she was constantly looking for appropriate activities; games, toys, anything that would interest Bernice and hold her attention. She wanted Bernice’s quality of life to be all that it could be, and she knew that keeping her active and involved for as long as possible was the best way to do this.

It was difficult to find activities for people with dementia. One day she said to me, “I think that a store that sells toys and games for people with Alzheimer’s is really needed.” I said, “I said, “Yes, probably.” I’m sure I had other things on my mind at the time; I remember that I hadn’t gotten terribly excited about the idea at the time. But we did throw the possibility around for the next few months, so I extended my research to include a feasibility study. The more I thought about it, the more the idea appealed to me, so I jumped in with Holly.

One of these days I plan to come up for air!!!

Our Mission

Somewhere in my reading I ran across an article in a professional journal. It contained a quotation from a letter that Soviet neuro-psychologist Alexander Luria wrote to neurologist and author Dr. Oliver Sacks. A variation of this quote is one of the first things you see on the Best Alzheimer’s Products website:

People do not consist of memory alone. They have feeling, will, sensibility, moral being. It is here that you may touch them, and see a profound change.

This quote affected me deeply. I knew it was what my wife knew and acted upon instinctively when she was with Bernice, and with the people with whom Bernice then lived. I shared this quote with her, and she said, “Yes.” Not because she had other things on her mind, but because she already knew.

Our journey, this little observation by Dr. Luria, our relationship with Bernice gave us our Mission:

At Best Alzheimer’s Products, we are striving to make life better for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Learning to communicate with and care for our loved ones who happen to be affected by this terrible disease we may ourselves learn to live more in the moment, and we will be better for that.