Alzheimer's Daughter

The Story

Alzheimer’s Daughter introduces the reader to my healthy parents, Ed and Ibby, years before their diagnosis, then recounts painful details as our roles reversed and I became my parents’ parent.


Their disease started as translucent, confused thoughts and ended in a locked memory care unit after a near decade of descent into the opaque world of Alzheimer's.

I began writing Alzheimer’s Daughter one week after my mother's death––when I was stunned, realizing Dad had no memory of her or their 66-year marriage.

I write to pay tribute to the undying spirit at Ed and Ibby's core, and with the hope that the story of their parallel decline might be helpful to others.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

I Never Expected This

I never expected to become the caregiver for my parents, I never expected to write a book, and I certainly never expected to have that book made into an audiobook.

But, in the eight years since my retirement from teaching 3rd graders, I have written not only one book, but now four, all based on family. (The most recent being a children's series written through the voice of my grandchildren's pets). My first book, Alzheimer's Daughter, remains a top seller on Amazon in the category of eldercare. 

Also unexpectedly, I have ventured into the world of audiobooks. I never even considered that my books could become anything but written words on paper or a Kindle device.

Spurred by my colleagues at AlzAuthors, I began to explore Amazon Audible. I uploaded a sample of Alzheimer's Daughter through their author platform, ACX. Audio auditions began to arrive. I received 20 auditions in all, from highly capable voice actors. 

Karen Merritt's audition stood out, honestly because she told me she'd read my entire book before she auditioned and felt deeply connected to my story.

We spoke by phone so she could understand my parents' personalities and my own, and she began her magical work.

Within a period of about six weeks, we released the Audible version of Alzheimer's Daughter.

But most unexpectedly, I had the opportunity to meet Karen Merritt for lunch recently. She lives near Pittsburg and I near Cleveland. So, we drove halfway to a diner that had the same aroma of frying bacon and burgers as the small-town Farmer's Restaurant where my parents ate many a meal in my book. 

Oh, the joy and connection radiating from our meeting; Karen is a part of my story now as she narrates the voices of Ed, Ibby, my sister, and me.

A curious gentleman at a nearby table couldn't help but recognize our deep emotion and he offered to take this picture. 

I'm forever thankful for Karen blessing my life with the tenderness and love she poured into this project.




Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Do you enjoy poetry? This week AlzAuthors welcomes a poetry book by AlzAuthors manager, Ann Campanella, What Flies Away.
Ann writes:

"What Flies Away tells the story in poetry of my mother’s journey through this disease and the path of grief our family traveled. It begins with a poem called “What she doesn’t know.” As I take her for “a ride,” we are chatting about birds/and insects and other things that fly away, until the hospital rises like a castle before us...Everything in me fought against it, but I had to leave my mother, in hopes that she would receive the help she needed.”


Read the entire post here.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Meet Rev. Dr. Cynthia Huling Hummel, author of "Unmasking Alzheimer's: The Memories Behind the Masks"


Reposted with permission from AlzAuthors.com



By Rev. Dr. Cynthia Huling Hummel

In the summer of 2017, I participated in a special program called “Art Reflects” for people with Alzheimer’s disease and care partners. The program was hosted at the Community Arts of Elmira (Elmira, NY.) One of our classes was about mask making and I was especially excited and intrigued to create a mask that would reflect what it meant for me to live with Alzheimer’s disease. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I couldn’t make just one mask—because there were so many dimensions to living with the disease. Before I knew it, I was up to 30 masks.

At the urging of friends, I photographed my masks and wrote about each one to create the book UnMasking Alzheimer’s: The Memories Behind the Masks.

To unmask is to reveal, to uncover or to bring to light.
  • It is my hope that the photos of my masks, along with the stories that I wrote, will “unmask Alzheimer’s” and bring to light one person’s perspectives of living with AD.
  • It is my hope that my book will create an opportunities for those living with the disease, those caring for them, friends, relatives and the medical community to dialogue about how Alzheimer’s feels, how it changes us and challenges all of us.
  • I also hope that this book will nudge people who have memory concerns to make an appointment to see their primary health care provider to talk about what is going on and together come up with a plan on what to do next.
  • I hope that those who are living with the disease will feel less stigmatized.
  • I hope that those of us who are living with the disease will be less feared and more included in the decisions that affect us and our daily lives.

Early diagnosis is the key to living well with dementia. Finding a cure to Alzheimer’s is my hope and my prayer.

I have received wonderful feedback on my book. International Dementia Advocate, Brian LeBlanc wrote: “BRILLANT!!! Cynthia has taken her emotions, struggles, her loves, her truths, her passions and puts them on display for the world to see, all in the form of masks. What better way to show what goes in inside the brain of someone living with Alzheimer’s! Bravo, Cynthia Bravo!


About Me: 

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Huling Hummel, is a fierce Alzheimer’s  advocate and a voice for those living with the disease. Diagnosed with amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment in 2011 and with AD in 2016. 
  • Cynthia serves as a National Early-Stage Advisor for the Alzheimer’s Association and speaks locally, and nationally about living with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • In 2017, she was appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to the National Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Services.
  • She has participated in two National Research Summits.
  • As a member of the Faith United Against Alzheimer’s Coalition, a national network of clergy, laity, and faith organizations, she has written several chapters for an upcoming book on serving the spiritual and worship needs of persons with dementia.
  • Cynthia is passionate about Alzheimer’s research and has been a participant in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuro-Imaging Initiative study since 2010.
  • Cynthia loves to sing in the band, “Country Magic” and was inducted into the NY State Country Music Hall of Honor in 2016.
  • She enrolled at Elmira College in 2011 and is taking her 37thclass.
  • Cynthia enjoys kayaking, swimming and golf and loves to travel.
  • Cynthia substitute preaches in and around the Finger Lakes. Most of all, she loves being a grandma to Cate and Henry.

Contact Rev. Dr. Cynthia Huling Hummel at revdrchh@gmail.com

Follow Dr. Hummel on Facebookand LinkedIn.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Meet Carmen Buck, photographer and author of "Just See Me - Sacred Stories from the Other Side of Dementia"

If you're looking for a visually stunning book that combines the stories of those with Alzheimer's and dementia along with beautiful photography, please check out Carmen Buck, author of Just See Me - Sacred Stories from the Other Side of Dementia

Carmen shares:
"I dove deep into my love of photography capturing memories especially for those impacted by dementia. Images convey feeling and can say so much about living with dementia making photography a wonderful tool to raise awareness. Combining words and photography creates a mighty voice to help people see into the lives impacted by dementia and reduce fear of the unknown so we may all experience more compassion and love. Just See Me-Sacred Stories From the Other Side of Dementia gives a voice to families who were otherwise overwhelmed with life and serves as a big step toward reducing stigma."

You can read Carmen's entire post on AlzAuthors.com by clicking here.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Read this week's powerful post on AlzAuthors.com by Jamie Ten Napel Tyrone, Author of Fighting for My Life–How to Thrive in the Shadow of Alzheimer’s

This week AlzAuthors.com welcomes Jamie Ten Napel Tyrone, author of  Fighting for My Life: How to Thrive in the Shadow of Alzheimer's.

Jamie shares:
"In 2009 ... I inadvertently discovered that my genetic status puts me at a 91 percent chance of getting Alzheimer's disease. As I opened my test results with complete naivety and lack of genetic counseling—much like the experience with direct-to-consumer companies like 23andMe—I was informed that I have two copies of the ApoE4 gene that will forever shadow my life."


Read the entire post by clicking here to go directly to AlzAuthors.com.


I'm so happy to be able to share other books with the readers of Alzheimer's Daughter. Each story helps and supports someone whose life is currently impacted by Alzheimer's and dementia.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Julie Gorges, writes “I’m Your Daughter, Julie: Caring for a Parent with Dementia” about her mother's path through Lewy Body Dementia

Shared from AlzAuthors.com

By Julie Gorges
I’m Your Daughter, Julie: Caring for a Parent with Dementia is the fourth book I’ve published, but the one that I’m most proud of – dedicated to my Mom who bravely fought Lewy Body dementia (LBD) and the 15 million noble unpaid caregivers – most of whom are family members – who care for a loved one with dementia.
LBD is a cruel combination of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s symptoms that render people helpless both physically and mentally toward the end of life. It is known for tormenting its victims with vivid hallucinations, delusions, and night terrors. Sometimes my mother was in a complete state of panic because she thought a bear was in the laundry room, a tiger was swimming in the pool, or baby lions were squirming in the bottom of her bed.
I had never heard of this brutal disease before Mom’s diagnosis. However, LBD is not rare. According to the Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA) and the Mayo Clinic, it is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s. Thankfully, more people have become aware of this disease after it was discovered that actor and comedian Robin Williams suffered from LBD at the time of his death. Recently, CNN founder Ted Turner was also diagnosed with this disease.
Still, much remains to be done to raise awareness. As LBDA’s site points out, although this disease affects an estimated 1.4 million individuals and their families in the U.S. alone, it is currently widely underdiagnosed, and few individuals and medical professionals are aware of the symptoms, diagnostic criteria, or even that LBD exists.
One of the reasons I wrote this book is to draw attention to this lesser known type of dementia. Admittedly, at first, I couldn’t immediately immerse myself in the painful memories of watching Mom slowly lose her mind, deteriorate physically before my eyes, and take her last breath. Nevertheless, eventually, I felt compelled to write the book out of a desire to help others learn from my experiences, successes, and mistakes as a caregiver.
This book is a memoir of sorts sharing my intimate story, but it is also a practical guidebook that I would have found beneficial during those difficult years. Let’s get real. Like many who care for family members, I was unprepared, inexperienced and untrained when I was thrust into the role of full-time caregiving. Most of us are not nurses or professional caregivers. The books I purchased on the subject were thick and overwhelming. Time was limited, and I didn’t need to know all the science behind what causes dementia or try to decipher essential information from fluff often used as filler to meet a publisher’s page requirement. In a short amount of time, I needed to know how to communicate with my Mom when she was being unreasonable, how to help her get dressed when she became immobile, and how to keep my sanity. That’s why my concise book is about 100 pages, easy-to-understand, and to-the-point.
In addition, the mourning process for a caregiver is somewhat different and I wanted to share ways that family caregivers can move forward after their loved ones die. I wanted to share ways they can heal, reinvent themselves, and go on to live a fulfilling and happy life.
By sharing my journey with others, I wanted to make the process a bit easier and provide some comfort to all those losing their loved one a little bit at a time like I did.
About the Author
Julie A. Gorges is an award-winning journalist and author. She is also a blogger at BabyBoomerBliss.net, recently recognized as one of the top baby boomer blogs on the web. Julie’s work has appeared in dozens of national magazines including Woman’s World, True Romance, and Cricket. During her mother’s final years of life suffering from Lewy Body dementia, Julie was a full-time caregiver.
I’m Your Daughter, Julie: Caring for a Parent with DementiaAmazon
To connect with Julie on her website, blog, or social media sites:
Author website: www.juliegorges.com
Amazon author’s page: www.amazon.com/author/juliegorges
Facebook: www.facebook.com/julieagorges
Twitter: www.twitter.com/JulieGorges 
Blog: www.babyboomerbliss.net

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Timothy Scott Honors His Grandfather in “Don’t Forget,” an Alzheimer’s Novel

Reposted with permission from AlzAuthors.com

By Timothy Scott
Almost everyone I know has experienced the pain of having someone in their life affected by Alzheimer’s. The names and faces are different, but the stories are eerily similar. As is the impact and the pain. Forgetting is a terrible cruelty. For me, that someone was my grandfather.
My grandfather was a very special man. He was a larger-than-life figure to me as a child, and a constant source of encouragement and joy in adulthood. He was the same powerful influence on so many others in my family. Alzheimer’s took my grandfather’s mind, and it was hard for all of us to watch as the powerful man we knew slowly faded away.
But I treasure the memories I have of him, and to share his influence with continued generations, his stories have become my stories. The memories that slipped away from his mind have found a firm, honored place in mine. That is my tribute to him.
This isn’t a memoir of my grandfather, but it is a poignant story about the power of presence and memory in the relationships that shape all of us.
My greatest satisfaction in writing this book has been hearing from readers how they found themselves and their loved ones in the pages, and how the story stirred within them deep memories of joy and a commitment to cherish and carry their loved one’s memories.
I’d be honored if you read it. I hope it helps you to remember and keep the memories of those you love.
Purchase Don’t Forget
About the Author
Timothy Scott is a husband and father, and storyteller. He writes stories that celebrate the power of family and relationships in order to make a difference in the lives of others.
Timothy has climbed the corporate ladder, working in the recruiting and talent development functions of Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc., Trane Commercial Systems, Yum! Brands/Pizza Hut, and Southwest Airlines. He built a dynamic NextGen Ministry at a growing church, and served two terms as a city councilman.
Whether one-on-one, or on stage in front of thousands of people, Timothy is an engaging and effective story-teller, and has the ability to harness the power of story to inspire and motivate others.
Timothy and his wife, Stephanie, have a daughter in college and two spoiled dogs.
Connect with Timothy Scott