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, August 16, 2017

Welcome Sisters Susan Kiser Scarff & Ann Kiser Zultner, Authors of Dementia: The Journey Ahead

By Susan Kiser Scarff

Within a year of my husband receiving his dementia diagnosis, I had a classic case of caregiver burnout. I couldn't concentrate at work and most of my time was taken up with worrying about my husband's uncharacteristic and impulsive behavior. I was petrified and intimidated about the future…overwhelmed with basic day-to-day activities. Further, I was apprehensive about making the transition from wife to protector, nurse, and mother.

At the suggestion of a health professional, I began documenting the daily struggles of caregiving. After my husband passed away, I realized my daily journaling could be modified and turned into a valuable and timely resource for other caregivers in similar situations. Writing the book, and in turn helping others in similar situations, helped me to feel that my husband’s illness and my own caregiving struggles were not in vain. Something positive was able to come from the horrific disease called Dementia. Hopefully, the book, written with the help of my sister, Ann Kiser Zultner, will help fill in the huge gap between medical and in-home care for dementia patients.

Our book is intentionally designed as a practical guide for dementia caregivers. It begins with the diagnosis, and then moves into dealing with behavioral issues, managing daily living, safety concerns and late-stage. It also includes an assortment of caregiver tools and an extensive list of caregiver resources carers can use to find additional information on a variety of topics. Finally, the paperback version of the book (as opposed to the Kindle version) includes an Index that readers can use to go straight to any topic. I felt this was important since caregivers do not have time to sit down and read anything from start to finish, let alone spend hours researching. Every section also includes how I resolved many of the daily issues while caring for my husband…honestly, I learned everything by trial and error.

My husband, Red, proved to me that patience is a prerequisite, laughter is the best medicine, and a smile is worth a thousand words.

Purchase Dementia: The Journey Ahead - A Practical Guide for In-Home Caregivers, available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback.

About the Authors


Susan Kiser Scarff

I was born and raised a California girl. I live and thrive in Phoenix, Arizona since 1974. I graduated from Northern Arizona University in 1973 with a BS in secondary education with four and ½ years’ experience as a generational hippy and flower child. I come from a lineage of doctors, psychiatrists, and nurses. Our father and brother were both diagnosed with debilitating disorders shortly after I graduated from high school. I believe the culmination of our/my life experiences and family dynamics prepared me for the imminent role in life as a caregiver, aka, mother of all. I just can’t help it. My collective societal roles range from flipping burgers at the San Diego Zoo, multimedia artist and business owner, coaching junior’s tennis, tennis coordinator, volunteer and staff member at Desert Botanical Garden and last but most challenging …caring for my husband, diagnosed with FTD, for roughly 15 years in our home. It was a very long and difficult labor of love. Candidly, high school lesson plans, country club newsletters, botanical garden training manuals, several magazine articles, and one book sums up my prolific writing expertise. I believe our text is a wonderful starter book for novice dementia caregivers. If you have been a caregiver for a number of years...you can undoubtedly write your own book by now or already have.

Ann Kiser Zultner

I learned about dementia and caregiving through my sister, Susan, and her husband, Red. After Red’s dementia diagnosis, Susan and I would have weekly telephone conversations where she would describe Red’s new behaviors as the disease progressed and her ingenious ways of managing and coping with the resulting chaos and stress. Dementia: The Journey Ahead is designed to be a reference guide for dementia caregivers providing helpful and creative ideas on how to manage daily living. The book also includes some humor since that is the way our family seems to deal with just about everything. (Thanks, Mom.)

Follow Susan Kiser Scarff & Ann Kiser Zultner

Our Facebook page, Dementia: The Journey Ahead Caregiving 101, provides caregivers with much needed advice, support, and guidance, to help prepare and take charge of the challenging and demanding journey ahead.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Meet Bryan Wiggins, author of Autumn Imago




By Bryan Wiggins

No one I know has Alzheimer’s disease. My parents have entered their eighties with their sharp minds intact. Only one of my four grandparents suffered any kind of dementia, and Granny’s wasn’t that severe. So when I forget a name, lose my car keys, or question what the heck I’m doing standing in the basement after clomping down the stairs, I shrug my shoulders and carry on. I could still get Alzheimer’s, of course, but with no family history of it behind me, I find other things to worry about.

But when I decided to write a novel with a protagonist whose mother was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, my lack of firsthand experience with the disease threatened to damage the one thing most critical to building the fictive world that readers love to lose themselves within: character credibility. So I set out to do the research that could show me what my own experience had failed to teach me. I went to a talk by a nationally known Alzheimer’s expert at my local memory care center. I dove deep into the web. I read Still Alice to see how someone far more qualified than me—a neuroscientist with a Harvard Ph.D. and a grandmother who had died from the disease—built a book that rang true for the readers I was most concerned about pleasing: those who either suffered from the disease or loved someone who did.


Somewhere between my worries about getting things right and penning the final lines of Autumn Imago, I created Mara, the 70-year old mother of my story’s hero, park ranger Paul Strand. Mara’s condition compels Paul to bring Mara and the rest of the family he’s abandoned to his remote Maine campground for a tempestuous ten-day reunion. After the book was published, I was honored to receive letters from a few family members of Alzheimer victims who shared how moved they’d been by my tale. That response inspired me to go back to examine how the largely intuitive process that guided my writing had worked to shape the woman who became the moral center of my story. What I discovered was that I’d built Mara less from an examination of her disease than of the impact she and it had on the family that surrounded her.


For Paul, the kitchen fire Mara starts in the home she shares with Paul’s sister, Kim and her family is the warning shot that brings him back to his family again. It signals the limited time he has to heal the breach between himself and his mother before she finally slips away. Every conversation with his mother becomes a struggle over whether to share the feelings he’s buried from their past or the compassion that can comfort her as she faces a frightening future. For Kim, Mara’s caregiver, Mara becomes the test of selfless giving mandated by her calling as a pastor. Kim struggles to live up to that divine ideal while battling the all-too-human emotions of anger and frustration experienced by anyone whose attended to an Alzheimer’s victim’s long term care. Kim’s husband, Robert, exploits Mara’s condition, as he challenges her failing memory when her instincts get her too close to the secrets he keeps from his wife and family.


Kim and Robert’s fiery teenage daughter, Aida, lashes out at everyone except Mara, revealing the compassionate heart that beats beneath an angry and conflicted girl. Aida’s tubby, shy, and brilliant 13-year-old brother, Aaron, may be the one who sees Mara, and her situation, most clearly. He diagnoses both the early stage of his grandmother’s disease and the mental acuity that still illuminates her while others can see only the dark shadows of things to come. Finally, Paul’s younger brother Tommy, a recently-recovered drug addict, provides the true litmus test for Mara’s competency. When Mara’s slight-of-hand provides Tommy with protection from the prosecution of a crime Paul believes Tommy should pay for, Paul later learns that his brother deserved the second chance his mother afforded him.


Mara, of course, is defined less by how these family members see her than how she sees herself. She possesses a wisdom and will that become more apparent as the story unfolds. And though the progression of her disease escalates the rate at which she breaks her connection to both her family and her world, that loss of every person and place that she loves is, in the end, one we all must surrender to. If writing Mara taught me anything, it’s how much I have to learn from those with Alzheimer’s Disease. They and their families are people who cherish the core component of our identity that I take so blithely for granted. My discovery of a character struggling to hold both herself and her family together before both slipped away reminded me that every day—and every memory we make in it—is a gift.


For me, that’s a lesson to remember.




BRYAN WIGGINS is a Maine-based author whose works have been published in The Maine Review, Canoe & Kayak, and Sea Kayaker magazines. For the past nine years he has been the host of the Pine Cone Writers’ Den, a Maine novelists’ collective, and a regular speaker on the New England writing circuit. By day Bryan works as an advertising agency brand strategist and copywriter. For the past thirty-four years, he has made annual pilgrimages to explore the rugged mountain landscape of Baxter State Park that is the setting for his second novel, Autumn Imago. That recently published story of family and natural drama was one of only three books selected to launch Harper Legend, a new HarperCollins imprint of “visionary fiction.” Bryan is currently at work on 48, the second book in his “Imago Trilogy.” This latest novel is a cautionary tale of personal ambition that follows its protagonist’s lifelong pursuit of hiking New Hampshire’s 48 4000 foot+ peaks. You can learn more about Bryan and his work at wigginscreative.com


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

"Meet Me Where I am - An Alzheimer's Care Guide" by Mary Ann Drummond


By: Mary Ann Drummond, RN

When I was a young girl I dreamed I would grow up and become a nurse. I seldom left home without my nurse’s kit filled with band-aides, cotton balls, and gum drop pills just in case my services were needed. It seemed so simple in those days to comfort and to heal, or at least that is what my Grandmother led me to believe each time she let me practice my skills on her.

If only caregiving were that easy! The reality is there are wounds a band aid cannot heal, diseases medication cannot cure, and hearts so burdened by the weight of caregiving, comfort cannot be found.

I was motivated to write Meet Me Where I Am – An Alzheimer’s Care Guide to share what I have learned from the greatest teachers of all…those whom I have had the pleasure of knowing and caring for along life’s journey who have dementias such as Alzheimer’s.

Serving many years as an executive in the assisted living industry, my passion for dementia care grew stronger as I continued to see how the application of key concepts created beautiful success stories for the residents, the care givers and their loved ones!

I began to teach my care concepts in support groups, public health seminars and caregiver symposiums. I would often hear from attendees afterward how helpful the information had been and would be asked if I had ever considered writing a book? With this prompting, the seeds to write the book were planted.

Meet Me Where I Am – An Alzheimer’s Care Guide was published in 2014. Writing this book has been a life changing experience. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease requires an abundance of knowledge, patience and love. My goal was to give caregivers a tool that would teach, enlighten, and comfort while preparing them for the journey ahead. I was humbled to hear from the many readers how beneficial they found the book to be. When you have someone bring your book to you with the pages coffee stained, dog eared, passages highlighted, and they tell you it was given to them by a friend of a friend, and the same person is wiping tears from their eyes as they thank you for writing the book that has helped them so much, you say a prayer of thanks for being able to be there when you were needed.

Dr. Lisa Verges of MemoryCare Asheville, North Carolina refers to the book as providing “…useful strategies for navigating this journey with grace. It is an excellent and meaningful book and I highly recommend it.” Dr. Kathleen Hayden of Bryan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Duke University, states “This book will help caregivers and family members understand dementia from the patients’ perspective. Meet Me Where I Am is a must-read for caregivers of all kinds.”

About the Author


Mary Ann Drummond, RN, is the author of Meet Me Where I Am – An Alzheimer’s Care Guide and I Choose to Remember. As the CEO of Angel Tree Consulting, Drummond has a passion for presenting innovative and successful strategies in both caregiver and provider settings to assist individuals with dementia “live their best” each day. With over thirty years of nursing experience and sixteen years as a VP in the assisted living industry developing programs for dementia care, she credits much of her expert knowledge to the greatest teachers of all, those who live daily with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Meet Me Where I Am has entered a third print and has won three IPPY awards including: 2015 Silver Medalist Living Now Book Award for Caregiving, 2016 1st Place Gold Medalist Beverly Hills Book Award for Caregiving, and 2015 CIPA EVVYY 1st Place Book Award for Health and Diet. Ms. Drummond enjoys working with organizations across the country to increase successful outcomes in dementia care.


Twitter@RN4ALZ



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Meet Suzka Collins, author of Wonders in Dementialand



By Suzka Collins

Ah… the wonders I found living with my mother in Dementialand. It all started almost minutes after she was diagnosed with progressive dementia. The cause was meningitis encephalitis. There seemed to be no choice at the time. I had to leave my bohemian life in the art world in California to return to a Chicago suburb where my mom was living. I am a painter. This had all the markings of a disaster.

After four years living in Dementialand, I returned to California and remember my friends telling me how sorry they were, how horrible it must have been and what a great sacrifice I made taking care of her. I hadn’t a clue what they were talking about. For me, I was on a crazy cruise of chaos and enchantment. I had to write a book. Dementia was getting a bad rap.

Wonders in Dementialand is a quirky, meta-fictional memoir. The book is composed of 350 pages with oddly connected sections that range from flashback memories of something that might have actually happened, to pure fantasy.

The architecture of the book is noticeably whimsical. Parts are pure imaginary. I metaphorically humanized ‘dementia’ mirroring a male character named Skeeter - an uncommon approach. Violet (my mother and main character) meets Skeeter in a port-of-crossing terminal. As Violet attempts to cross the border, she trips and falls in the arms of this handsome suitor. The suitor takes her away to exotic and alluring places that Violet keeps secret. Like a schoolgirl, Violet is smitten and scared. But Skeeter (similar to dementia) is persistent in pursuing Violet. Other parts have dreamlike processions and hallucinatory imagery depicting the facade of life with a fragmented potpourri of characters. Large balloons with cartoon faces of the Cookie monster, Dora, Betty Boop and Miss Kitty parade themselves about everywhere making all the craziness palpable and even mysterious at times. It’s funny and sad and touching at the same time. Yet through this book there shines the light of an authentic truism. Nothing is trivialized. The delusions, the paranoia and the discombobulated conversations are still there.

Wonders in Dementialand breaks through the stigma of dementia, which is now being called the defining medical concern of this generation. Today more than 47.5 million are living with dementia worldwide. Multiply that number by the family members and caregivers affected by dementia directly, day in and day out, and you have a universe of people living in dementialand. It’s a subject that matters.

Amazon > Wonders In Dementialand > Comments 

5.0 out of 5 stars

What wonders you’ll find… By H

I love this book because of its attitude - vibrant, free-spirited, and positive.
A book like this is precious. Reading it gives me the energy I need to tackle the world and notice the colors of what otherwise might be a debilitating tragedy. Dementia can destroy the lives of everyone involved, but in this book, Suzka gives the gift of a new perspective-- accepting, open, and daring enough to have fun.

5.0 out of 5 stars

I loved reading this book By Christi

Suzka explored dementia as only an artist could. As I read her book, I felt that I could actually see what she was seeing and feel the withdrawal from the everyday understanding of the "real" world that was being replaced with an other-worldly view that leaves all the baggage and preconceived notions behind. It is a unique view of dementia from a caring, loving daughter who accompanied her mother as she made this journey. I loved reading this book.


Suzka, painter-author



Facebook: dementialand


Twitter: @Dementialand

Instagram: Dementialand

Dementialand™

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Meet Emily Page, author of "Fractured Memories"



By Emily Page
Writing about dementia came about fairly slowly and organically. I'm an artist, so when my dad was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia at the age of 65, my natural inclination was to start doing paintings about our journey as a sort of self-prescribed art therapy. I used an elephant as both a symbol for and a talisman against dementia, because "an elephant never forgets." As I created paintings, I posted them on social media with an explanation of their meaning, and people really responded to them. At the insistence of a friend, I started a blog to help promote my artwork, and it became a kind of online journal. Before long, I was getting tons of great feedback from my readers when I posted about what we were experiencing as we coped with caregiving. "Me, too!" was a phrase I started hearing a lot.
After my dad passed away in early 2016, my readers kept calling for me to turn the writing and artwork into a book, which was a fairly terrifying thought. I don't consider myself a writer, so the thought of sitting down and writing a book was daunting, but I knew that what I'd been writing about on my blog had spoken to people, and I hoped that the book would do the same thing.
When my dad was diagnosed, he was really open about his diagnosis, and so I decided that honesty was paramount if my book was going to do him justice. In our home, honesty meant not just talking about the really hard stuff, but laughing at the ridiculous stuff, too. There's plenty of both. My motto was, "We laugh when we can, we cry when we must." So I talked about the silly things he did as a result of the disease, and I talked about the raw, painful stuff that we were going through in our efforts to give him the best care possible. There are moments when I don't make myself look so great, but I thought it was important for other caregivers to be able to see themselves in the writing and know that it's okay and forgivable to not be perfect. We're all just struggling to do our best for the people we love.
I'm getting some great reviews on Amazon, but even more important to me are the people who've been given the book by a friend and have taken the time to look me up and email me to say, "Thank you. You said all the things I've been thinking."
About the Author
Emily Page is a professional artist and part-time writer. Working out of Raleigh, NC, Page spends most of her time elbow deep in paint, but comes up for air periodically to share her art and thoughts on her blog. She translated her ridiculous musings about her family’s journey through her father’s dementia into a book, Fractured Memories: Because Demented People Need Love, Too, available at http://shop.emilypageart.com/.
Follow her on Twitter at @EmilyPageArt23, and read her blog at https://emilypageart.net/.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Meet Ann Hedreen author of Her Beautiful Brain


By Ann Hedreen

Without quite knowing it at the time, I began working on Her Beautiful Brain in 2004, when my husband and I made an award-winning documentary film about my mother called Quick Brown Fox: an Alzheimer's Story, which has had a long life on PBS stations and remains in distribution through Women Make Movies, Amazon and other sites. Making Quick Brown Fox made me realize there was so much more of my mom's story to tell than our film could contain. I also began to understand that, while I love filmmaking (which is what I do for a living), I have been a writer since I could hold a pencil and I longed to write much more than I was then writing as a filmmaker and occasional journalist. 

In 2008, the incredible gift of a two-week residency at the Hedgebrook retreat for women writers got me going and the Goddard MFA program, which I completed in July 2010, kept me going on what became a book-length memoir. 

Her Beautiful Brain is the story of my mother, a copper miner’s daughter who was divorced twice, widowed once, raised six kids singlehandedly, got her B.A. and M.A. at 40 so she could support us as a Seattle schoolteacher—only to start showing signs of Alzheimer’s in her late fifties, taking us all on a long descent we never could have anticipated or imagined. 

The book begins in Haiti, where Mom is visiting two of her daughters, one a Peace Corps volunteer and one—me—a journalist, and where we first suspect that something is wrong. From Haiti back to Seattle and back to the mine-gouged Finntown neighborhood in Butte, Montana where she was born; from her historic Seattle neighborhood to a locked geropsychiatric ward, Her Beautiful Brain travels the terrain of a heartbreaking illness: one that currently affects more than 5.5 million American families—a number that is expected to double or even triple by mid-century. 

The tone of the book is essay-like, not blow-by-blow or how-to or what-to-expect. It is a reflection on the life of one person and how Alzheimer’s disease bent the trajectory of that life. Her Beautiful Brain tells the story of who my mom was, the seismic social changes she and we lived through and how her illness changed not only her life but my life, forever. And not just mine but my whole family’s: my five siblings, our spouses, Mom’s 14 grandchildren. We’re a great example of the ripple effect of this most insidious and quietly cruel of killers. We are the children and grandchildren of a woman who lost not her mind but her beautiful, wonderful brain, as it was called by her high school classmates in Butte, Montana, where she was once known as the smartest girl in the school. 

Since Her Beautiful Brain was published in September 2014, feedback has been so poignant and meaningful. You get it, people say. You don’t try to make it pretty. As a caregiver, I feel less alone now. That’s why I wrote the book. Families living with Alzheimer’s disease are becoming ever braver about speaking out and busting through all the shame and stigma and misconceptions that surround Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and I believe it is because more and more of us are sharing our stories. 


You can find me at annhedreen.com, on twitter at @restlessnest and on Facebook.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Welcome Peggy Bushy, author of "Lewy, Mom, and Me"



By Peggy Bushy

When Lewy Body Dementia entered my home, the world as I knew it began to shift, and I found myself in a constant state of confusion. My sweet mother, who lived in our home, was hallucinating, her stories and behavior were becoming more and more bizarre, and I had no idea why - neither did any of the doctors I consulted. Lost and alone, I could feel myself becoming a little more unglued with every passing day while I watched the family rules fly out the window one by one. "Wait! I depend on those family rules." They may not be the same as the neighbor's rules but they're mine, they've been mine forever, and I'm comfortable with them.
 
Written or unwritten family rules become our guidebook. Even as adults when we partner up with someone else who has a different set of rules, it doesn't take long before we meld them together and find comfort and harmony with the new set. When dementia crept into my life and disorder began to rear its ugly head, my home felt like a foreign country and I didn't speak its language. Confusion and disorder visited before. I was used to a little fracture here and there in my routine. My feathers got ruffled, I talked about it, or researched it, and sometimes received a remedy for an outside source. This time, as hard as I looked I couldn't find a single answer and it wasn't long before all hell broke loose and my harmonious routine turned into anarchy. That's when I joined a support group and the company of others. That's when I learned I had to think outside the guidebook.
 
My mother was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia years after my search for answers and years after family harmony fell apart. After a few weeks of processing the information, I looked for some comfort in a book. I found a few books related to the topic but they were all medical or clinical. I wanted a memoir. A book that would make me laugh, cry, relate, and feel not so alone. Having found nothing, I gathered up my years of journals, and wrote one.
 
Peggy Bushy Author PhotoWriting Lewy, Mom, and Me was difficult. Re-living the journey over and over was often painful, but also has been enriching. In the end it brought me a huge sense of accomplishment - especially when I hear from my readers. Many people have reached out to thank me for sharing my story and tell me how closely they relate to my stories. I am so happy to be able to offer the kind of support that I was looking for when I was lost and searching for comfort.





Connect with Peggy Bushy



 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Meet Judy Cornish, author of "The Dementia Handbook"



By Judy Cornish

Seven years ago I left my law practice in Portland, Oregon, in search of a small town where I could semi-retire and practice elder law. I found the community I was looking for in Moscow, Idaho, but not retirement. Instead, I’m now the owner of two businesses, an author, and the creator of the DAWN Method, a unique approach to dementia care that helps families keep their loved ones at home with more comfort and less stress. It all began with a courageous, sweet, whitehaired woman who lived across the street from me.

She lived alone, with no children nearby, and had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years earlier. When her family said they were moving her into a care facility because she could no longer drive, I volunteered to help her stay on at home. Within a few months, I was helping so many neighbors it became necessary to hire staff. Palouse Dementia Care was born.

From the start, my goal was simple: I wanted to help her—and each of my new clients--continue to live where they wished to live, with dignity and autonomy. My training, however, was not in medicine or social work. I was a lawyer with a classical education.

And yet, my background became an asset: it caused me to see my clients’ dementia from a different perspective. In their changing abilities I saw a pattern. They were experiencing distress over the loss of rational thought but, if I encouraged them to communicate using intuitive thought, they relaxed and found comfort and success. And, although they were losing both memory and memories (their remembering selves), when I joined them in experiencing the present, they were delighted and blossomed, because their experiential selves were intact.

At first I trained only my staff, but soon families were asking what we were doing that helped their loved ones become so comfortable. In 2014, I formed the Dementia & Alzheimer’s Wellbeing Network® (DAWN) and, in 2015, started writing.

The Dementia Handbook: How to Provide Dementia Care at Home was published this spring. It explains the simple pattern of abilities and disabilities I first saw in dementia. My second book, Dementia With Dignity: Using the Tools of the DAWN Method, will come out this fall. It details the emotional needs caused by dementia and provides specific techniques for responding to each of them. I wrote both books for us—the families and friends of people who are experiencing dementia.

The response to my dementia care approach has been very positive from the start here on the Palouse, with many people volunteering and helping me make it available to a wider audience. The response to the book has been positive, too. On Amazon.com, we’ve been on the first page of dementia books almost from publication.

Although my retirement goal changed, my goal in working with and writing about dementia has never wavered. I want to help us, as families, to provide the kindest dementia care possible, enabling our elders to live longer at home with dignity and autonomy. Thank you, AlzAuthors, for the opportunity to share my hope with you and your readers.

About the Author 

Judy Cornish is an elder law attorney and geriatric care manager who has spent the past seven years working with families and people experiencing dementia in northern Idaho. Prior to her work in dementia care, she practiced law, worked in vocational rehabilitation with traumatic brain injury, and spent a year as a psychosocial skills trainer in an enhanced care unit for the mentally ill. With her varied background—and education in literature, languages, fine arts and the law—she brings a diverse set of skills and a unique approach to dementia care. Her DAWN Method enables families to keep their loved ones at home longer, with less stress and more comfort. Today, Judy runs Palouse Dementia Care, providing case management and care services on the Palouse, and the Dementia & Alzheimer’s Wellbeing Network® (DAWN), through which she consults and provides training in the DAWN Method.

The Dementia Handbook on Amazon

Dementia & Alzheimer’s Wellbeing Network® (DAWN):


judy@thedawnmethod.com
www.thedawnmethod.com




The DAWN Method Facebook Page
The DAWN Method Twitter
The DAWN Method LinkedIn




Judy Cornish, JD:
Judy Cornish Public Figure Facebook Page
Judy Cornish Twitter
Judy Cornish LinkedIn




Judy’s dementia care company in Moscow, ID:
www.palousedementiacare.com
Palouse Dementia Care Facebook Page

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

AlzAuthors eBook Sale





AlzAuthors was founded in 2016 by four daughters of dementia who met over the internet because of their books, and formed a friendship and a mission to create a space where caregivers can find solid support, and those who share their stories can find the proper audience. I am honored to be a member of AlzAuthors.

June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, and June 21st is The Longest Day. Sponsored by the Alzheimer's Association, these important events increase awareness of Alzheimer's, related dementias, and brain health. In recognition of these events, AlzAuthors has put together our very first eBook sale!

Starting June 21 through June 28, you can take advantage of this excellent opportunity to check out some of our books at reduced prices, ranging from 2.99 to free. We offer a variety of genres, from fiction, memoir, and non-fiction. Many of our books are also available in paperback and audio, so check them out too.

Our books are written from a deep place of understanding, experience, knowledge, and love. May you find one - or two, or three! - to help guide you on your own dementia journey. 


Click on the book title to visit the book's Amazon.com page. Please check all prices before purchasing. AlzAuthors is not responsible for ensuring price reductions. All prices are in U.S. dollars. Links provided with permission by AlzAuthors.com, an Amazon Affiliate.



Alzheimer's Daughter, memoir, Jean Lee, 2.99


http://amzn.to/2rVqJjmWhat would you do if both parents were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s? At the time of their diagnosis, Ed Church struggles to his feet, yelling, “How dare you use the A. word with me,” while Ibby wags her finger at the doctor scolding, “Shame on you.” They protect each other, Ibby by asserting, “We’re not leaving our home,” and Ed reassuring, “We’re just fine.” About his driving Ed defends, “I’m an excellent driver, I’ve never had an accident.” When their daughter, Rosie, finds dings in Ed’s car, he dismisses, “Someone must have bumped into me.” After Rosie moves them to assisted living, convinced they are on a second honeymoon, they break the news, “We’ve decided not to have more children.” In the late stages, they politely shake Rosie’s hand, inquiring, “Now, who are you?” In Alzheimer's Daughter readers journey with Rosie Church from her first suspicions that something is awry to nearly a decade later as she is honored to hold Ed and Ibby’s hands when they draw their final breaths.


Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer's love story, fiction, Marianne Sciucco, .99


BlueHydrangeas EBOOK coverWhat if the person who knew you best and loved you most forgot your face, and couldn't remember your name? A care facility is everyone's solution for what to do about Sara, but her husband, Jack, can't bear to live without her. He is committed to saving his marriage, his wife, and their life together from the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease. He and Sara retired years ago to the house of their dreams, and operated it as a Cape Cod bed and breakfast named Blue Hydrangeas. Jack has made an impossible promise: He and Sara will stay together in their beautiful home no matter what the disease brings. However, after nine years of selfless caregiving, complicated by her progressing Alzheimer’s and his own failing heart, he finally admits he can no longer care for her at home. With reluctance, he arranges to admit her to an assisted living facility. But, on the day of admission, Sara is having one of her few good days, and he is unable to follow through. Instead, he takes them on an impulsive journey to confront their past and reclaim their future. In the end, he realizes that staying together at any cost is what truly matters.

Brought To Our Senses: A Family Saga Novel, fiction, Kathleen Wheeler, .99

When all is lost, family begs to be found. Elizabeth Miller is a thirty-four-year-old mama’s girl facing a crisis. Her divorced mother Janice receives a deadly diagnosis and becomes a volatile patient, and her fractured family tailspins toward their last resort—legal guardianship with disastrous fallout. Elizabeth soon exposes her mother’s long-held secret, which lies at the root of her family’s problems. With the lines blurred between right and wrong, she travels a path of reconciliation through the heartland of elder care in a family saga as memorable as Still Alice and as poignant as We Are Not Ourselves. From the Great Depression in Nebraska to the 1970s divorce boom in Illinois, Brought To Our Senses chronicles the lives of five generations of family over seventy-five years. The rocky relationships of four siblings complicate efforts to care for an aging parent diagnosed with the mother of all maladies in the new millennium.



Providing dementia care is profoundly stressful for families and caregivers. People with dementia or Alzheimer’s experience emotional distress, which leads to behavioral complications and the need for institutional care. However, if families and caregivers are able to identify the emotional needs caused by dementia and understand which skills are lost and which remain, they can lower the behavioral complications and their own stress. As the founder of the Dementia & Alzheimer’s Wellbeing Network® (DAWN), Judy Cornish approaches dementia care with clear and empathetic methods that not only improve the lives of the individuals with dementia but also of those caring for them. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are very personal and individual experiences—they vary from person to person. However, Cornish has identified a pattern in the abilities and disabilities of people living with dementia. Based on her findings, Cornish was able to develop methods for caregivers to ease emotional distress, which can quickly and safely resolve behavioral complications. Though people with dementia lose a sense of self, they are still the same person you always loved. Judy Cornish understands this. The Dementia Handbook: How to Provide Dementia Care at Home is the supportive guide you’ve been looking for as you walk alongside your loved one on this difficult—but potentially rewarding—new path.


The Dragons of Alsace Farm: A Story of Redemption and Love, fiction, Laurie Lewis, .99

In need of his own redemption, Noah Carter finally confronts his childhood hero, the once-beloved uncle who betrayed him. Instead of vengeance, he offers forgiveness, also granting Uncle John a most curious request—for Noah to work on the ramshackle farm of Agnes Deveraux Keller, a French WWII survivor with dementia. Despite all Agnes has lost, she still has much to teach Noah. But the pair’s unique friendship is threatened when Tayte, Agnes’s estranged granddaughter, arrives to claim a woman whose circumstances and abilities are far different from those of the grandmother she once knew. Items hidden in Agnes’s attic raise painful questions about Tayte’s dead parents, steeling Tayte’s determination to save Agnes, even if it requires her to betray the very woman she came to save, and the secret her proud grandmother has guarded for seventy years. The issue strains the fragile trust between Tayte and Noah, who now realizes Tayte is fighting her own secrets, her own dragons. Weighed down by past guilt and failures, he feels ill-equipped to help either woman, until he remembers Agnes’s lessons about courage and love. In order to save Agnes, the student must now become the teacher, helping Tayte heal—for Agnes’s sake, and for his.


Finding Ruth: A Daughter's Quest to Discover Her Mother's Past, memoir, Cynthia Hamilton, Free

A writer turns to detective to learn what her mother's life had been like before Alzheimer's stole her memories. A true story of forgiveness and healing. As fiercely independent Ruth struggles to stay self-reliant at the age of 86, each day brings her closer to an event that will alter her life forever. While her author daughter shifts through Ruth’s possessions prior to her move into a skilled nursing facility, she discovers a previously unseen photo from 1949 and realizes how little she knows of her mother’s life. As Alzheimer’s continues to warp Ruth’s once sharp mind, she can no longer shed any light on the past. Yearning to know who her mother was as a person in her own right, the author painstakingly reconstructs Ruth’s life from photos, letters, public records and firsthand memories. What emerges is a portrait of a bright, beautiful woman who is propelled through decades of broken promises and heartache, bouncing from one ill-fated relationship to the next, but always staying strong, always surviving. Through a timeline going back sixty years, the author gleans a much better understanding of the woman she had known only as Mom.



Do you know what love really is? What does it look like? This sweet little book is full of inspiration for any of us who love, but especially for caregivers. It shines a light on the beauty that may otherwise be hidden in our relationships, sometimes along with the hard realities that must be faced. It used to be that nine months or so after a traditional wedding, couples would announce they were pregnant. In Alan and Karenna's case, nine months after they married and before their first honeymoon year was over, they were instead adjusting to the symptoms of Alan’s newly diagnosed dementia. This is Karenna's account of their passionate midlife romance and marriage cut short by early onset dementia. It’s the unique story of her grief process, which began only months after her wedding to Alan, a man to whom she felt bonded physically, emotionally, and above all, spiritually. The story addresses the universality of love and loss and the need to go through the grief process, no matter how much we'd like to avoid it. It also touches on the larger philosophical question of how we are connected to one another and what creates a bond that feels like destiny, two souls meant to be together.


Invisible Ink, fiction, Pippa Kelly, 4.32

London lawyer Max Rivers has it all - a burgeoning career, a beautiful girlfriend, an exclusive address - but he harbours a long-buried secret that threatens to destroy his carefully constructed world. Invisible Ink is a mesmerising novel of guilt, loss and betrayal within a family - of sibling jealousy that threatens to run out of control, a mother's life all-but forgotten through the fog of dementia and a son who longs to, but cannot, escape his past. Pippa Kelly's haunting debut offers a deft exploration of the complex emotions hidden beneath the surface of our lives; drawing its readers into Max's story and leading them, step by careful step, towards its inevitable dénouement.


I Will Never Forget, memoir, Elaine Pereira, .99

It is painfully difficult to watch loved ones decline as dementia ravages their mind, destroying memories, rational thinking, and judgment. In her touching memoir, I Will Never Forget, Elaine Pereira shares the heartbreaking and humorous story of her mother’s incredible journey through dementia. Pereira begins with entertaining glimpses into her own childhood and feisty teenage years, demonstrating her mother’s strength of character. Years later, as Betty Ward started to exhibit bizarre behaviors and paranoia, Pereira was mystified by her mom’s amazing ability to mask the truth. Not until a revealing incident over an innocuous drapery rod did Pereira recognize the extent of her mother’s Alzheimer’s. As their roles shifted and a new paradigm emerged, Pereira transformed into a caregiver, blindly navigating dementia’s unpredictable haze. But before Betty’s passing, she orchestrated a stunning rally to control her own destiny via a masterful, Houdini-like escape. I Will Never Forget is a powerful heartwarming story that helps others know that they are not alone in their journey.


Love Finds a Way: Book II in the Ligonier Romance Series (The Ligonier Romance Series 2), fiction, Karen Malena, Free

In the historic small-town of Ligonier, nestled in the Laurel Highlands, romance may be in bloom along with the spring wildflowers. McKenna O’Malley, a young housekeeper at a senior care facility, has always longed for love. Though she harbors a dark secret, she dreams about breaking free of the legacy of her father—a convict she’s never met--and the shrouded mystery surrounding her mother’s death. Tim McMillen struggles with his own demons. Plagued by alcohol, fueled by anger, he finds himself jobless, homeless and alone. When Tim and McKenna meet, they find one another as kindred spirits. But the challenges they face may threaten all chances for happiness and even push McKenna to the very brink of sanity. In the sequel to Love Woven in Time, we revisit Harry and Rose McMillen, whose love in their senior years is an inspiration to all who know them. But as Rose senses that her beloved is losing precious memories more rapidly, she begins to wonder how long they really have together before the ravages of time and age erase precious moments forever. Step into a quaint Pennsylvania town that will welcome you, warm your heart, and take you into a journey of longing, faith, and ultimately, lasting true love.


Managing Alzheimer's and Dementia Behaviors (Health Care Edition), non-fiction, Gary Joseph LeBlanc, Free June 21th-25th, then 1.99

The primary purpose of this Health Care Edition of Managing Alzheimer’s and Dementia Behavior is to assist both Healthcare Professionals and Family Caregivers alike in providing the best care possible to those living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases. No less important, however, is another objective; for the information contained within these pages to be a catalyst in creating a better understanding on managing behaviors and proper ways to communicate with our patients and loved ones. We are also hoping that this shared knowledge will help build a better bridge of communication between professional caregivers and the family members caring for those living with dementia. Communication between these two factions is paramount. It is our hope that this book will be read individually or in groups, discussed openly and, after putting some of the tips now learned into practice, discussed again. Always remember, each patient is unique, but at the same time, the disease can often be manageable with the use of common sense, diligence and, most importantly, with love. The ultimate goal is to make sure those with dementia are getting the best quality of life, for this is truly the best scenario for both parties involved. We need to educate all hospitals and health care communities to become dementia-friendly.


Meet Me Where I Am - An Alzheimer's Care Guide, non-fiction, Mary Ann Drummond, .99

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease requires an abundance of knowledge, patience and love. There are many obstacles along the way to discourage and overwhelm even the most well rounded individuals. Meet Me Where I Am is an essential resource for Alzheimer’s caregivers, designed to teach, enlighten and comfort while preparing for the journey ahead. Providing real life scenarios commonly encountered, along with solutions to some of the more difficult tasks, makes this book a “must read” for anyone seeking a better understanding of how to meet the needs of those suffering with Alzheimer’s disease.


Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories, non-fiction, Carol Bradley Bursack, 2.99

Minding our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories is a portable support group, a reminder you aren't alone. Each story about caring for the elderly is self-contained; each person telling his or her story knows your pain in watching a loved one suffer, the joy of giving of oneself, and the emotional and physical exhaustion of the whole experience. It is an intimate and powerful resource for caregivers, filled with true stories about seniors and aging parents.


Motherhood: Lost and Found, memoir, Ann Campanella, .99 on 6/21; increases each day until it reaches regular price 7.99

Alzheimer's disease, infertility and love of horses intersect in this award-winning memoir. At age 33, author and poet Ann Campanella returns to her home state of North Carolina ready to build a horse farm and start a family. Ann's foundation is shaken when she experiences multiple miscarriages at the same time her mother spirals into Alzheimer's. Ann's connection to horses sustains her as she cares for her elderly parents and her window of motherhood begins to close. As her mother's memory fades, Ann receives a final miracle. The voice in Ann's memoir has been called constant and abiding, her imagery indelible. Her graceful, exacting language rises above the grief of infertility and the struggle to care for aging parents, connecting the reader ultimately to the heartbeat and resilience of the human experience. This memoir was a finalist in the Next Generation Independent Book Awards, the world's largest not-for-profit independent book awards.



A poignant mother-daughter memoir, Not Going Gently fuses story and science together into a unique book. Constance L. Vincent, PhD, shares her mother’s personal experience living with Alzheimer’s, intertwined with her own professional research into the disease.




Scattered: My Year As An Accidental Caregiver, memoir, Jana Panarites, .99

In November 2009, Jana Panarites was scrambling to make ends meet in LA. Her career spiraling out of control, she didn't think life could get any worse until she learned of her father's sudden death two days before Thanksgiving. She flew east for the funeral, and was forced to confront her future head-on at the sight of her devastated eighty-year-old mother. After living her entire adult life in LA and New York City, the second generation Greek-American decided to move back into her childhood home in Maryland--determined to save her career and her one remaining parent. In Scattered: My Year As An Accidental Caregiver, Panarites takes readers on an unvarnished, hair-raising journey of reinvention, inspired by love and a dwindling bank account. Her tale of attempting to advance her career while attending to medical appointments, household chores, and a flood of grief-related emotions raises issues of family loyalty, the strain of caregiving, resilience, and the repercussions of a romantic marriage for those left behind after death. Fast-paced, compelling, and filled with dark humor despite the seriousness of the subject, Scattered sheds a much-needed light on the plight of baby boomers everywhere, eager to thrive in their own lives but put to the test by aging parents--and often unprepared for what lays ahead.



Navigating the waters of dementia can be frightening, unleashing a myriad of emotions for everyone involved. After Vicki Tapia’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, followed closely by her father with Parkinson’s disease-related dementia, she struggled to find practical, helpful information to light her way. Somebody Stole My Iron began as a diary to help her cope, but emerged as a road map for others. It offers a glimpse into her family's life as they rode the waves of dementia, sometimes sailing, other times capsizing. This engaging memoir offers useful information from experts within the field of Alzheimer's research, personal lessons the author learned along the way, and ideas and tips for managing the day-to-day ups and downs of dementia.


Trading Places, Becoming My Mother's Mother, memoir, Sandra Bullock Smith, .99

Caring for an elderly parent can be extremely challenging. The role reversal involved is emotionally and intellectually demanding, and many caregivers find themselves unprepared to undertake such a difficult task. In Trading Places: Becoming My Mother’s Mother, author Sandra Bullock Smith shares her personal experiences spending ten years caring for her ailing mother. This heartfelt look at the trials and tribulations of that decade offers powerful insight and encouragement for anyone entering into a similar period of life. Smith’s touching stories share the heartbreaking, and sometimes comical, moments she experienced while providing assistance to her aging parent—and how they mirrored similar events from her own childhood. In a very real sense, the two women traded places. Smith found herself uttering phrases she heard all too often as a child, such as, “Don’t give your food to the dog” and, “You’ve had enough sugar today.” Smith began jotting down the things she said, and thus this charming book was born. Filled with respect, compassion, and love, this uplifting and amusing memoir is for anyone involved in elder care or who may face the role in the future.


Weeds in Nana's Garden, illustrated children's fiction, Kathryn Harrison, 1.99

A young girl and her Nana hold a special bond that blooms in the surroundings of Nana’s magical garden. Then one day, the girl finds many weeds in the garden. She soon discovers that her beloved Nana has Alzheimer’s Disease; an illness that affects an adult brain with tangles that get in the way of thoughts, kind of like how weeds get in the way of flowers. As time passes, the weeds grow thicker and her Nana declines, but the girl accepts the difficult changes with love, learning to take-over as the garden’s caregiver. Extending from the experience of caring for her mother, artist Kathryn Harrison has created this poignant children's story with rich illustrations to candidly explore dementia diseases, while demonstrating the power of love. It is a journey that will cultivate understanding and touch your heart. After the story, a useful Question and Answer section is included. $1 from the purchase of this book will be donated to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. The Alzheimer Society is Canada’s leading health charity for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Welcome Ann Richardson, author of Life in a Hospice

By Ann Richardson


Some years ago, I was taken to a hospice by a friend, who happened to be doing an errand. I immediately felt that this was the kind of tranquil place where I wanted to spend time. Soon after, I began to volunteer at a local hospice every Saturday afternoon. I did so for four years.

This experience had a strong impact on me, lasting even to the present day. Death – as with birth – is a very special time and I felt privileged to help people, even in small ways, in their last days.

As I was a writer, I thought the views and experiences of hospice staff would make a fascinating book. I had developed a technique, based on the kind of research I did for a living, of creating books formed around the direct views of people acquired by long and intimate interviews. Like a television documentary, it allows people to talk directly to the reader.

I undertook 31 interviews in two hospices with a whole range of staff – nurses, doctors, chaplains, managers and even a very reflective cook. They talked about the many ways in which they tried to make patients’ last days peaceful and meaningful, about the impact of such work on their own lives and, most importantly, about what they gained personally from such work. Like myself, they often used the word ‘privileged’ for being with people at the end of their lives.

The resulting book, Life in a Hospice, was, in my humble view, the best I had ever written – and I anticipated that many people would be keen to read it. It was very well reviewed, there was an article in the Times newspaper about it and it was even Highly Commended by the British Medical Association, despite not being a ‘medical’ book at all. All this was hugely pleasing.

But, alas, the breadth of the readership was very disappointing. The book was bought by many hospices and others working in end of life care, but it never took off with the general public. I quickly realised there were two reasons. First, most people do not have my fascination with end-of-life care and, indeed, avoid thinking about anything to do with death. And, second, the book was much too expensive, the price having been set by its medical publisher.

I couldn’t do anything to overcome the first problem, but I took back the rights to the book and re-launched it as a very inexpensive e-book ($3.75), so that anyone who wants to read it will not be deterred by the price. It is again receiving some good reviews on Amazon. I must admit I have never heard anyone say they were not deeply moved by it.

My one caveat for this website is that the hospices in my book did not cater for people with Alzheimer’s. I can only say that the attention to the very individual needs of patients would go far when it comes to people with dementia of any kind.

About the Author


Ann Richardson was a self-employed social researcher for most of her working life and wrote books and articles about her research. But she found that her real love is writing narrative books, in which people’s exact words from interviews form the essence of a book, allowing them to speak very directly to readers. Her other books of this kind are Wise Before their Time, about people with AIDS/HIV, and most recently, Celebrating Grandmothers, about the joys and challenges of being a grandmother.

Purchase Life in a Hospice

Connect with Ann Richardson



Facebook: @Lifeinahospice

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Meet Karenna Wright, Author of "The Grapes of Dementia"



by Karenna Wright

It used to be that nine months or so after a traditional wedding, couples would announce they were pregnant. Not with Alan and me.

Nine months after we were married, and before our first honeymoon year was over, we were instead adjusting to the symptoms of Alan’s newly diagnosed dementia.

He passed less than five years after that diagnosis. He was 67 years old, I was 59.

Since then, I've been writing about our lives with early onset dementia, as well as my grief process.

I'd been writing all my life, had published in journals and magazines, so the thought of writing our story came naturally to me. And really, it wasn't an idea at all. It was something I did as instinctively as a mother loves her child.

At first I randomly jotted down brief notes, a shorthand to capture all my memories.

Several years later, Alan fell at home, then had a bad reaction to an anti-anxiety drug given him in the hospital.

He suffered disorienting, disturbing hallucinations and excruciatingly painful muscle spasms. Under the influence of the drug, he clawed at me, grabbed me, pulled me close to him, and fought me off—all at the same time. He squeezed my hand so tight I thought it would break.

When I got home at eleven o'clock that night, physically beat up and emotionally broken, I wrote down everything that happened that day.

My writing was raw, uncensored. I wrote for my own mental health. I needed to share my agony, to find a glimmer of hope in it, then offer it to others.

I anticipated the acceleration of Alan's dementia—memory loss, confusion, personality changes. But I didn't expect the profundity in it. I didn't expect to frolic in the deepest regions of love, to see the joy within the sorrow, to cry and laugh at the same time.

I didn't expect to discover that the kernel of hope and truth dwells in moments of seeming despair.

Placing your entire presence and awareness into caregiving (or any other activity) heightens the senses beyond the knowledge or experience of what we'd otherwise observe. It lifts us above what we think is happening, gives us a bird's eye view of the situation, and reveals a way for us to respond that transcends our personal normal.

And that is my message for caregivers and their loved ones.

The high road shows us how to love someone and what loving and serving another looks like—anyone, not necessarily someone who is ill. Anyone. This is how you treat another human.

Readers have said I've offered a glimpse into the hidden nature deeply buried in illness, trauma, and our perceived fears of loss, that my writing touches the heart, soul, and funny bone.

They've commented on the joy present even in the turn of heartbreaking events, the amazing strength we can find to just keep going.

They've realized that simply being there is more important than anything else.

About the Author

Karenna Wright is retired from a global telecommunications corporation, where she managed one of the company's technical libraries and got to buy lots of cool books. She holds a BA in Communications, with an emphasis in Literary Journalism and a minor in Women's Studies, from the University of Denver. Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines and local publications. She also writes a column about her life as a caregiver for Senior News in Humboldt County, California. Her first book, The Grapes of Dementia: My Journey of Love, Loss, Surrender, and Gratitude, highlights her experiences and insights as a caregiver to her late husband Alan, who was diagnosed with dementia shortly after they were married. Karenna's second book is in the planning stages and will offer practical guidance to caregivers.

Karenna is wild about playing her djembe drum, which she discovered while a caregiver. The therapy and health benefits inherent in the drum contributed to her ability to cope with taking care of and losing her husband. She has enjoyed living on the north coast of California the past two and a half years and dipping her toes in the Pacific Ocean while gazing upon the giant redwoods. However, Karenna and her partner are in the process of selling their home and moving back to their families and friends in Colorado, where they have both lived for 35 years. Her brief sabbatical by the ocean did wonders toward healing her heart.