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, May 17, 2017

Meet Celia Koudele, author of The Little Book for Alzheimer's Caregivers


By Celia Koudele


This book was my legacy for the next generation, putting in writing as much as I could about my experience helping caregivers of dementia patients.

My mother, grandmother and aunt all died from a type of Dementia, mostly Alzheimer’s.

I became my mother’s caregiver after my Dad died of cancer at 75. When my Mom had Neuropathy, the doctor at Mayo’s did a memory test and concluded she too would probably get Alzheimer’s. Even with our family history, we went through that period of denial.

I also went to work at the local Alzheimer’s Association, thinking I would learn more and be there to hear about a cure first-hand before I too possibly developed the disease. I was a Help Line Specialist and learned from over 65 callers a month about the many journeys of Alzheimer’s. My job was to listen, comfort, educate, and try to give them ideas to make their daily life better.

I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT HELPING FAMILIES AFFECTED BY ALZHEIMER’S.

Fast forward several years ago and I realized I had lots of ideas from my own experience of caregiving my mom and helping others. These solutions, experiences, and ideas would die with me if I didn’t share them with others. My goal in writing this book was to help other Alzheimer’s families learn from my experiences and ideas to make their life with Alzheimer’s easier in any way. People don’t know these behaviors can happen, what to do once they have a diagnosis, or how to talk and interact with people with dementia. Ignorance is not bliss. It can happen to anyone.

I knew what it feels like to be exhausted, afraid, and sad because the Mother I knew was slipping away, and I didn’t have the energy or knowledge to make it better. This Alzheimer’s Caregivers book is short and simple. When I began the journey of caregiving, “The 36 Hour Day” was a popular resource, but it was a large book, and by now I was caregiving for my mom and also my mother-in-law, so there was little time to read all of that large book! My book is purposefully “Little” because caregivers are exhausted, busy and need an answer to their problem quickly. It covers the emotions, daily living problems, and the big decisions about placing them in a facility. It is for all of you pretending they “aren’t that bad” while quality time slips away. Denial hurts everyone. There are ideas to cope with anger, bathing, and wandering. Always remember no one is promised forever, we all get one day at a time.”

I often share my books with doctors, people in stores, friends, strangers, and anyone struggling on this journey. No one should have to fight this disease alone with no help or support. I also often find support groups and church groups to speak to and to help with the many facets of this. God Bless them.

I receive feedback from Amazon, social media, and friends who have purchased the book and come back to buy more. Sometimes I give presentations at assisted living centers and support groups and people come up to ask questions and purchase the book.


Social Media:


Instagram: Alzcaregivers


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Karen Kaplan is Back with a Sci-Fi Dementia Novel

By Karen B. Kaplan
Perhaps it is not often that you come across science fiction that is (1) gentle and not full of weapons and nasty robots, and (2) includes a character who is one of the first with dementia to get cured of the disease. There are so many other aspects of reality to ponder, such as how robots might help or hinder grievers, it is a wonder that science fiction writers have not provided more material on such things. (Have you ever noticed that the Star Trek crew does not include a spiritual counselor?) As a healthcare chaplain, I have been curious about what it might be like to be cured of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Virginia Boyden, financial planner of the main characters, is one of those first lucky persons to be a “dementia returnee.” Virginia shares what it was like to get dementia, as well as what happened on the return trip. A temporary detour to complete health does arise, but Virginia figures out how to handle it.
Perhaps reading about dementia in upbeat fantasy might help us indulge in the comfort and hope that such fantasy can provide. It offers a different perspective, especially when the main characters Gomer and Muriel Ackerman try to grapple first with their financial planner’s decline, and then the issues that arise as she recovers. Here is an excerpt:
“Even a recluse knows that around the year 2056 patients with dementia had become as obsolete as doorknobs. But only a precious few individuals are aware of how the initial returnees from this malady reassembled their minds…
“An interviewer asked Virginia about the first half of her journey, when she was becoming more and more demented. She reluctantly described this frightening time: ‘I felt like I was a wall, and all the pictures on it and then even the wallpaper fell off, and then the wall itself wore down down down to the insulating material within it, and even that started coming apart. And then all the stuff out there coming at me such as sounds and being moved around and drinking coffee just passed through that material as it became softer and softer, and thinner and thinner. It was like everything was passing through or around me and I was not sending anything back out… But make no mistake: now I’m a solid colorful wall, decorated with photos and designs, and with great big bay windows that open to a field of newly blooming sunflowers waving at me.’”
About the Author
Karen B. Kaplan has an unusual background for a science fiction writer: she's a hospice chaplain and instructor of English as a Second Language. She has always wanted to write sci-fi with a compassionate touch, rather than portray the wars writ large and nasty robots found in dystopian scenarios. In her most recent book, Curiosity Seekers, Kaplan cooks up a blend of irony and an exploration of spiritual values such as privacy and the need to be heard. She enjoys surprising and entertaining readers by finding humor in the most unexpected places. In one of these interrelated stories, a grieving man tries to circumvent his grief by ordering up a robot that looks and acts like his wife. But complications ensue when her sexuality as well as other traits differ from the “original” mate. While serving hospices in New Jersey and New York for seven years, Kaplan visited over 4,000 patients and their families from all walks of life. That is when she wrote her first book, Encountering The Edge: What People Told Me Before They Died. Even in the context of hospice Kaplan is always alert to quirky anecdotes. “I always have an eye out for it,” she says. “I remember a funeral where the deceased’s niece looked at the grave and said, ‘Auntie, you sure have been fussy about apartments. But you’d better be satisfied with this one, because it’s gonna be your very last.’” When she was ordained in 1992, Kaplan became one of the first 200 female rabbis worldwide and earned board certification as a healthcare chaplain in 2007.
Follow Karen. B. Kaplan
Purchase Curiosity Seekers on Amazon




Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Meet Rebecca Thesman, author of Sometimes They Forget



By RJ Thesman 

How a Long-Distance Caregiver Learns to Cope

When the memory thief first visited our family, we didn’t think much about it. Mom was, after all, fully capable of caring for herself and she was in good health.

But gradually, ever so subtly, the memory thief began to take from her the basics of life: where she stored her pots and pans, how to read a recipe and produce the finished product, how to find her way home from the grocery store.

The resulting prognosis surprised and challenged us. Alzheimer’s Disease plus an inoperable brain tumor – no cure, no solutions. Mom could no longer stay in her home.

My siblings and I worked together, hoping for an easy transition, but Mom has always been an independent, stubborn woman. It was the doctor who had to be the bad guy as we took away her car keys, “The doctor says you can no longer drive,” then as we found a beautiful assisted living facility, “The doctor says you cannot live alone.”

We are now four years into the process. Assisted living has become Mom’s new normal and we are prepared for the final stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.

How do the children and grandchildren acclimate to this new normal? How can we somehow learn to cope with what has happened to the matriarch of our family?

As the long-distance caregiver, I found my coping skills through writing: filling my journals, using my blog posts for therapy and writing the Reverend G trilogy –http://amzn.to/1rXlCyh.

But I needed more of a mechanism to record the research I found and the practical tips we learned about Alzheimer’s. My background in nonfiction writing and essays provided the perfect medium to help me process my emotions.

So I continued to write, creating an online support group of other caregivers and empathic souls who prayed for my family. Then I compiled my posts into a collection of essays and meditations, designed specifically to provide hope for caregivers.


From the brief history of our family, to the explanation of how I found hope in the cemetery, to practical tips for caregivers and lessons about patience – “Sometimes They Forget” has become my new forum for describing my journey through this brutal disease.

Within a few hours of the online launch, readers ordered the book, then asked me when it would appear on Kindle, assured me they wanted to write a review. Already, this book has struck a cord with readers who know a caregiver struggling with the Long Good-bye.

My goal is to provide information, but also to be vulnerable enough so that other caregivers will know they are not alone and the emotions they feel are valid.

Perhaps “Sometimes They Forget” will be the book that is highlighted beside the bed of an Alzheimer’s caregiver – when the 36-hour day becomes a nightmare yet the purpose of the caregiving still feels significant.

To all the caregivers and their families, hope is possible – if only we reach for it.


Link for “Sometimes They Forget – Finding Hope in the Alzheimer’s Journey” http://amzn.to/2l0v59M

Links to Social Media:

Website: http://www.rjthesman.net
Facebook Author Page: http:www.facebook.com/RJThesman?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RJThesman
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccajthesman
Facebook Group: http://on.fb.me/15XgKN4