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, October 16, 2019

Meet Senia Owensby, author of "Finishing Well: Finding the Joy in Dementia"


Reposted with permission from AlzAuthors.com



By Senia Owensby

Dementia was not even on our radar. When my sister and I found ourselves devoting extra time and energy into caring for Mama and Daddy, we simply assumed that their diminishing abilities were a natural part of the aging process. Symptoms were easy to excuse and explain away. Resistance to taking medicine was perceived as non-compliance, not forgetfulness. Failure to tell us what the doctor had said was perceived as unwillingness, not forgetfulness. Reluctance to eat was perceived as a lack of appetite, not forgetfulness.

Dementia didn’t begin with a bang or a diagnosis from a doctor. It didn’t announce itself and take over. At first it seemed that something was simply odd or out of place, but as time went on, we began to put it all together: medicine not taken, meals neither prepared nor eaten, no letters written or crossword puzzles started.

Bits and pieces of activities from everyday routine gradually disappeared. Dementia had snuck in quietly and stolen away parts of Mama’s life – her memories and abilities.

When my Dad passed away in 2005, we took over the full responsibility of caring for Mama. By then, we had a better idea of the gravity of her situation.

Since we had not traveled this path before, we didn’t have any roadmaps to guide us. Resources, other than health journals full of medical jargon did not offer much help.

We made a decision that no matter how this all played out, we would make every effort to help Mama experience as much quality of life as possible. That resolution launched us into a decade-long journey to help Mama ‘Finish well’ while searching for joy in dementia.

We stayed busy. We sang, went to church, ate at restaurants, attended concerts, watched her favorite musicals, played two-square with my exercise ball, took walks, watched yellow finches flit and fight at birds feeders, enjoyed water activities, went for long car rides – anything that she felt up to doing and enjoyed.

Mama’s decline into dementia was a long journey filled with both challenges and joys. Over the next several years, we found ourselves sharing ‘Mama Stories’ with others who found themselves in the same situation.

Over time, we realized that others walking along the same path could benefit from our experiences. We collected a number of stories and distilled them into short, easy-to-read chapters on our new lifestyle with Mama - along with our philosophy of joy. The purpose of Finishing Well: Finding the Joy in Dementiais to provide hope for fellow caregivers. Amazon was a perfect method for publishing, and we were delighted at the response we received.

In addition to the book, I launched a blog: finishingwellinlife.comin my never-ending quest to help caregivers as well as share ideas on how to prevent dementia.

About the Author

Senia Owensby has always loved to write. Her passion for writing has produced a broad variety of literature, including short stories, several children’s books and an assortment of articles for numerous publications.

Senia is a Certified Life Coach who lives in a small cottage in North Carolina. She’s married to the love of her life, and is also a mother and grandmother. Since retiring, she spends her time both writing and working in her garden.



Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Meet Susan Straley, author of “Alzheimer’s Trippin’ With George”

Reposted with permission from AlzAuthors.com


By Susan Straley

 My finger hovers above the mouse button. The curser pauses over the orange “publish” button on the screen of my laptop. I am sitting at our motel room desk in northern Idaho. We are a long way from our home in Florida.

It is after midnight. George has been sleeping for hours while I have uploaded the day’s pictures and written about the amazing and… interesting experiences of the day.

I sit in the late night silence, hesitant to click, my brain flipping over possible consequences. A single tear traveling down my right cheek has now stopped mid-stream as if it too is waiting for a decision.

Earlier that cold, rainy day we had hiked up Pulaski Trail outside of Wallace, Idaho. Parts of the climbing mountain trail were narrow, bordered by steep cliffs on one side and precipitous declines on the other side. It was a great walk with kiosks along the route that told the story of a great fire and a group of fire-fighters that survived. We probably walked over 3 miles, maybe over 4. This was something to celebrate because an early symptom of George’s dementia was loss of balance and walking had become a challenge. We had been doing exercises to keep George mobile. The work was paying off. We were about 1⁄4 mile from the end of our trek and I stopped and turned to George behind me to give him a hug and a cheer. He was shivering from the cold.

Then I felt an unexpected warmth. I stepped away and looked down. There was a dark spot growing on the crotch of George’s pants. He also looked down, but did not seem to comprehend what was happening and what to do about it. I guided him to finish his urination into the bushes.

So here I am, sitting at the desk in the dim motel room. I had been encouraged by the growing audience of readers of the blog to tell all and be open and honest about our experiences. “It will help so many,” they told me.

Already I was hearing from other caregivers that they excitedly checked for my posts every day. The posts helped them feel they were not alone in their emotions and experiences.

So I had written openly and honestly about this day. But now I sat in doubt. What about our friends? What about the children? What if George has a cognitive moment or … what if he recovers and the diagnosis was wrong? This man, this respected Mechanical Engineer and Computer Programmer is losing balance, language, and control of his bladder and bowels.

The tear that was resting on my cheek is now being pushed down further by more tears behind it. It dangles from my jaw and then falls onto my wrist. My finger goes down and I hear the click… Published.


SUSAN STRALEY BIO

The first book in the Trippin’ series, Alzheimer’s Trippin’ with George – Diagnosis to Discovery in 10,000 Miles, is the journal of George and Susan’s “last hurrah” trip after learning that George had progressive dementia. The book is getting great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. A common comment, “I love it! I couldn’t put it down!” Even those who have never cared for someone with dementia have found the book informative, fun, and gripping.



The second book is a continuation of their story after they return from their road trip. The story demonstrates that life can still hold great joy for both the caregiver and the one living with dementia. The Journey Continues – Alzheimer’s Tripping with George, Over The Bumps with Friends, Family and Community Support was just released in spring of 2019. The e-book version will be launched in the fall.



Susan Straley was born with an urge to wander. “My parents were often searching for me. At three years old they found me several blocks away playing in a mud puddle,” said Straley.


In 2008 Susan and George semi-retired and moved all their belongings into storage except what they needed for a long bicycle trip on their recumbent tricycles (reclining seats on three wheels). They pedaled around Wisconsin. The journey took 40 days and was the start of Susan’s writing career as she uploaded pictures and stories to an on-line journal.

The Straleys then moved to Inverness, Florida, a small town is located along the 46 mile Withlacoochee bicycle trail.

Susan and George have since gone on several other tricycle trips, the longest was from Northern Illinois to their home in Central Florida.

Susan still enjoys riding recumbent tricycle with friends.

Susan invites you to join in the fun as she keeps trippin’ at SusanStraley.com. Sign up to receive a chapter from The Journey Continues FREE and to be notified when Susan launches a book or starts another travel journal.

You can also join in the fun on Facebook at Susan Straley Writes.






Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Meet Zoe Fishman, author of "Inheriting Edith"


Reposted with permission from AlzAuthors.com



By Zoe Fishman

Our parents. They raise us; they tolerate us; and if we’re lucky, they love us even when we’re terrible.

And then one day, you wake up and look in the mirror. You are not bright eyed and bushy tailed, you have eye bags and patchy skin. Your two-year-old has been up since five am, watching cartoons at your parents’ house, the house you grew up in, the house that you are visiting now as an almost forty-year-old adult. You pad into the kitchen, pour yourself some coffee and sit. You look at your parents, your mother on the couch next to your son, your father at the kitchen table next to you with his basket of medicine and you realize that if you are oldish, then they are old. And then you realize that you are all just going to keep getting older, God willing, and that the tables will turn and you will take care of them; just as they took care of you. You drink more coffee and worry about what exactly that will entail.

That’s what happened to me, back in 2014. I drank my coffee and thought about how I would essentially be inheriting my parents and then as the caffeine began to wake my brain I thought about how nice a windfall inheritance would be, but then remembered that nothing comes without any strings attached; there is always a catch. And thus, Inheriting Edith was born.

Initially, Edith was not going to have Alzheimer’s. But then I spoke to my mom on that same trip home, sharing my idea, and she asked me what exactly was at stake for Edith? My grandmother, my father’s mom, had had Alzheimer’s, and upon further thought I realized that Edith, not having a choice about the loss of her memories, and Maggie, her reluctant caretaker, willingly repressing hers, created an interesting dynamic. So, thank you to my Mom.

One of my biggest fears in writing this book was that I would unintentionally undermine or misrepresent Alzheimer’s. I asked my father about how hard it must have been for him to witness his mother’s decline, and he told me something she said at one point in the early stages of her disease. She said to him, “Ethan, I don’t know whether I’m coming or going.” The naked vulnerability of such a statement struck me deeply and it, along with much research, became my guide in realizing Edith’s journey.

It has been a source of great joy for me that so many of my readers have commented about the accuracy of my depiction of not only Edith’s Alzheimer’s, but my depiction of her relationship with Maggie. It’s a delicate dance to say the least, and to have it resonate with others in this position, to know that it may have made them feel less alone in their struggles, has been a true gift.

Bio:




Zoe Fishman is the bestselling author of the upcoming Invisible As Air, which will be available in September 2019, as well as Inheriting Edith, Driving Lessons, Saving Ruth and Balancing Acts. Her books have been translated into several languages and she’s the recipient of myriad awards, including an IndieNext Pick.

Zoe worked in the New York publishing industry for thirteen years. She was recently the Visiting Writer at SCAD Atlanta and currently teaches at Emory Continuing Education and The Decatur Writers Studio, at which she is also the Executive Director. She lives in Decatur with her family.

You can visit her website at www.zoefishman.net, like her on Facebook/ Zoe Fishmanand/or follow her on Twitter at @ZoeFishman76.



Monday, September 23, 2019

North East Ohio Alzheimer's Association included AlzAuthors in Akron and Medina Walks to End Alzheimer's


For the past two weekends, I've been honored to display a sampling of books, all written by people like me, perhaps like you too, who have had personal experiences with Alzheimer's and dementia. 

AlzAuthors, a group I helped cofound, was invited to be an exhibitor at the Walks to End Alzheimer's in Akron and Medina.

People were astounded to see this wealth of books, written from personal experience. Now they know they are not alone in their journey.

Read the entire post on AlzAuthors

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

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Meet Laura Mansfield, Author of Geezer Stories: The Care and Feeding of Old People

Reposted with permission from AlzAuthors.com

By Laura Mansfield
Suddenly, five years ago, my world fell apart as my parents tumbled headfirst into old age. It was a pivotal time in my life. I was remarrying after a decade of being a single parent. My son was leaving the nest, starting college, while a special-needs stepson was landing unsteadily in my new nest. I was leaving my successful career at a high-powered advertising agency to start my own consulting business, which would allow me greater flexibility to care for my parents, my new family, and to watch over my son as he spread his wings into early adulthood. It seemed doable. I was living the life of my generation—Gen T—the Taffy Generation, because “sandwich” just doesn’t cut the mustard. My friends and I are pulled like saltwater taffy as we have children later, our parents live longer, and we blend families in non-traditional ways. We’ve long since quit believing in the myth of work-life balance.
I started writing about my journey into eldercare on Facebook in what I called #GeezerUpdates. The Facebook posts quickly gained traction and morphed into a blog at geezerstories.com and ultimately a book—my bittersweet memoir, Geezer Stories: The Care and Feeding of Old People.
There’s no how-to manual for taking care of old folks. We’re all flying blind here as our parents slide into their second childhoods. My book has a bite to it, with a backward glance at my own childhood. It’s a survival story about how to persevere in the face of inevitable hardship. It’s about choosing to age gracefully, despite the pain and the pathos. As my father, aka DooDaddy, famously said, “Growing old is not for the faint of heart.”
Over the past five years, my second marriage failed, my business faltered, and my son lost his way, as I found myself torn apart by the seemingly endless demands of caregiving. I moved three times and changed jobs four times, ultimately ending up back with the agency I left five years ago. And I lost both my parents agonizingly to cancer, which they faced with courage and dignity. My son graduated from college and has become his own person. My life has come full circle.
One of the many blessings of this tumultuous time was my father holding court at my Geezer Stories launch party. He had read the book—which was not always kind to him—three times. He could no longer walk or stand or even sign his name. I had a stamp made of his iconic scrawling signature, which he gamely stamped on each copy as he shook hands and gregariously greeted his fans that afternoon at Union Ave Books. It was a triumph. We sold out. It was DooDaddy’s last public outing.
While my parents did not suffer specifically from Alzheimer’s, they experienced the many indignities of dementia, memory loss and all ilk of physical frailty and ailments. They lost their freedom, their mobility, their lucidity, their ability to eat, swallow and speak, but never their humanity. And they taught me the meaning of compassionate caregiving in the process. Geezer Stories is my story, and it is also theirs—of love and loss, of humor and humanity, in the context of family and the ties that bind us all.
The book has been well received, making several bestseller lists on Amazon and generating a groundswell of support from fellow Gen T caregivers, who have their own geezer stories to share. Caregiving comes in many forms, flawed and fragile, but ultimately beautiful. Hopefully, our parents did their best. Hopefully, we will do the same.
Bio:
Laura Mansfield grew up in Knoxville, Tenn. surrounded by cats, books and good conversation. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in English and later an MBA in finance. Formerly a professor of advertising and public relations at UT, Laura has a flair for storytelling, which informs her work as a public relations manager for an advertising agency recognized by Fast Company as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies. She’s also a certified yoga instructor and passionate yoga practitioner. Laura has one son, one dog and a cat named Richard Parker.
Laura writes from her home in East Tennessee. Learn more at: www.geezerstories.com.
Social media links:
Twitter: @geezerstories
Instagram: @geezerstories
LinkedIn: lauramansfieldapr
Blog: geezerstories.com
Purchase Geezer Stories: The Care and Feeding of Old People on Amazon.

Friday, June 21, 2019

AlzAuthors 4th Anniversary Sale and Giveaway for Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

Reposted with permission from AlzAuthors.com
AlzAuthors 4th Anniversary Sale and Giveaway for Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month
It’s AlzAuthors fourth anniversary and our team is so excited! We have come so far since we first partnered in 2015 to help raise awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Here are some highlights:
  • In 2016 we launched this website and have since featured more than 200 authors and their books, many written from the trenches, giving an up close and personal glimpse into the lives of Alzheimer’s caregivers and the disease. Upcoming blog posts are scheduled into December!
  • We have gathered an active army of advocates for those living with the dementias who work to break stigmas attached to the diseases via social media, online, and in-person events.
  • We published an anthology of our first year’s posts in November, 2018, and will soon publish a second volume.
  • The full management team – working exclusively online since 2015 – met in person for the FIRST time in November, 2018 at the Caregiving.com National Conference in Chicago!
  • We partnered with the Kline Center for Dementia Support and Grandparenting Research to launch our first “Inspiration Collection” on board the Connecting Circles of Care and Building Bridges of Hope Caribbean Cruise for Caregivers.
  • Our authors are donating books to our Traveling Libraries in North Carolina, Ohio, and New York which go on the road to Alzheimer’s and dementia events and into the hands of needy caregivers.
Whew! We have been busy! When Marianne, Jean, and Vicki first met to talk about cross-promoting their books and raising awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia, they had no idea their efforts would have such an impact. With the addition of creative director Kathryn Harrison, editorial expert Ann Campanella, and all-around dynamo Irene Olson the achievements, ideas, and energy are boundless!
PrintTo celebrate our achievements we’re hosting a sale and a raffle in conjunction with Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Starting today through June 27 you can take advantage of this excellent opportunity to check out some of our books at reduced prices or FREE. We offer a variety of genres, from fiction, children’s, memoir, and non-fiction in digital, paperback/hardback, and audiobooks. 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. And they make great gifts!
Note: Click on the book covers 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. AlzAuthors is an Amazon Affiliate and may receive a small sales commission to assist in maintaining the website.
Don’t forget to enter our RAFFLE,  where one lucky winner will win a collection of books from AlzAuthors. To enter, click here NOW!
And now, the books:
Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiving Stories: 58 Authors Share Their Inspiring Personal Experiences (An AlzAuthors Anthology, Book 1) 
Within these pages you will be immersed in a world of writing about Alzheimer’s and dementia gathered together by the team at AlzAuthors.com. The editors of this anthology have worked tirelessly to find and vet resources – memoir, novels, nonfiction, poetry, children’s books, and blogs – to provide those living with dementia a friendly place to find the support and knowledge they need. Fifty-eight authors who have “walked the walk” reveal the stories behind their books, what made them sit down and painstakingly share their stories, and what they have gained from doing so. We believe that when we share our stories we open a dialogue that not only reduces the stigma surrounding a dementia diagnosis but enlightens others to the reality of: “I made it through. You can too.” Kindle reg. price 4.99/sale price 1.99; Paperback reg. price 14.99/sale price 13.99.


Alzheimer’s Trippin’ with George: Diagnosis to Discovery in 10,000 Miles by Susan Straley
What would you do if you learned that your spouse or partner has progressive dementia, possibly Alzheimer’s disease?  This is the brutally honest journal of one spouse and reluctant caregiver that “ran for the hills.” Of course she took her husband George along.
What challenges did Susan encounter?  How can she enjoy the present — a journey across the U.S.A. –  while worrying about the future?  How do she and George deal with his increasing dementia symptoms? And the biggest question of all, after 40 years together, can they remain married and loving through it all?  Travel along with George and Susan.  You will learn, you will laugh and maybe shed a tear as you too go Alzheimer’s Trippin’ with George. A portion of the author’s proceeds for each sale (paperback or ebook) will be donated to Caregiver Assistance.  Don’t let the number of pages scare you.  There are LOTS of pictures to help tell the story.  The Kindle version shows the pictures in color on your tablet or phone. Kindle reg. price 7.99/ sale price 2.99; Paperback reg. price 18.87/ sale price 15.00.


Memory’s Last Breath: Field Notes on My Dementia by Gerda Saunders
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2017 BY NPR
Based on the “field notes” she keeps in her journal, Memory’s Last Breath is Gerda Saunders’ astonishing window into a life distorted by dementia. She writes about shopping trips cut short by unintentional shoplifting, car journeys derailed when she loses her bearings, and the embarrassment of forgetting what she has just said to a room of colleagues. Coping with the complications of losing short-term memory, Saunders, a former university professor, nonetheless embarks on a personal investigation of the brain and its mysteries, examining science and literature, and immersing herself in vivid memories of her childhood in South Africa. Kindle reg. price 9.99/sale price 2.99.


I Smile For Grandpa by Jaclyn Guennette, illustrated by Kathryn Harrison
Discover the heartwarming relationship between Grandpa and his Little Buddy in this touching book. When Grandpa is diagnosed with a dementia disease, Little Buddy realizes playing soccer together won’t quite be the same. But, while the activities that Grandpa can do are changing, there is still much fun to be had. In fact, spending time with each other is as special as ever! Using delightful and tender illustrations, dementia is compassionately explored through the innocent eyes of a child to create a greater understanding of the disease. Tips for speaking with your child as well as a useful Q&A are also included to enhance learning. *A portion of profits from 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. Thank you for making a difference. Kindle reg. price 4.99/FREE through 6/25.


What Flies Away by Ann Campanella
What Flies Away tells the story in poetry of the author’s mother’s descent into dementia, her father’s sudden death and the miracle of her daughter’s birth. Two poems from the collection received the Poet Laureate Award, the highest honor of the North Carolina Poetry Society. Anthony S. Abbott says, “What Flies Away is literally life itself, and the people and animals in it who we love. The mother is struck with Alzheimer’s, the father dies, a beloved horse is put down, the narrator turns forty and feels her own life flying away, and then a baby is born, a miraculous red-headed girl who gives life back not only to the parents but to her grandmother, and of course, to the reader. We are riveted to these poems, as step by step we experience the loss, the grief, the mourning, and then the astounding resurrection. It’s a book to read and read again.” Kindle reg. price 2.99/sale price 0.99.


Alzheimer’s: Beyond Caregiving by Miki Klocke
You will feel all alone. You will be lost and confused, but there is an ever growing community at your side. Your experiences are unique, struggles are all consuming. Your tribe of caregivers understands. There is no time for yourself. But you can accept offers of help and learn to ask for what you need as you find your footing on this journey. Beyond the sorrow and grief and loss, you’ll begin to see glimpses of pure love. Paperback reg. price 12.99/sale price 9.99.


Competing with the Star by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Hadley Daniels’s life seems perfect… Before the beginning of sophomore year of high school, Hadley and her family move to a beautiful beach town, where she makes amazing new friends and lands the boyfriend of her dreams–Nick Jenkins. He’s the kind of guy every girl swoons over, and it isn’t long until Hadley discovers some are still swooning. A famous ex-girlfriend makes matters more complicated… After some time dating, Hadley and Nick form a deep bond. But insecurity sets in when Hadley discovers her boyfriend once had a huge crush on her friend–who just happens to be the beautiful former teen TV star, Simone Hendrickson. The past is the past–or so they say… Hadley confronts Nick, who confesses about his history with Simone. Though he claims to only have eyes for Hadley now, it’s hard to believe–especially when she’s blindsided with the news that Nick and Simone kissed after school. Now Hadley must determine who is telling the truth. Love, betrayal, friendship…who needs soap opera drama when you’re busy competing with a star? This Young Adult novel contains a sub-theme of a grandparent with dementia. Kindle sale price .99.


Nice to Meet You.. Again: Empowering Children to Find Joy and Understanding in Loved Ones with Dementia by Suzanne Bottum-Jones, illustrated by Aaron Boyd
“No! No!” shouted Ollie, “I don’t want to go in there! That’s not my grandpa; he doesn’t even know who I am anymore.” So begins the beautiful journey of a little boy who transitions from being scared and frustrated that his grandpa, and best friend, does not know him anymore, to a boy who learns what HE can do to reconnect with his grandpa who is living with dementia. This unforgettable story takes readers through a range of emotions, from sadness to hope, as Ollie learns how to better understand the effects of dementia experienced by his grandpa and what he can do to help hold on to his relationship and enjoy their time together. This story is a lesson for children and adults to learn to accept a loved one experiencing dementia and to celebrate the joy in the interactions they still experience together. Hardcover reg. price 17.95/sale price 15.95.


Sisterly Shove: A Fight to the Death Against Pancreatic Cancer and Dementia by Malia Kline and Dr. Diane Stinson   
A story of love outlasting memory. When Mama is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and Papa has dementia, a humor writer and her serious-as-a-heart-attack physician sister engage in hand-to-heart combat in a 13-year battle to do what’s best for the parents who were always there for them. Growing up, Malia and Diane always loved each other despite their differences. Dark straight hair vs. curly, light hair. A pleaser vs. a protester. A wallflower vs. a Governor’s School standout. But the two sisters don’t understand how truly differently they view life, death and the caregiving in between until middle age when their beloved parents are whittled away by disease and dementia. As they struggle to share caregiving from opposite coasts and conflicting mindsets, sisterly love changes to sisterly shove. Diane, a physician, proclaims Mama “a goner” when she is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in North Carolina, but then takes her against doctor’s orders to her home in California to preserve the hope that she won’t really die. When Malia moves Papa into an Alzheimer’s assisted living facility in their hometown, Diane calls it “assisted dying” and eldernaps him to doctor him herself 24/7 instead of entrusting his life to Malia and institutional eldercare. Will the sister’s relationship be the biggest casualty in this story of love outliving memory? Or will the demon dementia that consumed Papa and all his siblings also take Diane and Malia away from each other at the most vulnerable stage of their lives? Kindle reg. price 6.99/sale price 3.99; Paperback reg. price 9.49/sale price 7.49.


Finishing Well: Finding the Joy in Dementia: A Practical and Sometimes Humorous Guide for the Journey by Senia Owensby
Does your loved one have dementia? Caring for my Mama through her decline felt like an uncharted wilderness. Resources were few and far between. There wasn’t a lot available in the way of guidance or help, but we were determined to bring as much joy as possible along the way in spite of the challenges. This is our story – actually, it’s Mama’s. If she could talk, she would assure us that despite every difficulty, she’s still in good shape for the shape she is in. May Mama’s story encourage and inspire you to find the joy in your own, unique journey. Kindle reg. price 4.99/sale price 0.99; Paperback reg. price 9.99/sale price 7.71.


Trading Places, Becoming My Mother’s Mother by Sandra Bullock Smith
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. Kindle reg price 2.99/ FREE through 6/25.


1527552191Somebody Stole My Iron: a Family Memoir of Dementia by Vicki Tapia
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. Kindle reg. price 3.99/sale price 0.99.


Weeds in Nana’s Garden: A heartfelt story of love that helps explain Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias by Kathryn Harrison
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, and learns to take-over as the magical garden’s caregiver. Extending from the experience of caring for her mother, artist Kathryn Harrison has created this poignant 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 Q&A section is included. Each purchse supports the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Kindle reg.price 4.99, FREE through 6/25.


1527388186Alzheimer’s Daughter by Jean Lee
What 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. Kindle reg. price 3.99/sale price 0.99.


Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s love story by Marianne Sciucco
What 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. Kindle reg. price 3.99/sale price 0.99, paperback reg. price 14.99/sale price 9.99.


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Requiem for the Status Quo by Irene Frances Olson
Family caregivers are oftentimes ruthlessly challenged by uninvolved family members who are quick to condemn, but reticent to offer assistance. Such is the case for Colleen Strand, a widow who recently found her own footing who takes on the task of caring for her father, Patrick Quinn, recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Her older brother, Jonathan, criticizes Colleen at every turn and verbally abuses the father when he has the gall to exhibit symptoms of his disease. In short, Jonathan travels down the road of denial, leaving Colleen to deal with all matters regarding their father’s care. Connected tenuously to a father who barely remembers her and a brother who has become an enigma, Colleen faces the moving target that is Alzheimer’s disease, determined to clothe her father with the dignity he deserves, while capturing the far too fleeting moments of time with him. Kindle reg. price 4.99/sale price 0.99.


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The Reluctant Caregiver: Missives from the Caregiving Minefields by Joy Johnston
One moment, digital journalist Joy Johnston is a cynical workaholic with an underwater mortgage. The next moment, she faces the responsibility of caring for her eccentric mother who’s battling colon cancer, just six months after her father’s death from Alzheimer’s. As an only child, she has no choice but to slap on the latex gloves, and get to know more about her mother — and herself — than she ever imagined possible. The road from reluctance to resilience is bumpy and splattered with bodily fluids, but it also offers unforgettable lessons. Who knew you could learn how to change a colostomy bag on YouTube, or that hospice nurses like telling dirty jokes? Peppered with snarky humor, vivid observations, and poignant honesty, this essay collection will resonate with anyone drafted into a family health crisis. Kindle reg. price 1.99/sale price 0.99.


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Motherhood: Lost and Found  by Ann Campanella
Motherhood: Lost and Found takes the reader on a journey where Alzheimer’s disease and infertility intersect. 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. The author’s devotion to her family and her horse Crimson sustain her as her mother’s illness progresses and her own window of potential motherhood begins to close. 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. Two years in a row, this memoir was named “one of the best Alzheimer’s books of all time” by Book Authority. Kindle reg. price 7.99/sale price 0.99.


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Lewy, Mom, and Me by Peggy Bushy
In her seventies, Peggy Bushy’s mother, Francesca, started telling unbelievable stories. She claimed that people were invading her home and trying to kill her. She also became anxious and reclusive. For several discouraging years, Bushy searched in vain for a reason for her mother’s behavior. Finally, Francesca was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia. Although it’s the third-most-common cause of dementia, Bushy was unable to find much information on the disease, and the medical community was frustratingly unhelpful. Lewy, Mom, and Me is the book that Bushy wished had been available when her mother was first diagnosed. It details her personal journey of discovery, with all its challenges and revelations, and is written in a compassionate, empathetic style that will comfort any reader dealing with a parent’s decline. Bushy explains how she learned to accept the changes in her mother and to support Francesca emotionally as she grappled with her frightening illness. She also describes what was involved in caring for her mother first at home, then in long-term care, and finally in hospice. Part memoir and part survival guide, this compelling testimony offers support and information for family caregivers of aging parents. Kindle reg. price 2.99/sale price 0.99.
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Thank you for visiting our book sale and giveaway.