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, June 26, 2019

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

Reposted with permission from

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 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.
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:
Social media links:
Twitter: @geezerstories
Instagram: @geezerstories
LinkedIn: lauramansfieldapr
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 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 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 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 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
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Thank you for visiting our book sale and giveaway. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Meet Eileen Opatz Berger and Joan Berger Bachman, Authors of If Only You Would Ask, A Guide to Spending Quality Time with the Elderly

Reposted with permission from

By Joan Berger Bachman
For five years, Joan Berger Bachman and her 92-year-old mother, Eileen Opatz Berger teamed up to write, If Only You Would Ask, A Guide to Spending Quality Time with the Elderly.This easy-to- use book is a conversational resource, a manual and a tool for all those who struggle to carry on meaningful, enjoyable conversations.  How did this book come about?
Here is Joan’s Story:
When my father-in-law Bill was nearing the end of his life, I would visit him quite regularly. He had made the decision to stay in his own home until the end. Winters in Minnesota are long, cold and lonely, especially for someone who is afraid and/or unable to venture out. Being the dutiful daughter-in-law that I was, I felt compelled to make the 100-mile drive from Rochester to St. Paul to visit him. We would sit at his kitchen table, and I would tell him about what the kids were up to… and what I had been doing. His major topic of conversation was the rabbits he saw as he stared for hours out the back window of his house.
During this time, I shared with my mother how difficult visits with Bill were becoming. He had so little to share, and I wondered if the visits even mattered.
Not long after, Mom gave me a notebook filled with a list of questions. She suggested I try asking Bill some of these questions to make our visits more enjoyable. “Leave it on the counter,” she advised. “The grandchildren might appreciate using the questions.”  I took the notebook over to Bill’s house and meant to get started the next time we visited. Unfortunately, that was the last time I spoke with Bill. And now he is gone, and so many questions remain unanswered.
Mom’s notebook filled with questions became the inspiration for If Only You Would Ask: A Guide to Spending Quality Time with the ElderlyNot long after Bill died, when Mom and I were together, we talked about Bill’s last months. We figured there must be thousands of elderly people, just like Bill, who would enjoy sharing their stories, if only someone asked them the right questions.
Initially, If Only You Would Ask was written as an enjoyable resource for anyone who spends time with the elderly, be they adult children, grandchildren, friends, clergy, therapists, volunteers and/or caregivers. What we have learned, however, is that this resource has great potential as a way to encourage enjoyable “trips down memory lane” with those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. Some people with Alzheimer’s preserve their long-term memory. Consequently, they enjoy sharing stories from their past even though they might not recollect these conversations in the short term. Sometimes questions about “food” or “vacations” or “school days” will ignite a memory, creating a source of comfort and delight! All of the questions in If Only You Would Ask are open- ended. There are no right answers. People who struggle with memory loss will not experience the stress related to questions which require a specific response.
With 42 topics and over 400 questions, If Only You Would Ask provides a framework for tapping into memories that may not have been thought about or talked about for years! Since its release in late December, 2018, If Only You Would Ask has been featured on Mayo Clinic Radio and was one of the winners for innovative products at the 2018 National Caregiving Conference in Chicago. If Only You Would Ask has transformed conversations for many families. In fact, they look forward to their next visits!
Every person has stories to share, If Only You Would Ask! 
About the Authors
Joan Berger Bachman is extremely pleased and proud to be coauthoring a book with her mom! As a teenager, Joan recalls her mother’s advice: “When you are in a social situation, always make an effort to ask each person three questions. This shows that you are interested in what they have to say….” In other words, give people the opportunity to talk about themselves! Generally, people are pleased to share, and you will have deflected the attention from yourself! So, it comes as no real surprise that four decades later, she has coauthored a book filled with questions to promote quality conversations!
Joan resides with her husband John in Rochester, Minnesota. Proud mother of three grown children and grandmother to six, she is grateful for family, for health, and for friends who continue to enrich her life.
Eileen Opatz Berger graduated from the College of St. Benedict and the University of Wisconsin/River Falls. Presently she teaches English as a second language. In addition to her five children and their families, her foreign students have been the joy of her life. Favorite pastimes include travel, writing and tennis. She lives in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.
For more information about If Only You Would Ask please visit  Mayo Clinic, Rochester Minnesota produced a Youtube video about the book :
Pick up a copy on Amazon here.