News & Events

12 Years Later

Twelve years ago today, my father died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. That morning I had received a call from the memory care unit where Dad had lived for several years. The nursing manager of that unit said if I wanted to see my father again before he died, I should come as soon as possible. (I had spent a week with him the month before and knew that his prostate cancer would most likely hasten his death.) I first called my husband at work to let him know I would find a flight from Seattle, WA to Medford, OR and be gone…for how long? I didn’t know. Then while on the phone with my brother and sister, I booked my flight online with a tentative return, threw the very minimum of clothing in an overnight bag, and headed to SeaTac International Airport.

If you have read my novel, Requiem for the Status Quo, you’ve pretty much read the account of what transpired for me at my father’s bedside; some of the happenings that day/evening were altered, but the gist of what transpired are contained in Chapters 41 & 42.

Upon my return to Seattle, my energy level was depleted yet still on alert. When you have a loved one with a debilitating disease, a state of alertness is the norm – the status quo of constantly being in a state of emergency, if you will. You keep waiting for the phone to ring with the latest development – such as it did for the last time on October 13, 2007 – but that phone number’s appearance on my Caller ID had ceased.

What hadn’t ceased was the business of dying – all the financial and estate matters one cannot ignore – but because of my father’s diligence and organization leading up to his Alzheimer’s diagnosis, much of what I needed to do on behalf of his estate and us survivors, was readily dispatched in the months that followed my father’s death.

But the “now what?” of life post-caregiving was front and center for me. Initially, I wanted absolutely nothing to do with anything having to do with dementia. I continued to financially support my local Alzheimer’s Association and participated in one more Walk to End Alzheimer’s, but that was it. Then my heart called and I became an Alzheimer’s Association caregiver support group facilitator and shortly thereafter, I entered the world of long-term care advocacy by becoming a Washington State LTC ombudsman, both of which I did for five years.

Then my heart spoke to me again, this time it said, “How about writing about your experience as Dad’s caregiver?” I ignored that thought until I no longer could – it wouldn’t leave me alone! I dragged out all of Dad’s records and my numerous journals, sat at my dining table, and over many months’ time, outlined how I would honor my father’s journey and my family’s experience within the pages of a book that might benefit others.

That was five years after my father’s death. My book was published five years later.

Now twelve years after the end of my father’s Alzheimer’s journey, my book still manages to make its way into the hands of those who need it.

If you, or someone you know, needs encouragement and a renewed sense of hope, please make your way to your favorite bookstore, or find the book right here.

Blessings to you today, and always.

48 caregiving stories for only $1.99

This compilation of encouraging stories is priced at a discount, but only through Friday, September 20th. I hope you will secure your discounted eBook copy in time to benefit from the discount. Perhaps someone you know could use a copy? It’s easy to gift a Kindle book, all you need is the recipient’s email address. What a grand gift that would be.

Help AlzAuthors celebrate World Alzheimer’s Month!

 

In celebration of the many former and current family caregivers in the world, and in honor of their loved ones with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, AlzAuthors has released the eBook of Volume II of Alzheimer’s & Dementia Caregiving Stories. The introductory price is only $1.99. Be sure to get your copy now!

Stellar Alzheimer’s Resource

As a an individual and a published author who always strives for truthfulness, I would not say the following if I didn’t believe it:

AlzAuthors offers the most comprehensive collection of books and blogs about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia.

And in the spirit of full-transparency, I am on the Board of Directors for AlzAuthors but would not be on the Board if I didn’t believe in this organization’s Mission and Vision:

A community of authors sharing Alzheimer’s and dementia stories to light the way for others to lift the silence and stigma of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

I was recently privileged to lead our entire management team through the legal maze of applying to be a non-profit corporation with IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Almost without exception, our management team has footed every bill that has come our way and we have gladly done so. Blessedly, late last year and early this year, we were on the receiving end of benefactors who believed in our work and generously helped us become a more global presence in the world. Their generosity encouraged us to think bigger.

Alzheimer’s and other dementias seem to be here to stay for now, but so are we. We will endeavor to always fulfill our Core Commitments as we move forward to make an impact in the lives of those affected by a disease that is always fatal.

CONNECT writers and readers by providing easy access to books, blogs, and other resources.

HONOR the personal journeys of those impacted by Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

PROMOTE works from around the world, welcoming a diversity of experiences.

ADVANCE the understanding Alzheimer’s and other dementias through collective knowledge.

ENCOURAGE healing by embracing the power of vulnerability, letting others know they are not alone.

Caregiver Guilt

Those delightful people who provide care for a loved one with an incurable illness know they have a limited amount of time in which to do all they can to make the life of their family member or friend as comfortable as they possibly can. Not only is their time limited, but so are their skills.  The reality of the matter is that there is no such thing as a perfect caregiver. For the ever-growing number of us learn-as-you-go caregivers, perfection in caregiving is an unreachable goal.

The learn-as-you-go caregiver will make mistakes but I am confident very few of those mistakes will be irreparable or life-threatening. We major on the minor, however, all the while failing to congratulate ourselves on all we have done well, even when those positive efforts far outnumber the bungled efforts we commit along the way.

The performance ideal Failure is Not An Option does not serve most people well and is an ideal that presents a disservice to you and me as volunteer caregiver-learners – that’s who we are when we find ourselves in a situation where “winging it” is the norm. Fortunately, much help can be found on the internet – whether reading about other people’s care-giving experiences through blogs or books, such as is offered by AlzAuthors, or locating nearby support groups that cater to the illness that has claimed those for whom we provide care. Help is out there and we need to seek all we can.

The next time you raise your voice at your care-receiver, or miss the cues she or he is trying to send you regarding their immediate needs, or you admit to yourself and anyone who will listen, that you wish you could walk away from your ever-present responsibilities, go easy on yourself. Think of how you would console someone else who expressed similar sentiments to you as a result of their own life’s circumstances. Would you shame them or unfriend them?

No, you would not. You would treat them with kid gloves. You would provide words of encouragement, reminding them that they are only human and they are doing the very best they can.

You see, when you are doing your very best…you are doing your very best. Nothing more is required of you.

 

Discounted books about Alzheimer’s disease

What a great way to spend the Longest Day!

Starting Friday, June 21st, the longest day of the year AND The Longest Day as celebrated in honor of those who have Alzheimer’s or other dementia or who have lost their lives to this always fatal disease, several AlzAuthors will be discounting their books so you will want to fill your shelves – virtual or otherwise – with several excellent sources of support.

These authors will generously discount their books for an entire week. Set your calendars so you don’t forget!

The link to these discounted books will be provided soon!

Daily Bread

In a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, New York Times columnist and author, David Brooks, eloquently responded to Oprah’s statement where she said, “I hear that authors write the books they need to read.” Mr. Brooks’ response:

We writers are beggars who tell other beggars where we found bread.

He further explained that statement by saying:

We found it here, we want to share it with you.

That is what the more than 200 AlzAuthors have in common. Each author may describe their quest or mission somewhat differently, but no doubt many of them would agree that the impetus to write about their personal experiences was a call to action they could not ignore.

As a member of the AlzAuthors community, I personally feel that the more mainstream the conversation surrounding the Alzheimer’s and dementia experience becomes, the more the AlzAuthors’ vision will be realized:

Our vision is to lift the silence and stigma of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

May you find sustenance within the AlzAuthors community.