AlzAuthor Leah Stanley on Surviving Double Dementia Duty: A Story About Two Loved Ones Needing Care Simultaneously

Stanley Canva

By Leah Stanley

I began writing Goodnight, Sweet: A Caregiver’s Long Goodbye in 2001. For me, committing the story to print was a cathartic experience following the deaths of my grandparents two years earlier. Edward Meade had battled an unspecified dementia while his wife Clara was afflicted with Alzheimer’s. As their designated caregiver, a role which I had gladly—and sorrowfully—taken on, I walked alongside them down that tedious road while loving, caring for, and protecting them.

Every afternoon when my then almost two-year-old son would go down for his nap, I would sit at my computer and write diligently, reliving the moments which, when put together, told the full story; I would laugh and I would cry as I remembered the decisions and recalled the words, reactions and facial expressions of those around me. I felt it was imperative that my experience as an Alzheimer’s/dementia caregiver not fade away with time, but that it be shared because I came to realize there were so many others following that same winding trail I’d walked, and I remembered how I was always encouraged when I could talk with someone who had been engulfed in a similar circumstance. I believe it’s one of the ways God designed us, being able to meet on the common ground of shared events.

Following the birth of my daughter in 2002, the manuscript was shelved for several years as I took on the role of full-time mom. By spring 2016 I began to sense it was time to re-enter the story-telling mode and finish the work I had started fourteen years earlier. Additionally, I was spurred on by the sheer number of people I encountered who were facing the same issues I’d dealt with myself. I think I was strangely astonished when I had to acknowledge the disease had not “died” with my grandparents; it had marched through the years with aggression, and a shocking number of people had been devastated by it.

Goodnight SweetThe book details my entire experience from the moment I received the first phone call to settling their estate nearly four years later. I have consistently heard people say my writing is very transparent as I share the range of emotions which accompanied caring for my grandparents; several readers have stated they couldn’t put it down—encouraging words for any author to hear!

When the book was complete, I began hand-picking readers to endorse it—I chose a medical social worker, two former caregivers and a physical therapist. Their responses were overwhelmingly positive, and the medical social worker even said the book is an excellent resource for people who are anywhere on the path of providing care for a loved one.

It is such a blessing to know my grandparents will be remembered, and our painful experience wading through Alzheimer’s and dementia may be able to guide others to the realization that there is hope, and caregivers do survive.

Goodnight, Sweet: A Caregiver’s Long Goodbye was released on March 1, 2019.  Purchase an eBook or paperback copy on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble.

About the Author

Stanley

Leah Stanley was born in Memphis, Tennessee, where she grew up and attended college, meeting her husband, Chris, during their freshman year. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Memphis and has a background in corporate communications and freelance writing. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, son, daughter, and their boxer/beagle rescue dog Brooke.

Connect with Leah
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

* * *

For more vetted books about Alzheimer’s and dementia please visit the AlzAuthors Bookstore.

AlzAuthor Julie Bigham Shares How to Create Joy Filled Visits in the Midst of Alzheimer’s

bigham canva 2

By Julie Bigham

My passion for bringing joy to the lives of seniors began at an early age, when my gramps encouraged me to entertain at his Senior Center. Fifteen minutes of stand up, egged on by applause from the crowd, ignited a spark of love in my heart for the older generation. Thirty plus years later that spark has erupted into a full flame of passion for providing support to professional and family caregivers caring for loved ones living with Alzheimer’s.

Through my work experience as an activity professional, it became evident to me that providing high quality, compassionate care for those living with Alzheimer’s takes a village, and family engagement in any setting is vital. Families can become overwhelmed with doctor visits, medication changes, increasing care needs, and care plan meetings, not to mention the emotional stress. With everything they juggle, families can forget the importance of spending quality time having fun with their loved one, often spiraling into isolation and depression.

While some family caregivers spend hours visiting a loved one, others hope to remember them as they were. Both situations are understandable, as people find different ways of coping with the stress that accompanies an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. For the benefit of both, I set out to create a product that can help families maximize the time they spend with a loved one to assure that visits are filled with positive interaction and fun, thus eliminating common feelings of guilt and sadness.

bigham coverThe Joy Filled Visits Kit, completed in 2015, is filled with tools I found most helpful in my career, and includes an easy-to-read manual. The kit helps families create a simple plan for each visit to keep their loved one engaged in the life of the family for as long as possible. At the encouragement of a librarian, I reformatted the kit into book form to give easier, more affordable access to the same helpful information to people all around the globe.

Using the book as a guide, Joy Filled Visits also offers a 4-session class for caregivers – walking participants through a review of Alzheimer’s, the symptoms, the challenges those symptoms can create for engagement, and tips for overcoming those challenges.

Here are reviews from a few participants:

“The Joy Filled Visits program gives an encouraging, fresh approach filled with ideas to interact with your loved one in a fun, personal way.”

“Having a new expectation and new set of tools to communicate with, has [given us] … much happier days.”

“I took care of my mom for years and felt very lost as to how to help her. After taking Julie’s classes, I feel I am better able to help her; and if she is agitated, I am able to defuse the situation and give her a happier time.”

Purchase Creating Joy Filled Visits in the Midst of Alzheimer’s

About the Author

bigham photoJulie Bigham, NHCT, began her career as an activity professional in 1993. In 2016 she dedicated herself full-time to Joy Filled Visits, LLC, providing support and motivation for caregivers through training, consultation, and public speaking. She hosts the Joy Filled Visits Memory Café in Matthews, NC, and provides additional support through a free monthly newsletter. She is also a Nursing Home Certified Trainer for Second Wind Dreams®/Virtual Dementia Tour’s NC Grant project.

Connect with Julie Bigham:

email: julsbigham@yahoo.com
Website
Facebook: Joy Filled Visits, LLC
Twitter: Joy Filled Visits @julsbigham
Amazon: Creating Joy Filled Visits in the Midst of Alzheimer’s

***

For more vetted books and resources about Alzheimer’s and dementia please visit the AlzAuthors Bookstore. Reposted with permission form AlzAuthors.

New Release Spotlight: “Uncharted Destiny,” Inspirational Fiction by Keeley Brooke Keith

UnchartedDestiny_Ebook

Bailey Colburn is safe in the Land, but her father figure, Professor Tim, never made it to Good Springs. When Bailey discovers Tim is lost in the Land’s dangerous mountain terrain and out of his life-saving medication, she sets out to rescue him. Even with the help of intriguing native Revel Roberts, Bailey faces an impossible journey to save Tim. The mountains are shrouded in dark folklore and full of deadly surprises.

Revel Roberts never stays in one place too long. No matter where he travels in the Land, he avoids the Inn at Falls Creek, his boyhood home and the business he will inherit. But when fearless newcomer Bailey Colburn needs Revel’s help to find her friend, he joins the mission and is forced to return to the place he’d rather forget.

Bailey and Revel’s friendship strengthens as they need each other in ways neither of them imagined. But nothing can prepare them for what awaits in the Land’s treacherous mountains.

Uncharted Destiny, the seventh installment in the beloved Uncharted series, weaves faith and adventure while delivering long-awaited answers in this inspirational story of life in a hidden land.

Release Date: June 3, 2019

Publisher: Edenbrooke Press

Book Links:

Signed paperback copies available here.

Uncharted Destiny is available on Amazon.

Add Uncharted Destiny to your Goodreads shelf here.

About the Author

Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Keely Brooke Keith was a tree-climbing, baseball-loving 80s kid. She grew up in a family who moved often, which fueled her dreams of faraway lands. When she isn’t writing, Keely enjoys teaching home school lessons and playing bass guitar. Keely, her husband, and their daughter live on a hilltop south of Nashville, Tennessee.

Connect with Keely Brooke Keith

Website   Facebook   BookBub

Krysten Lindsay Hager Writes Dementia -Themed Fiction for Young Adult Readers

Dating the It Guy Canva

By Krysten Lindsay Hager

I started writing Dating the It Guy as a romance between a high school girl and the popular senior son of a senator, but I also wanted to include a storyline of having the main character deal with her grandpa’s recent dementia diagnosis. My grandfather moved in with us when I was Emme’s age because he could no longer live on his own. I decided to write about it years later just to get it out. In fact the first time I read a section of it to my mother, she left the room because it was too much to deal with. It’s tough to look back at memories like that sometimes.

So I finished the book, but set it aside for a while. Then two years ago, there was a pitch contest online and I decided to see if there would be any interest in this story. My publisher said she’d be interested in seeing it. At that time I had only published middle grade novels with her and wasn’t sure she’d want a young adult novel from me—after all there are a lot of publishers who aren’t fond of genre hopping. I remember when I sent it to my publisher I mentioned I hoped that this book would help someone else. My publisher wrote, “have I told you I love your writing?”

DatingtheItGuy500x750During the final editing process, I had my mom read the manuscript and told her, “I’m not sure you’ll like this one because it’s very personal, so be warned.” I’ll never forget her calling me and saying it was her favorite book I had written and she felt I handled those scenes with the grandpa with such sensitivity and love. She loved the sense of love and family in it and how I handled it with dignity and that meant so much.

I basically have a peace about what I wrote, but it was very hard putting this book out there. You’re taking a very personal experience and opening it up to criticism from strangers who haven’t walked in your shoes. What made it worthwhile was that the feedback on it has been wonderful as people love the humor and the family bonds. I think having the humor in it helps as that gets you through difficult times and it shows that you can continue to laugh even while going through a storm.

My main goal was wanting to show that dealing with dementia can deepen a relationship and you can love someone deeper when taking care of them. It was hard being one of my grandpa’s caregivers starting as a sophomore in high school until I was well into college, but I loved spending time with him.

Along the way,  I realized that if I went through that as a teen, then there were other teens who had taken on a caregiver role (along with their parents) to a family member. I wanted to give those teens a book that understood what they were going through. Sometimes knowing you’re not alone in a tough situation can help so much and I hope I did that for my readers.

Purchase Dating the It Guy

About the Author

author photo

Who knew all those embarrassing, cringe-y moments in middle school and high school could turn into a career? And who would have thought that daydreaming in math class would pay off down the road?

​Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Next Door to a Star,  Landry in LikeCompeting with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2), Dating the It Guy, and Can Dreams Come True.

Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Bestseller Award for childen/teens. Competing with the Star is a Readers’ Favorite Book Award Finalist.  Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc ViewDayton Daily News and on Living Dayton. ​

 Follow Krysten Lindsay Hager

Website

Instagram

Facebook

Pinterest

Twitter

* * *

For more vetted books about Alzheimer’s and dementia please visit the AlzAuthors Bookstore. Reposted with permission from AlzAuthors.

 

 

New Release Spotlight: “Souls Astray,” Historical Fiction by Kellyn Roth

SA Blog Graphic

Adele has been lost for a long time now …

Adele Collier has sought a carefree lifestyle ever since her tragic childhood. Determined to never allow anyone or anything to control her life or emotions again, she consistently seeks distraction in gaiety. But shaking her ghosts isn’t as easy as she’d like.

Troy Kee has been alone in the world since the Great War took his parents and left him in care of his younger sister. When she marries, he’s left to seek after his goal of a healthy, complete family. But how can he focus on his dream when trouble plagues his family vineyard?

When Adele and Troy meet, a whirlwind romance begins—but can two lost souls have a healthy relationship?

Publication Date: Saturday, May 4th, 2019

Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ A Special Review Defining the Content Level ~ My Website

Genre:

Historical Drama

Can it standalone?:

Yes, but you’re gonna want to read book 1 when you finish for sure! 😉

What Folks Are Saying

“A tragic, well-crafted story of romance, family dynamics, and pain in the years between WW1 and WW2.” ~Jana Tenbrook

Souls Astray is a heartrending novel, full of poignant themes and topics that are important even today. It is a captivating read and will leave you wanting more.” ~Michaela Bush

“Souls Astray contains characters who will tug your heartstrings, a story that engages on the first page, and leaves you hungry for more.” ~Angela R. Watts

“Engaging, heartbreaking, and a thoroughly good ride. Definitely a must-read for historical fiction lovers!” ~Lilian S.

“Souls Astray is an intriguing story with amazing writing and a whole lot of emotion!” ~Liz Franklin

“Souls Astray is a real, real story of raw emotion and clear truth, unafraid to touch the darkness with a thread of light.” ~Merie Shen

About the Author

Kellyn Roth is a Christian & historical author from North-Eastern Oregon. Kell is a ranch girl, homeschool graduate, proud sister of four, proud auntie of five, and owner of two goofy border collies, two presumptuous cats, and a very active betta fish. Check out her website, kellynrothauthor.com, for more info.

Facebook Party  May 8th (10:00-3:00 PST):  Minor giveaways, excerpts, links, and more will be posted throughout the week.

And:

Giveaway Graphic for SA blog tour

Giveaway

Enter the giveaway to win a signed paperback copy of Souls Astray and a $20 Amazon gift card. Open to international entries. Enter Now!  This giveaway will close for entries on the 11th of May.

“Life on Planet Alz” – An Alzheimer’s Caregiver Shares His Story

Cohen,JackFeaturedImage

By Jack S. Cohen

This is a true story about coping with my beloved wife’s devastating diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the terrible scourge of our age.  In general, people are living longer and diseases of the aged are becoming more prevalent. The major neurological disease of the aged is in fact AD. Whenever a person is diagnosed with AD, their spouse automatically becomes their primary carer and unwittingly also becomes a prisoner of the disease.  

There have been many excellent books and descriptions of AD and its ravages upon the minds and lives of people, so why write another account?  Each case of AD is unique and two novel aspects of this account are: the focus on the way that AD imprisons both the patient and their spouse in a constant process of deterioration, and the inclusion of an almost daily journal describing raw incidents that can be enlightening for the reader, and especially for the spouse of an AD sufferer.  This illustrates the vicissitudes and the almost total preoccupation that this disease encompasses.

Cohen,Jack _LifeOnPlanetAzI hope that my particular take on this predicament as a spouse of an AD patient can help those who are dealing with this situation or who may have to do so in the future.  It illustrates how the initial shock of the situation gives way to the realization that one has to learn to cope with it, and finally the acceptance that must come with time and experience.  

How to describe memory?  It’s like a landscape where snow has fallen.  At first the surface is white and pristine. But as time goes by people trudge across the field and leave footprints.  Then a cart goes by leaving parallel tracks, and then a car drives along the lane, leaving tire marks. Then the scene gets busier, children on bikes on the way to school or to play leave their tire tracks and women going shopping and so on, until the surface is criss-crossed with memories of what had happened.  The analogy for Alzheimer’s disease is that all the tracks get inter-twined and mixed up and confusing, and then it all starts to melt!

We live on Planet Alz, which is a different planet to Earth. You may think when you see us walking down the street that we look normal, but we are not, we are actually on a different planet.  On our planet the normal rules do not apply. Everything is unpredictable, anything can happen at any moment.

The reaction to this book from family, friends, and the general public has been overwhelmingly positive.   I self-published this book in 2017, but have not widely advertised it; it is available on Amazon.com.

About the Author

Cohen,JackphotoI was born in London, UK, where I received a PhD in Chemistry from Cambridge University.  I moved to the US in 1966 and became a Professor of Pharmacology at Georgetown Medical School, Washington DC.  Upon retirement, I moved to Israel, where I was the Chief Scientist at the Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer. Now I am a Visiting Professor of Chemistry at the Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva, where I moved to be near my married daughter.

Connect with Jack Cohen  Website  ~  Blog