From the AlzAuthors Blog: Meet Tracey Lawrence and “Dementia Sucks – A Caregiver’s Journey with Lessons Learned”

Tracey Lawrence Canva

By Tracey S. Lawrence

Dementia SucksOnce upon a time, I was a self-employed graphic arts professional. I designed stuff. I helped clients with their marketing and printing problems. My parents were living it up in southern Florida, and I believed in the Myth of Retirement:

  • Stop working
  • Spend money like you’re drunk
  • Spoil your kids and grandkids
  • Do all the stuff you always dreamed of
  • Eventually, gently, die in your bed at home
  • Cherubs lead you to heaven’s gate
  • Cue heavenly choir

In 2003, I learned about the harsh Reality of Post-Retirement. I went to visit my parents in Florida and realized Dad had been covering up his illnesses. He had a lot of issues. He was 75. My mother, who was 74, was very dependent on him.

After a test gone wrong, my father’s short term memory evaporated, and following many misdiagnoses, I realized he had vascular dementia. He knew it, too, and did not want to live that way. My brother and I supported his wish to avoid prolonging his life. My father died in July 2004 at the age of 76. Continue reading

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Meet Jessica Bryan, Author of “The Memory Keeper”

Jessica Bryan Canva

By Jessica Bryan

Memory KeeperI am a writer.  That’s difficult to say when I’m so busy being a caregiver for my mother who is 99 years old and has had Alzheimer’s for 15 years. Mom lives with us.  She is in advanced stages now, but was exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s even while my husband and I cared for my father, who also had Alzheimer’s.  No one…NO ONE is prepared for this!  There’s no caregiver’s manual that tells us how to do this job.

I decided that as a writer it might help others to write about caregiving in the non-clinical, in the trenches, personal experience, kind of way. I have found ways to help myself out of my depression, anger, denial, impatience, sadness, and frustration.  I’ve discovered so many things to help me through the most difficult job I have ever experienced.  How could I do anything BUT write about this to help others?

My latest book, The Memory Keeper, is the fourth in a series of our journey and experience  dealing with this devastating disease. It was a cathartic process to share my words, my thoughts, my emotions.  They are sometimes raw, sometimes irreverent, often loving.  I am resolved and accepting of what is to be, in a philosophical kind of way; but I also see the humor in some of the events that lead us there.  Because of my writing style and the way I deal with the often taboo subjects (that one simply doesn’t discuss in polite society!) many others have written to me thanking me for my candid discussion of these difficult issues.  One reader who attended a book signing proclaimed that my books were like her own personal therapy sessions. Many have thanked me for giving them permission to laugh through their tears. Continue reading

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Meet Robin Gail, Author of “Dementia Or Alzheimer’s?”

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By Robin Gail

When my husband and I began the long journey taking care of my mother, we had no idea what to expect. We had no experience, knowledge, or help from anyone.  When we first suspected Mom was ill, I began research how to help her travel through the relentless disease of Alzheimer’s.  I found quite a number of books, but they were most often written from a medical point of view.

After my beloved mother died in ’09, I felt a strong urge and need to help others going through what we had gone through with caregiving.  I wanted to write a book from a personal point of view, a book full of tips and ideas from someone who had actually traveled this road with their ill loved one.  I felt very motivated to try to ease the burden that I know from firsthand experience others feel when being a caregiver.

I wanted to write the book shortly after Mom’s death, but it was too difficult to relive everything so soon after experiencing our caregiving journey.  So, as I recalled things we did, I would jot them down on Post-it notes and put the notes away for a later time when I knew I would be ready to write. Continue reading