Anaiah Press will release Mom’s Long Good-Bye: A Caregiver’s Tale of Alzheimer’s, Grief, and Comfort, my second memoir, on March 12. Here’s a little bit about the book:
Mom’s good-bye began with a red photo album and ended fifteen years later in a hospital bed in the Alzheimer’s wing of Southridge Village. This is her story and mine.
My first memoir, A Long and Winding Road, told of the chaos that happens when four people, two of whom have Alzheimer’s, spend fifty-three days in a forty-foot motor home. It also told of the years and the life experiences that brought these four people together. After finishing it, many readers asked what happened next. Mom’s Long Good-Bye is the rest of the story.
Based on blog posts written as the events happened, this memoir takes the reader through grieving a continuous loss, some of the initial changes Alzheimer’s causes, the transition from caregiving to assisted living, Dad’s death, Mom’s last year, and the grief and closure of her final good-bye.
This book is for the millions who have experienced the heartache of witnessing the physical and mental deterioration of a loved family member or a dear friend. Mom’s Long Good-Bye strips away the façade of being the perfect caregiver and gives the reader a look at the denial, the anger, and the fear that come as a loved one loses herself a piece at a time to an insidious disease. By sharing her own struggles, the author assures other caregivers that they are not alone, that perfection is not required, and that comfort is real.
The cover will be revealed soon. Watch for it!
Buy at Amazon
Mom was born 94 years ago today. On her last birthday this side of Heaven we had a birthday party for her, and the following year, I shared some of the pictures with you. I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately, so I thought I’d share them again. (more…)
It’s been a while since I was an active caregiver. In December of 2010, Mom and Dad moved from my home to an assisted living facility near my brother in Conway, Arkansas. Since David and I moved back to Texas the next month, I was a caregiving assistant/consultant for the next eighteen months, and then with Mom and Dad both gone, I retired. But once a caregiver … last week at the Senior Center I found myself cutting up the meat on the tray of “John,” one of my friends. (more…)
Researchers have found that those with Alzheimer’s show a high level of ‘Emotional Contagion’ – the unconscious ability to mimic another person’s emotions.
David Besnette at Assisted Living Directory has published another one of my articles. This one is about how those with Alzheimer’s sometimes draw their emotional cues from those around them. In it I cite an article by Virginia Hughes, and I also draw on my personal experience to explain how this phenomenon affected my relationship with Mom.
To read the complete article, CLICK HERE.
I Need a Break!
If you are or ever have been a caregiver, you know how important it is to get a break now and then. I read an article this morning by Jeff Anderson called Tips for Taking Caregiver Vacations: Respite Care. Jeff wrote mostly about how caregivers can use short-term stays at residential care facilities to get a break. I never took advantage of this kind of respite care. The idea of making the arrangements for both Mom and Dad and packing their clothes and medications, not to mention the expense involved, was overwhelming. But there were many other kinds of respite care that gave me an occasional break in the routine and saved my sanity.
Even when Dad could no longer hear much of what was going on and Mom couldn’t understand what she heard, we continued to go to Sunday School and worship services every Sunday. I dropped Mom and Dad at a class for older adults before going to my own class and picked them up afterward on the way to the sanctuary. It was amazing what that hour did to raise my spirits. (more…)
A few weeks ago, the good people at Assisted Living Directory asked me to write an article for their website. I wrote a brief account of Mom and Dad’s journey from independent living through moving in with us and on to assisted living. The article featured one of my favorite pictures with this caption: (more…)
Last month www.Ageingcare.com posted an article by Marlo Sollitto called LOL: Why You Should Laugh Even When You Don’t Feel Like It. It said that laughter is good for you both physically and mentally. The author acknowledged that caregivers often find nothing funny in their lives, but even fake laughter can have positive effects. I sometimes wonder if my caregiving experience would have been easier for all of us if I had laughed more.
Two elderly ladies met at the grocery store after not seeing one another for some time.
“Oh, Helen, it’s so good to see you. How are you doing?”
“You know how it is, Joan. I’m not bad for a woman of my age. How about you?”
“I know what you mean. Other than a high this and a low that I’m fine. How’s Ted?” (more…)
A friend who is also a caregiver recently confided in me that one of the hardest parts of her job is not knowing who will greet her when she gets up in the morning. Will it be the confident, efficient, take-charge man she has known for half a century, or will it be the man who is struggling with a life-threatening illness, the one whose mind is fogged by pain and medications, the one who can’t remember how to tie his shoes? (more…)
Yesterday I cited an article from an AgingCare.com newsletter about Daylight Savings Time. The newsletter had another article by the same author, Anne-Marie Botek, titled “Why a Nurse Refused to Give a Dying Woman CPR.” It was about the controversy surrounding the death of an 87-year-old woman who was a resident of Glenwood Gardens, an “independent living facility” in Bakersfield, California. When the woman collapsed, a staff member called 911. The staff member was a nurse, and the 911 operator pleaded with her to administer CPR until the paramedics arrived, but the nurse refused, citing facility policy against doing so. The ambulance arrived within minutes and transported the patient to the hospital where she was later pronounced dead. Shocking, right? When I first heard the story on the O’Reilly Factor last week, I thought so, but after reading this article and thinking about Mom and Dad’s situations, I’m not so sure. (more…)
No generation gap here.
I’m at that age that some poetically call the Autumn of Life, and I’m approaching Winter more quickly than I care to admit. But whatever you call it, it’s a season when end of life issues demand more attention than they did in earlier years. I lost both my parents in the last two years, and I spend more time looking at sympathy cards than congratulation cards lately. We’ve had two deaths in our church family recently, and while the situations were very different in most ways, there was a similarity that is worth a little attention – cross-generational caregivers. (more…)