Meet Kathi Macias, author of “To The Moon and Back”

CoverFrontFinalSmallBy Kathi Macias

As a fulltime writer/editor, I was blessed to be able to work at home and take care of my mother during her last few years of life. I was also blessed that even up until her death at the age of ninety, she was clear-minded. Sadly, so many others are not, making their caregiver’s job so much more difficult.

Though I didn’t have to deal with the issue of Alzheimer’s with either of my parents, I have countless friends and acquaintances who have done so in the past and are doing so even now. Because I write novels about current issues, it seemed a natural choice to base one of my books on the heart-rending topic of Alzheimer’s.

As I planned the book, I realized I wanted it to be about more than what the caregiver experienced; I wanted it to be told (primarily) from the viewpoint of the person actually experiencing Alzheimer’s. And so the idea for To the Moon and Back was born.

Rachel, my primary character, is in her late sixties and also in the early to mid-stages of Alzheimer’s. At times she is clear-headed, but more and more often she finds herself slipping into what she considers “the darkness,” where she begins to lose herself and the memories of a life she once considered happy and fulfilling.

With the increasing darkness comes more and more confusion and fear—and yes, even anger. Her husband of nearly forty-five years, dealing with health issues of his own, is perplexed at the changes he sees in Rachel. Their grown daughter, who comes home to help out, is the first to suspect the problem, but she tries desperately to come up with alternate explanations for her mother’s erratic behavior.

As this family takes its first tentative steps toward acceptance and working through this devastating diagnosis and debilitating disease, readers are drawn in and better able to view and understand the issues related to Alzheimer’s because they can “feel” those issues through the eyes and hearts of the book’s characters. That’s why I felt it was important for me to write about this issue in a fictional setting; the feedback I’m getting from readers confirms I was right. Many, in fact, have told me they’ve found numerous helpful nonfiction books about Alzheimer’s, but To the Moon and Back is one of the few fictional resources available.

In addition to the moving story of a family dealing with Alzheimer’s, I’ve added a “Making It Personal” section at the end of the book, containing thought-provoking questions that can easily be used by individuals or in a group setting. These questions are followed by a section of resources for caregivers and friends/family members of those with Alzheimer’s. This particular disease, perhaps more than most, is definitely a “family affair,” and I believe it is important to approach and deal with the topic with that fact in mind.

0019 Kathi Macias - EDITED emailedI can be reached via my website: www.kathimacias.com

On Facebook: Kathi Macias—personal page; https://www.facebook.com/Kathi-Macias-75996188045/ –author page

On Twitter: @alandkathi

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Meet Bobbi Carducci, author of “Confessions of an Imperfect Caregiver”

Caregiver CoverPrintBy Bobbi Carducci

“What’s going to happen to Rodger?’ was the first thing most people asked upon hearing of my mother-in-law’s passing.  Extremely introverted, unable to drive, and not in good health, he’d been dependent on her to care for everything it took to run a home for many years. Fortunately my husband and I had talked about taking in one of our parents when and if the time came. We had both the room and the desire to do it. We knew it would be hard at times, but were convinced we would make it work.

We didn’t know how sick he was, how hard it would be, or how long it would last. The first surprise for both my husband and I was learning that he was schizophrenic and had been since 1947. It certainly explained a lot about his odd behavior over the years, but until the medical records arrived, no one in the family had ever mentioned the 13 years he’s spent in mental hospitals from 1947 to 1960. In addition to being mentally ill he developed dementia, Parkinson’s disease, congestive heart failure and dysphagia.

I did what I could to educate myself about the various diseases and how to help him have the best possible life as long as possible. It was harder than I ever thought it could be. I called it creative problem solving on the run. All day, every day and night was a challenge. I doubted myself so many times. Why couldn’t I figure this out? Why couldn’t I make him understand I loved him and wanted the best for him?

I often heard caregivers ask the same questions, express the same frustrations, and cry for help. “Why doesn’t someone write a book that tells people what it’s really like to care for someone with dementia at home?” I decided to write that book.

Confessions of an Imperfect Caregiver is the true story of one family coping with one of the most difficult, and fastest growing issues of our day.  It’s raw and it’s real. I invite readers to cry, shout, despair and laugh with me as I did the best I could to save him from himself, while he did everything he could to convince everyone I was crazy and he could take of himself.

I had one patient for seven years, my father-in- law, and became fearless when taking doctors, nurses, and other health care providers to task to make sure he always got the care he needed.

After Rodger passed away, I decided to become a caregiver advocate and do all I can to support caregivers. I am now a caregiver support group leader, blogger and national speaker on issues dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Caregivers have thanked me for writing the book and expressing in vivid detail what it takes to be caregiver and the toll it takes on those who do it.

Confessions of an Imperfect Caregiver perfectly encapsulates the human experience, not just the caregivers. When we live in a world of worry, stress, and self-doubt, where do we go to find the strength to go on? Bobbi’s retelling of her caregiving years unfold in a beautiful answer to the questions posed by sickness, health, care, and loss.” Alexandra Axel, Media Director, The Caregiver Space.

About the Author

Bobbi - Transparent imageBobbi  Carducci as a national speaker on the subject of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, how it affects entire families and how to Prepare to Care – What Adults need to Know about Alzheimer’s/ Dementia Before and After It Strikes Home.

Brutally honest and written from the heart, Carducci’s intimate chronicle of caring for her father-in-law is a poignant story of strength, compassion, and humor that will linger with you long after you read the last page. Highly recommended for anyone caring for an elderly parent.” Jan Neuharth, author of the Hunt Country Suspense novels

Confessions of an Imperfect Caregiver is available on Amazon and through Open Books Press and her website www.bobbicarducci.com @BobbiCarducci2 @BobbiCarducci

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