AlzAuthors was founded in 2016 by four daughters of dementia who met over the internet because of their books, and formed a friendship and a mission to create a space where caregivers can find solid support, and those who share their stories can find the proper audience. I am pleased to be a member of AlzAuthors.
You may have heard that June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, and June 21st is The Longest Day. Sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association, these important events increase awareness of Alzheimer’s, related dementias, and brain health. In recognition of these events, AlzAuthors has put together our very first eBook sale!
Starting June 21 through June 28, you can take advantage of this excellent opportunity to check out some of our books at reduced prices, ranging from $2.99 to free. We offer a variety of genres, from fiction, memoir, and non-fiction. Many of our books are also available in paperback and audio, so check them out too.
Our books are written from a deep place of understanding, experience, knowledge, and love. May you find one – or two, or three! – to help guide you on your own dementia journey.
Some years ago, I was taken to a hospice by a friend, who happened to be doing an errand. I immediately felt that this was the kind of tranquil place where I wanted to spend time. Soon after, I began to volunteer at a local hospice every Saturday afternoon. I did so for four years.
This experience had a strong impact on me, lasting even to the present day. Death – as with birth – is a very special time and I felt privileged to help people, even in small ways, in their last days.
As I was a writer, I thought the views and experiences of hospice staff would make a fascinating book. I had developed a technique, based on the kind of research I did for a living, of creating books formed around the direct views of people acquired by long and intimate interviews. Like a television documentary, it allows people to talk directly to the reader.
I undertook 31 interviews in two hospices with a whole range of staff – nurses, doctors, chaplains, managers and even a very reflective cook. They talked about the many ways in which they tried to make patients’ last days peaceful and meaningful, about the impact of such work on their own lives and, most importantly, about what they gained personally from such work. Like myself, they often used the word ‘privileged’ for being with people at the end of their lives.
The resulting book, Life in a Hospice, was, in my humble view, the best I had ever written – and I anticipated that many people would be keen to read it. It was very well reviewed, there was an article in the Times newspaper about it and it was even Highly Commended by the British Medical Association, despite not being a ‘medical’ book at all. All this was hugely pleasing.
But, alas, the breadth of the readership was very disappointing. The book was bought by many hospices and others working in end of life care, but it never took off with the general public. I quickly realised there were two reasons. First, most people do not have my fascination with end-of-life care and, indeed, avoid thinking about anything to do with death. And, second, the book was much too expensive, the price having been set by its medical publisher.
I couldn’t do anything to overcome the first problem, but I took back the rights to the book and re-launched it as a very inexpensive e-book ($3.75), so that anyone who wants to read it will not be deterred by the price. It is again receiving some good reviews on Amazon. I must admit I have never heard anyone say they were not deeply moved by it. A paperback version is in the works and will be published soon.
My one caveat for this website is that the hospices in my book did not cater for people with Alzheimer’s. I can only say that the attention to the very individual needs of patients would go far when it comes to people with dementia of any kind.
About the Author
Ann Richardson was a self-employed social researcher for most of her working life and wrote books and articles about her research. But she found that her real love is writing narrative books, in which people’s exact words from interviews form the essence of a book, allowing them to speak very directly to readers. Her other books of this kind are Wise Before their Time, about people with AIDS/HIV, and most recently, Celebrating Grandmothers, about the joys and challenges of being a grandmother.
I’ve been living with early onset Alzheimer’s disease for over seven years. Soon after my diagnosis, God kindled within me a deep desire to do something positive for people who were struggling with this disease. I wanted to help them maintain their faith as they face the challenges of living with early to mid-stage dementia. Continue reading →
When I was first diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease and Posterior Cortical Atrophy in 2015, I wanted something to focus on. All my life I have helped others through being a nurse, and I still wanted to do that.
The brain needs stimulation to keep going, so after the initial shock at being diagnosed and the relief that it wasn’t MS as what I first thought and feared, I took stock of what I could still do, and if I couldn’t do something I persevered until I relearned old skills. I had an occupational therapist who used Continue reading →
Perhaps it is not often that you come across science fiction that is (1) gentle and not full of weapons and nasty robots, and (2) includes a character who is one of the first with dementia to get cured of the disease. There are so many other aspects of reality to ponder, such as how robots might help or hinder grievers, it is a wonder that science fiction writers have not provided more material on such things. (Have you ever noticed that the Star Trek crew does not include a spiritual counselor?) As a healthcare chaplain, I have been curious about what it might be like to be cured of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Virginia Boyden, financial planner of the Continue reading →
When the memory thief first visited our family, we didn’t think much about it. Mom was, after all, fully capable of caring for herself and she was in good health.
But gradually, ever so subtly, the memory thief began to take from her the basics of life: where she stored her pots and pans, how to read a recipe and produce the finished product, how to find her way home from the grocery store. Continue reading →
It took a life-altering crisis to make me realize that despite having known my mom for 50+ years, I didn’t know who she was as a person in her own right. I had firsthand knowledge of many of her trials and heartaches, but that only gave me a one-sided view of what her life had been like, with many gaps. Continue reading →
My mother’s was a story that needed to be told. She was a kind, brilliant and talented woman all of my life until dementia took hold distorting her persona and leaving an agitated, bewildered and compromised person in its wake.
In what would be her final months, as my mother continued her rapid descent into Alzheimer’s clutches, her once strong voice faded away. Continue reading →