On a Monday night in November 2009, I had what turned out to be the last conversation I would ever have with my father. He and my mother had just come back from a trip to New York and they were now back in our family home in Maryland. Continue reading
When my parents first began to have memory problems, I was in denial. As a psychologist teaching university classes on aging, I had always emphasized the positive aspects of growing older. Alzheimer’s disease had never been on my radar. It is now. Continue reading
I wrote the book, Not All Who Wander Need Be Lost, Stories of Hope for Families Facing Alzheimer’s and Dementia for those who are coping with loved ones afflicted with a dementia-related illness, and crumbling with the anguish of helplessly standing by, watching your loved one decline, and not knowing how to make it better for all who are affected. Continue reading
I spent a decade caring for my husband Morris, who died from younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease in August 2010. Afterward, I was compelled to write “Calmer Waters: The Caregiver’s Journey Through Alzheimer’s and Dementia” to help other caregivers feel happier, have more energy and time for themselves, sleep better, feel more relaxed and confident, and experience inner peace . . . Continue reading
“To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart and to sing it to them when they have forgotten.” This was written by Arne Garborg, a Norwegian writer, and has been my inspiration for many years. Even though I have worked with people with dementia most of my adult life, it was not until my father was diagnosed that I actually experienced the significance and value of learning one’s song. Continue reading
I write about Alzheimer’s because my father’s experience with the disease turned me into an advocate, not just for those with Alzheimer’s, but for their caregivers as well.
My father lived with Alzheimer’s disease for about four years. In that time, my father went from fully independent to living in a memory care center. My mother went from healthy and active to stressed and exhausted, and I believe the prolonged period of stress contributed to her colon cancer diagnosis, just six months after my father died. Continue reading
Fingers on the Keyboard, Heart on the Page
By Deborah Shouse
As my mother moved deeper into dementia, I treasured every moment of connection with her. Often it was only a minute or two, sitting shoulder to shoulder on the bench in the courtyard of the memory care unit, watching the community bunny rabbit nibble on grass. Leafing through a celebrity magazine and Mom pointing to George Clooney Continue reading
“To plant a garden is to believe in the future.” Anonymous
It was a spectacular day in my mother’s beautiful garden. And despite her recent decline from dementia, my mom, or “Nana”, walked happily together with my young daughter and I. My active 5-year-old girl skipped ahead through the now somewhat overgrown beds, but soon circled back with freshly picked blooms to share. Continue reading
Florida is the retiree mecca of the United States. As residents, we are used to conversations that begin with, “You live in Florida? My parents retired there…”. Yes, we know. Everyone’s parents retire here. My family was no different; we migrated after my grandparents retired here in the 1970s. Continue reading
Carolyn is an 85-year-old retired school teacher living independently in Houston, Texas. She is beginning to need assistance managing her affairs and caring for herself. She’s having problems with bathing, dressing, cooking, getting to doctor appointments, doing her shopping and paying her bills. Her only child, Ralph, lives in Dayton, Ohio. He worries about his mother constantly and wishes he lived closer so he could help her out. He knows he needs to take action; he just doesn’t know what to do.
Martha is another 85-year-old whose needs are different from those of Carolyn. Martha’s memory and mental functioning are declining at an alarming rate, and she’s received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. It’s obvious that she isn’t safe living on her own. Her daughter, Susan, who lives nearby, hired a home-care company to help care for her mother. But Martha hated the arrangement and fired the caregiver the company had sent. Continue reading