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. Out in Los Angeles, I paced the floor as I spoke with them. My career was at a standstill. I was scrambling to make ends meet. I didn’t think life could get any worse, but it did the next morning when I learned my father was dead. Hours after we’d gotten off the phone, his heart had stopping beating. Continue reading
When I titled my book “Caring for a Husband with Dementia: The Ultimate Survival Guide” (2015) I did not expect to have people mistakenly assume that I am a wife caring for a husband with dementia. The warmth and sympathy I receive from people who don’t know me personally has been incredible. Continue reading
Like our family, my proposed WWII mystery, The Dragons of Alsace Farm, was also changed by our mother’s diagnosis of dementia.
After my father’s passing, Mom threw herself into her farm and animals, finding purpose in the care of her “babies” and the maintenance of her land. Continue reading
What was your motivation to write about your experience as a caregiver?
I believe some of our most profound lessons come, not from books, but from being there for people in ways we never imagined. During the six years I was a caregiver for my mother and father, not a day went by that I didn’t discover something new about myself, my parents, my siblings, human nature in general, and how to deal with a broken medical system when it comes to our elders. 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
When I first started caring for my mother, I had no apprehension over how difficult the caregiving job would be. I am a strong, capable woman and my mother was gracious, sweet and appreciative. She tended to know the limitations age delivered to her. I tended to know everything. I had siblings who could help me care for her. What could go wrong? The short answer is “a lot.” Continue reading