Discover Ann Margaret Johns’ relatable memoir, Counting Steps, about caring for her mother with Alzheimer’s

Ann M John Counting Steps Meme

Counting Steps coverBy Ann Margaret Johns, Michigan, USA

My mother was well educated, intelligent, and witty. She was the matriarch of our family and I loved her dearly. Were there warning signs of her mental decline that I missed? If I had noticed the early warning signs, could I have done something to help her? By the time I realized my mother’s diminishing mental capacity was more than simple “senior moments”, her dementia had accelerated to the point where treatment was not an option. If I had realized my mother was experiencing cognitive impairment sooner, early treatment may have delayed the onset of Alzheimer’s. Guilt consumed me.

Looking back, the blue and white striped hat she insisted on wearing, no matter the weather or circumstance, should have been a warning sign of my mother’s mental decline. She would spend a half hour curling her beautiful white hair, only to cover it up with that hat. Mom wouldn’t go anywhere without it. The aides at the nursing home gave her the nickname “Pat in the Hat”. The floppy hat sat atop her head until the day she died. I am sure Mom would have preferred to be buried with that hat, but I couldn’t part with it. The hat sits prominently on my bedroom dresser. In the summer, I wear it to the local garden store Mom and I used to visit frequently together. It is a fond memory of the woman she once was.

Nothing prepared me for what life would be like caring for a person with dementia. My mother spent the last four years of her life battling Alzheimer’s disease. I spent the last four years of her life learning about dementia and caregiving. Some of what I learned was from internet research, some from books, and some from talking with medical professionals; but most of what I learned was by trial and error.

It felt as if I was on a deserted island. I wished I knew just one person who understood what I was going through, but there was no such person. I was scared and alone. No one should have to experience what I experienced, so I felt compelled to help others. I took the best of what I learned and wrote ‘Counting Steps’.

There are many publications containing valuable information about Alzheimer’s disease. However, nowhere did I find a book that explained what it is really like watching your loved one decline and eventually die in such a cruel way. Nothing I found in my research was relatable. I felt compelled to share my story in a way that others could relate to, while providing important information about a devastating disease.

If ‘Counting Steps’ helps just one reader who is facing caring for a loved one experiencing cognitive decline, it was worth the labor of love it took to write it. You are not alone.

I invite you to join my mother and me on our Alzheimer’s journey. The pages of this book provide the reader with a plethora of information regarding dementia and Alzheimer’s behaviors, caregiving, the nursing home decision, and more, in a heartfelt, relatable way.

About the AuthorAnn Margaret John

Ann is a Michigan native and Certified Public Accountant who has traveled the world. She is a passionate writer who writes from her experiences. Her creative non-fiction work is well researched, entertaining and heart felt. She expresses real life experiences in a way that is very relatable.

Ann spends her free time giving a second chance to well-loved items by refurbishing them into repurposed home goods. She enjoys writing, gardening, and lake living with her two rescue cats, Crosby and Munchkin.

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