Author Fatima Devine Tells the Story of Tween’s Dementia Journey With His Father in: My Forever Super Hero

About Fatima Devine - My Forever Super Hero

By Fatima Devine

My Forever Super Hero addresses the impact of Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease (as well as other forms of dementia) on families, particularly those with “tween” or adolescent children.  The story is told from the perspective of Evan, an adolescent boy whose father begins to demonstrate the symptoms of dementia, and it takes place prior to his father’s diagnosis.

The book details the effects of Evan’s father’s developing symptoms on the family, as experienced by a young teen. The short story includes Evan’s feelings of confusion, anger, sadness, and stress as he watches the behavioral and cognitive changes occurring with his father, and as his own life begins to change.

Following the story, I have included resources for children and parents experiencing the dementia journey, including information about feelings, stress and its management, community resources and books available to assist families dealing with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Since few books are currently available to address the specific issues involved when a “tween” or teenager experiences Alzheimer’s or other dementias in a parent or other loved one, I believe this book may be a valuable resource for families with children dealing with dementia and for counselors or others assisting these families in their journey.

My husband was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease in January of 2018 at the age of 65. After navigating my own journey as a caregiver for a year and attending a Caregivers conference in 2019 with Cynthia, my closest friend and source of emotional support, we were inspired to create My Forever Super Hero. She agreed to illustrate the book, and I would write the story.

I had attended several caregivers’ support groups, and met a family who had a 14-year -old son whose father had just been diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 52. Although I had been thinking about writing a book about dementia and its impact on families before this, meeting this family gave me the idea of writing a book that would specifically address the needs of children and their families coping with the dementia experience.

As a social worker, psychotherapist, and college instructor, I had spent my professional career helping people via education and psychotherapy, so writing a book intended to help people going through the dementia experience was a natural step for me.  In addition to the satisfaction I felt from potentially helping others by writing this book, I also found it was therapeutic for me. Evan’s story is based on my own personal experiences with my husband’s developing dementia symptoms and experience, as well as my own experience as his caregiver.

I am a firm believer in the benefits of humor and laughter in coping with stress. Included in the book are events I have experienced that were humorous – sometimes in the moment they were happening, and sometimes in looking back at them. During my career as a professional helper, I have also learned a great deal about understanding the effects of stress and the utilization of stress management strategies, as well as mindfulness and cognitive behavioral techniques. In retrospect, I am now extremely grateful to realize that my whole career in helping others has prepared me for my own journey as a caregiver, and has allowed me to share this knowledge and experience with others who are facing dementia in a loved one.

By writing this book, I am hoping to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and Early Onset Alzheimer’s in particular, and to decrease the stigma surrounding dementias by recounting some of my own experiences and infusing them with humor. I also hope that the information and resource section following the story will be beneficial in helping those living with dementias to learn effective coping strategies for dealing with this difficult journey.


Fatima DevineAbout the Author

Fatima Devine is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker who has been in private practice for almost 30 years, and is the author of the book My Forever Super Hero.

Ms. Devine specializes in working with children, adolescents, and families, particularly in the areas of stress management, PTSD, anxiety, and depression. She is a retired Associate Professor at the Community College of Rhode Island, where she taught for over 30 years, and holds a Masters of Social Work degree from Rhode Island College.

On a personal level, Ms. Devine has first-hand experience with dementia as a caregiver to her husband, who was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s’ disease in 2018 at age 65. Ms. Devine has been active in volunteering with her local chapter of the Alzheimer’s’ Association during the past three years, since her husband’s diagnosis.

She lives in Rhode Island with her husband and their dog, Lola, and is also a Zumba instructor, and firm believer in the importance of humor in facing life’s challenges.

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