LaBena Fleming Creates a Scripture-Focused Journal for Caregivers


LaBena-Fleming-Caregiver-to-CaregiverBy LaBena Fleming

I had the honor of being one of the primary caregivers for my mother, who had Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.  During that caregiving journey, I felt God compelling me to journal the experience.  I was not at all interested in journaling because, in my mind, it just meant revisiting the struggles of the day.  Who wants to do that?  But, if you’ve ever played tug-of-war with God, you know he does not stop nudging until you comply.  I reluctantly began to journal.

What started as an arduous task quickly turned into something that I looked forward to.  I could honestly tell my journal whatever I was feeling or thinking without fear of judgment.  When I told my journal that I was angry because of something Mom said or did, it didn’t tell me that she couldn’t help the way she was behaving and that I just had to deal with it.  Although those words are true, I didn’t want to hear them.  If I told my journal that I didn’t want to be a caregiver, it didn’t make me feel shame for feeling that way.  I was comforted as I wrote.

My journal became my outlet.  I felt it was my conversation with a beloved friend….my God…and that whatever I thought or felt was okay.  My journal fostered my sanity and later served as the impetus for both my first book, I Love You Always, One Family’s Alzheimer’s/Dementia Journey and the Lessons Learned Along the Way, and my latest book, Caregiver to Caregiver, A Scripture-Focused, Guided Reflection Journal.

Corrie-ten-Boom once said, “In order to realize the worth of the anchor, we need to feel the storm,” and caring for someone with dementia can certainly be viewed as a storm.  The most important topic I feel my book addresses is the importance of having a strong faith, which is what served as my anchor.  Knowing that our loved ones won’t “recover” from dementia, and understanding the outcome, can be extremely depressing if you don’t believe in something beyond this life.  I felt God’s presence throughout my journey and don’t believe I could have survived had that not been the case.

I was compelled to publish Caregiver to Caregiver because I have a heart for caregivers.  I believe that the only one, besides God, who truly understands the trials and tribulations of being a caregiver is another caregiver.  I am committed to sharing anything I’ve learned if I feel it will benefit others.  I am blessed by blessing others.

I feel my book is beneficial to others because I encourage them to do many of the things caregivers either don’t think to do, forget to do, or don’t think they have time to do.  I encourage them to think through, experience, and write their feelings in this journal without fear of guilt, shame, or judgment.  I guide them in planning to do the difficult things because those things are not going away.  Most importantly, I encourage them to be kind to themselves and to look for blessings amid the pain.

Caregiver to Caregiver is a 52-week journal that consists of practical advice and caregiving tips, (including preparation and advanced care planning, self-care, & alternative care) in the form of “lessons,” monthly scriptural guidance, weekly focus scriptures, and guided reflections to assist those who have trouble getting started with their writing.  Perhaps they will one day share their stories to help someone along the way.

LaBena Fleming, M.Ed., M.Ed., Adm., CDPLaBena-Fleming


LaBena Fleming was born in Detroit, Michigan, raised in Ravenna, Ohio, and presently resides in Northeast Ohio with her husband Michael.  LaBena earned her undergraduate degree from Notre Dame College of Ohio, and master’s degrees in education and educational administration from Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio.  She has served as both a classroom teacher and community educator, is a certified dementia practitioner, and a retired hospice professional.  LaBena was one of the primary caregivers for her mother, who had Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.  A devout Christian, she enjoys spending time with her husband, daughters, and granddaughter, public speaking, gardening, traveling, reading, and of course writing. Caregiver to Caregiver is her second book.

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