Diagnosis: Dementia by Nicole J. Smith

Nicole J. Smith, Arizona, USA

When I discovered more about dementia and how it would profoundly change my mother’s life, our lives, I created a timeline and jotted down journal entries to track the growing chaos. I made many cross-country trips to help my mother prepare her home for sale, only to be berated and asked to leave again within hours of arrival.

The paranoia, anger, and accusatory behavior my mother exhibited was her new reality. My reality was equally twisted as I struggled to find resources and advice on how to manage it all. I knew there had to be a better way.

Most of the books and podcasts I came across focused on the behavioral aspects and stage progression of dementia. I desperately needed immediate practical advice on how to address the legal, medical, and financial aspects of moving my mother into memory care against her will.

I decided to write the book I could not find. I began reading more books, articles, and blogs to piece together a comprehensive resource manual for adults caring for aging parents, interwoven with our story of my mother’s dementia diagnosis. It is one thing to encourage people to have the tough conversations and put plans in place, but the compelling story of our struggle demonstrates the absolute urgency of it all. Because we all eventually get the call… about a fall, a stroke, an accident, or someone wandering off.

The best we can do is have the documents, phone numbers, and plans in place to spring into action when the call comes. We can also spend the time, over time, in conversation with our loved ones and each other about our options and our wishes as we age. Family dynamics are tough enough, and they rarely improve when crisis strikes.

I was fortunate to gather a team of professionals whom I trusted through friends, family members, and referrals. I wanted to write a book that defined industry acronyms and itemized credible associations others could build their team from.

Once I understood more about dementia and how cognitive decline affects more than just memory, I was much better about communicating with mom and I let go of correcting her current narrative. My patience improved, which made things much easier for everyone.

My mother has been an advocate for herself and others her entire life. I was raised in that vein. I now take up the reins to raise awareness around the many forms of dementia and give others a practical plan to follow. I hope to ease and erase the stigma and fear associated with dementia by sharing our experience through my book Diagnosis: Dementia; Your Guide for Eldercare Planning and Crisis Management 


Nicole found herself immersed in the dementia dynamic when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2021. Cross country flights, fights and panic attacks ensued as Nicole worked with her aunt to figure out a plan to move her mom despite her denial, adamant outrage, and protest. Nicole pieced together a team of legal, medical, and financial advisors to get her mind around managing it all. She learned a lot along the way and wanted to share her insight with others.

Nicole chronicles her story and itemizes the resources she found most helpful from the initial physician evaluation to selling her mother’s house and everything in between. Resources that in turn helped Nicole convince her dad to complete his will and cope with her stepmother’s cognitive impairment. Dementia robs more than memory; it affects everyone’s reality.

Nicole and her husband raised five children in New Jersey and recently relocated to Arizona, the fastest growing state in the nation for Alzheimer’s and dementia related diseases.

Instagram: @dementiabookreview
Website: njsmithbooks.com

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