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Kathleen Brown: 3 Everyday Lessons for an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Posted by Julie on October 11, 2016 in Julie Arduini |

3 Everyday Lessons for an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

by Kathleen Brown

I discovered Mom had Alzheimer’s during a September trip. September. Its flower is the forget-me-not; its gemstone, the sapphire. Sapphires were once associated with clear thinking. As I began caring for Mom, in the house where I grew up, I hoped the clear thinking part was for me.

If you’re an at-home caregiver, you know it presents unique challenges. My first weeks with Mom felt like one emergency after another; I was on adrenaline overload. Then I began noticing the miracles: tiny ones (finding one of Mom’s shoes in the trash can), and huge ones (Mom suddenly agreeing to a long-needed bath). Feeling the Lord’s presence and help, I calmed down and began to learn. Fear not—you’ll see miracles, too.

Three of the Biggest Everyday Lessons

 #1-You always have options.

In the beginning I thought there was only one right way to accomplish any care task. Wrong. There will always be more than one way to do what you need to do. Finding the best way, however, means we must look at all the options.

Example: Doctor to Mom: “Exercise.”

Mom to doc: “No.”

Solution: Two carts at the mega-store. While Dad shopped with one, Mom used the other like a walker, happy to stroll with me all around the store.

#2-Be ready to laugh.

Laughing in the face of Alzheimer’s is absolutely necessary for survival. The day Mom opened her mouth and I saw her dentures were in upside down, I smiled when I wanted to cry. After I fixed them, I laughed. Her poor gums were no longer being bitten by false teeth! Humor is an invaluable companion in caregiving.

#3-You will make it, even through the most difficult times.

When you need strength, you’ll have it. When you need words, they’ll come to you. When there’s nothing you can do to help your loved one, she will, against all odds, help herself. I can’t tell you how it happens—who can explain a miracle?—but I can tell you that resolution always comes. Expect it.

Expecting solutions widens your field of vision. You’ll find resources and strategies you won’t see if your eyes are closed in despair.

We hope effective treatments for Alzheimer’s will come—someday. Ways to cure and even prevent it. Until then, our peace will be in knowing we can help our loved ones through it. We can.

 ~+~

alzheimersKathleen Brown is a writer, speaker, and firm believer in everyday miracles. The author of A Time for Miracles: Finding Your Way through the Wilderness of Alzheimer’s, she focuses her work on needs of at-home Alzheimer’s caregivers. You can reach Kathleen through her blog, www.hopeandhelpforalzheimers.wordpress.com, or by email to kbrown.writer@gmail.com.

 

 

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Book Review: Lady Blues: Forget-Me-Not by Aaron Paul Lazar

Posted by Julie on April 16, 2014 in Book Review, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Blank white book w/path

Book Description:
Past and present collide when an Alzheimer’s patient’s fragile memory holds the key to solving mysteries dating back to World War II—including a long lost secret love affair.

Music professor Gus LeGarde is just doing a favor for a friend when he agrees to play piano for church services at a local nursing home. He doesn’t expect to be drawn into a new friendship with an elderly Alzheimer’s patient dubbed “the music man” or to stumble across a decades-old mystery locked inside the man’s mind.

Octogenarian Kip Sterling doesn’t know his own name—but he speaks Gus’s language, spouting jazz terms like “cadence” and “interlude” and “riff.” He’s also obsessed with “his Bella,” but nobody knows who she is.

When Kip is given a new drug called Memorphyl, he starts to remember bits and pieces of his life. Gus learns Bella was Kip’s first and only love, but their relationship was shrouded in scandal. Intrigued, Gus agrees to help search for her. Could she still be alive?

Horrified when the miracle drug suddenly stops working and patients begin to backslide, Gus panics. Can he help Kip find his beloved Bella before all the memories disappear?

What an enjoyable read Lady Blues was. Gus LeGarde has another mystery on his hands when a senior citizen in a nursing home befriends him and starts remembering his past after taking a new medication. Suddenly many residents are being discharged thanks to the miracle cure found inthe form of a pill. But just as fast as the medication helped, Kip and his peers are starting to regress. It’s up to Gus and his strong support system to find out why.

I loved flipping the pages to find out the “why.” It’s a great mystery with a backdrop I don’t see too far out of the realm of possibility of being a real news headline. Lady Blues takes place in one of my favorite places, the Genesee Valley of Upstate NY. Aaron Paul Lazar does a fantastic job bringing Livingston County alive to readers with places like Livonia, Honeoye Falls, Conesus, and even a Rochester mention.

There’s also history to adore, and I did. For music lovers, Gus is a music professor at a college that sounds very much the same one I graduated from. It’s music that first brings him to Kip, and Kip’s entire life is wrapped up in music. When Kip remembers his past love, Bella, a blues singer, there is the tie-in to history, Kip was mentored by Glenn Miller. The key to Kip and Bella being torn apart is found in Glenn Miller, too. I loved the entire music background, the war, and how everything worked together.

Lady Blues also has strong secondary stories that are multi dimensional, but don’t take away from the main plot and characters. Sieg and Lily, Curtis, and Camille.

A head’s up, there is some profanity.

All in all, Lady Blues was a wonderful blend of mystery, romance, music, and history.

To purchase Lady Blues, click here.

I received a copy of Lady Blues in exchange for an honest review.



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