Wednesday, September 19, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Blogger Heidi Hess Saxton



When the Unthinkable Becomes Inevitable: The Awful Dawn of Dementia


By Heidi Hess Saxton

Up to this point in my life, most of my blogging has been for parents of adopted, foster, or special needs children. Back in 2002, when my husband and I first became foster parents (and later adoptive parents), we really had no idea what we were in for. Which was probably a good thing, because I’m not sure we would have had the courage to move forward with it, had we known.

Now, as I’m entering the sixth month of caring for my mother, a dementia patient, I’m realizing that this is a lot like that. Lots of dirty laundry and temper tantrums, interspersed with moments of sweetness and delight. The tumultuous relationship we had during my teen years is gone. These past six months have been the sweetest, yet in many ways also the hardest – for both of us. But even the hard times are not without their rewards. For instance, when my daughter is being her snarky teenage self, she will do for her “Mammy” what she would never do in a million years for “Mean Old Mom.”

Best of all, I don’t have to make those bi-monthly trips to Georgia to visit her in that godforsaken place (Grace House, my Aunt Fanny), where the residents sat slumped in the half-light like so much castaway furniture. She spent most of her time on her bed, exhausted from writing notebooks full of gibberish, trying to work out why she had been deprived of her freedom, her marriage, and most of her life. My sisters and I would take her out as often as we could from our respective homes in Indiana, Washington State, and New Hampshire (plus the youngest who lived nearby but was trying to balance the demands of caring for her family, a full-time job, and both my parents), but it grew harder and harder to bring her back to the facility. More than once I begged God to take her in her sleep. I was sure I knew where she was going, and it was an infinitely better place than this.

Finally, one day when I realized that there really wasn’t any reason for her to stay where she was, I broached the subject with my father, who readily agreed that Mom would be happier with me. Just before Thanksgiving, we decided – so she could go back by the end of Christmas if it didn’t work out.

But in my heart, I knew there was no going back. “How’d you like to come home with me, Mom?” Her dull expression brightened for just a moment. “They won’t let you take me,” she said. “The judge won’t let me go.”

Somewhere in her clouded mind sat a cantankerous old geezer who called the shots. “It’s okay, Mom. Dad said I could take you – and the Judge has no jurisdiction in Indiana.” And so, her friends all gathered to celebrate her 77th birthday on that last day before we left. “I’m so happy for your mom,” each of them said to me. “She’s going to be so much better off with you.” They gave her warm track suits to insulate her from the Indiana winters, and posted pictures and letters regularly both in the mail and on the private Facebook page where I keep everyone informed of her comings and goings.

Then we got on a plane and … she was free. It wasn’t like her old life, with the man she’d loved for more than fifty years. Instead of a spacious, well-kept home she had a room in the basement with a little half-bath near my office, and she struggled to climb a flight of stairs a couple of times each day.

But how she smiled. In photograph after photograph, her eyes alight as she once more made cookies, beat us at Scrabble, sang at birthday parties, and sported a pretty Easter dress. She had been given a second chance at life. And I was going to make the most of it, for as long as I could.

There’s still so much to learn, so much I’m still figuring out. But I decided I want to keep track of the steps along the journey, in case there was someone else out there who, like me, just needed someone who could say, convincingly, “Me, Too.” So, if that’s you, welcome. Pour yourself a cup of… well, whatever strikes your fancy. I won’t judge. And let’s take the time to encourage each other, in good days and bad. Because when the unthinkable becomes the inevitable, the steadying hand of friendship can make all the difference in the world.

About the Author

Heidi Hess Saxton and her mom, Sandy, live with Heidi’s husband Craig, their teenage children, and two energetic dogs in northern Indiana. In her spare time, Heidi is a writer and editor, and blogs as often as she can at “Life on the Road Less Traveled” (for adult caregivers), “Extraordinary Moms Network” (for parents of adopted and special needs children), and “Ask the Catholic Editor” (for non-fiction writers). Her latest book is Advent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Franciscan Media).


Connect with Heidi


***

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Lisa Hirsch, author of "Letter to My Mom" and "My Mom My Hero"


by Lisa Hirsch

My mom has Alzheimer’s disease for 14 long years. Out of her suffering from this disease not only was my love for her transformed, she also became my hero. My love and compassion for her inspired me to share our journey.

What is amazing was that as a teenager I always wanted someone else’s mother to be mine, yet today I would never trade Mom for any other mother in the world. Each day she continues to touch my heart with a deep pure love. Through the years as the disease has progressed, I have watched Mom as her world has been disappearing. 

I often get questioned if she knows who I am. My answer is always the same. In my heart I know that she knows me. She may not say my name, yet when we are together we hold each other’s hands as if we were “young lovers” never wanting to let go. Our roles have reversed and with that my love for her has only grown.

My entire career was spent in the Fashion Industry never thinking that I would write nor start a blog. It was from my blog My Mom My Hero, which today has over 250,000 worldwide views, that I decided to write my first book My Mom My Hero. At that time so many caregivers reached out to me to share their own stories and to thank me for having the courage to share with them my deepest most private feelings.

From my blog I was invited to be a contributing author to Huffington Post Blog to share about my mother and our journey. As my audience grew I was constantly asked how my mom was doing. I then decided to write my recently released book Letter To My Mom and once again to openly share my deepest feelings. Letter To My Mom includes my insights, fears, sorrows, and incredible joys with great honesty.

Out of my own experience I found that writing is both freeing and healing. It does not matter who else may read it. I encourage everyone who is going through being a caregiver to get out your pen or pencil and write about anything that you are feeling.

Through the years after attending Alzheimer’s support groups I myself knew how important it is to support other caregivers in this difficult journey.

I would love to share my two books with you and believe that they will support/help you as you deal with this horrific disease.

Purchase Letter To My Mom
and My Mom My Hero 

About the Author


Lisa R. Hirsch is a successful blogger with a worldwide audience. She spent the majority of her career in the fashion industry creating and launching several different companies. Today she has had numerous articles published as well as writing for health care web sites and newsletters both in the United States,UK, and Canada. She has also been published in a women's inspirational book. She was a guest speaker at the School of Social Work at Columbia University in New York City and has been featured on many caregiver radio shows. She resides in Manhattan with her husband and has one loving son and daughter-in-law.





Connect with Lisa Hirsch


***

For more vetted books about Alzheimer's and dementia 
please visit the AlzAuthors Bookstore.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: AlzAuthors Books are Setting Sail on a Dementia Friendly Alaskan Cruise!


During the week of September 15 - 22, 2018, a cruise specially designed for caregivers and their loved ones living with early-stage dementia is setting sail for Alaska, aboard Holland America's Signature-class cruise ship, MS Eurodam. AlzAuthors is thrilled to be supporting this wonderful trip!

This adventure is a unique CRUISE and CONFERENCE all in one. Families will sail round trip from Seattle, Washington with Elite Cruises and experience the beauty of Alaska with stops in Juneau, Glacier Bay, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria, Canada.

Families will also experience diverse programming during an immersive conference that takes place onboard. This includes: Healing pain and grief through sharing their stories; adapting homes for dementia; creating care partnerships; nutritional care for caregivers and their loved ones; and much more. The cruise organizer, Kathy Shoaf, has put together a wide range of programming created for the complex daily lives of those living with dementia and their care partners. Plus, families will be spending time with others who share many of the same joys and sorrows, providing an opportunity to build new friendships too. Vacationers will return home with a renewed spirit, reconnected to joy and ease in their daily life.

For more information about this upcoming event, please visit: http://elitecruiseandvacationstravel.com

To support the cruise, over 25 authors from AlzAuthors have generously donated books for daily giveaways. What's more, many of these authors are also offering special sales on their books and ebooks during the cruise period. Plus, information about these valuable books will be available for all cruise families in colorful brochures, booklets and banners on board.
Cruise Marketing Materials
We are proud to list our participating AlzAuthors' Books on the AlzAuthors Blog.

For vetted books and blogs on Alzheimer's and the dementias please visit the AlzAuthors Bookstore.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Back to School: Promoting Literacy With Audiobooks. Plus Win a One-Year Subscription To Audiobooks.com!


Have you tried audiobooks yet? I've been a big listener ever since Books On Tape but now listen through the Overdrive or Audible apps on my iPhone. Books are usually borrowed from my local library, although I've purchased many through Audible.com and downloaded dozens from Audiofile's Audiobook Sync summer program. Like my Kindle library, my audiobook library is stuffed to overflowing and my to-be-read list may never get fully read.

Some of my favorite times to listen? In the car, especially on long trips back home to Massachusetts, while floating in my pool, during the dreaded housework. 

I love audiobooks so much that all of my own books are available in audio.

But audiobooks are not only useful tools for entertaining and educating adults. It turns out they can also help your children do well in school.

Every parent knows that kids’ brains are like sponges, soaking up drops of information and words (even the four-letter ones we don’t always want them to). But did you know that 85 percent of what we learn is learned by listening?

According to the Audio Publishers Association, listening increases reading accuracy by 52 percent, and combining print and audio increases memory 40 percent over print alone.

Audiobooks.com is making it easier (and more fun!) for kids to expand their vocabularies, increase reading speed, improve fluency, and teach pronunciation. Audiobooks.com offers an app-based audiobook subscription service with access to 125,000 bestsellers, new releases and classic favorites. No matter what genre your child gravitates towards, Audiobooks.com has lots of exciting kids content that can be enjoyed while waiting for appointments, before bedtime, and during car rides (the age-old question “Are we there yet?” will become a thing of the past, even for reluctant readers). Just in time for back to school. Make any time learning time!

One lucky entrant selected by the entry form will receive a FREE one-year subscription to Audiobooks.com (ARV $160).  That means 125,000 premium audiobooks of your choice that you can instantly stream and download to your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to get listening tips, recommendations, and more. Open for entry from September 4th to September 18th, 2018. Open to entrants in the US, 18 years and older. The selected winner will have 24 hours to respond to the notification email to claim this prize or a new winner will be selected. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment. Best of luck! Enter now! When you're finished, leave a comment below and you'll be entered to win an audiobook of one of my titles.

Happy listening

Friday, August 31, 2018

New Release Spotlight: Krista Noorman's "Another June with You," Contemporary Romance



She's the wedding photographer. He's the best man. They were high school sweethearts, but she suddenly walked away. He wants the truth, but will it keep them apart forever?



Shannon McGregor never expected to run into her high school sweetheart, especially not as the best man of the wedding she's photographing. But Micah's back, as handsome and charming as she remembered, and pressing her for the truth about why she ended their relationship--a truth she'd rather keep to herself.

Life is good. Micah Shaw has a job he loves, great friends, and a wonderful girl by his side. But seeing his first love again opens his eyes to the charade he's been living without her. He never really got over Shannon or the dreams they had for their future--dreams she seemed to casually brush aside when she broke things off a decade ago without much explanation.

As wedding events unfold, avoiding Micah is impossible, and with their connection as strong as ever, Shannon finds herself battling the desire to tell him everything. How long will they circle the truth before Shannon admits defeat? And what does it matter when he'll be gone by Sunday?

A sweet, clean second chance romance. The first book in the McGregor Family series.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Vina Mogg Blogs about Life as an Alzheimer's Caregiver in "Seaglass Life"


By Vina Mogg

Not Alone


At a caregiver’s conference in Orlando I read a poem I had written during the opening assembly. Three things that happened there marked my writing journey.

A Florida State Representative, Mark Pfaford, key advocate for the Florida's Alzheimer's Disease Initiative (ADI), a bill that provides services to meet the needs of individuals and families affected by Alzheimer's disease, spoke to me after the reading, saying, “Your words give a face to the bill we support.”

An elderly man in the audience stood up and asked, “Where can I go for help? Who can help me care for my wife?”

Three women approached me in the lobby, telling me, “Your poem says exactly what I am feeling inside.”

Each cry isolated calls out the same question:

Am I alone?

Who will help me?

At that moment I asked myself, Who will be a voice for these people?

A voice deep inside me answered, “Here am I. Send me.”

Friday, August 24, 2018

New Release Spotlight: D.G. Driver's YA Novel “Ghost on the Water”




One girl’s daring adventure turns into a 
long frightful night lost on the water.



Forced to leave the California beach behind to spend the summer with her grandma in rural Tennessee, Dannie is certain this will be the most boring summer of her life. Things start looking up when a group of local kids, mistaking her short hair and boyish figure, invite her on their ‘no girls allowed’ overnight kayaking trip. Obviously, her grandma refuses to let her go. But Dannie suspects the real reason is that the woman is afraid of the lake, only she won't tell Dannie why.

Longing for freedom and adventure, Dannie finds an old rowboat hidden behind the shed and sneaks off on her own to catch up to her new friends. It seems like a simple solution … until everything goes wrong.

Dannie soon discovers this lake is more than just vast. It’s full of danger, family secrets, and ghosts.

Who is Dannie?

Dannie is an almost 15-year-old girl who likes to keep her hair super short so it doesn't get in her face when she goes skate-boarding. Most of her friends are boys back in California, and that's just fine with her. She hasn't grown much of a figure, and she's okay with that, too. She prefers to wear over-sized T-shirts and boys' jeans. They're more comfortable and better for moving around. She thinks staying in a cabin by a lake would be fun if it were with her dad or her friends, where she could go jet-skiing or fishing. However, she's stuck on this lake with her grandma, and she predicts it's going to be a long, boring ten days of doing nothing. She's wrong about that.


Read this excerpt from Lost on the Water, A Ghost Story