Wednesday, August 15, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Dr. David Davis and Joko Gilbert's "Support the Caregiver"



By Dr. David Davis and Joko Gilbert

As anyone who has walked in our shoes knows, there is a vast hole in the heart of a caregiver who, by a twist of fate, must tend to the needs of a Loved One suffering from Alzheimer’s. A hole that has the power to reshape and redefine who we are, for the rest of our lives. So, if we can approach this incredibly difficult challenge with the awareness that caregiving can be an opportunity for healing and growth, it allows us to step back from the precipice, where frustration, sadness and exhaustion await.

My sweet wife Linda was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s in 2009 at the age of 51 years old. She survived for 7 years until her death last year. We are simply not given the tools and strategies to deal with the burden of caregiving and the toll it takes on every aspect of our lives. Having practiced chiropractic for  many years, I had a strong grasp on the principles and practices of healthy living, which was the fuel for my desire to come through this experience as a better version of myself, and to embrace the profound lessons as a caregiver, allowing me to more fully integrate into the world.

The thought that we can bring insight into the community of caregivers to ease our collective burden, as well as  provide inspiration and information to elevate the conversation from one of support to one of empowerment was the motivation to create our book, Support the Caregiver, 9 Strategies for turning the stress of ALZHEIMER’S CAREGIVING into Transformational Growth.

Joko Gilbert, a dear friend of mine and Linda’s, was extremely close to the whole experience of taking care of my wife during her illness, and taking care of me, I might add, during the worst of it. It is from our shared experience, that we were determined to give voice to the most valuable lessons gleaned from those eight years, along with the strategies for emotionally prospering at a time when exhaustion and despair taunt us.

Out of our passion to share our insights, we have met with many individuals and groups in the Alzheimer’s community. Each meeting, each conversation is met with enthusiasm and the desire to explore more deeply the strategies that we have assembled. As a result, the Alzheimer’s Association has invited us to speak on a number of occasions, to groups small and large, as well as an invitation to be a speaker at the national Caregivers Conference in Connecticut this on April 19th.

The feedback has been strongly favorable, as we watch a tide of change in the caregiving community towards the very potent idea of empowerment.

Writing this book allows us to articulate and crystalize the most important and valuable lessons caregiving has taught us. It affords us the opportunity to reinvent ourselves in a way that makes our lives richer for having gone through the experience.

Speaking as a caregiver, I can think of nothing else that is as valuable and gratifying than reclaiming our sense self, and the peace that accompanies it, which are the cornerstones to living a healthy, purposeful and joyful life.


About the Authors

Dr. David Davis

I am recently retired from chiropractic practice after 34 years. My passion continues to be educating people on the principles of health and healing, writing, reading and travel, because I am always curious about what's around the next corner or beyond the next hill.



Joko Gilbert

I was born and raised in a tiny village in Austria and traveled the world working as a fashion model. In the 80’s I moved from London to New York City to continue my career. I fell in love and settled down (and gave a lot of guardian angels a much needed break from watching over me), got married and had two delicious suns (not a typo). I’ve also worked in my husband Frank’s chiropractic practice assisting our patients with weight loss, exercise and healthy food and life choices and am a certified Reiki practitioner. Not in a million years could I have imagined that my friend Linda’s diagnoses with Early Onset Alzheimer’s would turn my life towards working with caregivers in the Alzheimer’s community and not in a million years could I be more honored to do so. Caregivers are unsung heroes!


Connect with Dr. David Davis and Joko Gilbert







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






Wednesday, August 8, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Catherine Hodder. Esq. and "Estate Planning for the Sandwich Generation"



By Catherine Hodder, Esq.

I was a corporate and banking attorney when my father began experiencing mini-strokes and having difficulty with his memory. We didn’t know at the time he was embarking on a ten-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. And what a battle it was.

Even though I was well versed in law and finance, it wasn’t until I faced my father’s illness that I understood the importance of having proper estate planning documents. The more I learned, the more I realized there is a great deal of information most people (even attorneys) don’t know.

Before my father’s decline, he would mention from time to time about how to handle his affairs when he died. He also made it clear on many occasions that he did not want any artificial means to keep him alive. Knowing full well my mother would not be happy with his decision, I asked him to meet with a lawyer and put his wishes in writing.

As a result, he consulted with a seasoned estate planning attorney who drafted a last will and testament, revocable trust, health care power of attorney, financial power of attorney, and living will.

It is hard enough to care for someone with Alzheimer’s. It would have been impossible if we didn’t already have these documents in place. Because of my father’s planning, the financial, healthcare, and probate matters were handled seamlessly. It allowed us to focus on our father’s care.

Seeing first-hand how proper estate planning helped our family, I wanted to help others in a similar situation. After my father’s death, I changed my focus from finance to estate planning. I wanted to use what I learned from the front lines to benefit others.

I went into private law practice in Florida with a partner, whose father, incidentally, had terminal cancer. We lived the issues that many caregivers face. It was our mission to help caregivers understand how estate planning could help them. We especially reached out to those families in the “Sandwich Generation” who had young children they wanted to protect and who had real concerns about their aging parents.

Due to my husband’s career, we moved to California. I thought about starting another practice, but soon realized what I really wanted to do was educate others about estate planning.

I wrote Estate Planning for the Sandwich Generation: How to Help Your Parents and Protect Your Kids to be a resource for caregivers. There are ten steps for creating your own estate plan and five talks you should have with your parents. It is my mission to guide others through challenges of aging parents and caregiving.

Robert H. Schuller said, “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” It is my hope that this book with help people during those tough times.


About the Author

Catherine Hodder, Esq. is an estate planning attorney turned author. She enjoys working with families who would rather be doing anything other than estate planning. Her Florida law practice, featured in the Palm Beach Post, made “house calls” to help families with their estate planning needs. She now resides in California, writing helpful articles for members of the “Sandwich Generation.” She is also co-author of Law Office on a Laptop: How to Set Up Your Own Successful Mobile Law Practice, an #1 Amazon Kindle bestseller in law office education.

Connect with Catherine








Saturday, August 4, 2018

Great Summer Reads Blog Tour: "Love on a Limb" by Laurie Lewis

This week I'm participating in Lovin' The Book's Great Summer Reads Blog Tour. I chose three books to feature and here is the third and last. I chose them because they looked interesting to me or because I'm friends with the author and admire her work. I hope you like them too. Scroll to the bottom to find the link to enter our Giveaway. Lots of great prizes! Happy reading!

Matthew Grayken is young, successful, and dying, which is why he’s about to propose to a total stranger. He isn’t interested in love. He needs a caregiver, a companion, and someone to be his legal voice when he can no longer speak for himself.

Lonely, compassionate nurse Mikaela Compton is intrigued by Matt Grayken’s tender request, but when their friendly marriage turns into love, she rejects the inevitability of Matt’s death and prays for a miracle instead.

Mikaela succeeds in reigniting Matt’s will to fight, but his body is losing the battle, and her determination to save him causes her to betray the fundamental promise she made him--to help him die peaceably.

Their last hope at saving Matt's life will require a sacrifice from each of them, and force them to decide how far out on a limb they're willing to go for love.



***

Okay, so this is another medically-based story, and this one features a nurse. Yep, I'm a sucker. Plus, I know Laurie Lewis, because I invited her to join AlzAuthors, my website for Alzheimer's and dementia themed books. Her book The Dragons of Alsace Farms was featured in 2016. We've done a number of promos together too, and are both members of Clean Indie Reads. You can learn more about Laurie and her books in the following interview.

Author Interview


What is your favorite book that is not yours?             

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon. It's a difficult, brilliant book.

Do you write in multiple genres? Which genre is your favorite to write?

Yes. I love the challenge of writing emotional but clean romance but I do love the research of historical fiction.

How young were you when you started writing?

I can't remember a time when I didn't write. When I was a kid, I wrote episodes of my favorite TV shows, casting me playing opposite my favorite teen idols like Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy.

If you could meet any author, past or present, who would it be and why?

I'd love to sit down with Nicholas Sparks. Anyone with that many bestsellers would make a great mentor.

How long does it take you to write a book, and what was your fastest book to write?

I'm slow. I usually plan for two novels a year, but historical fiction novels take a full year at least because of the research. I've been working on a WWII novel for over a year because the research requires live interviews with the main character--an 88-year-old French WWII survivor who survived the Nazi invasion of her small town.

What is your favorite thing to do in the summertime?

I love the ocean, so heading to the beach with family is my very favorite thing to do in the summer. I love everything about the water--the sound of the waves, the smell of the sea, it's movement and the way its color changes with the sky. Ahhhhhh. . . .


About the Author

Laurie (L.C.) Lewis will always be a Marylander at heart—a weather-whining lover of crabs, American history, and the sea. She admits to being craft-challenged, particularly lethal with a glue gun, and a devotee of sappy movies. Her ninth published novel, her first romance novella, Sweet Water, was inspired by a visit to Oregon’s magnificent coastline, and time spent with Mother Eugenie, upon whom the character Mother Thomasine is based.

Laurie’s women’s fiction novels include The Dragons of Alsace Farm (2016), Awakening Avery (2010), and Unspoken (2004), written as Laurie Lewis.

Using the pen name L.C. Lewis, she wrote the five volumes of her award-winning FREE MEN and DREAMERS historical fiction series, set against the backdrop of the War of 1812: Dark Sky at Dawn (2007), Twilight’s Last Gleaming (2008), Dawn’s Early Light (2009), Oh, Say Can You See? (2010), and In God is Our Trust, (2011).

She is currently completing a political suspense novel planned for a summer 2017 release, a re-release of a romantic comedy, and she’s working on another historical fiction novel for a 2018 release. She loves to hear from readers.


Purchase Love On a Limb

Connect with Laurie Lewis



Website

Twitter

Instagram 

Goodreads 

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To view our blog schedule and follow our
tour please visit our Official Event Page





Friday, August 3, 2018

Great Summer Reads Blog Tour: TJ Amberson's "Love at Lakewood Med," Romantic Suspense

This week I'm participating in Lovin' The Book's Great Summer Reads Blog Tour. I chose three books to feature and here is the second. I chose them because they looked interesting to me or because I'm friends with the author and admire her work. I hope you like them too. Scroll to the bottom to find the link to enter our Giveaway. Lots of great prizes! Happy reading!



Savannah Drake would be thrilled about starting her final year of medical school if it weren't for one thing: she has to spend a month working in the emergency room with cold, aloof Dr. Wesley Kent as her mentor. 

When her first day in the ER proves to be a humiliating disaster, Savannah is ready to swear off emergency medicine forever. Gradually, though, she finds that the unpredictable, emotional experience of caring for patients in the emergency room is affecting her far differently than she expected--and Dr. Kent turns out to be anything but the arrogant attending physician that she assumed him to be.

But just when Savannah finally admits to herself that she is falling for Dr. Kent, she learns that things at the hospital are not all what they seem.

Faced with a seemingly impossible choice, Savannah must decide between her future career and everything that she has come to care so much about.

***

I haven't had the privilege to read this author's work but since it had a hospital theme I grabbed it. I worked in a hospital for 15 years and love medical-based stories (which is why all of my stories have some kind of medical issue or social problem, sometimes both.) Learn a little bit about this author in the following interview.

Author Interview

What is your favorite book that is not yours?

Les Miserables

Do you write in multiple genres? Which genre is your favorite to write?


Yes, I write books of several genres. Exploring different voices and styles is one of my favorite parts of writing. So far, I have published a young adult historical fantasy (THE KINGDOM OF NERETH), a young adult contemporary lite sci-fi (FUSION), and a clean medical romantic comedy for adults (LOVE AT LAKEWOOD MED). I am currently finishing a young adult paranormal romance (BETWEEN), writing the sequel to the historical fantasy (THE COUNCIL OF NERETH), and starting another rom-com. I wrote a little more about the pros and cons of being a multi-genre author on my blog. My favorite genre to write: I don't have a favorite - I love them all!

How young were you when you started writing?


Early elementary school

If you could meet any author, past or present, who would it be and why?


L.M. Montgomery - I grew up reading her novels.

How long does it take you to write a book, and what was your fastest book to write?

Varies widely! A few months to a couple of years. My fastest book so far is in progress right now (a romantic comedy)!

What is your favorite thing to do in the summertime?


A long walk on a sunny day.

About the Author


TJ Amberson hails from the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with her husband and nutty cocker spaniel. Her most recent novels include The Kingdom of Nereth, The Council of Nereth, Fusion, and Love at Lakewood Med. When she's not writing, TJ can probably be found enjoying a hot chocolate, pretending to know how to garden, riding her bike, playing the piano, or surfing the Internet for cheap plane tickets.

With a love of writing in multiple genres, TJ Amberson strives to provide well-written, age-appropriate, and original novels for tweens, teens, and new adults.


Purchase Love at Lakewood Med


Connect with TJ Amberson


Facebook Website 

Enter our giveaway
To view our blog schedule and follow our
tour please visit our Official Event Page





Wednesday, August 1, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Meet Minna Packer, Blogger, Artist, and Filmmaker Living with Early-Onset Alzheimer's



By Minna Packer

I was a teacher, professor, artist, filmmaker, mother of two adult children, a wife, a former American Fulbright, and an active member of my community. I am now 63. I was diagnosed twice, first in September 2016 with a Spect scan, then again in January 2017, when another neurologist ordered an FDG Pet scan. Twice I was told the pattern of the images was that of Alzheimer's. The changes and symptoms of what appears to me to be a rapid form of the disease have been radical.

The neurologist recommended I retire. I pushed myself to continue through the term, and then resigned from my twenty year teaching career last summer. There was no recognition for my many years of service. People I had known for decades, friends and colleagues, disappeared.

The lawyers told me to get my affairs in order and prepare for the eventuality of ending up in a memory care facility. I was not given any guidelines beyond being told by the neurologist to exercise and play Sudoku and Lumosity.

I thought joining an early stage support group would give me purpose and I would make friends. I attended a Reminiscence support group at the neurologist's hospital, and met people two and three decades older than me who were in later stages, who bounced a balloon to each other as an activity. I figured there needs to be more to life in early stage than this. After I sent the social worker an email questioning if there were support groups for younger onset, I was told to not return to the group. I met with a woman who heads a fledgling Alzheimer's organization that offers caregivers support groups in my county, in the hopes that I might start an early stage support group. She told me the only early stage people she knew were not interested in “being out” about having the disease, because of its stigma.

Where was I to turn for social support? I researched and found online communities for people with dementia. Alzconnected.org sponsored by the Alzheimer's Association is an online forum, and the early onset forum became my go to place, to communicate with others in the early stages. I contacted the founder of Dementia Mentors, who paired me with an online dementia mentor who is 59, and has been diagnosed with early Alzheimer's and Frontotemporal Dementia, who I meet with once a week over virtual Zoom chats. Dementia Alliance International support groups, an online community of people with dementia from all over the world, who counter the stigma and advocate for inclusion and having our voices heard, have become my online friends . 

I joined Dementia Action Alliance and was recommended for the art workgroup. It's comprised of both people with dementia and professionals without dementia, who work in the arts . Opportunities for discussing stigma and the language we use to describe ourselves have opened up between us. The chair of DAA has become a dear friend who has visited me in my home and regularly Zoom chats with me every week.

Last summer I started a blog on Wordpress: Suddenly Mad: My Voyage Through Early Alzheimer's. The blog has given me the opportunity to tell it like it is for me, the good, bad and ugly. It is the channel for my uncensored self-expression. I upload my artwork and write about my experiences, relationships, and the trials and tribulations of living with a changed and changing brain. Caregivers, people in the dementia community, and old friends and family have written to me with appreciation for my raw honesty and ability to put into words and images my experience of falling down the rabbit hole, that to me, is Alzheimer's. I write for you and I write for myself to remember. My art captures what cannot always be put into words. Sharing my blog is my way of not withdrawing from the world and demonstrating that I am still a creative person with thoughts, feelings and opinions that have resonance.

About the Author

Minna Packer has been an educator, filmmaker, producer/director, fine artist and writer. Born in 1954 in New York City, she is a first generation American, born to Jewish Holocaust survivors from Eastern Europe, who emigrated to the U.S in 1951. She received her professional education at Pratt Institute (MFA); New York University and The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (BFA). Her film credits include – Director/writer and producer of the documentary, Back To Gombin  which is in the permanent collections of the US Holocaust Museum and Yad Vashem – www.backtogombin.com. Packer was awarded as a distinguished Fulbright Scholar for her work on the film, The Lilliput, website at www.thelilliputmovie.com.

A recipient of The Nancy Malone award for excellence in directing, through New York Woman in Film and Television, she has also been awarded grants for her work from The Trust for Mutual Understanding, The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Gombin Jewish Historical and Genealogical Society, and the US State Department.

She has been a distinguished lecturer and professor at New York University, Jersey City State University, The University of Lodz, Poland, the Leon Schiller Film School, Jagiellonian University and Jerusalem University. For twenty years she chaired the art, art history and media department at The Hudson School- an independent school for gifted students in New Jersey.

In 2017 she was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's and retired from teaching. She participates in on-line social and educational webinars with Dementia Alliance International, Dementia Mentors and Dementia Action Alliance, and writes a blog, Suddenly Mad: My Voyage Through Early Alzheimer's. Since her retirement, she treasures the time spent with her family and baby granddaughter.

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For more vetted blogs and books about Alzheimer's and Dementia please visit AlzAuthors.com.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Great Summer Reads Blog Tour: "All the Way to Italy" with Flavia Brunetti

This week I'm participating in Lovin' The Book's Great Summer Reads Blog Tour. I chose three books to feature and here is the first. I chose them because they looked interesting to me or because I'm friends with the author and admire her work. I hope you like them too. Scroll to the bottom to find the link to enter our Giveaway. Lots of great prizes! Happy reading!


Until her dad died, Little considered herself a Californian. Now, thanks to half a letter, a symbol she can't quite remember, and writer's block, she finds herself back in Italy, the country of her birth. In a headlong rush to return to her beloved San Francisco, Little will travel throughout Italy, enlisting the help of the aunt who raised her, friends old and new, and the country itself, in her search for the answers she needs.

This is the powerful story of those in search of a balance between wanderlust and the necessity to come home, a reminder that although we may be fragments, we are never a lost cause.



***

I don't know this author but I loved the cover, and the premise, and it's Italy! How can I say no? Learn a little more about her in this quick little interview.


Author Interview

What is your favorite book that is not yours?

This is a really tough one to answer, but if I absolutely have to pick one, I’ll have to go with American Gods by Neil Gaiman, if only because of how very much it changed how I thought a book could be written.

Do you write in multiple genres? Which genre is your favorite to write?

I guess I could say I write in multiple genres, in that I write however I feel at the time, and that doesn’t always fall into the same category (I’d even say All the Way to Italy isn’t easily categorized into just one genre, but I think that’s true of most books!). I think my favorite form of writing at the moment is flash fiction, those short snapshot moments – if that doesn’t count as a genre, can we make it one?!

How young were you when you started writing?

This may sound like a cliché answer, but as far back as I can remember, I wrote things down. My aunt even has a short poem I wrote as a little girl where I lobbied for more substantial dessert. Sweets and writing: two of the greatest loves of my life!

If you could meet any author, past or present, who would it be and why?

Pat Conroy. I find him to be such a gargantuan talent, a writer of books I absolutely gobbled up and continue re-reading throughout the different periods of my life. His writing moves me so deeply that I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve cried at the sheer beauty of a line, or a paragraph, a sentiment expressed. He was a brave writer, unafraid of standing up for what he believed in also through his pen, and was also a fascinating man because of how much he used his family, over and over, in all of his books, as though writing were his way of externalizing what he was trying to understand inside. A great friend of mine once described his book, The Prince of Tides, as “jewels in your mouth,” and I never forgot that apt description. He also wrote my favorite line in the entire world: “My wound is geography. It is also my anchorage, my port of call.”

How long does it take you to write a book, and what was your fastest book to write?

All the Way to Italy is actually my very first book! It took me more than three years of actual writing and re-writing and editing and then more re-writing, but the concept had been playing in my head for years before that.

What is your favorite thing to do in the summertime?

What a wonderful question! Sit by the sea with a good book, good friends, and good food.


About the Author

Born just outside of Rome, Flavia Brunetti grew up bouncing back and forth between Italy and California, eventually moving back to the Eternal City and confirming her lifelong commitment to real gelato.


Flavia holds a Master of Arts degree in Government and Politics from St. John's University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from John Cabot University.

Today she travels the world working for an international humanitarian organization and spends her free time writing and wandering around her beloved Roma in constant search of bookstores and the perfect espresso.

You can find her city blog on Rome at whichwaytorome.com and her portfolio of published writing at flaviinrome.com.




Connect with Flavia Brunetti

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Goodreads Website


Enter Our Giveaway - Great Prizes!

To view our blog schedule and follow our
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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Martin Schreiber and "My Two Elaines - Learning, Coping and Surviving as an Alzheimer's Caregiver"




By Martin J. Schreiber


If there’s one thing worse than Alzheimer’s, it’s ignorance of the disease.

Count me among those who were ignorant. Over the past decade, I’ve learned more about Alzheimer’s than I ever thought was possible. To be sure, I’m no expert on the science of the brain. But I know what Alzheimer’s did to my heart – it broke it when it struck my wife Elaine some 14 years ago.

I’m striking back against Alzheimer’s by speaking out, to wipe out some of that ignorance of the disease. My book, My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping, and Surviving as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver, came out in November 2016. Loved ones of those with dementia say it resonates with them. I’ve done more than 150 presentations in four states, with lots more coming up. I’m energized by these audiences.


Following a recent event in Wisconsin, a man who is a caregiver for his wife with dementia approached. He wanted to thank me for writing the book. 

“It turned my life around,” he told me, tears welling in his eyes – and soon in mine, too. “You saved me.”