Personal Struggles

Kindness Fridays

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This week’s kindness spotlights the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) a fabulous group for writers of women’s fiction. Most if not all the administrative staff is volunteer – the reason why their kindness is this week’s selection. As a member of this organization, I was given the opportunity to have a podcast recorded for their Hear Me Roar program because I’m a debut author. Although my novel, Requiem for the status quo was released a year ago, it was my debut publishing effort.

This podcast is approximately 30 minutes in length, and although my novel is certainly the focus, much attention was spent on the prevalence of Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the world. Perhaps this podcast will keep you company on your commute in the next few days; although it may seem a bit choppy, I think it’s worth hanging in there to hear my, and the host’s, provocative discussion.

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Dynamite storybook for seniors with dementia

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I was asked to write a story or two for an anthology of short, short, stories that would be read to seniors with cognitive impairment. I jumped at the opportunity. That anthology, The Mighty Ant, is now available in paperback on Amazon.

I am one of 33 contributors to this collection of short stories for seniors who suffer from dementia and other related memory or cognitive disorders. This book is the culmination of a project from editor and contributor, Jessica Bryan, who is a caregiver and advocate for caregivers. Several years ago she began to notice that her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, lost focus and could no longer read lengthy books. Jessica began reading to her mother and found that simple, short stories were easier for her to understand. The Mighty Ant is filled with these kinds of fiction and non-fiction stories.

The proceeds from the sales of the books will be donated to a local Council on Aging. The generous contributions of authors like myself have come from all over the world. The result is a book with different perspectives, reminiscences, and tales that reflect not only local culture, but a variety of customs, ethnicities, and lifestyles.

I am honored to have my two stories titled, A Neighborly Friendship and A Sweetheart of a Story included in this collection. A Sweetheart of a Story was selected as the final story in the book because the editor felt it was the perfect selection to provide a sweet ending to the anthology. Buy a copy or ten or more for yourself and others…perhaps your local memory care community would love to include the reading of this book to their senior activity schedule! Currently only $12 for this 322-page large print storybook.

 

My novel’s 1st anniversary

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Requiem for the status quo‘s anniversary is the perfect opportunity to announce my involvement with a fabulous project focused on Alzheimer’s disease.

I am one of over 150 authors from around the world who will be represented at the Alzheimer’s Association – Western Carolina Chapter’s Dementia Education conference in Charlotte, N.C., this August. I, and over 25 other AlzAuthors, have donated copies of their books, which will be given away in a raffle to conference attendees.

I wanted to support this cause because during my caregiving experience in the early 2000s, I most definitely could have used more fiction about Alzheimer’s to normalize my day-to-day stresses, and some up-to-date non-fiction to help my learn-as-you-go caregiving experience. Something else from which I surely could have benefited is the non-profit, AlzAuthors. AlzAuthors.com is a nonprofit website that shares information on books and blogs about Alzheimer’s and dementia. I am proud to say that I, too, am a member of this fine organization. Had it been available prior to my father’s death from Alzheimer’s disease, I no doubt would have tapped into its resources.

AlzAuthors started in 2015, when Founders Jean Lee from Ohio, Vicki Tapia from Montana and Marianne Sciucco from New York, who had also written books about Alzheimer’s, met in cyberspace. They discussed the growing need for resources about dementia. A year later, after Shannon Wierbitzky joined the team, the group started a website and published posts from 60 authors. In 2017, Canadian Kathryn Harrison and Ann Campanella from North Carolina joined the administrative team.

Since that time AlzAuthors has published weekly posts, sharing resources about books and blogs that focus on Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The site has grown to include over 150 AlzAuthors from around the world and has a bookstore with a vast collection of top books for individuals, doctor’s offices, assisted living facilities and other eldercare services. AlzAuthors also has a thriving presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. AlzAuthors Jean Lee and Ann Campanella, whose memoirs were recently named to Book Authority’s Best Alzheimer’s Books of All Time List, will share “The Story Behind the Stories” of AlzAuthors at the Alzheimer’s Association conference.

“Together We Can,” the Dementia Education Conference held by the Alzheimer’s Association – Western Carolina Chapter, will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 29, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.at the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 3400 Beatties Ford Road in Charlotte, N.C. The event is geared for healthcare professionals, caregivers, people living with Alzheimer’s or related dementia and members of the general public. Attendees will learn more about research, caregiving practices and tools to assist in the journey with Alzheimer’s. For more information, visit ALZ.org/NorthCarolina or call 800-272-3900.

For more information about AlzAuthors. visit their website: https://alzauthors.com/.

Discount book sale starts today!

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I am a member of an author group called AlzAuthors. This group is a compendium of authors who have personal experience on the Alzheimer’s caregiving path. To celebrate the group’s 3rd anniversary of existence as well as reaching out to those who might be looking for resources during June’s Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, many books are offered at a great discount and some are even free of charge!

href=”https://babyboomersandmore.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/requiem-for-the-status-quo-eimage.jpg”> Requiem was a 2018 Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards contest[/
This sale only runs from June 6th through June 12th so I encourage you to visit the site’s post that spotlights those books being discounted during this time. Click here to access the AlzAuthors post and grab yourselves a book or three for yourself or for someone you know who might benefit from the titles being offered. When you reach that site, clicking on each book’s cover takes you directly to the Amazon eBook purchasing discount.

I am privileged to be offering my own title at deep discounts during this sale. Requiem for the status quo is only $1.99 in eBook format on Amazon.com and if you’re craving the paperback version, my publisher, Black Rose Writing is offering that format at half-price. When you get to the checkout screen on my publisher’s website, be certain to put in the Promo Code ALZAUTHORS to receive the half-price discount.

Kindness Fridays

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Long distance relationships don’t always work out but the relationship I have with an Adelaide, Australia online magazine works to perfection. I’ve never wanted to be the selfish one in this relationship, but I feel I’ve received far more from it than they have.

A wee bit of history: I’ve been writing for this magazine off and on for some time and then late last year, Grandparents Day Magazine offered me my own column; my own byline. Now I’m guaranteed a page in every publication.

Then, just a couple weeks ago, the editors/founders of the magazine reached out to me wanting to promote a writers’ group to which I belong: AlzAuthors. AlzAuthors is made up of a compendium of authors who share their personal experiences with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias to benefit others. Their motto is: To make a difference. One can sing a lonely song, but we chose to form a choir and create harmony.

So today’s celebration of kindness is two-fold: one, Grandparents Day Magazine generously reached out to me and the author group to which I belong; and two, AlzAuthors members chose to share their difficult Alzheimer’s disease journeys so that others could benefit from their vast experience – much of it learn-as-you-go. As a member of the AlzAuthors group, I can testify to the fact that once I had been through a family caregiving experience – for me it was for my father – I hoped it wasn’t for naught. Being able to share my experience with others through my novel’s publication just seemed right. The same can be said for the more than 150 books written by the AlzAuthors members.

And that, my friends, is my Kindness Fridays for this week.

Kindness Fridays

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Over the years I’ve discovered that when we are part of a community of people, our quality of life increases. The support of others can’t be beat. For me, community is like-minded people with a common thread through their lives that provide meaning and purpose for one’s day to day existence.

I found community in a writer’s group called AlzAuthors, a compendium of authors who have all been affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia. All of us authors share our experiences through our non-fiction and fiction works to bring knowledge, comfort, and understanding to those on a similar journey to the one we have already completed. Trust me, we all wish such a group were not necessary; that the common thread we share didn’t involve the always fatal disease of Alzheimer’s and related dementia; but it is necessary and we’re filling a need that as of this writing doesn’t show any chance of abating.

I’ve never met any of these authors – I live in Washington State and the rest of the authors represent just about every state in our nation – but because of our common journeys, we are members of a community. Are we all politically aligned identically to each other? Probably not. What about religious practices, do we follow the same spiritual practices as every member of the group? Hardly, but it doesn’t matter. What we have in common does matter: we are dedicated to encouraging and helping families and individuals whose lives have been interrupted by Alzheimer’s disease. Speaking for myself, I am so glad that my novel, Requiem for the status quo, can reflect the good and the bad decisions I made and other individuals made, so that those who are still on the Alzheimer’s journey might do better because they know better. I hope you’ll get to know us AlzAuthors through our website and that you’ll become an AlzAuthors Reader Community once you’ve browsed through our bookstore. Click here to go directly to the AlzAuthors Bookstore to find a library of books – more than 140 as of today – that link directly to Amazon or other purchase outlets.

So that’s it. This week I celebrate the kindness I have found in the AlzAuthors Community. Sure beats going it alone.

Kindness Fridays

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Having surgery, regardless of how minor, is on the bottom of my list of enjoyable activities, but my recent cataract surgeries contained a huge kindness element for me that raised that procedure closer to the top.

Plain and simple, Pacific Cataract & Laser Institute located in Bellevue, WA, knows how to treat their patients. From initial consultation to post-surgery goodbyes, each staff member offered kindness of which many medical practices aren’t convinced is necessary. Keep in mind, PCLI is an extremely busy medical and surgical office. They perform approximately 50 cataract surgeries two days a week so the comings and goings of their patients make for an oftentimes full waiting room, an always busy front desk, and a maxed out medical staff that never gave the impression that you were just another business statistic for the books.

A separate element of kindness that existed while waiting in the pre-surgery area with other cataract surgery candidates was the camaraderie that existed amongst us. Some were there for their second eye, others, their first. For my first eye, I was extraordinarily nervous in that pre-surgery room, knowing what was coming next: numbing injections into the eyeball. After receiving said injections, I sat in the next surgery waiting area adjacent to and visible by the other candidates awaiting their injections. When the nurse came to usher me into the surgical suite, I waved to those patients and said, “Goodbye my wonderful fans!” drawing a laugh from everyone there that could be heard by my husband in the general waiting area of the medical practice. Perhaps that served as a kindness to those Nervous Nellies and Neds awaiting their next step, I certainly hope so.

And now some more kudos. My personal eye doctor, Susan Wynne of Eastside Vision Care, who referred me to PCLI, mirrors the same commitment to customer service and kindness. Dr. Wynne provides the day after, week after, and month after follow up care post surgery for me. After my first cataract surgery, I more or less got freaked out because of the vision anomalies experienced during my recovery. She compassionately provided a clear explanation for what I was experiencing; she talked me down from my immediate concerns that one could characterize as being somewhat anxious, to believing my vision going forward was forever ruined. Prior to becoming a patient of Dr. Wynne’s earlier this year, my husband and I had little satisfaction for the eyecare we received over the years. We would dread the yearly vision exams because the various doctors with whom we met a) seemed not to care, and b) didn’t provide the type of attention we felt our eyes demanded. Dr. Wynne is certainly the exception.

So, there you have it: two medically focused happy endings provide this week’s edition of Kindness Fridays.

SEE you next week!