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AlzAuthors in the Spotlight: Writing, Sharing, Inspiring, Caring

AlzAuthors - December 06, 2017 12:35 PM

We are AlzAuthors, six daughters who have experienced the loss of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and decided to write about it. We know the pain of being forgotten. We have all witnessed decline. Most of us have provided countless hours of caregiving.

Our books were written with a common goal: To make a difference!

We chose to write about our personal dementia stories to help others through their journeys. Our words serve as guides to the disease process, a caregiver’s handbook, or simply the catalyst to much needed conversations.

Social media brought us together as cyber friends. With an initial idea to raise awareness, our collaboration began in 2015 when we pooled our skills and resources during June, Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. This campaign resulted in wide reaching exposure across the internet.

In 2016, we continued to combine forces, starting the not-for-profit blog, AlzAuthors.com, a space where those writing about Alzheimer’s and dementia are invited to tell the “story” behind their stories.

Our collaboration unites dozens of resources: To make more of a difference together!

Today, our team of volunteers at AlzAuthors strives to eliminate the stigma surrounding dementia, while enabling caregivers and others to find a variety of written resources which help to educate and enlighten about this most important disease of our generation.

Our AlzAuthors.com Blog is a community of over 100 best-selling, award-winning authors who have never shaken hands, yet come together because their lives have been impacted by Alzheimer’s and dementia. Each week we feature a new author who describes what motivated him or her to write about this subject. We receive requests from writers worldwide seeking inclusion.

The new AlzAuthors.com Bookstore is a vast go-to collection of the top books on this topic that not only serves individuals but assisted living facilities, doctor’s offices, and other businesses offering eldercare services. We receive a small percentage of proceeds from any sales and use those funds to alleviate our costs. Any extra will be donated to Alzheimer’s research.

Together we advocate for those with dementia and their families, providing education and awareness of a disease that is currently estimated to affect 47 million people worldwide.*

One can sing a lonely song, but we chose to form a choir and create harmony.

Find us at AlzAuthors.com, @AlzAuthors on Twitter, through our Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resources Facebook Page or on Instagram as @AlzAuthors.

Our AlzAuthors Team:

Jean Lee’s parents were both diagnosed on the same day with Alzheimer’s Disease. She worked full time as an elementary teacher while experiencing the heartbreak, confusion, and exhaustion common to all caregivers. Through her memoir, Alzheimer’s Daughter, readers travel a journey beginning with a WWII romance, through aging and first suspicions to finally her parents’ last breaths. “I wrote the book I needed to read while caregiving for my parents,” she says. Her memoir is a beautiful but poignant tribute to her parents and a source of support for caregivers.

Vicki Tapia also cared for both parents. After teaching somewhere around 10,000 mother/baby pairs the art of breastfeeding, Vicki Tapia, lactation consultant, found her energies redirected to the other end of life, after both parents were diagnosed with dementia. A diary written to help her cope with caregiving morphed into Somebody Stole My Iron: A Family Memoir of Dementia, a finalist in the 2015 High Plains Book Awards. Called a “must read for caregivers,” this memoir is written in a conversational style, filled with personal lessons learned along the way, ideas and tips for managing the day-to-day difficulties of dementia, and useful information from experts within the field of Alzheimer’s research.

Marianne Sciucco is a registered nurse who cared for hundreds of dementia patients over a 20-year career.  Her novel, Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s Love Story, is based on a couple she met through her work and is a testament to the power of love in the face of this heart wrenching disease. Marianne’s tender work of fiction brings consolation and understanding to all who encounter Alzheimer's. Ironically, two years after her novel’s publication, she started living her own story, when a loved one was diagnosed with dementia. “Suddenly, I was the one with all the answers, all the responsibility. It’s overwhelming,” she says, “I immediately turned to my AlzAuthors friends to help navigate this stressful situation. The wealth of knowledge I have gained from my years as a nurse working with dementia patients and their families also keeps me sane."

Shannon Wiersbitzky witnessed the decline of her beloved grandfather from Alzheimer’s. “I spent my childhood summers with my grandparents,” she says. “As a result, my grandparents became like second parents. When I was in my twenties, my grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The moment I realized he no longer knew who I was is something I will never forget. And it was that nugget which inspired my middle-grade novel, What Flowers Remember. ”In the drama of Alzheimer’s, children are often overlooked, their observations and points of view neglected. What Flowers Remember helps open a discussion with young people. It is a heartwarming story of a young girl coming to understand that even when people die, they live on in our minds, our hearts, and our stories.

Kathryn Harrison was compelled to create a children’s book about dementia, Weeds in Nana’s Garden, following her mother’s passing from Frontotemporal dementia in 2010. During her family’s journey with the disease, she noticed how much involving her two young children in caregiving added value to the experience. Thus, she decided to create an engaging picture book that could reach many children, enhance their understanding of dementia and perhaps encourage them to connect more with those on this journey. The colourful, enchanting illustrations in Kathryn’s award-winning book enhance the poignancy of the loving story. It is available in English, French, German and - soon - Portuguese.

Ann Campanella, an avid horsewoman and former magazine and newspaper editor,  wrote her memoir, Motherhood: Lost and Found, after her mother developed Alzheimer’s at the same time Ann was trying to become a parent and experiencing infertility. Now, the grateful mother of a teenager, she enjoys spending time with her family, sharing her love of horses with her daughter, writing, blogging and making connections with others on the caregiving journey. Ann’s remarkable book records the ordinary and extraordinary courage of those who endure family tragedy while also experiencing triumph, using poetic and vivid language to exquisitely recount her story.

*World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/dementia/en/

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