The heartache of watching a loved one slowly disappear with dementia is real. It’s been before your eyes for months, often years. Or you’re reeling from the diagnosis, unprepared for what comes next. You’ve been dropped into a new and frightening life with no preparation.
You need to know what to do and what not to do. This book offers plenty of examples of both, to comfort and prepare you. On these pages I share my journey, and the journeys of many who express openly, sadly, hilariously, angrily, about how they coped, failed, and succeeded as a caregiver to a loved one with dementia. Plus, a wide array of situations beyond what clinical teaching covers are presented.
You’ll discover encouragement and reassurance your life beyond being a caregiver still matters. Comfort and serenity come from knowing yourself, your loved one, and your options. You’ll find support, strategies, and kindred spirits.
This is a must-read book for anyone who is feeling lost and alone in the thick of caregiving for a loved one (or even a not so loved one) with dementia.
With compassion and humor, Joanne Ellis offers fresh insights and suggestions on how to build resilience into your care partnering journey, as well as how to create hope for yourself and your life after care partnering ends.
The author expertly weaves her experiences with those of her online support group, resulting in an informative tapestry of approaches and solutions to the myriad of issues facing a care partner.
For many care partners who’ve lost themselves in the tasks this illness brings, this book provides ways to save yourself while keeping your loved one feeling safe and cared for.
Former Director, Los Angeles County Area Agency on Aging
Former Director, Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services
What’s different about this book? My experience comes from tending three loved ones living with varying levels of dementia, in addition to the wisdom of my fellow caregivers / care partners. I’m no expert in caregiving or nursing. I have no professional credentials or degrees in the study of dementia. My background is in fine and commercial art.
My hereditary ADHD provides me with great out-of-the-box thinking skills and the nurturing aptitude of a brick. However, on these pages you receive help, encouragement, and the assurance that your feeling is normal, and you’ll feel less alone.
Journey is a word you’ll read and hear a lot, as you begin, or continue with your loved one living with dementia. It’s a path with recognizable milestones from those who offer guidance along the way. With the increase in the numbers of people living with the various dementias, my painting of footprints shown here, gained new meaning for me. We are many and so many have come before us.
Helping my dear mother live with her dementia was a roller coaster one minute and a painful grind the next. It was tiring trying to figure out each situation with her and her dementia of ten years. I didn’t trust her with respite helpers, and she feared people, including me sometimes. I had nothing to look forward to, until this book.
Now I’m hopeful. Mom is more trusting and calm. I can do this.
Read this wit and wisdom. Follow examples that have worked for those in this book. Laugh more. Dance your pants off! Walk and sleep more, eat better. Keep an eye on your loved one but also let them be. Join a support group or two and ask questions. Tap into the wisdom of those who can help. Recognize your self worth. You can do this. In your darkest hours, Joanne’s handing you a flashlight.
Three Generation Family Care Partner
I’m not an expert, however I have experience. Over the last six years I’ve watched both my parents and finally my beloved husband succumb to dementia. I was thrown into the role of caregiver. I was unprepared for what dementia does – not only to the patient, but also to loved ones thrown in the role of helping them through it to its inevitable conclusion. Online I found caregiver discussion groups filled with people going through it. Other caregivers provided ideas, support, laughter, empathy, knowledge about how to handle what came next.
At first I had little patience and no grace. Surrendering to stay connected was difficult. As I began applying my growing knowledge, we found our bond again. I wrote the book to share what I’ve learned and ease your journey. Your goals and dreams still matter, and will help you make from now until the end, easier, full of moments of clarity and peace for your ill loved ones, and people like you who stand by them.