Martha Stettinius, Author of Award-Winning Book "Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter's Memoir:
Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 01:46PM
[Your Name Here] in aging parents, alzheimer's disease, assisted living, baby boomers, caregivers, culture change, dementia, dementia epidemic, dementia research, elder care, family caregiving, home care

   In 2005 I became the main
   caregiver for my mother, Judy 
   —a role I never expected, and
   at first resisted. At seventy-
   two, she could no longer
   balance her checkbook, and
   the lakeside home where she
   had lived alone for twenty-five
   years overflowed with garbage
   and recyclables.

   Each winter her steep, gravel road left her cottage inaccessible except by foot, so Mom would park her car at the top of the cliff and carry her groceries down the hill in a small, red backpack, creeping along with ice cleats on her boots for traction and a ski pole in her hand for balance.

I knew that I had to move her out of there. I offered to take her into my home an hour away with my husband and two children. I wanted to keep her from losing more weight, and protected from falling on the hill.

Though at first cheerful and grateful for my help, my mother grew sullen and withdrawn, and I quickly felt overwhelmed working, taking care of my children and tending to Mom. In the short time she lived with us I learned my first tough lesson as a "sandwich generation" caregiver—I couldn't be a superwoman.

Inside the Dementia Epidemic chronicles the challenges I faced over eight years as my mother's dementia worsened, and how I sought help. She lived in assisted living, a rehab center, a "memory care" facility for people with dementia, and a nursing home. Our years together presented twists and turns that I never expected, transforming our relationship and affecting me profoundly.

Read the Preface, sample chapters, or one of the appendixes,"Medications Approved to Relieve Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease."

“Martha’s greatest gift to readers is that of optimism—that caregiving can deepen love, that dementia can be fought, and that families can be strengthened. Her book is appealing, enlightening, inspiring."   
                     —Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., author of "The Emotional  
                           Survival Guide for Caregivers—Looking After
                           Yourself and Your Family While Helping an
                           Aging Parent"

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Article originally appeared on Inside the Dementia Epidemic (http://www.insidedementia.com/).
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