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      Inside the Dementia
     Epidemic: A Daughter's

      On Wall Street Journal best seller
      list (May 1, 2015)


    of's 2014 Top Alzheimer's Books for Caregivers

    Winner of the Memoir category of the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards

    Winner of a Silver Medal in the Health/Medical category of the 2013 Readers' Favorite International Book Awards (and finalist in the Memoir category)

    Finalist, 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Award for Excellence in Publishing

    Winner of an Honorable Mention in the Life Stories category of the 20th Annual Writer’s Digest Book Awards 

    Finalist, 2013 Indie Excellence Book Awards

    Finalist, 2013 Santa Fe Writer's Project Literary Awards Program, Non-fiction category





    Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter's Memoir shares the lessons I learned over 8 years of caregiving at home and in a range of dementia care facilities. I describe not only what I learned about navigating the system, but how I learned to see Alzheimer's disease differently—not as a "long good-bye," as it's often called, but as a "long hello." Through caregiving, my challenging relationship with my mother was transformed, and I learned to enjoy and nurture her spirit through the last stages of dementia.

    Appendixes share facts about dementia that I wish I had known years ago, such as how to get a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease; what medications are approved to lessen the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease; lesser-known risk factors for dementia; and possible antidotes. I include my favorite resources for caregivers, my source notes, and an index.

    Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter's Memoir is available in paperback and hardcover, as an e-book for Apple devices, the Nook, and Kindle, and on Kobo.

    Reviews and Testimonials

    Order the Book



    The photo at the very top of this page is of my mother, Judy, in 2010, smiling up at Suzanne, a massage therapist I hired who specializes in bodywork for elders.  Suzanne massaged her hands, arms, upper back and legs, talked to her, and played music for her.  [photo by Jason Kates van Staveren]

    Right: My mother at her 75th birthday party in 2007, three years after she could no longer live alone. A few days after this picture was taken she fell, fractured her pelvis and needed more care than her assisted living facility could provide. I had to quickly research alternatives.

    In 1996, Judy and her grandson, Andrew, age 1, on the shale beach outside the cottage on the lake in Upstate New York where she lived by herself for 25 years. It's his first visit, and she's showing him the "big lake water" and how to draw on the flat rocks with pencil-shaped pieces of shale. Her worrisome behavior starts around this time, but as her daughter I don't realize what is going on until much, much later.

    Above: My mother, age 74, and I at the cottage in 2006 with her old miniature Schnauzer, Trinka. I can see the stress of those early caregiving years in my face and in my extra weight. Little did I know how much I would learn over the coming years.








    Above: Judy, age 79, and me in early 2012 at the nursing home Judy moved into in 2010. Mom lived with advanced Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia until she passed away in late 2012, but until the end she often shared her lovely smile. 


    Join the fight to stop Alzheimer's by 2020:



    For caregiver support and resources, visit the Caregiver Action Network. (Membership is free if you are a current family caregiver):


        The Purple Angel--a symbol of hope and dementia awareness

       A Wall Street Journal best seller!

      "Inside the Dementia Epidemic:
       A Daughter's Memoir"
    is the un-
       flinching and hopeful story of how
       one woman came to see Alzheimer's
       caregiving not as a "long good-bye"
       but as a "long hello."

       The Library Journal calls it "honest,
       compassionate, and informed" and
      "compelling reading."

    Listen to a Facebook Live interview with the author.

    Entries in alzheimer's disease (1)


    Martha Stettinius, Author of Award-Winning Book "Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter's Memoir:

       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"

    More About the Book

    Buy the Book