Ronda Parsons
author of
 
Creating Joy & Meaning for the Dementia Patient
 A Caregiver's Guide to Connection and Hope

 

Come visit my blog: TheDemeniaConnection.wordpress.com

 

 

2016 London Book Festival Winner - Honorable Mention

2015 New York Book Festival Winner - Honorable Mention

Midwest Book Review - Pick of the Month - July 2015

 

 
 
 

Yes, it is possible to connect to those who suffer from dementia  & Alzheimer's Disease. 

For the past ten years I have been a caregiver and have learned how to tap into the heart and mind of the dementia patient.

The dementia sufferer's life has been diminished to small moments of time. By learning how to harness these moments the caregiver can create contentment within the cognitive confines of dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.

My guide teaches the caregiver how to connect the dementia patient to the world around them so they can experience the fundamental pleasures of life like nature, beauty, spirit, humor and joy.

My personal caregiving journey has been one of deep sorrow and great joy. I am hoping that my experiences as a dementia caregiver will leave you uplifted and brimming with hope.

I provide advice to caregivers concerning every aspect of the patient's life.

I share techniques that honor the individual that still resides deep inside each dementia patient so that they may continue to experience the simple joys of everyday life.

 

Prologue: The Turning Point

 

Sometimes in life when you least expect it, fate knocks at your door. You can draw your curtains, look through the peephole, and even pretend that you’re not at home. But in the end, your efforts are to no avail. Fate is standing on your doorstep, tapping his toe, waiting to look you square in the eye and hand you an enormous challenge, a burden greater than any you could have imagined and certainly one you could never have predicted. In the end all you can do is swing the door wide open, stand back, take a deep breath, and face the challenge head-on. This is what happened to me in 2003 when I became responsible for the care of my mother-in-law, Nan.

            Years earlier if you had told me that one day I would be managing the life of someone suffering from severe dementia, I would have said that it was impossible, out of the question. In the first place I never could have imagined myself in that role, let alone envisioned Nan spiraling down through the stages of this devastating disease. I never could have predicted that I would be forced to maneuver my way through the sibling rivalries and ancient jealousies of my husband’s family. I never could have predicted that I would be called upon to provide essential care to a member of the family that I had joined through marriage. And I never could have predicted on that fateful day when I finally agreed to embrace this challenge, that I was about to embark on a journey filled with moments of all-consuming heartbreak, and surprising moments of unexpected love and joy.

            Nan began showing symptoms of the early stages of dementia in 1998 when she was seventy-seven years old, but managed to live on her own for several more years with the help of nearby family and friends. However, as her disease progressed, there came a time when her behavior could no longer be overlooked or swept under the rug. Once it became obvious to her entire family that it was no longer safe for her to live alone, a debate began regarding where she would live and who would be responsible for her care.

            This was an emotionally charged time for everyone involved and it was only after countless phone calls and lengthy negotiations that a decision was reached. Nan would move to Virginia and my husband and I would be responsible for her financial and physical well-being. Through the clarity of hindsight, I realize that I was the only person who knew exactly what this meant. For although my husband loves his mother as much as any son can, the demands of his job do not allow time for the day-to-day challenges of caring for a dementia patient. I think I was the only one who fully understood that Nan’s care was destined to land squarely on my shoulders.