Powerful Non-Fiction: “I'm Your Daughter Julie" is a must-have roadmap WITH PRACTICAL TIPS, EMOTIONAL SURVIVAL ADVICE for dementia carers
A powerful new non-fiction reduced me to a puddle: Julie A. Gorges shares the moving story of caring for her mother in I’m Your Daughter, Julie: Caring for a Parent With Dementia.
Battling the same form of dementia as Robin Williams and Ted Turner, the author gives a raw, honest account of her mother’s decline in a poignant journey of crushing heartache and enduring love while offering practical tips for those caring for loved ones with dementia.
Read on to:
* Meet the author
* Read an interview with Julie A. Gorges
* Browse an excerpt from the book
* Find my review
* Enter a giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of I’m Your Daughter, Julie by leaving a meaningful remark about this post in the comment section below. Giveaway ends at noon, ET, Monday March 25. Open to US only. Good luck!
About the Book
Title: I’m Your Daughter, Julie: Caring for a Parent with Dementia | Author: Julie A. Gorges| Publication: March 2019 | Publisher: I-Form Ink Publishing | Pages: 90 | Genre: Adult non-fiction, self-help
* AMAZON US *
I’m Your Daughter, Julie: Caring for a Parent with Dementia, is written by award-winning journalist and author, Julie A. Gorges, who was the primary caregiver for her mother suffering from Lewy Body dementia. Sharing her intimate story, Gorges provides a compassionate and supportive guidebook to help caregivers cope with challenges they face while caring for their own needs at the same time.
Excerpt from I'm Your Daughter, Julie
My mother suffered from Lewy body dementia (LBD), a cruel combination of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s symptoms that rendered her helpless both physically and mentally toward the end of her life.
LBD is known for tormenting its victims with vivid hallucinations, delusions, and night terrors. Sometimes my mother was in a complete state of panic because she thought a bear was in the laundry room, a tiger was swimming in the pool, or baby lions were squirming in the bottom of her bed.
One time, Mom became hysterical because she saw her long dead step-father – a former boxer who physically abused her mother – standing in the hallway.
Watching Mom slowly lose her mind became a normal part of my life as her full-time caregiver. Sacrificing part of my life to care for a parent with dementia who I loved dearly was one of the best things I’ve ever accomplished. Caregiving was also the most challenging, demanding, and heartbreaking task I’ve ever undertaken.
Dementia not only changed my mother forever, it changed me in profound ways too.
I had never heard of this brutal disease before Mom’s diagnosis. However, LBD is not rare. According to the Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA) and the Mayo Clinic, it is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s. Thankfully, more people have become aware of this disease after it was discovered that actor and comedian Robin Williams suffered from LBD at the time of his death. Recently, CNN founder Ted Turner was also diagnosed with this disease.
When I began this journey with my mother, I had no idea what ordeal lay ahead. Dementia starts out in a seemingly non-threatening way with some memory loss and confusion. Even as the disease progressed, Mom had some good days when she wasn’t as confused, shuffled and trembled less, held her head a bit higher, and was more lucid and alert. Sometimes she’d go days without any hallucinations. This is typical for people with LBD whose symptoms often fluctuate drastically from day to day.
As the disease took its inevitable path, I was often hit with that harsh reality. Mom knew who I was most the time. But then there would be days she thought I was a nurse or a professional caretaker and begin making friendly, polite small talk. One day she asked if I liked to sail.
“Yes, Mom,” I answered. “You know I love sailing. I’m your daughter, Julie.”
Our family has sailed for more than 30 years, so the question was unsettling. After she got sick, Mom would bravely maneuver down the docks with her walker and step into the boat flanked by family members on both sides until she was physically unable to do so. Everyone on the dock admired her for that.
“Oh yeah, I know you’re Julie,” she said, looking a little embarrassed.
A few moments later, she asked the name of my mother as if I were a stranger again. Trying to have a sense of humor, I said her name, Carmen Hacker. She looked confused and I felt bad.
“You’re my mother,” I explained sadly. “I’m your daughter, Julie.”
My Mom often told me about something I did in the past as if explaining an incident to a stranger.
“My Julie…” she’d begin the story and relate something that happened in my childhood. Or she would say, “My Julie takes good care of me.”
Her appreciation warmed my heart and made all the sacrifices seem worthwhile. At the same time, it broke my heart because my mother didn’t recognize me when she said it.
How long did it take you to write the book?
Three years. The subject was painful. Sometimes I had to put the manuscript aside for awhile before picking it up again.
How did to keep your creative energy and deal with sad memories that surfaced while writing?
What kept me going was the goal of helping other caregivers. Albeit, I had to step away from my memories sometimes. But I knew my pain could be used to help others learn how to cope with their emotions. I could help others learn from my mistakes. I could help others learn to move forward after heartbreaking circumstances. That kept me going.
What advice would you give families unable to care for patients with dementia? What facilities are best for their care?
In the end, we used in-home caregivers, and they were invaluable. Hospice was also a great help. I understand that sometimes it’s impossible to care for a parent at home, so my book also discusses assisted living facilities and nursing homes.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned about yourself in writing this book?
I am normally a private person, so I was surprised at my ability to bare my soul.
What's your next writing project?
I have several projects in different working stages - what they have in common is that all are aimed at the plus-50 age group.
First up, a book to help all those over 50 who are struggling to lose weight. This is for you if you've tried countless diets, but nothing seems to work anymore. If you're a baby boomer who's on a budget and can't afford to spend a lot of money on diet programs and fancy gyms.
I've discovered 10 tips that helped me finally lose the weight in my late 50's. No dangerous surgeries, expensive weight loss programs, or crazy fad diets. I'll discuss why it's so hard to lose weight as you age and what you can do about it. I'll share with you my personal struggles - let me tell you, I packed on some weight stress-eating while caregiving - and some of my favorite recipes.
I hope to have it written and ready to publish by the end of the year.
I’m Your Daughter, Julie: Caring for a Parent with Dementia is much more than a recounting of Julie A. Gorge's journey supporting her mother with Lewy body dementia. It's an essential roadmap for care-givers to guide them in all aspects of their journey.
Julie organizes her book into five sections that align with the stages of dementia, from early and diagnosis to final moments and grief. The author hones in on each stage, offering a mix of practical advice and emotional survival tips for carers gleaned from experiences with her mother. Julie frankly admits she learned many of these lessons from her own mistakes. Carers can jump to their most-pressing need or read through the book from start to finish.
Readers with a more casual interest in this journey will be drawn in by Julie’s powerful writing style and painful honesty. Her advice on incontinence and explanation of how to brush her mom’s teeth moved me to tears as I remembered my parent’s experience with activities of daily living as their physical health declined.
The author also devotes an entire section to the physical and emotional needs of carers, brilliant for those supporting a loved one with any type of medical condition.
Honestly, I could not read the final sections about dying and grieving because my emotions are still raw from the passing of my parents. I followed Julie suggests in her introduction, deciding I needed more time before tackling that part.
Superbly researched and written with honesty and hope, this book is a must-read for carers and highly recommended for everyone yearning for a powerful true story of enduring love.
Meet the Author
Julie A. Gorges has been writing professionally for more than 30 years.
She is the author of four books, written hundreds of articles and short stories for national and regional magazines, and won three journalism awards. She is also a blogger at Baby Boomer Bliss, which was recently recognized as one of the top 75 baby boomer blogs on the web.
Julie lives in southern California with her husband of 40 years, Scott, and has two grown sons and four grandchildren.
Only for Cat's readers and tribe! Enter for YOUR chance to win one (1) signed copy of I'm Your Daughter, Julie: Caring for a Parent With Dementia.
Leave a simple remark in the comment section of this blog by noon ET, 25 March 2019. to enter. Be sure to send your current email address to Cat Michaels, via Cat's website HERE, so the winner can be notified.
Winner to be selected by random drawing on 26 March. (See giveaway details below.)
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