I’ve finished reading all the stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers now and really enjoyed this book, and not just because my story “Changing My Expectations” is included either! Here are a few interesting facts I’ve discovered:
- 101 stories are included from family caregivers dealing with a wide variety of illnesses and health problems of loved ones
- 12 stories deal with dementia/Alzheimer’s disease
- 3 stories are written by authors from Springfield, Illinois
12 stories focusing on dementia out of 101 total is a pretty high concentration on one singular disease. This makes perfect sense to me, however, knowing the devastating and enduring nature of dementia; people naturally want to share their most difficult experiences and what they learned from it, and for that reason I can see how dementia would generate an overabundance of material. I am honored that my story was included along with the others to communicate the struggles and insight gained as a dementia caregiver.
It does seem a little strange to me that 3 authors in the book are from Springfield, Illinois, seeing how Springfield is a pretty small city. But I’m delighted to be a contributor along with two other Springfield authors, Jean Ferratier and D.R. Ransdell.
My favorite Alzheimer’s story is “Remembrance” by Wendy Poole, who talks about playing an old, out-of-tune piano with her mother. It is a beautiful example of stumbling upon a way to reconnect and enjoy the company of a dementia patient by tapping into a pleasant experience from the past. In this case, Wendy’s mother loved to sing when she played the piano as a young girl and remembered it as Wendy started to play once again. Music has always been such an important part of my own life, and I relate completely to its universal ability to bring people together. I find this story so heartwarming for that reason. The author mentioned in her story that these piano playing sessions brought six weeks of happiness with her mother, and I was left wondering why only six weeks? I guess I may never know the answer to that question.
Music was always a good way to connect with my mother too, especially Neil Diamond music. She adored him and his music always brightened her spirits. How about you? Have you found special ways to connect with someone suffering from dementia? It usually involves reminding them of something special from their youth. Please comment and share!
Image courtesy of Kevin Dooley