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Posted August 14, 2012
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A short brochure dedicated to the team researching Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia at Montefiore, Fran Lewis’s Because we Care gives tips for caring for the sick and caring for carers too. Built on the author’s own experience caring for her mother and searching for resources to help, the book is filled with helpful lists answering simple questions in a quick inviting manner. I particularly enjoyed the practical suggestions in lists such as Kindness Tips for Volunteers—gentle reminders to smile, say good morning, make sure the patient eats and never treat the patient as a child. 10 signs of Alzheimers helps clarify the difference between Alzheimer’s and the normal forgetfulness of aging. And Final Care explains how the disease progresses with time. A second section discusses related issues with traumatic brain injury and a final series of short essays adds true stories to the mix. A brief helpful book for anyone facing these issues, this brochure shows you are not alone and gives you the feel of having someone to talk to.
Disclosure: I won a free copy of this book from the author.
Posted October 12, 2011
Because We Care - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds
'As the primary and only caregiver for my mom who has Alzheimer's I have had to develop different ways to keep myself active and my mind stimulated. All too often as a caregiver you become so immersed in taking care of the needs of the person who is ill that we forget about our own. When you make the decision to care for a family member at home you are really taking on a challenge of herculean proportion. Every day is different and every challenge unique and must be handled differently but with kindness and care. When a person has Alzheimer's the hardest thing to deal with is their changing and erratic behaviors. They can be calm one minute and out of control or violent the next. These behaviors tend to put a lot of stress and strain on the caregiver.'
Through her trial and error learning Author Fran Lewis discovered some of the most basic yet important things that the caregiver will be confronted with when caring, not only for those with Alzheimer's but other diseases and incapacitating illnesses. Through her book Because We Care she brings to light the warning signs of Alzheimer's as well as the importance of discussing your fears with the patient's doctor. She explains why it's so important to follow a routine with the patient to keep some of their confusion down. This includes things as simple as when to go to the bathroom, when to eat and even bed time. She stresses the importance of security with Alzheimer's patients. They do have a tendency to wander off so items such as ID bracelets or necklaces are exceptionally important as well as keeping a current picture handy in case the police are brought in to help with the find.
Lewis discusses the choices you might face as to keeping the patient at their own home, having round the clock nurses, moving them into your own home or placing them in a facility. She brings to light the pros and cons, not just for the patient but also for the caregiver. How to find a suitable facility and even what questions to ask of not only a facility but of nurses for in-home-care. And truly just as important, how to spot patient abuse and what to do if you suspect or know this is happening to your loved one.
Lewis also speaks, through first hand knowledge, about Traumatic Brain Injuries, which caused the death of her sister. And I must mention too that the proceeds for this book go to Montefiore Hospital to the fund they set up in memory of Fran Lewis' mom and sister.
But one thing Lewis puts heavy stress on is the importance of the caregiver's own health and well being. She impresses the fact that the caregiver's whole normal way of life will change when taking over their patient. The stress that goes along with being a caregiver is so much more than you can ever imagine. And to help with this stress, Lewis offers suggestions throughout the book that will help when dealing with this phase of the care.
I've only had short bouts with being a caregiver and never for an Alzheimer's patient. My Dad and I were both blessed with his being alert until the last couple days of his life. But I still know the stress that just watching him deteriorate in a short 5 month period put on me. I can't imagine watching someone with Alzheimer's change into a person who I no longer know nor knows me.
Posted July 15, 2011
I can never say enough wonderful praises about "Because We Care"
by Fran Lewis. So, I wish to say much more.
In her well-researched book, she tackles most difficult topics
relating to Altzheimers Disease:
Nursing home abuse of the elderly
Advice for family members
Stages of the disease
The strain & stress on the caretaker
When all else fails, how to deal with death
Ms. Lewis is to be highly commended for her long-time research
of this painful topic. She made the choice to be the caretaker,
to document her mother's journey with Altzheimers and to share
it with us. It is something we must face for this disease
can happen to anyone. We can't look the other way anymore.
I cannot say enough wonderful things about Ms. Lewis. I know
her due to our common bond of The NYC Board of Education, and
writing books. I value her friendship. I admire her
All proceeds of this book go for patient care and research
for those with altzheimer's disease and research for a
cure of Albert Einstein/Montegiore Hospitral in The Bronx,
NYC as well as Ruth Swerdloff Clinical Research Fund at
Montefiore Hospital, Bronx NYC.
Most of all this book is in blessed memory of Ms. Lewis's
beautiful mother: Ruth Swerdloff. May her spirit and
wonderful contributions in her lifetime live on in the
heart of Ms. Lewis forever.
Blessings to Fran Lewis for all that she does and will
continue to do to search for the cure and send this
awful disease out of existence. It can be done. I know
This book is being recommended to The New York
Public Library on 5th avenue & 42nd St. for catalog
consideration in their Steven A. Schwarzman Reading Room.
My name is Irene Brodsky. I teach and write books.
Posted June 20, 2011
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