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Posted August 14, 2012
Fran Lewis channels her mother’s voice beautifully in this short book, Memories are Precious, giving a haunting glimpse into the darkness of losing oneself to Alzheimer's and the struggle of caring for someone as they disappear.
Alzheimer’s is a much more complex illness than I’d realized, involving not just loss of memory but loss of control over bodily functions, loss of dignity and loss of purpose. The mother who once interpreted the cries of a child now has her own silence interpreted by that grown-up child. Meanwhile the story of Ruth’s gradual decline gives interesting and helpful highlights, not just for Alheimer’s sufferers and their carers, but also for others wondering about that occasional memory lapse or forgotten purpose.
The blend of personal recollection, poetry, narrative, pleas for more research, and helpful information works well, giving a personal face to an illness that deprives its sufferers of their personhood and carers of the time to maintain their own identity.
“Mom! We will never stop fighting for you and never give up on a cure!” declares the author in the final pages. In these days where more and more fall prey to this illness, it should perhaps be the cry of us all.
Disclosure: I won a free copy of this book from the author.
Posted June 26, 2011
Told from the perspective of the one suffering, and those that love, to those that care for the alzheimer patient, Memories Are Precious is a personal and up front look at alzheimers. The inclusion of informative tips on how to properly care for a loved one makes this book a 'must read' for those faced with this dilemma. Fran Lewis did a terrific job in covering all the bases required to understand this deadly disease that doesn't discriminate.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 25, 2010
...Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long.... (Exodus 20:12)
Fran Lewis set out to write a book that would accomplish several things at once: honor her wonderful mother Ruth; explain the dreaded disease of Alzheimer's and steer attention toward its cure; give us a compendium of what the lay-person needs to know about the disease's course, and treatment, and management.
Fran did all that, and this book is a Swiss army knife of survival for the lay-caregiver.
Alzheimer's disease is a death sentence. But it is a death sentence and voyage into hell--dreaded--sans human comprehension, sans, dignity, sans memory--sans all. No one should have this disease. No family should have to face it. Why them? Why me? Why you? Why anybody?
Fran Lewis has provided all the answers and tools anyone could need in this regard, from simple tips and websites where relevant information can be obtained, to other important resources and information.
Fran accomplished all she set out to do, and this book is a must-buy for anyone affected by Alzheimer's disease--a terrifying voyage into oblivion.
But Fran Lewis--author, teacher, daughter--is such a fine, honorable, and untainted soul, so dedicated to love for her mother Ruth, and to duty, that I would not be surprised if she (modestly) has no idea of what else she's accomplished in Memories Are Precious.
...Honor thy father and thy mother...
Fran Lewis' book is nurtured not only by devotion to her mother, but by courageous, unafraid poems and loving declarations from family members--human warriors, all.
What this book has shown me, like a sledgehammer in the gut, is an epic battle between one selfless family--and greedy Death.
Not only Death, but one of the worst deaths imaginable. The beloved mother, sister, wife, and matriarch Ruth Swerdloff has been stripped of all dignity, comprehension, rationality, self-control, and self-sufficiency. And the disease only gets worse--never better.
You wonder why anyone should be "allowed" to be ignobly reduced to a state of mere animal instinct and raw sensations. Why?
Why does Ruth still live at home, in the building she has occupied for decades, amid neighbors and friends--not all of whom wish to see her anymore, it seems. Why? Why does her family accept such trying, wearing, self-immolating responsibility and expense?
Because this exemplary family, this prototypical, core human family knows its own humanity and duty, and also believes God alone will decide when to take their beloved Ruth--no one else, nothing else.
And until that time of her departure arrives, Mom is still Mom. She is still Ruth; she is still mother, sister, wife, grandmother, aunt, and all the rest of it--she is family. She is human. And this family--Ruth's family-- has risen to the heights of what to do here on Earth--it has risen to its own humanity.
When the time comes, Ruth Swerdloff--Mrs. Swerdloff--will find her connection to Eternity--on her own, with the help of her God, in her own time. But not until that time.
Fran Lewis simply will not allow it to happen any other way.
This book a compendium of invaluable information about Alzheimers, and our own humanity...
Posted June 2, 2010
At first glance, the lovely portrait on the front cover of Ms. Lewis' book gives the impression that this book is just one of so many memoirs we now see in book stores/online booksites. But when you take a closer look at the small print below the title, you will be overwhelmed to see that this is a memoir of Ruth Swerdloff's journey with altzheimers disease. Ruth is the loving mother of Fran Lewis.
Ms. Lewis wants to share this personal and heartfelt story with everyone because there are so many people who are still not aware of altzheimers,
a deadly disease that strikes so many people regardless of color, income or position...and has NO cure. She has devoted her life to raising money for reaearch, improvement of nursing homes, and better understanding of how to deal with having a loved one being struck with this tragic situation.
To date, there are medications that may slow down the progression of this disease, but that is NOT enough. A cure must be found before more people fall prey. President Ronald Reagan suffered 10 years with altzheimers. His loyal wife Nancy was by his side at all times. The rest of us ordinary people may have to settle for a nursing home that is of questional quality. Ms. Lewis is now caring for her mother at home.
Bless her for doing so.
In Ms. Lewis' book, there are photographs of her mom from a day gone by....when she was healthy and beautiful....now you may not recognize her due to the ravages of illness. THIS HITS YOU RIGHT WHERE YOU LIVE, IN YOUR HEART, THIS IS NOT A MADE UP STORY OR UNCERTAIN RESEARCH REPORT. It is reality. A shocking effort to make you feel the pain of seeing a once happy woman with so much to life for....to KNOW she is now losing those memories daily. WHAT IF THIS WAS YOUR MOTHER OR LOVED ONE?
We must rally together with Ms. Lewis, Donate to research for a cure. DO IT NOW, FOR RUTH, FOR FRAN, FOR YOU, FOR ME, FOR EVERYONE. Think of Ruth, the image of all mothers, going from healthy mom to ailing patient.
BUY THIS BOOK. ALL PROCEEDS GO TO THE RESEARCH FOR A CURE. SHOW THE BOOK TO EVERYONE. GIVE IT TO THE LIBRARY TO PLACE ON THE SHELF FOR ALL TO SEE. DO IT!!! PLEASE!!!
It is an honor to review this book by Fran Lewis, Teacher and Administrator of The Board of Education.
My name is Irene Brodsky, Faculty Member Brooklyn College CUNY and
author of Poetry Unplugged.
Posted February 6, 2010
Memories are Precious is a true story of Ruth's words as she made the journey from early dementia till full blown Alzheimer's. She has been brave and valiant as you will read in this accurate account of her life and her understanding, feelings, agony and more as she found out that there is nothing that can be done to stop the inevitable. WIth resources for those who want to understand how horrific this illness is and what it doe to a person and stories of family members who relate events that linked them to Ruth, Memories are Precious will make you want and go and visit someone close to you with the illness and give them support and a hug. For those of you that have a family member with this disease you need to remember to call them, not dessert them and visit. They may not remember your name but they do know who you are. This is a must read for anyone who cares about helping to find a cure and research to fund that cure. This book was written to raise awareness for the a cure for dementia and help support those who are doing the research.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 29, 2010
Memories are Precious - Alzheimer's Journey: Ruth's Story - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
'Alzheimer's is a deadly disease and does not discriminate. It is not a disease of the poor, the rich, the famous or the indigent. It is a disease that anyone can get at any time. It knows no boundaries and it does not care whether you are white or black or of any other race, religion or creed.'
Imagine going to sleep, waking up and finding yourself in a strange place. You have no idea where you are nor how you got there. You don't even know what you may have done after you arrived. This is the way I picture Alzheimer's Disease. It can only be like being in a "walking coma." You can move around but in a trance type stage. You can't remember where something as simple as a drinking glass is kept, even though you've kept them in the same place for years. You sit face to face with your own children or spouse and have no clue as to who they are. These have to be horrible, scary feelings.
In Memories Are Precious Ruth herself talks about her feelings and experiences in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Her first indication that something was wrong was when she started forgetting things. She couldn't remember what she had just eaten. She couldn't balance her own checkbook because she couldn't remember how to add and subtract. She went to the store, didn't remember going there and ended up getting lost going home.
Ruth talks about the things she had to give up... After driving the wrong way down a one way street, her car keys were taken away and eventually her car had to be sold. One day she took a second dose of her medicine because she didn't remember taking the first dose. This resulted in her not being allowed to dispense her own medicine. As the disease progressed, Ruth lost the two things that matter most to all of us. She lost her independence and her freedom.
In Memories are Precious, Fran Lewis talks about the responsibilities of being a caregiver to an Alzheimer patient. Her research on this deadly disease, and more importantly, her experience from being a caregiver for her mother has given her the ability to write Memories are Precious, filling it with tips on subjects such as safety, changes, how to find help and how to take care of your own stress levels. She discusses the role change of the child becoming the parent and the parent becoming the child and helps us understand those changes, offering advice that will help make the role change easier for the caregiver. She also talks about the importance of other family members and friends becoming involved with the patient.
As I read Memories are Precious, I found myself understanding this disease and the stress that is put on the family. This is one book that I feel should be read by everyone of all ages. As Fran Lewis says "It is a disease that anyone can get at any time." There is no way of knowing who will be next.
Posted December 11, 2009
Her mom has the illness and she tells her story with her mother's own blog and poems and dedications from family members and authors throughout the world. This telling and informative book will help you understand the heartache and misery that someone goes through when they get this horrific disease. Incurable-destructive-it know no boundaries and it does not discriminate. The book is a resource to help anyone that needs to get services and care for a loved one. It will explain the illness in simple terms, how to understand the stages and the difficult job of the caregiver and more. This book is a resource for hospitals, nursing homes and heath care agencies and people who want to understand that we need to raise awareness for a cure and fast.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 24, 2010
No text was provided for this review.