Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘dementia’

An Author Worth Reading!

When watching another person struggle with a task how often have you thought, ‘Why don’t they just ——-?’ The answer seems so simple to us from afar. Yet could it be that our idea of a solution is simply not possible for a number of reasons? Could it be that our lack of understanding of their condition renders us judgmental? Think about the person who forgets things and is then frustrated by their lack of instant recall. We may think to ourselves, ‘Well, why don’t they just write notes to help them remember!’ Oh, if it were only that simple. It’s hard for us to understand or develop empathetic regard for others unless we can get close enough to walk in their shoes.

There is a new author on the scene who allows us to do just that with her writing. It is a beautiful combination of insight and empathy. She will deepen your view on what is most important in life. Lisa Genova writes about little known medical conditions involving the brain. She combines the specifics of the condition with the heart as she explains the life long challenges some have with acceptance. Her insight is remarkable. She wrote “Still Alice” (a book that has been made into a movie) about a woman who has early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Although this form of dementia only constitutes approximately 5% of all dementia cases the lessons that can be learned from it are life changing. Genova allows us to be a fly on the wall as we watch this once brilliant professor who at age 50 begins to struggle with tasks that had been second nature to her in the past. You might wonder why you would want to read about this condition – wouldn’t it be a depressing read? Quite the contrary! What I found was a much deeper understanding and empathy for those with this condition or any memory challenge. Knowledge is a powerful thing. Ultimately, we see the family members paying more attention to the most important thing in life …love. A review by the Boston Globe said, “I couldn’t put it down….After I read ‘Still Alice,’ I wanted to stand up and tell a train full of strangers, ‘You have to get this book.”

Genova has written two other books entitled “Love Anthony” which is about an autistic boy and the challenges his family has in raising him. “Left Neglected” deals with a traumatic brain injury caused from an accident due to texting while driving. It is so riveting that your blood will run cold if you ever think about texting while driving again.

It has been said that Genova has created a new genre in literature. She causes us to feel more accountable to heighten our understanding of the human struggle. Ultimately you will feel your empathy button pressed into action as you begin to see others through a different, more evolved lens.

Research tells us that the happiest and most successful people in life have developed an empathetic regard for others. Often this takes decades on planet Earth and develops from day to day experiences of walking in another’s shoes. Genova allows us to fast track the deepening of our empathy while causing us to be smarter in the process. It is a powerful combination!

Empathy reduces judgment to its lowest common denominator. It causes us to be better, wiser human beings as we combine our heads and hearts in the pursuit of greater understanding and love.

Do yourself a favor and pick up one of her books. You’ll be glad you did!

Have a great few days!

Loss Comes in Many Forms

Many times we think of loss in terms of death or divorce.  However, as we age we experience a loss of physical, mental and emotional capacity. We aren’t quite as fast as we used to be.  What happened?  Just last year I could do…(fill in the blank). What happened was simply life. These changes are difficult for us to accept and difficult for others as well.

As a Hospice volunteer, I see the full range of loss. Regardless of the type of loss, there are predictable human needs. Everyone wants to be appreciated and treated with respect. From time to time we all experience unease about the future. Most importantly, we all need unconditional love and support from our friends and family.

Our journeys – our challenges – are unique, but our human need for meaningful connection is the thread that holds our lives like a beautiful tapestry – together.

An excellent book on the topic of loss in reference to dementia is “I Will Never Forget” by Elaine Pereira. It is a daughter’s story about her mother’s arduous and humorous journey. Please read and/or recommend it to others. You will be helping others – one person at a time.

All is as it should be.  Have a great few days!