60 seconds with ... author Deborah Shouse

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Deborah Shouse, author of "Love in the Land of Dementia"
Deborah Shouse, author of "Love in the Land of Dementia"

Q: How did the book, which chronicles your mother's Alzheimer's disease, come to be?

A: I started journaling and writing down what happened every time we were together. [I asked] what is good about this situation and where are the gifts and blessings? How can I stay connected with my mom through this journey? 

Q: How is the book a tool?

A: I've had people tell me that it's given them insight into what happens when a person in a family has Alzheimer's and what the family goes through. We once had an opportunity to read to nurses and long-term care administrators. They laughed at a lot of different places because it was true. I was a long-term care administrator years ago. It was one of my earliest careers. I had an administrator's viewpoint then.

Q: Did this influence how you felt about your mother's care?

A: Yes. I understood there would be moments when things aren't perfect. I learned a lot from other families and staff. I felt really lucky in that people who were caring for my mom were loving, connected people. They loved my mom for who she was. They see, “Here is a lovely woman with silvery hair who laughs when I walk into the room.” That helped me: Long-term care staff sees your loved one as they are right now.

“Love in the Land of Dementia” will be released Nov. 12.

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