Another Wonderful Family Day

I do hope the family doesn’t get tired of us. I really enjoy being with them.

We need to be home for the delivery of some chairs and lamps we ordered, and after that we need to go to Costco.

In the meantime, I’m trying to catch up as well as do some R&R. The R&R is working out just fine, the catching up is proving to be much harder.

I’m looking for groups to talk to in Orange County, I’m ready to speak out about Adopt A Caregiver. It’s the gift that lasts forever, and costs nothing. Just an email to a caregiver in your community, to show support and become a friend.

If you don’t know what it’s like to stand in a new caregiver’s shoes, my book Behind The Mask will explain it all. It was my secret journal written when we were given the sudden diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, and we had to keep it a secret. Find out why in my book.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Earthquake: 4.7 Welcome To California

Sitting in our chairs watching television last night, the whole room started to rattle and shake. It  felt like the whole building was shaking, and believe me those 16 seconds felt like minutes! Welcome to California.  Well, doesn’t matter, I’m here to stay! Family is family, after all and we are closer than ever.

Exciting news: I’ve found a writing buddy. We are exhanging chapters and are reviewing them for each other. Thanks Tamara.

I’m reading a novel called ‘Still Alice’ by Lisa Genova. This book brings back many memories and worries about Alzheimer’s Disease, and about being alone. The caregiver is  alone. That’s why Adopt A Caregiver is so important to me. I can’t wait to get started on making some contacts and speaking to groups, this message is meant to be heard.

There is a caregiver in your community, and he/she is scared, lonely, feels alone and deserted, and is overwhelmed by the responsibilities she has inherited. All it takes is one friend, send an email, explain that you understand/you want to understand, and you will not desert her as so many do. Let her vent, do not judge, encourage her to journal, to open up and talk about what’s on her mind. She won’t want to, but if you stay and become her friend, she/he might open up to you.

If you want to know what it’s like to be in a new caregiver’s shoes, read my book, Behind The Mask, available at Amazon, and on my website. It was my secret journal that I wrote, when my husband was suddenly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Because we were the lucky ones, (seven years later, the doctors changed the diagnosis, and today my husband is fine) I’ve decided to spend the rest of my life supporting caregivers.

Give the gift that lasts forever, and costs nothing. Adopt A Caregiver, and tell them your friend Helene sent you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Behind The Mask

Behind The Mask was written as a secret journal when my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 1993. We wre strongly advised to keep this diagnosis a secret so he could keep his consulting jobs and his position on the Board Of Directors at Toys R Us.

I had no one to talk to; I didn’t want to burden my children, as they had small children of their own. I started a secret journal on my computer and knew that no one would ever see it.

Seven years later the doctor changed his diagnosis to Age Associated Memory Impairment. I don’t think anyone knew what was going on during those seven years. Howard and I thought Alzheimer’s was really happening.

I was frightened, angry, alone, depressed and worried. I was going to lose the man I loved even though he would still look like Howard, walk like Howard, his voice would be Howard’s and yet the one thing he prized the most, his mind would be gone.

I tried to smile and keep my fears away from him; he had his own fears and rightfully so.

When I was sure that Alzheimer’s wasn’t going to happen, I showed Howard my journal. With tears in his eyes he said, “This is beautiful, it’s you, it’s our love story and maybe it will help someone else. Publish it.”

It took me a long time but I finally said to myself why not. If reading my story and standing in my shoes for a few hours would help someone I was all for doing it. I self published the book last year, and I am still getting comments that make me cry.

After hearing some of these comments, I realized that I could do more. And so I started my Adopt A Caregiver journey. It starts in your own community, there is always a caregiver who feels alone and depressed, someone who needs a friend.

All it takes is an email. A few minutes of your time to help support someone who badly needs someone to talk to.

Give the gift that lasts forever and costs nothing. Adopt A Caregiver and tell them your friend Helene sent you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene.

Anne Frank Said

Anne Frank said, “I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried in my heart.”

Wow, when I was her age, I thought maybe I’d like to be a writer, but who was I to dream that big? No teacher, no parent ever encouraged me, or asked me what I wanted. I was just goody two shoes.

Twenty years ago, while living in New York, a friend of a friend called me and said she would like to see our kissing art collection. I said okay. When she left she said that a book was bubbling in my heart and I should get it out on paper.

Boy, was that food for thought. I had a computer and around Thanksgiving time I thought about writing. I fooled with it, but didn’t know the craft or how to construct the story.

It wasn’t until we moved to California in 1990 that I decided for real that I wanted to learn how to write. So I joined the Orange County Romance Writers Of America and I tried to learn.  I admit it came hard to me, but I had several friends who helped me, and I am still in touch with two of them.

When we moved to Las Vegas, I started Sun City Anthem Authors in February, 2000. That was the best thing that happened to me. I blossomed, I learned and I found that writing from the heart is the only way I can write.

Behind The Mask, my secret journal written when my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 1993 was published this year. You see, in 2000, they changed his diagnosis, and I finally showed him my journal which no one had ever seen. He said to publish it, it might help someone else.

I think this was the most Bershert (‘meant to be) thing that ever happened in my life. Because what lies buried in my heart is all the caregivers going through their grief. I started a new journey, Adopt A Caregiver, and this year I will devote my passion, and my vision to making my dream of wiping away some of the caregivers tears, a reality.

With a little bit of help, I can do it. Give the gift that lasts forever and costs nothing. Adopt A Caregiver and tell them your friend Helene sent you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Three Things To Be Grateful For

There are many more than three, but I’ll name the top three.

Husband, family, and Adopt A Caregiver.

Now that surprised me, I was going to say something else for number three, and Adopt A Caregiver just came tumbling out on the computer. It’s interesting how our minds work, isn’t it?

I gave an interview for a closed circuit TV in our Sun City today, maybe that was on my mind. Also writing has been on my mind, since I’m taking a Journaling Course for Caregivers, given by www.WritersAdvice.com. It’s been interesting, they know I’m no longer a caregiver, but it has given me lots of thoughts. About writing, about care giving, about not being a caregiver any more.

Many things in my life come back to: I want: I want to do a query letter for a writing book, I want to get Adopt A Caregiver some national attention, I want my journey of Adopt A Caregiver to be something everyone wants to do. I want to help the caregivers, wipe away some of their tears. I want the stigma to Alzheimer’s Disease to be gone. I don’t want to leave any caregiver all alone in their misery.  I want to give them the attention they deserve and desperately need. They need a friend, can you be that person?

Adopt A Caregiver, and tell them your friend Helene sent you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Give Thanks

Before we know it Thanksgiving will be here, and believe me, there is always a lot to be thankful for.

I’ve been sick for almost seven weeks, not able to function some days, and doing a lot of thinking.

I’m so grateful that I no longer have the threat of Alzheimer’s hanging over my husband’s head. There are so many people affected by disease, by divorce, sickness, death and some just worry over nothing.

The important things in life are free; we are Americans; we are free. Lets keep things in perspective.

Make every day a magical day. No one can take away our memories. Our happiness depends on us.

Support the caregivers. Adopt A Caregiver if you can, tell them your friend Helene sent you.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Journal Writing: A Reflection

The longer I wait to write the more the ‘old news’ is devoid of feeling, like news print that is rubbed out and hard to read. The once powerful emotions are now like words coming out of a printer that is running out of ink, flat and blurred.

So why do I wait? Because I do not want to face myself on the page. Because I am happy each day is not a reminder of what may be coming. I can face today–tomorrow I’m not so sure. I’m always afraid that today’s smiles will turn into tomorrow’s emptiness.

My family is my life-line. The pull me up when I am sinking, and they reel me in when I get too far out. I know I will need them in my life while my life goes where it will, and I have to follow the path to see where I am headed. The uncharted territory is without a map. So it’s one day, one hour at a time.

This was written while I was still a caregiver, before they changed the diagnosis from Alzheimer’s Disease to AAMI (Age Associated Memory Impairment).

It is so important for the caregiver to vent feelings; his/hers doesn’t matter. It’s hard to get the feelings out, but some day you will be glad you did. As you look back on what you wrote, (and please do date everything), you will know what is was to feel deeply. It’s hard for caregivers to balance their lives. Writing in a journal is one of the biggest and best support systems I know. It works. My secret journal became my book, Behind The Mask, which is every new caregivers story.

I want to change the caregivers world. I want to take away the stigma of Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia’s.  I want my Adopt A Caregiver program to be everywhere. Every community has caregivers, be courageous, be compassionate. Adopt A Caregiver.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

Adopt A Caregiver Mission Statement

The most important things in my life are my family and friends; my passion for writing, reading and knitting; and my self respect.

My book Behind The Mask is a caregivers secret journey showing the emotions churning through me each new day.

Alzheimer’s Disease is not contagious, yet the caregivers are usually left alone without the support of friends and neighbors.

Adopt A Caregiver is my unique way of giving back, all you have to do is check your neighborhood, your social clubs, church, synagogue, your doctor’s office, the Alzheimer’s caregivers message boards, and the Mayo Clinic message boards.

Then go Adopt A Caregiver.

Just send an email to the person who needs a friend, listen and come back once a week to check on your caregiver, letting him/her know you care, and will listen without judging.

Give something back.

Adopt A Caregiver.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene

A Tough Question

Sometimes someone asks me a question and it makes me think. What should I answer, what is the right answer I ask myself.

Well today someone made me think.

The question was, “Doesn’t it bother you to hear all these sad stories about caregivers?”

The answer jumped right out of my mouth as I answered, “No, it just makes me want ‘Adopt A Caregiver’ even more. I want to help more. I never thought about it, the words just came out.

As I think about that now, I think that answer was the correct one. It takes a long time for a person to feel safe enough to talk about their situation, and when they do, I pay attention. It’s that important to me.

I feel for every caregiver and I do want to wipe away some of their tears.One by one, word of mouth, we can do it.

November is National Caregivers Month. Lets start now. Find out who in your area is a caregiver. Find out how to get in touch with them. Tell them you understand what they are going through, because a friend of yours shared all her emotions about how it feels to be a caregiver in her book, Behind The Mask. Tell them you want to adopt them, and explain how it works. Be real, be honest, be a friend. A true friend never judges, always listens to the best of his/her ability.

Sometimes in one email you know you have made a friend. I’ve done that this week, and it feels wonderful.

My friend Jeanne and I had lunch today, something we have done since 1993, when Howard was first diagnosed. She was the only person I told in the beginning. I felt safe with her knowing the truth. We met in California, and then we both moved to Las Vegas, and we still try to meet once a week. She agreed with me that a childrens story about Alzheimer’s Disease would be something worthwhile. I’m going to try and find the time to do a story like that. Grandparents are living in the parents home, which makes the child a caregiver also. He/she needs explantions about what is happening to Granny.

I think I have enough to do, and then I always come up with more. I guess that is just the way I am. And I am just me.

Keep love and kisses in your life Helene

Reaching Out to the Community

November is National Caregivers Month. Lets start now and reach out to our community.

Adopt A Caregiver. Alzheimer’s Disease is not contagious, and the other victim is the caregiver. The one left alone at the end of the day. The days are getting darker earlier now, think about the caregiver. Be a friend, write an email, send a card, encourage them to talk, and let out their emotions. If they don’t want to talk to you, maybe they would write in a journal. I wrote in a secret journal when I was a caregiver, and believe me it saved my sanity. Because I had to keep the diagnosis a secret I poured my heart out on those pages. I published them as Behind The Mask. I am so glad I was able to take off my mask.The worry never stops, the thoughts never stop, thank God I had my journal.

I am thinking of writing a children’s book about being a caregiver. After all the child is helping and they surely don’t understand what’s going on. They are asking questions, or not asking questions. I think a book like this is necessary, don’t you? I value your opinion, let me know what you think.

I hope you never have to stand in the caregivers shoes. Adopt a Caregiver now, plant the seed and watch it grow. I’m hoping that every community will want to talk about my program, I’m hopng that every community will have an Adopt A Caregiver program. It is my new journey, please help make this vision a reality.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene