Living With Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias

CSS Living with Alzheimer's & Other Dementias

I am a contributor to this book. My story is called Shopping For Nursing Homes. I received my early copies and ordered an extra case because I knew this is a book that I would want to share with others. Once you know someone who has any type of dementia it is almost like you share a bond with that family, friend, or stranger sitting in the booth behind you at a restaurant. I sat down to read a few stories and just kept turning the pages. My mother had Alzheimer’s and I found myself identifying and agreeing with so many of the stories. It is filled with advice, simple strategies I had not thought of, and comfort. The book will be released on April 22nd, 2014.


Special and Thoughtful Gifts for those with Dementia

Thanksgiving is right around corner. You know what happens the day after that; the biggest shopping day of the year. I put this article on my blog last year but I thought it might be helpful to post it again.

Special and Thoughtful Gifts for those with Dementia

The other day in the State Journal Register, I read an article about holiday shopping when someone on your list suffers from memory loss. The article was written by Renee Lepham Collins and I thought it might be very helpful to pass on some of the information.

Myndi Milliken, director of a long-term care facility made some of the following suggestions. My mother had memory loss and I know the following would have been very helpful to her. (and to my peace of mind)

  • For those who still drive, program a GPS with destinations like home, grocery store, mall, and doctor’s offices.
  • Cellphones that have pre-programmed and even voice command phone numbers.
  • Give a new calendar with pertinent dates such as birthdays and appointments.
  • Start a photo album or work on a scrapbook together. Label pictures with names, why and where they were taken, and most important the feeling of the event. (I especially like this one as it something you do together and continually add to the album. Thinking of this as a craft activity can make it a more joyful activity for everyone involved. I bet others would go through this kind of album if left out on a coffee table. (This just occurred to me; maybe family members could each make a scrapbook page of themselves that is labeled to contribute thus bringing in more attention and involvement of the family in a positive manner.)

If you have any other ideas that you think might be helpful please add them to the comments area.

What Did My Dream Mean?

I awoke with from one of the scariest dreams I had ever had! Never had I encountered a dream that held one of my worst fears; loss of memory.

I am so fortunate to live a life of synchronous moments. Later that day I attended a dance meditation class and ran into my friend Virginia, who recently blogged that she does dream interpretation.  During break I asked if I could set up an appointment. She said, “Tell me the dream now.”

It turns out the symbols in my dream were not scary but really great! The dream revealed a message about a trip I had been planning and answered a question I had been contemplating about an educational opportunity.

How many times have you had dreams and wondered, “What the heck does this mean?” Below is information about Virginia and how she can help all of us sort out the symbols and messages that come unbidden, but so importantly to us in our sleep and sometimes in our daydreams.

Virginia Carlson created Deciphering Dreams to assist others in aligning the dream world with every day experiences. Dreams are a form of language that is not only unique to each of us, but also intimate. We all have choice in declining or accepting information in our dreams and determining how to utilize this information. The pathways into a deeper understanding of the self opens when the dreamer brings awareness to the dream scape where hidden desires unfold. Dream interpretation helps all of us to comprehend the message waiting to be revealed in vivid dreams from childhood, recurring dreams, and nightmares. By exploring dream time symbols, we not only discover our personal issues, but thoughts from the Universal Collective as well.

Virginia Carlson has been aware of the messages in dreams since childhood.   As a mother of four, combined with her education in Psychology and Sociology she has a solid foundation for understanding creativity of the mind. As a professional in-home counselor for individuals, families, and young children, she has been provided with a broad spectrum of hands on experience. Her passion for helping others coupled with her unique approach, have attracted the enthusiasm and support of local and distant communities. She is a Master level energy worker, prolific writer, and seasoned presenter.

Deciphering Dreams with Virginia Carlson explores day dreams; waking dreams; recurring dreams; prophetic dreams; past life recollections; universal symbols; and dreams appearing to be positively silly and preposterous. She uses her intuition as well as established public research to assist in understanding the entire spectrum of dreams. By using dream time language, desires or repressions come to the surface.  Dream interpretation is about the dreamer, based on the dreamer’s own experiences, and uniquely linking the dreamer’s body, mind and spirit.

Unraveling a dream with Virginia Carlson is a fun and exciting experience. A simple technique to unlock the dreams of the dreamer is shared with each participant through the interpretation process.

To schedule an appointment or for further information, please email contact information:    Additional work by Virginia Carlson may be viewed at


I Was So Touched by the Love in this Video

I was so touched by the love in this video. I find it interesting that I use the word touch, but with a different meaning, as this is the content of this video.

I just finished a Christian Pankhurst Heart Centered Life Coaching program certification. We talked about being seen, heard, and felt. This video taps into a deep place in me of longing to love so unconditionally. I  feel the depth of caring between the two women. I want to be able to see and feel the spirit inside of others; especially the ones whom are often so isolated.

The other reason I am so touched emotionally by this video, is that my mother had Alzheimer’s. In the Book, Chicken Soup for the Soul Think Positive, I wrote a story called “Childhood Delights.” In the story, I mention that my most treasured moment was when she was nonverbal, but when I took her to band concert, she could sing the words to every song from the big band era.

I wonder about your reaction to this video that appeared on The Godvine video site. Although the song that is sung is relgious, any song that is meaningful to someone, could possibly bring out a response. I invite you to leave a coment if this video touched you as it me.

Synchronicity Once Again Brings Wonderful Changes to My Life

Connecting the dots of synchronicity is a very important part of understanding my place in the world. It provides a fascinating map of order. I love to see how events of the past fall into line to bring about a present reality.

Below I am pasting a portion of a press release that tells of the moments that led up to the 

                            Chicken Soup for the Springfield Soul

Two Local Authors Featured in New Title of Book Series

It is more than just a coincidence that Wheeler and Ferratier are featured together in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers. The inspirational book series is actually responsible for bringing these two authors together in the first place. Wheeler introduced herself to Ferratier after learning about her publication in Think Positive through the local newspaper.
“Jean and I share common interests and life experiences, and I felt certain she was someone I needed to get to know better,” says Wheeler. “We were both caregivers for mothers afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, and we both felt it was necessary to write about the life-changing lessons we learned from that 
experience. I contacted Jean through LinkedIn, and our relationship progressed naturally from that point.”

After corresponding and sharing advice, the two stayed in touch, eventually met, and attended an author lecture together. When a call for entries in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers went out, Ferratier urged Wheeler to submit a story for consideration along with hers.
Fortunately, stories from both Ferratier and Wheeler were selected for inclusion in the book, and the two friends are thrilled to share the spotlight together as featured authors in the same publication. The public is invited to a book signing scheduled at the Springfield Barnes & Noble on Saturday, March 24, 2012 from 2 to 4 p.m. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers will be available for purchase at the store, and both authors will read excerpts and sign copies of their stories. Visitors to Barnes & Noble will also be able to register for a chance to win a Chicken Soup for the Family Soul game or a Chicken Soup for the Soul 2012 wall calendar during the book signing.

We Share a Common Bond

This is a continuation of the last blog.  I would again like to introduce you to my friend Kathy Wheeler. Please note that she has a new blog address listed at the bottom. We share a bond with many others too. All I have to do is say the word Alzheimer’s. Silently you may shake your head and think, “I know.”
 Kathy and I write about our experiences with a family member who suffered this disease. We both have the honor of sharing our stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul Think Positive Book and The Chicken Soup for the Soul Family Caregivers. I wonder when Chicken Soup will come out with a book for the Alzheimer’s Soul. (I guess I should check to see if they already have or not.) I bet they would be flooded with submissions because we, meaning many of you, along with us have plenty of stories to share. We not only have experiences, but we have also gained a great amount of wisdom to share with others. Kathy writes a blog that promotes awareness of Alzheimer’s and highlights current issues. You will see how she engages you in a way that brings your compassion to an active level. Please take a look at her blog. We as a society need to support each other and recognize the courageous spirit that keeps us going onward. Her most recent post is about Glenn Campbell.
Kathy’s blog is found at

Happy Birthday, Jean!

Well, it is not quite my birthday yet; it just feels like it. Although it doesn’t arrive until March 11th, I am looking forward to it with anticipation. I already know 2 wonderful gifts that I will be receiving. The first is the gift of light! Daylight Savings Time will begin that night. 

The second piece of good news arrived yesterday. The publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Family Caregivers, sent me a letter saying that the book with my Chapter, Dry Her Tears will be out on the shelves on March 13th. This is 3 weeks earlier than projected. This story describes how my ex-husband. Lou and I took care of Dani, our 23-year-old daughter when she had the unfortunate accident of breaking both of her arms. Our family worked together in a sacred time of crisis and although he is not mentioned in the book, Warner, my son, was the first one to offer to jump on a plane and bring his sister home from Florida.

I received an e-mail from my friend, Kathy Wheeler with the subject title, “I made it.” She also submitted a chapter, and it will also be featured in this book. How amazing that out of 101 stories, 2 are written by Springfield people. Kathy’s story is called, Changing My Expectations, about her mother with Alzheimers.

Kathy and I share a bond in that we both wrote books about our Mothers and our experiences concerning their care. Kathy has a wonderful blog and if you would like to read it just click this link.

My birthday is more than a month away. I wonder what other surprises will come my way!

It is true. You Should Check Out Your Name on Google Search

Have you looked up your name on a Google Search lately? More than likely you will be surprised by what you find there. Today as I was flipping through mine I found some interesting entries.
The one that most surprised me was a chapter that I had written, Childhood Delights was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul Think Positive Book, was posted on the following blog. I shall print it below but I was delighted by the date that it was posted at the top. It says March 19th, which happens to be my daughter’s birthday. Some people may say, “So what?” But….if you are me, and you look for synchronicity in every aspect of your life, it is exciting. To me there are no accidents. At the moment I don’t know why this unknown blog came out on that date, but for me it is a significant. I keep a book where I notate any event that relates to a synchronicity. This one will be added to the list. I love stories that relate synchronous moments. In my posts, I shall point out mine as examples of how even minor events can relate to your everyday life. 

So our human life but dies down to its root, and still puts forth its green blade to eternity. ~Henry David Thoreau My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s long after I accepted the gradual changes I saw in her. I had grown us.