Wed Nov 29 Zoom discussion: Marianne Sciuccio (dementia caregiver), retired neurologist Daniel Gibbs (has dementia); Jane Dwinnell (caregiver); and Gerda (dementer)
Featured image: Thanks so much, Peter, for superimposing the panelists’ photos on the brain image from Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us by Susan Magsamen, Ivy Ross, et al.
WHAT: Kensington Holiday Caregiver Book Club: Wisdom & Insight from Authors Living with Dementia: AlzAuthors is partnering with Kensington Senior Living for a roundtable discussion with authors who have written about their own dementia or that of a loved one with dementia. Given that this time of year is often overwhelming for us dementers, the discussion will focus on the Winter Solstice Blues that frequently plagues seniors with or without dementia. The conversation will offer resources about how people with dementia and those close to them can make the most out of the holidays.
WHEN: Nov 29, 6 pm EST, 4 pm MT (Utah), 3 pm PST
SIGN UP: You may register for the FREE event by clicking on the image below or HERE
Marianne Sciucco, Co-founder and Manager of AlzAuthors, is a registered nurse who cared for hundreds of dementia patients over a 20-year career. Her novel, Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s Love Story, is based on a couple she met through her work and is a testament to the power of love in the face of this heart wrenching disease. Marianne’s tender fiction brings consolation and understanding to all who encounter Alzheimer’s. Ironically, two years after her novel’s publication, she started living her own story when her stepfather was diagnosed with mixed dementia: frontotemporal lobe, vascular-, and Alzheimer’s. As his Health Care Proxy and Power of Attorney, she became his medical, legal, and financial representative. At the same time, she became the same to her mother, who was suffering from heart failure and dementia caregiver PTSD. “Suddenly, I was the one with all the answers, all the responsibility. It was overwhelming,” she says. “I immediately turned to my AlzAuthors friends to help navigate this stressful situation. The wealth of knowledge I have gained from my years as a nurse working with dementia patients and their families also kept me sane.” Marianne lost both parents in 2018.
Unlike most patients with Alzheimer’s, Daniel Gibbs worked as a neurologist for twenty-five years, caring for patients with the very disease now affecting him. Also unusual is that Dr Gibbs had begun to suspect he had Alzheimer’s several years before any official diagnosis could be made. Forewarned by genetic testing showing he carried alleles that increased the risk of developing the disease, he noticed symptoms of mild cognitive impairment long before any tests would have alerted him. In A Tattoo on my Brain: A Neurologist’s Personal Battle against Alzheimer’s Disease, Dr Gibbs documents the effect his diagnosis has had on his life and explains his advocacy for improving early recognition of Alzheimer’s. Weaving clinical knowledge from decades caring for dementia patients with his personal experience of the disease, the tells an optimistic tale of one man’s journey with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
I, Gerda Saunders, am an immigrant from South Africa, where I worked as a research scientist in Chemistry and then taught Math at a technical college. After emigrating with my husband, daughter, and son to the US in 1984, I got a PhD in English from the University of Utah, where I later served as associate director of the Gender Studies Program. After a diagnosis of microvascular disease—a precursor of dementia—I retired and started investigating the neurology of various dementias, publishing my findings and own experiences on my blog, My Life with Dementia. After the publication of my memoir, Memory’s Last Breath: Field Notes on my Dementia (2017), I gave talks at university- and other conferences. The documentary The Gerda That Remains, produced from footage shot by RadioWest and/or PBS Utah from 2016-2022, tells how my husband Peter; daughter Marissa, her husband Adam, and son Dante (10); and my son Newton, his wife Cheryl, son Kanye (16) and daughter Aliya (13) help me live joyously despite my loss of memory and identity.