Meet Harriet Hodgson author of The Family Caregiver’s Guide

family-caregivers-guide-netBy Harriet Hodgson

If you told me I would write a series for family caregivers, I would reply, “Thanks, but I think you’re delusional.” I would say this gently and go on my way. Although I’ve written about my caregiving experiences, I never thought of writing a series. This is odd because I’ve cared for three generations of family members.

My mother had a series of mini strokes and, according to her doctor, they added up to Alzheimer’s. I was her family caregiver for nine years and didn’t realize how exhausted I was until she died. A few years later I became my twin grandchildren’s guardian and caregiver.

On a Friday night in February of 2007 the twin’s mother (my daughter) died from the injuries she received in a car crash. My father-in-law and brother also died. In November the twin’s father died from the injuries he received in another crash. It was unbelievable. The court appointed my husband and me as their guardians, and we did this for seven years.

I hoped life would calm down, but it didn’t. In 2013 my husband’s aorta split and I drove him to the hospital. He was bleeding to death and the ER team took quick action. Unfortunately, successive blood transfusions couldn’t keep pace with the blood loss. My husband had three emergency operations and suffered a spinal cord injury during the last one.

The injury paralyzed his legs. My husband was hospitalized for eight months and dismissed to my care. During this time I visited him three times a day, moved us out of the house we had lived in for 20+ years, built a wheelchair-accessible townhome, and maintained a writing career. Many people have asked me how I did all his and my answer is the same: “I don’t know.”

A week after my husband moved into our townhome I sat down at the computer and started writing The Family Caregiver’s Guide. The purpose of the guide is to make family caregiving easier. Caregivers have little time for reading, so I wrote succinctly and listed Smart Steps at the end of each chapter—self-help tips for readers. As with my other books, I tell a personal story and back-up points with research. Many of the points I make pertain to Alzheimer’s disease. Fifteen five-star reviews of the guide are posted on Amazon. Some of the comments:

   . .. even though the subject matter is a challenging one for any of us, there is a sense of “I can do this” . . .

   The book is like a friend that you can return to time and again for assistance and strength.

   I loved the Smart Steps at the end of each chapter, a brief review of what has helped her and should be a life line for you.

   A great resource for any caregiver.

The reviews and comments I’ve received are gratifying. Many people have said they wished they had the book before they became caregivers. The Family Caregiver’s Guide came as a surprise and there were more surprises to come. One book led to a four-book series from WriteLife Publishing. My heart, soul, and life are in these books!

Harriet Hodgson, MAharriethodgson2014-websize-square

WriteLife   http://writelife.com/product/the-family-caregivers-series/

Amazon https://amazon.com/Family-Caregivers-Guide-Harriet-Hodgson/

Twitter https://twitter.com/healthmn1

Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/harriet.hodgson.7

Linked In   https://www.linkedin.com/pub/dir/harriethodgson

BooksGoSocial   www.booksgosocial.com/2015/12/21/harriet-hodgson

Contributing writer www.thecaregiverspace.org/authors/hhodgson

Author of Alzheimer’s: Finding the Words, a Communication Guide for Those Who Care (John Wiley & Sons). This book is out of print, but I think it is available in electronic form.

Meet Gela-Marie Williams, author of Green Vanilla Tea

usa_green-vanilla-tea-cover-2By Gela-Marie Williams

I remember the evening my youngest son came through to me in my bedroom holding a rather dog-eared manuscript of Green Vanilla Tea. I had worked on this family story with my two boys over a few years. I’m not sure how many, exactly. We simply worked on it until we’d tussled with it enough and one day it was done. My son leaned against the doorframe, favouring one leg as his dad would have done. Continue reading

Meet Cynthia Toney, author of 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status

10-steps-to-girlfriend-status-fc-medBy Cynthia Toney

Alzheimer’s is a cruel prison that held my dear mother-in-law in chains for approximately three years, taking her freedom and her mind until it finally took her body. I understood little about the disease before watching a once brilliant, witty, and loving lady wither before my eyes. Continue reading

Meet Marie Marley, author of Come Back Early Today: A Memoir of Love, Alzheimer’s and Joy

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By Marie Marley

I took care of my beloved Romanian 30-year life partner when he developed Alzheimer’s. The disease began very slowly, and for the longest time I just couldn’t understand the changes he’d been displaying. He’d become short-tempered, often confused and sometimes unusually forgetful. Continue reading

Meet Daniel C. Potts, physician, author and dementia advocate

unnamedMy Colors Came Alive

 By Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN

“The true worth of a (person) is not to be found in (that person) him/herself, but in the colours and textures that come alive in others.” – Albert Schweitzer

My motivation to write about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias was my father, Lester, an artist who had Alzheimer’s. A neurologist and only child, I found myself struggling in a dark place in 2002, just after my father’s diagnosis. I felt like a restrained bystander bearing witness to a crime I could do nothing about. Continue reading

Meet Susan Suchan: “This Disease Does Not Come With an Instruction Manual”

thanksgiving-2014By Susan Suchan

When I look at the faces of my grandchildren and see the joy and blessing that they and my family and friends bring to me, I am determined to share this dementia experience! They love me just the way I am.  What may at times look or sound silly, different or even disturbing, is explained and discussed, so we all work together, bringing mutual joy and learned compassion for the best quality of life, for everyone involved. Continue reading

Meet Kathleen Wheeler, author of Brought to Our Senses

brought-to-our-senses-book-cover-webBy Kathleen H. Wheeler

Why choose Alzheimer’s as the focus of my new family saga novel Brought To Our Senses?

It’s a fair question. After all, Alzheimer’s is argued to be the disease feared most of all. The mind-robbing illness has a bad reputation and a stigma-stifling discussion in mixed company. So why exactly would I tackle such a difficult subject, one so many avoid altogether or shrug off as hopeless? Continue reading