She asked me for several talking points and the following are what I sent her:
1. Reasons for writing Put That Knife Away
a. writing my feelings on paper helped me sort them out and taught me a new skill
b. sorting out difficulties with the medical diagnoses and medications helped me to see how complicated it is to have an illness that no one wants to label and for which no one has a cure.
c.I felt so alone with my husband's personality challenges, I thought I could help other caregivers not to feel as alone as I felt.
d. I thought I could help other adult children look more carefully at their parents and assist more if they see one is clearly covering for and protecting the other from scrutiny.
e. I also thought that the general public could become more sympathetic to the cause of Alzheimer's research and donate money as well as pressure the government to do more to find a cure.
2. I am on a bandwagon every chance I get to suggest that folks get their financial and legal paperwork in order, before they are faced with this issue of one partner or parent becoming incompetent. Especially since our retirees often live in different states from the one in which they may have originally signed wills, powers of attorney, medical proxies,etc. It is awful that widows whose names had not been on their primary home mortgages now face foreclosure because their names were not on the documents.Different states have differing laws regarding elder care issues. Please check the laws out in your state and have these difficult conversations with your spouses and children.
3. Put That Knife Away tells my story and the story of others I met in support groups in New York and in Arizona. It shows that support groups are important for caregivers to show you are not alone with this huge problem. My book has been called " a support group within two covers."
4. Many caregivers die before the person for whom they are caring. We deny ourselves the care we need for physical as well as mental problems. Who would then care for our loved ones? In my book, I add a chapter on shopping for purses in Chinatown to show that my friend and I really needed a morning off. Caregivers need to care for themselves and family members need to recognize this issue. The old adage that the spouse is there and is managing is not enough. Adult children need to be emotionally supportive even if the spouse is part of a second marriage.
5. Even with a loved one having Alzheimer's disease, there are still many years of pleasure and purpose that spouses, parents and adult children can provide and enjoy together. See how Bob thrived when we moved into a larger apartment and he had his sewing machine back and he replaced the quarter-round molding on the floors and refinished the doors and the brass fittings.
If you think of other subjects or ideas for this broadcast which will take place on December 24th in the morning, please let me know.