Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Forgotten Caregiver~

Introducing my special guest blogger today: Author of Alzheimer's Daugther - Jean Lee

On my next birthday I’ll be 61 years old. Both of my parents died of Alzheimer’s. I wrote about my journey as their caregiver in Alzheimer’s Daughter. Does the thought that I might become afflicted with the disease haunt me? Yes. It niggles in the back of my mind.

I’m lucky to live in a small town and still doctor with a Marcus Welby, M.D.-type family physician. This man has treated four generations of my family; my parents, myself, my children, my grandchildren. Needless to say he knows us well.

After Mom and Dad died, I asked my trusted doctor about my risk. He answered since my parents had not been diagnosed until they were in their mid-eighties it was not really a part of my family history. He reasoned if everyone had parents who lived into their eighties, nearly everyone would have a history. This reassured me, but still the thought persists, especially when I can’t think of a word I want to use, or lose my train of thought in a conversation.

November 1-7, 2015 is National Memory Screening Week, bringing awareness to the positive aspects of screening and attempting to remove stigma. When I visit my doctor for my yearly physical, my blood pressure is noted, I’m prompted to have a mammogram, vials of blood are drawn, I’m questioned about diet, exercise and assessed for depression. All of these are types of screening. Why not routinely offer a Mini Mental to patients at age 60-65 to collect some baseline data? Comparisons could then be made as we age?

I know, health care costs are already prohibitive and many people are afraid to know. As for me, I’d appreciate the baseline data. In the meantime I keep exercising, taking my fish oil and eating handfuls of spinach and kale.

If Alzheimer’s has touched your life, and you seek connection with others who have shared this journey, below are five books written from five perspectives about the disease.

All of us felt compelled to write our books, hoping to make a difference…hoping that we might make the pathway of others traveling this road a little less painful and lonely. Perhaps you will find comfort and support within our pages.

Somebody Stole My Iron, by Vicki Tapia

Vicki details the daily challenges, turbulent emotions, and painful decisions involved in caring for her parents. Laced with humor and pathos, reviewers describe her book as “brave,” “honest,” “raw,” “unvarnished,” as well as a “must-read for every Alzheimer's/dementia patient's family.” Vicki wrote this story to offer hope to others, to reassure them that they’re not alone.    

Blue Hydrangeas by Marianne Sciucco

Marianne describes herself as a writer who happens to be a nurse. This work of fiction is based upon her care for the elderly. It's a tenderly told love story about Jack and Sara, owners of a New England bed and breakfast. Sara is stricken with Alzheimer's and Jack becomes her caregiver.

What Flowers Remember by Shannon Wiersbitzky

Shannon writes this work of fiction through the eyes of a small-town preteen girl, Delia, whose elderly neighbor, Old Red Clancy is failing mentally. The aged gentleman has to be placed in a care facility, but Delia will not let him wither away. She devises a way for the whole community to remind Old Red how important he has been in all of their lives. 

Diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, Greg O’Brien’s story isn’t about losing someone else to Alzheimer’s, it is about losing himself a sliver at a time while still fighting to live with Alzheimer's, not die with it. 

Alzheimer's Daughter by Jean Lee

My memoir details my journey caring for both parents who were diagnosed on the same day. It is written with wincing honesty about the cruel affects of the disease, but a WWII love story held together by faith and family is contained within the pages.

To follow Jean on social media:

Thank you Jean for sharing you insight and perspective and for including all of the other authors and their books in this blog.

Best Wishes,

Carole Brecht

~The Sandwich Woman, Caring For The Sandwich Generation~

~Your Caregiver Support Network: Where Words Soothe and Ideas & Art Delight~

Friday, October 23, 2015

~The Artist In All Of Us~

My sister and partner, Jan Steinle, created this mosaic of Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA) this past year. She's the primary artist for our blog. Her tangles are intricate, layered designs that are created from repetitive patterns. She became a Certified Zentangle Teachter (CZT) this past Spring and is currently teaching locally and in the midwest. 

From the creation of The Sandwich Woman Community and it's blog, we felt Zentangle Inspired Art was a perfect metaphor for The Sandwich Generation. We fell in love with this art form. Multi-layered, detailed, exquisite and celestial all at once: an image of patterns and swirls that portray The Sandwich Generation from our viewpoint as artists. We have found peace in this meditative art form that creates something that is pleasing to the eye. 
You don't have to be an artist to create a Zentangle. Anyone can make the same pattern over and over again.  

We hope when you visit, you find peace, harmony, healing, knowledge and inspiration. Being a San Gen is no easy feat. It requires resilience and stamina.

To stay current with Jan's Zentangle portfolio on Instagram visit: tangled_bee 

Sending Best Wishes, 
Carole Brecht & Jan Steinle

~Your Caregiver Support Network: Where Words Soothe and Ideas & Art Delight~

Copyright 2015

Saturday, October 17, 2015

~Hopeful, Joyful,Faithful~

Stay connected to The Sandwich Woman, Caring For The Sandwich Generation by logging onto: 

~Your Caregiver Support Network: Where Words Soothe and Ideas & Art Delight~

Copyright 2015

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

~A Caregiver's Voice~

As a Caregiver, there are many observations to make and conclusions to draw about how life is proceeding when caring for another. 

Consider taking notes or keep a journal for future reference. Don't hesitate to question anything and everything concerning the care that's being provided, in particular, if the patient or family is relying on you as a patient advocate. All questions and feedback expressed to the medical team and family members are important. Your intuition and opinions are valuable as a Caregiver because you may witness things that they may not see. 

At the end of my Mom's life, we had Caregivers 'round the clock, 24/7, because the needs were so great. I built strong relationships with all of them because I understood the importance of everybody being on the same page. Their input was valuable and appreciated. 

I encourage you to share your views with all the people involved in your loved one's care, both family members and professionals. Your voice matters too and can make a big difference in the comfort and health of the one being cared for.

No regrets looking back because we did everything we could to make a difference, including speaking up when the clock is ticking and time is of the essence. The slippery slope of emotions may and can be large, but your voice of reason can override turmoil in the midst of the storm. I believe in you. You're doing a good job finding your way. I support you in all your efforts. 

All in the name of Love, Carole

Stay connected to The Sandwich Woman, Caring For The Sandwich Generation by logging onto: 

~Your Caregiver Support Network: Where Words Soothe and Ideas & Art Delight~

Copyright 2015

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

~A Caregiver's Love Is Special~

~A Caregiver's Love Is Special~

Stay connected to The Sandwich Woman, Caring For The Sandwich Generation by logging onto: 

~Your Caregiver Support Network: Where Words Soothe and Ideas & Art Delight~

Copyright 2015

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

~The House Of Yesteryear~

I took a creative writing class a couple months ago and recently found one of the assignments I completed. This is it:

~The House Of Yesteryear~

I loved the house we left behind.
The walls full of memories.
A house filled with joy and happiness.
The pinball machine.
The ping pong table.
Bumper pool.

The dining room table.
The little school on the hill.
My best friend across the way I got to visit everyday.

Feeling safe and secure in my happy home.

I wish I could go back for a day and experience that safety and unconditional love that permeated my parents' home, my home sweet home.


The wonderlust of yesteryear can take us to a great place. Somewhere in those precious, pre-teen years we felt a sense of the possibilities for our future, no matter our circumstances at the time. We are born to dream of our futures during our younger years, long before we are required to be self -reliant. We dream of the future with our highest and brightest hopes of greater days ahead.

*......::::Have a good week and dream big::::......*

Best Wishes,

Carole Brecht

Caring for the Caregivers~Nurturing the Nurturers
~Where Words Soothe and Art & Ideas Delight~

Connecting to The Sandwich Generation via The Caregiver Support Network on 

Copyright 2015

Saturday, October 3, 2015

~ A Caregiver's Heart Is Love ~

An affirmation to all the Caregivers that work tirelessly, putting their best foot forward. You are my hero!

~We are here to support you~

~~~Where Words Soothe and Art & Ideas Delight~~~

Best Wishes,
Carole Brecht & Jan Steinle

Copyright 2015