Radio Interview on Caregiving and Alzheimer’s Monday, Apr 13 2015 

Are you a family caregiver, especially for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, or know a friend who is? If so, you may want to check out my latest interview. The interview also features my newest book, Navigating Alzheimer’s. To do so, click Meet the Author on RadioMaria. There are two book interviews here. Mine begins at about 28.20 minutes.

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The Caregiver’s Disease Wednesday, Mar 4 2015 

Cover Image Nav Alz

The journey we take when we partner with a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is turbulent to say the least. Our husband, sister, or mother needs everything we can possibly give them. They don’t realize it, and may resent or shun our help, but they can do little without assistance.

The statistics aren’t pretty. More than 30% of the primary family caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s die before the loved one they care for. In this position we are taxed at an extraordinary level. The disease zaps us emotionally, physically, and financially because of the 24/7, day-after-day, often for decades, all-consuming demands and the sheer agony of watching our relationship fade away.

I know this path well. My husband Marshall has had Alzheimer’s disease at least eleven years. He now resides in an assisted living home specializing in memory care, and although I no longer have the full-time responsibility of his every need, there continues to be much I must do for him. At this point, I feel blessed that our love for each other remains strong, but I know full-well that soon can be taken away from me too.

My latest book, Navigating Alzheimer’s. 12 Truths about Caring for Your Loved One, is jam-packed with solid information and observations I learned along the way. It covers issues raised by many people who have approached me seeking answers for their own caregiving needs. Topics include the early signs of Alzheimer’s; important behavior for caregivers; the perpetual mourning we experience;  expected costs of caregiving; dealing with insensitive remarks from outsiders; guidelines for selecting appropriate caregivers and assisted living homes; and the importance of appreciating the gifts we do have.

The book is available at ACTA Publications, 800-397-2282 and Amazon.

Navigating Alzheimer’s certainly isn’t a fun read but offers an important resource and compassionate camaraderie for families dealing with loved ones with Alzheimer’s.

Click here to listen to an interview about this book with Dean Richards on WGN Radio.

©2015, Mary K. Doyle

Online Exposure Tuesday, Jan 27 2015 

9780991245109

Cyber Shadows

by Carolyn Nordstrom and Lisa Carlson

The first thing I learned from being married to a magician is that there is a lot going on right in front of me of which I am totally oblivious. Nowhere is this more evident than on the Internet.

Credit card and identity theft, access into our medical and other sensitive information, online bank robbery, and malware hitching onto our personal computing devices is rampant in the boundless entity known as the Internet. Even medical devices can be hacked. It happens in one click or less, often long before we are aware. No device, company, or government is immune.

In a recent survey, 94% of healthcare organizations admitted experiencing at least one data breach in the past two years. And one in five households contains botnet-infected devices which can include computers, smartphones and tablets. Once infected, botnet owns your machine and there is no way to remove or clean the device.

And it’s easy to do. A child can hack with little more than a bit of online guidance.

Carolyn Nordstrom and Lisa Carlson tell the scary reality of the Internet in their book, Cyber Shadows. Power, Crime, and Hacking Everyone. It’s certainly not a fun read, but a reality check for all of us. We are naïve to think we are totally safe even in our own little town. Being aware of our surroundings is imperative. Most of the people in the world are good, or at least not evil. But evil does exist, and in the vastness of the Internet, the number of those seeking to wreak havoc is significant.

Mark Sullivan, PC World contributor, says in a quote used in the book that our personal data is not our own. Every time we click on Facebook, a YouTube video, shop, apply for a credit card, listen to music, or supply personal information to our phone company, government, or employer, we feed a beast with an insatiable appetite for personal data that will be bought, sold, and analyzed.

So what do we do? What can we do? Our online presence is here to stay. We aren’t giving up our devices.

We become more aware, get educated, and hold an open discussion on the topic, suggests authors Nordstrom and Carlson. Perhaps in this era where privacy is dead and we all are transparent and vulnerable, we can embrace a society of truthfulness. At the moment, there are no easy solutions. But we are creative and can work on this together for the common good. Humans created the intricate, diverse, and expansive entity of the Internet, and therefore, should be able to control it.

(Reposted from Doyle’s Delights)

Like Everyone Else Tuesday, Feb 11 2014 

Nearly 300,000 books are published each year in the U.S. alone. Most are quick reads meant for entertainment or to present a single thought. But there always is a handful of books that rise to the top with in-depth, provocative content and message. Far From the Tree is one of these books.

Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon presents perspectives from parents of children unlike themselves. There are stories from parents of exceptional children and ones with Down syndrome, dwarfism and severe autism as well as children who are the product of rape and others who grow up to commit violent crimes.

The stories are honest and sometimes uncomfortable to read, but I have to say that they also opened my eyes and heart to the issues these people face. I have a new respect for parents whose daily responsibilities and decisions are often life-altering, such as ones who must decide if is it right to subject a child with dwarfism to years of painful surgeries if it could result in lengthening their legs by a couple of inches. The decision may allow the child better opportunities in the future but at the loss of their childhood and at great suffering.

Far From the Tree is definitely one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve ever read. In addition to dozens of sub-questions, the main question that runs throughout the book is exactly what is “normal” and to what extent should a society push for children to conform to that norm. Is the pain and sacrifice to get to “normal” necessary or even ethical?

Far From the Tree is well-written and researched. I had to put it down for periods of time because of its length (976 pages), and more so because of the heavy topic, but it kept drawing me back for more. If you are up to delving into these issues, I highly recommend the book. I guarantee it will raise your awareness to life-situations and challenges most of us never consider.

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

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