For six years Janet M. Stone was the primary caregiver of her parents and their home. She cannot recall another time in her life that filled her with such exhaustion and, ironically, such pure energy and joy. "My parents were unusual, taking a very positive attitude toward the dying process," she said, "I was inspired by them to be totally committed and resourceful during the final years of their lives.

Stone tells how she never studied the disease, just the way it affected her father. What she learned about Alzheimer's was through trial and error. Even today when Stone visits with Alzheimer's patients, one thing she does is make eye contact throughout the session. She limits visits to 40 minutes because she believes that after that, anxiety seems to set in. "A doctor told me once to imagine my father's mind as a pie cut into eight pieces-each piece disassociated from the other," said Stone. "Toward the end, I was never looking for my father to be logical. When he was at home seated in his wing-back chair, asking to go home, I accepted this as his reality." Stone felt it was her job to treat him as a whole person and relied heavily upon her instinct. Much of the care process with Alzheimer's patients is gut response, she says.

Stone came forward with her book, "My Parents and Alzheimer's: A Daughter's Story" in 2000, and hasn't stopped playing her role of a motivational speaker since. She has conducted workshops, appeared as guest speaker before Alzheimer Association groups, and libraries, addressed nursing and assisted living homes and attended seminars with untold conviction. All who are facing similar challenges will find this book helpful. The author portrays, often with humor, her resolve to turn tragedy into vibrant life.

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"A vital handbook to people dealing with
the aging and death
of parents."

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