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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I Will Never Forget

I Will Never Forget: A Daughter's Story of Her Mother's Arduous and Humorous Journey Through DementiaI Will Never Forget: A Daughter's Story of Her Mother's Arduous and Humorous Journey Through Dementia by Elaine C. Pereira
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for this review.

I had an aunt who had Alzheimer's. She used to watch my brother and I while my mom was at work. My cousins started noticing small things that she was doing that didn't add up. She'd forget things too easily. They had to take her checkbook away and get her on direct deposit for Social Security, since she had forgotten to deposit some checks. They had paid $5000 for a hearing aid, but she didn't wear it, or wore it without turning on the batteries. The big moment was when my uncle died. He was a World War II veteran, so they had the flag ceremony at the gravesite. When the honor guard presented my aunt with the flag, she was confused. She didn't understand that she was supposed to take the flag. It was then that everyone knew she was having problems.

I couldn't help think of that when I read this book. The author recounts elements of her childhood, how happy it was, and some of the mistakes. Such events as Christmas time, graduating high school, raising her twins when they were little, and other normally mundane events. Fast forward to Christmas of 2009, and she starts to notice some things about her mother that don't seem right. Her mom used to be meticulously dressed, but she packed stained clothes, and forgot to pack socks. Her mom also tried to write out checks, but the letters and numbers were indecipherable. The author had to repeat things over until her mom understood. At first, this just seemed like random things, but in reality was the start of her mom's decline. They took her mom's checkbook away, and consulted with a financial planner about the rest of her investments. Her mom had a cochlear implant to help with her hearing. She had a processor that she kept losing. Gradually, over the course of the next year, the author had to move her mom first to assisted living, then to memory care. Her mom got considerably more agitated and frustrated, and didn't understand changes. The author had 1 daughter living in Colorado, and the other in Germany, both with kids of their own, so they could only help so much. The author also had an older brother, but he died about 6 years before his mom started to decline. It finally reached a head when her mom went outside in the middle of winter and stayed there for 4 hours in the cold. At that point, she had to go to Memory Care, a special unit for patients with Alzheimer's. (Heads rolled at the nursing home, since they didn't do things to keep her mom inside.) Finally, her mom passed away in May of 2011, just a shadow of her former self.

The worst thing about Alzheimer's for the family is that the rest of the family has to watch the affected family member decline, and there's nothing they can do to stop it. There are some medications that can slow the progress, but the decline is inevitable. That's what this book reflects. The author didn't recognize the symptoms at first, but then most people don't. It usually gets attributed to old age, or simple forgetfulness. All the author and her family can do is to try to make her mom comfortable, and not get too frustrated with her memory loss. Normally I like my story linear, but I found the back-and-forth timing to place this in even more context. First we see how things were, but then we jump ahead to see how far things have declined. The author kept a detailed notebook of everything that happened with her mom, which I believe was part of the basis of this book. The author isn't afraid to detail her frustration with her mom, as well as admitting that she didn't see signs until too late. Anyone who has had a family member with Alzheimer's will definitely relate to this book. Anyone who suspects a relative isn't quite who they used to be should definitely read this. It will give them an idea of what's coming.

I will note that the author is donating a percentage of the proceeds of the sale of this book to Alzheimer's research and support programs. For more information, go to

As I write this today (7/8/14), there is news that scientists have identified 10 proteins in blood that can predict the onset of Alzheimer's. The prediction method had an accuracy rate of 87%. They hope that, by identifying the proteins, they can develop drugs that may halt its progression in the early stages. Maybe then, stories like this one wouldn't need to be written. Link to the article:

View all my reviews

Virtual Book Tour Dates: 6/23/14 – 7/21/14

Genres:  Non-Fiction; Memoir; Aging

I Will Never Forget is the incredible true story of the author’s talented mother’s poignant and often humorous journey through the mystifying haze of Dementia. Through superb stories of Elaine’s childhood, from her controversial name, tales of smoking’ dragons and the feisty teenage years, her mother Betty Ward’s wonderful character is revealed.
Over time, as their relationship evolves and a new paradigm is formed, Betty begins to exhibit goofy actions, uncharacteristic verbal assaults and bizarre thinking. Although clearly mystified by her mother’s irrational behaviors, Elaine does not appreciate the extent of Betty’s mental decline. Her amazing ability to mask the truth clouds Elaine’s vision and prolongs her denial until one cataclysmic explosion of reality over an innocuous drapery rod launches a waterfall of destructive events.
As her mother’s brilliant mind is steadily destroyed by Dementia’s insatiable appetite for brain cells, Elaine accompanies her mother on her journey. She witnesses Betty’s fascinating visions of her own mother, masterful Houdini-like disappearances and finally a stunning rally to take control of her own destiny.
I Will Never Forget is a heartwarming, humorous, honest and deeply moving story pertinent to everyone touched by the insidious effects of Dementia. Learn from Elaine’s unwitting mistakes as she weaves her way through her mother’s unpredictable disease to capture insightful and effective intervention strategies.

Chapter 28: The Ugly Truth:

But as the adult, the nebulous abyss of being a parent to your parent is a delicate responsibility. Balancing respect and autonomy and naturally expecting them to be accurate when they tell you, I’ll be fine is a daunting challenge. Somewhere deep down, you know it’s not true. They are no longer fine.

Connect With The Author:

Elaine Pereira retired as a school Occupational Therapist with more than 30 years experience in pediatrics and a decade in adult home care. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Wayne State University in OT and her Master’s in Liberal Arts. Pereira maintains her OT licensure and holds Certifications as a Dementia Caregiver and Practitioner. She and her husband Joseph live in southeastern Michigan with their two big dogs Bailey and Maddee and Snoopy the cat. Together they have five adult children, Elaine’s twin daughters and Joe’s three sons and five grandchildren.
I Will Never Forget-A Daughter’s Story of Her Mother’s Arduous and Humorous Journey Through Dementia is Elaine’s first book, a memoir in tribute to her amazingly talented mother. Pereira writes for, Alzheimer’s Reading Room, Endear For Alzheimer’s and a variety of guest blog posts. She has been featured in four television spots, Fox 2 Detroit, Living Dayton and Fox 45 Dayton and The Best of Aging magazine, April 2013 edition.
Her hobbies include golf, sewing, hand-craft projects and gardening. She has traveled extensively throughout the United States and world wide including Europe; Madeira, Portugal; Australia; Seoul and Hong Kong.
Now she networks extensively to advance Alzheimer’s awareness and donates from each book sold to Alzheimer’s research.

Author Links:

Win one of thirty print copies of I Will Never Forget. Entry is restricted to the USA! Enter through Goodreads.


    Goodreads Book Giveaway  

        I Will Never Forget by Elaine C. Pereira    

          I Will Never Forget      


          by Elaine C. Pereira      

            Giveaway ends July 21, 2014.          
            See the giveaway details             at Goodreads.          
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