Mom, aprons and Alzheimer’s
Book signing at Memorial Walk Sat.
by Carol Seifferlein
The author of “When Life Hands You Alzheimer’s, Make Aprons”! will be selling her book and the aprons she and her mother made at the annual “Walk to Remember” Saturday.
The Walk/5K run is Sept. 11 from 9-11:30 a.m. at the Diamond Trail Park, next to Maple Valley Elementary School in Sandusky. Registration is $20, with proceeds going to the respite care program for caregivers of county residents with some form of dementia. For a pledge sheet, contact Kathy Spiegel at 810-648-0330, Cheryl Hieber at 989-872-8070 or Talisa Hurren at 989-497-3101.
All the profits from the book will also be donated to “Walk to Remember.”
“After living with Alzheimer’s and realizing the support you need in order to cope with the disease, we wanted to find a way to help others who need the support of Alzheimer’s associations,” stated Katie Frostic of Applegate, who convinced her sister, Gwen O’Leary, to write the book.
O’Leary’s book is drawn from a journal she kept while caring for her parents - Donna and Gerald O’Leary - during the last five months of their lives. Donna suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease.
The couple moved to Sanilac County in the late 1950’s and lived on a small farm between Sandusky and Carsonville. They then lived in Colorado for 20 years. After they retired, the couple lived on the Frostic farm in the summer, and Zephyrhills, Florida, during the winter where Gwen cared for them from 2007 until they died within two weeks of each other last April.
“Our book is not a how to book, but the methods we used to help our mother can be adjusted for anyone afflicted with the disease… It also provides insight on how humor assisted us as we watched our mother’s character change,” stated Frostic.
“Our mother often communicated in numerous and unusual ways, and Gwen would scribble notes on backs of receipts, napkins, or whatever she could find. Sometimes she would pull the car off the road to write things down because they were so funny or heartbreaking and she didn’t want to forget,” Frostic added.
Where did the title come from?
“My sister discovered our mother was calmed by working with fabric so they sewed aprons and baby bibs,” she said.
O’Leary, a graduate of Carsonville High School has been writing since her teacher gave her a young girls novel to read when she was 10 .
“It was at that age that I dreamed of writing my own book. I never dreamed it would be about my mother and her life-ending disease,” O’Leary said.
She has written for pleasure since graduating from college. After she and her husband retired and began to travel through the western states, sometimes camping in remote places where she used solar power and her Verizon Broadband connection to send chapters of her book to her sister and copy editor.
They also lived part-time on a small sailboat, when she relied on libraries for Internet service, hitch-hiking into the nearest town with her laptop in her back pack.
Order the book from firstname.lastname@example.org or read the prologue and one chapter at http://alzheimerhumor.blogspot.com
O’Leary also plans book signings at Moore Public Library in Lexington in Lexington on Sept. 15 at 6 p.m., and at the Sandusky District Library on Sept 20 from 6-8 p.m.