The love and courage continue as we announce another new volume in the Hearts Linked by Courage series. For this book, we partnered with Alzheimer Society of York Region (AS York).
There is no denying that these stories truly tug at your heartstrings whether or not you understand or have witnessed Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias firsthand. They also, as intended, honour those living with the disease and the caregivers doing their utmost to help as much as they can.
Hearts Linked by Courage by Alzheimer Society of York Region represents a thoughtful and diverse compilation from a variety of generous contributors, reminding us that this disease knows no boundaries. To a large degree, anyone can be affected, and the road is often long and arduous on many fronts.
I believe by continuing to educate ourselves and engage in caring conversations about a disease that affects so many, we can help to shift the narrative. Those who are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are so much more than their disease.
I invite you to learn more about AS York here in my following written interview with them:
What inspired you to write this book?
Despite the fact that more than 17,000 York Region residents are living with dementia, a stigma associated to a diagnosis still remains. Friends and family often disappear, leaving those impacted by this fatal disease alone at a time when they need people the most. By sharing stories about the journey, the Alzheimer Society of York Region (AS York) is showing readers that people impacted by this disease are still here, and they need support, love, and compassion every step of the way. This book also provides guidance to people on their own dementia journeys; by reading these stories, we hope they will feel reassured by the advice and wisdom offered by people who have walked a similar, yet different path.
What do you want others to gain from your book?
We want readers to understand that people living with dementia are still people who want to be seen, heard, and be a part of the community. We also want readers to recognize that caregivers need their support, their listening ear, and their help. For people on the dementia journey, these stories will show them they are not alone, that people understand what they are going through and can offer them some guidance on how they, too, can survive. And finally, we want people to know what’s it’s like to live with dementia so they can help spread awareness about the importance of not just finding a cure, but helping people live their lives to the best of their abilities.
What was your creative process for this project?
We wanted contributors who were impacted by dementia at various stages of the disease—from early diagnosis, to mid-stage, and end of life. We wanted stories from both the person living with the disease and their caregivers. We didn’t want life stories, instead we preferred a snapshot of a moment that would offer readers a true look at what it’s like to live with this disease and write it in a way that would help others on a similar journey. We received these amazing stories by listening. We listened as the author told us about their person, who they were, who they still are, and experiences along the way. And as they talked, their story emerged. One woman shared about how she didn’t sweat the small stuff and let her husband have ice cream for dinner if that’s what made him happy, while another talked about how her grandchildren brought the artist back out of her husband. Once the idea was formed, the authors began writing to share their stories that you will read in this book.
Why did you choose the storytelling format you used?
It’s hard to write about one’s entire life in 600 words. But you can indeed tell an amazing story that shows love between a husband and wife, and parent and child and friends, that will guide and give hope to those heading on their own dementia journey.
What’s next for you as an author?
The Alzheimer Society of York Region will continue to share stories about York Region residents impacted by dementia to raise awareness and change the stigma of a dementia diagnosis. To people who have shared their stories both through AS York and this book, thank you. Thank you for having the courage to share your experiences in order to help others. We are grateful to you all.
At I C Publishing, we too are thankful to have partnered with the tremendously compassionate team at Alzheimer Society of York Region including Lisa Day and Tammy Bucci. We are inspired, as well, by the amazing support AS York provides in our region to help those on the dementia journey.
Mostly, it’s been a privilege to read and share these real-life stories written with such love, wisdom, and candor.
Pick up a copy of Hearts Linked by Courage – Honouring Loved Ones and Caregivers on the Dementia Journey here in the I C Bookstore. Every purchase supports the work of AS York and those they serve in our community. Consider purchasing a copy for a friend or family member this holiday season. The Hearts Linked by Courage books make meaningful and lasting gifts for all, the giver, the receiver, the story contributors, and not-for-profit organizations they represent.
Wishing you the best of health always.
Sheri Andrunyk ©2020, Publisher, Senior Writer, Mentor, Author
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