Dementia Home Care: How to Prepare Before, During, and After

Caregiving a loved one who's dying...with No Regrets

I was an early entrant into the Sandwich Generation. When my dad was wheeled off an airplane to me, he was very ill. At that moment, I was unceremoniously dropped smack-dab between caring for my sick and dying 75 year-old father and my five year-old son. My friend group shifted almost overnight to those who were about 30 years older than me, who both knew my father and had themselves simultaneously cared for their own parents and (mostly) grown children. Some had performed those feats of magic while also juggling their careers as I was doing at the time.

To say I was busy was a complete understatement.

I was overwhelmed, exhausted, and also honored to care for him and my young son.

Tracy Cram Perkins, author of “Dementia Home Care: How to Prepare Before, During and After” has a caregiving expertise honed in the trenches. She cared for both of her parents and her uncle through each of their separate illnesses and deaths. Her hands-on, step-by-step guidance is invaluable to caregivers and those who love them.

True, my father was not diagnosed with dementia. He had the twin sentence of cancer and congestive heart failure. My father lived Larger than Life, he was a former Stanford University football player and also a former Marine Corps Officer who ran his own business for nearly 40 years. So, it was surprising to say the least for me to realize that his healthcare journey did, for sure, affect his cognition. No one prepared me for that one.

Tracy offers tangible advice, step-by-step, in ways that follow the disease progression. You’ll learn how to get ready and get good advice on to live during and after caregiving for your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Yet, as important, this advice is also helpful to anyone caring for their loved one with a terminal illness. No matter what the disease is, the process toward dying follows a specific arc. Tracy’s guidance applies to anyone who is a caregiver. My father arrived, literally, with a gym bag FULL of medication. He would go off-the-air after taking a ridiculous amount of medication in the morning and not emerge until nearly dinner time.

Our family

Author Tracy Cram Perkins wrote that "we (family caregivers) are America's largest (unpaid) healthcare provider."

That lasted about 10 days until I could get an appointment with a new physician and pharmacist who trimmed the meds by about half and then helped me stagger them so I wouldn’t lose him during the day. Within the first month, I had my dad back. We were laughing and talking about football and military docudramas over dinner each night with my son. Oh, it was fun.

Tracy will walk you through this process and many other situations – from dealing with delusional behavior to daily sundowners’ syndrome – and she’ll help you remember that laughter really is the very best medicine.

Her chapter on distraction techniques is spot on, as is her chapter on Knowing When to Say When. We all try to say we’re “fine” but there is a time to get respite care and there may be a time to move your loved one to an assisted living community or other form of care, such as hospice. For me, there was a time that I listened to the prompting of my heart and moved my father to a studio apartment in an assisted living facility. It gave him a balance of privacy, social interaction with peers, and nearby medical help if needed. I got so much more help then. Later, when he was actively dying, my then seven year-old son didn’t have to experience a death like that at such a young age. After my father died there were still so many things ahead of me – Tracy’s chapters on the management of “digital estates” and the experience of when your caregiving role is over, will be extremely helpful to you.

I don’t regret a minute of the time I cared for my dad.

My regrets are simple. I wish I’d taken videos of him and captured his voice while talking – my son said that his voice was the first thing he missed and the first thing he forgot. Wisdom from a seven year-old! Along with videos, of course I wish we had more time.

Like Robert Frost wrote, I chose the road less traveled by – when the social worker tracked me down and talked to me about my father’s needs, I didn’t hesitate to offer that he come live with my son and I. But, oh, how I wish I had a guidebook, like this one, to help me prepare for my caregiver role. This guide will help you chart an intentional journey with your caregiver role.

Thank you, Tracy Cram Perkins, for sharing your caregiving insights with us, all.

Check out Amazon for Tracy's guidebook, Dementia Home Care: How to Prepare Before, During, and After.

A good book is one that we enjoy. Every rare, magical, once-in-a-while, a story grabs us with its talons, and flies us away to distant places, discovering endless possibilities. We emerge with a specific insight that shifts our way of thinking about ourselves and our daily lives.


That is supremely true with EJ Frost’s paranormal series, starting with Neon Blue and continuing in the pages of Blood Yellow.

These books hoisted me in the air and flew me upside down by the ankles, mind you, seeing new worlds, far horizons then shook me senseless and returned me to this mortal plane with the truth that there is no normal life – just life. We are to live with focus, purpose and love. However that may be for each of us, individually.

Neon Blue

In the first of Frost’s paranormal series, Neon Blue, Tsara is a witch who has yet to embrace her talent and full power as she yearns to straddle suburban Boston while nursing injured shape-shifter werewolves and brewing magical fertility potions.

When Tsara meets Jou, a lust demon, it’s amid dire circumstances. He saves her life and she releases him from enslavement. Reader beware, it’s so hard to put the genie back into the bottle and also to send the demon back to Hell once he has a taste of freedom.

Both Tsara and Jou are haggard, even cynical and most certainly disillusioned and lost from their prior experiences. Demons and witches – especially magic-filled witches who want nothing more than to live a mortal, suburban life – would seem to be incompatible. Yeah, no. Their chemistry and shared energy is downright combustible, leaping from the pages of this book. As they become familiar, Jou evolves Tsara’s term of endearment from “Sweet meat” to “Sweetness” – For her part, Tsara also realizes something.

“The fact I like him more and more all the time, and that I don’t know what I’ll do if I figure out how to send him back to Hell.”

The war in Tsara rages on. After a day pass to his home in Hell, the conflict between her vision of what life should be like and what her heart calls becomes more glaring. She stares down two possibilities – a life of crossing magical worlds alongside Jou or a life crossing town via the commuter train in a mortal, Monday-thru-Friday-interspersed-with-weekends mortal world.

“This is where I imagined living. A suburban street, not too far from the city. Only I’ve lost my license permanently, so I’m not going to make much of a soccer om, even if I could have kids…my family dog is more likely to be a werewolf and the only man who can accept me as I am is a demon.”

Oh, those rules we learn so young, about what we should do and be and love – to live within the white picket fence boundaries, every day – those ideals die, hard. Even if our feral soul calls us to farther horizons and a different sort of life. The conflict rages in both Tsara and Jou until the inevitable happens – to great peril – for both.

Blood Yellow

Ironic that I would say this in a book about demons and Hell, but oh, thank God EJ Frost pulls us back from the brink on our ledge peering into the abyss in her sequel, Blood Yellow. We learn, as we stand between here and actual Hell, that the distance between worlds is not as far as we once thought. In Blood Yellow, its’ confirmed that all our preconceived notions are revealed as the bullshit rules they are.

The fae, vampires, necromancers, and shapeshifters, alike, could be Baptist, Muslim, Asian, black or white, American or Russian. Doesn’t matter. Our peccadillos, blatant fallacies, and our own loving hearts are the very things we share in common – whether as characters on the pages of paranormal fiction or living in the mortal world.

In order to save all of them, and Tsara, they all band together, led by Jou.

“And then I realize that Jou’s done it again. Somehow he’s given me exactly what I wanted, despite my best efforts to fuck it up. ‘I’m sorry, Jou,’ I whisper. He grunts ‘for what sweetness?’ ‘Everything. Absolutely everything. I am so, so sorry.’ He takes a deep breath… ‘It’s okay…Everything’s going to be okay now.”

But it isn’t. Because we know how it goes as we grow and evolve, shedding outdated beliefs that are simply no longer true for us. It’s like sloughing off old skin. The struggle and war between maintaining the status quo or embracing new truths is not without casualties; not without difficulties. Yet we emerge, if we stick with it, and become something altogether new in the end.

Full disclosure, I read and re-read these stories about five times over the summer. As soon as I finished them, I’d start again, always finding and escape and always emerging with a deeper understanding of myself and the world we live in, the here and now. Oh, I so hope you do the same. Enjoy every word and then some. Thanks, EJ Frost. You so totally rock it – from here to Hell and back!

The enchantment of Frost’s paranormal fiction is that when she pulls us into the clutches of her story upside down, mind you, she suspends belief in this daily world we live in. Just as we acclimate to her new universe of shapeshifters, witches who call lightning, and demons with a soul, we’re called back to our day-to-day world. The luggage we bring with us, slapped with tourist stickers from actual Hell and filled to bursting, includes mementos for our hearts and minds.

Oh, yeah!  Read Neon Blue and Blood Yellow. You’ll be transformed.

Swept into the Rules of Darkness and the Rules of Fire

Okay, let’s get one thing straight, right now!  Author Tia Fanning is a magnificent storyteller!

Her break-out two-part series includes strict rules for each character’s survival – and evolution. These were such captivating and engaging reads, from the first moment when we are introduced to how the old world and ancient teachings exist in a settlement just outside our modern day world. Fanning’s character, Katia, struggles with acceptance of her gift to heal those with mental illness because of the responsibilities that accompany her gift. As Fanning weaves her dark and twisted tale of opposing forces, both stories are perfect companions for your summer beach vacation or a holiday winter break.

If you want to be swept away by a story then these are for you!

Book one, The Rules of Darkness – all 12 of them – are so true that it feels like commandments we ALL should follow!  Willingly, I might add, as we are pulled with hurricane force right into a world that spans from the now to all the way back to ancient times. It also reaches from the here to across the veil into the immortal world, to those who have crossed over to the other side.  These forces – as old as time itself and as magical as what could be created across lifetimes – work together to sweep us away, and spark our imagination. Fanning’s heroine, Katia, and her betrothed, Stoyan, work through acceptance and mastery of their gifts and the mantle that is Katia’s to bear in this lifetime.

Book two, The Rules of Fire, follows Katia and Stoyan’s adopted daughter, Angel. Her story is even more captivating than the last.  Wow!  While on a journey of discovery, she is enslaved by the bondage borne from guilt, shame, and obligation. Angel discovers how tragedy buried in the past can and does return to haunt us. She must learn to set herself free from the pain and folly of keeping secrets from those she loves – a fundament truth of life.

Suspending belief of our everyday world, author Tia Fanning helps us to consider the ultimate value in loyalty and faith among friends and family.  Get swept up in this dark and fiery vortex! You’ll enjoy every moment to ultimate freedom from the unhealthy ties that bind.

Mermaids, angels, and music -- the magic of life

Through the Woods and My Ship has Sails

Author Margie Mack is a gifted mentor, family leader, and social media influencer who has inspired and guided people throughout her life. Her two autobiographies detail an idyllic childhood in McHenry, Illinois and also her formidable but important exodus to the Windy City of Chicago. It’s daunting to sum up in words the simple enormity of emotion and insight expressed in her stories.

From rural places and humble spaces, in book one, Through the Woods, Margie’s wise soul emerges along the banks of the Fox River in this rural community northwest of Chicago. First raised by her grandparents, here she is introduced to her gifts of observation and insight that will serve her well, throughout her life.  Are there really mermaids in our modern world?  Margie knows. Do angels intervene to help those in dire need? Margie answers that question in the events that unfold before her.

Margie dedicates book one to her Grandma Cleo and Grandpa Bill, “You told me to believe in the magic of the world, and for this I do.” After reading of her experiences, you will, too, and you’ll be inspired to find a bit of it among your own childhood memories.

In book two, My Ship has Sails, Margie’s mother and stepfather, Joyce and Marty Saxon, extract her from the shores of the Fox River and transplant her wild soul into early-1960’s Chicago. In the Windy City, she brought her magic from Fox River with her and blended it with music and emerging modern day society.  Margie’s energy converged with such bright lights – it was as if those behind the veil knew she would inspire and be inspired to chronicle her experiences. It’s surreal to embrace the notion she met Van Morrison when he climbed into her best friend’s bedroom window, and that fortuitous meeting inspired his song Moondance.  She also met the Beatles, backstage, as they exploded into America’s music scene. Margie bore witness to many people and events that fundamentally shaped our modern day experience.

She’s been told that her stories portray her as a female Forrest Gump, and while she expresses herself in straightforward terms, Margie’s stories are by no means simple. The way she embraces her experiences offers us rare insight into the vitality of embracing life as it unfolds before us.  The law of attraction is a real thing. Thoughts do become things and once the universe believes in you, then more opportunities come your way.

We are blessed that Margie has many more experiences and stories to share with us.  Right now, she is working on the third of this series and will also soon release another book of poetry following the loss of her beloved husband, Dan Mack.  So, start by reading these two epic chronicles and you will restore your belief in the wonder and magic of our world.

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