Return to Joy - The Book

Praise For Return to Joy …

 

This tale of two sisters and how they came together to face the world of dementia with their mother is an inspirational one. This book offers not only a practical guide for others facing such painful circumstances, but delves into deeper realms where love is entwined with time-honored wisdom and ultimately the human soul. - Dick Russell, author of Black Genius and Eye of the Whale.

 

Charlotte and Virginia Parker’s book, Return to Joy, is a profound, inspiring, and touching book! A pleasure to read! - Patricia Berry, Ph.D.

 

Return to Joy is a jewel. This book shines light on the collectively dreaded dementia occurring in very many of our lives. The simple integrity in writing of this shared process offers concrete help, psychological depth as well as creative and/or spiritual paths through seeming chaos. As a psychotherapist for forty years and a Jungian analyst I can say with deep respect that this book offers an example of what individuation discoveries are possible when we work with our problems from inside out. -Deanne Kreis Newman, LISW, Jungian Analyst

 

This book moved me, challenged me to think, accurately instructed me, and offered many practical tips for dealing with the many everyday issues that arise in caring for adults with dementia. That’s a lot to offer in one book, and the authors bring it off.
The book begins with the story of Demeter and Persephone from Greek mythology, a story of changing perspective and relationship between mother and daughter. The authors are sisters who had very different experiences of their mother during their respective childhoods. They also had different interpretations of and reactions to the dementia that gradually took away the mother they had known and exposed an underlying joyful and spiritual person they had not known before. Rather than try to present a single story, the sisters tell their separate accounts in each of several chapters. This is a valuable lesson that there is not a single “truth” about their mother’s dementia. Each sister has her own experience, and each view is respected. The authors illustrate with evocative prose the point that their separate experiences of their mother in childhood very much shaped the experience and challenges of caring for her as dementia changed her.


The authors do a good job of explaining the conceptual landscape of dementia, which is a set of symptoms that can stem from a variety of causes, some reversible and most not. They make a case that their mother’s dementia was an irreversible consequence of decades of untreated vitamin deficiency. Everyone who wants to relate to a person with dementia and participate in her or his care can benefit from knowing how to accurately think about and talk about the condition that underlies dementia for that person.


Likewise, the authors have a large number of no-nonsense suggestions for dealing with practical issues of caring for a person with dementia. How do caregivers deal with behavior such as wandering, hoarding, paranoia, and suspicion? What do you look for in paid caregivers? How do you manage multiple caregivers? The authors were fortunate that their mother had adequate financial resources to pay for long-term care at home. They also benefited from having a series of caregivers who were able to cope with their mother’s periods of confusion, doubt and suspicion. Even so, the journey was not an easy one and they learned lots of practical ways to cope, which they share in clear, straightforward writing. - Reviewed by Robert C. Atchley, Ph. D., Distinguished Professor of Gerontology (Emeritus), Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

 

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