Dementia’s Silver Stars a few thoughts from Elaine Pereira

I would like to welcome my good friend and fellow author back to Readful Things. Elaine has been doing a tremendous amount of work promoting her book and teaching others about the field of Alzheimer’s research. She is also a very kind person, who has been there for me through my own struggles having a family member who is going through this disease.

If you have ever wondered about what this cruel disease can do to a person, a family and the patient themselves, Elaine’s uniquely personal perspective may very well be of use to you.

You can find out more about Elaine and her book here:

You can find her book for sale





Dementia’s Silver Stars

Tragically as our Baby Boomer generation matures into the Silver Stars, some of those “stars” don’t shine as brightly as they use to, mostly due to Dementia. Alzheimer’s specifically is a devastating condition that robs us of our loved ones. It’s also allows for some of the most bewildering events, remarks and experiences that defy logic, reasoning and reality.

Since I have literally walked, actually more like trudged, in the shoes of a caregiver to my mother with Alzheimer’s, I am able to share the humor with the heartache; explore the mystifying with the plausible; describe the agitation and the calm.

In my memoir I Will Never Forget-A Daughter’s Story of Her Mother’s Arduous and Humorous Journey Through Dementia, I detail Mom’s heartwarming and inspirational life. The “why I wrote this book” behind-the-scenes background, is almost as interesting as the book itself and is often the case for most authors.

My mother’s is a story that needed to be told. The same woman who graduated with a BS in chemistry in 1945, went on to earn a Masters in Education and taught high school math is the same one who literally could not add 2+2 a few months before she died. As she steadily unraveled piece by piece, her lucid moments waned precariously.

Those of us who have been intimately or peripherally affected by Dementia know all too well how unpredictable the disease manifests itself from one person to the next. Some mysteries in my mom’s journey she took to her grave and will never be revealed.

Just before my mom quit driving, thank God without incident, she actually renewed her car insurance. The abridged version of an intricate and complicated long story, is that she wrote a total of nine checks to her car insurance company because she couldn’t remember writing even one. Five of them were on consecutive days!

Baffling! What warped reality guided her to address five envelopes correctly, put on a stamp, and then drop them successfully into the mail slot five days in a row? How is it possible?

As Mom drifted farther into her own time line, she started having visions of her own mother, my grandmother who died when I was only six years old. Mom was even overheard talking to her “mother.” Mom’s quest to find and “take care of” her mom presumably was the catalyst that drove her to escape her locked assisted living facility like the great Houdini!

How does a petite, 86 year-old woman slip out of her secure home undetected literally in the middle of the night? Mom was found after being outside for more than five hours, in 25-degree temperatures, in very early April, in literally nothing but red flannel pajamas! And lived!

My award-winning memoir is a humble and respectful tribute to my mother and everyone ravaged by Dementia and rendered altered in its wake. I am donating to Alzheimer’s research from book sales and speaking fees in part so that my daughters don’t have to write a book about me one day.

13 thoughts on “Dementia’s Silver Stars a few thoughts from Elaine Pereira

  1. This struck a chord with me. My beloved grandfather, one of the greatest men I’ve ever known, died from senile dementia when I was 16. Before he became ill he was strong, highly intelligent, witty and kind. Watching his deterioration to the point where he forgot who his family was is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I’ll certainly check this out – thank you for sharing!


  2. This struck a chord with me also – my grandfather died of Alzheimer’s the day my youngest son turned 3. Before, he was a man who loved to work outside in his garden, watch baseball, and be active in his church. At the end of his life, he thought my mom, sister, and I were all the same person and he only recognized my grandmother. I’ll be looking for this book too!


  3. Pingback: Articles/Interviews | I Will Never Forget

  4. It is truly baffling indeed how many lives this disease affects. My grandfather could not say alzheimers so he called it “Old Timers” disease. My Great Uncle Willie was afflicted. He would go out with his rope and bridle looking for Lucy, his mule that had been dead for years. After hours, sometimes days, with search parties in the woods, we would have to call in the military choppers with their great spot lights to come from from FT. Benning to look for him. They would usually find him upside down in some creek or ditch in a kudzu patch. It became the event of the week to watch for. I hated to see him go into a Nursing Home, but it was the best thing for him and my Great Aunt Bessie. Hardly any of us doesn’t know someone who is or has been directly affected. This sounds like a heartwarming, though heartbreaking, book that would lift the spirits and touch the soul immensely. I am so grateful for people like Elaine who dedicate a huge part of their lives to educating and supporting others. We are never alone.


  5. This disease is the worst. My father in law kept my mother in law’s problem a secret. He was very good at covering. He passed and then the full extent of her problems became visible. The end becomes very tragic but somehow better than continued suffering.


  6. Been there too I’m afraid, one evening I was sat with my father-in-law so that his wife could go out and have a break for the evening. We had a constant loop in the conversation “Where’s Mary?, when’s she coming home?” This went on every two minutes for over 3 hours. For my own sanity I varied the answers and sometimes he’d say “Have I asked you this before?” He was more at peace when I said she was near by rather than the truth that she was at the theatre which was over 60 miles away. We did talk about the kids and other family things and when my husband came and took over from me he asked him who I was because he didn’t know me! Very sad!


  7. This is such a cruel disease, and it affects far too many people. My sister passed away last year after declining through 10 years of early-onset Alzheimer’s. She was diagnosed at 57. She had been a university professor and administrator, very confident and capable. Watching her decline, especially during the years when she knew what she was losing, was heart-breaking. My mother has dementia now too–though hers came on in her 80’s. She is still alive, but she is no longer the mother I knew. Visiting her is more like visiting a stranger each time. Most of the time she doesn’t know I’m her daughter. Thank you for sharing your story, Elaine.


  8. Pingback: Articles/interviews | I Will Never Forget

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