By Gary Wosk
LOS ANGELES, CA — November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and cities nationwide are already beginning fundraising Walks to End Alzheimer’s. While this is very encouraging, the Alzheimer’s community continues to debate about how much funding should be dedicated to research versus helping caregivers. A Stanford University study, reports that 40% of Alzheimer’s disease caregivers die from stress-related disorders before their loved ones.
Sherry Lynn Harris, who took care of her mom who had Alzheimer’s Disease for an amazingly long 18 years (the normal life expectancy following diagnosis is only eight years), knew she couldn’t wait for a life preserver to be thrown her way by the government. She turned to God instead.
Harris, who is a prayer chaplain, wrote the recently published book, “Adapting to Alzheimer’s: Support for When Your Parent Becomes Your Child” to help the millions of caregivers in this country survive, and most importantly, still enjoy life. She encourages her readers to ask for forgiveness, develop and listen to inner intuition (discerning the voice of God), and spend time in silence, in prayer and meditation. She supports caregivers in their effort to do the right thing and advises how to rebuild and strengthen their inner peace on respite retreats, through relaxing in nature and communing with God.
Her journey, despite God’s support, was never easy, she admits. The book portrays how the author struggled with grief and anxieties, learning how to adapt and overcome them, but also recognizing the many miracles that happened along the way.
“My hope is that as caregivers read my book, they will find a way that works for them, to rely on God for strength and support,” said Harris, who delivers highly acclaimed talks. In addition, she met with congressional leaders in Washington in March to ask for more research funding. She is an advocate with the Alzheimer’s Association and donates a portion of the proceeds of each book sale as well as tithing to her church.
For more information about Harris and her book, visit her Web site at www.Adapt2Alz.com. The book is available as an e-book at Amazon, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Google (Android) and Blio (Baker & Taylor) and also in paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Ingram.