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Embracing the Moment: An Alzheimer's Memoir
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2009
Sooner or later we all face difficult situations with aging parents. This book is about helping a parent with Alzheimer's but many of the same issues occur with any terminal disease. Ms. Pursley has done a masterful job of writing about her own journey with her mother's decline. The book is honest, poignant and humorous at times as she describes the quirks of patients with Alzheimers. I felt I was sharing the joys and anguish as I gained insight into Alzheimer's. The photography was wonderful and really put a face on this disease. Ms. Pursley also described the challenges of nursing home care and what we can do to ensure that our loved ones are looked after properly. I could not put the book down and I think everyone should read it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2011
Embracing the Moment, An Alzheimer's Memoir by Barbara Pursley is a frank look at dealing with a parent suffering from Alzheimer's. The book, written as a journal, chronicles the author's experiences and reactions as she watches her mother's descent into the depths of this disease. The raw emotions she often expresses are shocking, but are the same emotions felt by many of the clients I see in my Elder law practice. The author provides examples and ideas for dealing with the disease and the person, with openness, honesty, and occasional humor. Perhaps the best thing this book does is make it clear that the reactions often experienced by care givers are not abnormal. If you are a care giver, this book will help you understand that you are not alone and that you are not a bad person for feeling the way you feel.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who has a parent or other relative in dementia.

Janet Boyanton, Elder law attorney and author, Alone and Alive a practical guide for dealing with the death of your husband
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2009
Embracing the Moment is not just about care giving, but about living a life of your own while also being a caregiver. Ms. Pursley gives us many common sense ideas for easing the stress of both the patient and the care giver. She points out how care giving is often a lonely job and is not only emotionally draining but also physically draining. She stresses the importance of involving others and appreciating their efforts as well as connecting to organized support groups who can help you work thru your disappointments and gain strength & insite for the next task. Ms. Pursley gave her mother the best life she could have and kept her spirit alive as long as possible. She truly embraced each moment and the many pictures verify her involvement in her mother's care. As sad as it is to read, it had many funny moments and is really a joyful story about a daughter's love.
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on September 26, 2011
Title A Dark Corner of Life
September 13, 2011
By Bob Savanich San Juan Capistrano, CA)
Wow! Where do I begin? " Embracing the Moment" by Barbara Pursley is a moving tribute to the love she "had/has" for her mother, Bonnie. That is not a typo. "Had/has" best describes to me, the unconditional love Barbara shared with her mother not only during the eleven year ordeal known as Alzheimer's, but before and now after Bonnie's passing. I started reading this journal style account of the author's journey through this dark corner of life none of us wants to visit. But visit, some of us must. I could not stop crying, reading and crying again while I hovered above the room watching this life altering experience tear at my heart strings. The author's account of the conditions that exist in some care facilities, the way some patients were treated, the lack of compassion displayed by some staff members left me disturbed and angry. Please God, I found myself asking, do not send me down this path. I want no part of living either Barbara's or Bonnie's life with this terrible disease. The touching photographs of Barbara and her mother show not only the love they share, but also the progression this insidious disease has on Bonnie physically. Barbara's passion, no, life's work, for the hellish decade she endured to care for her mother is inspirational. I don't know if I have the courage to do what she did. I purchased three copies after my non stop read. I am keeping one. One I have passed on to a dear friend whose mom just passed from the dreaded disease. The third I donated to my local Alzheimer's Center so Barbara's vivid, detailed journal could help others who are starting, or are in the hellish end of this struggle with a loved one. Every day I pray to God that this disease spares my home and family. I pray too for Barbara, for the strength to carry on sharing her experience with those of us looking for help in understanding Alzheimer's and Dementia. To Barbara, thank you for sharing your life experience with all of us. I will never forget you or Bonnie.
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on February 4, 2012
I recently read Barbara's book and thoroughly enjoyed it. The enjoyment referred to is not for it being a funny or humorous book, but an insightful one. Through my work as an advisor to the family I have known her and her family for many years and knew some of the public side of their story regarding caring for Mom. I met their Mother when she was probably in her fourth or fifth year into Alzheimer's which was shortly after I had begun working for our Firm. Barbara's writing gives me insight into not only her and her brother's struggle in making certain Mom was safe, cared for, and secure from harm---but it gave me additional insight into the absolute torment family goes through in accomplishing all this for their loved one, particular parents. Barbara's story telling is at times a bit uncomfortable because she purposefully lets us see her in a very raw fashion to a point where you feel as if you have violated social graces by walking in on her as she is undressing. If you are going to love and care at this level of committment, then you will confront your own weaknesses and shortcomings in the journey. For me, since so many families we work with are having to care for loved ones that are going through years of dementia or Alzheimer's--having read Barbara's experiences will help me to help family undertand that the guilt, frustration, at times hopelessness and even anger at the unprofessional (and maybe dangerous) care they receive from professional caretakers is all part of the process of loving and caring. I am very glad that I read her memoir. It is definetly not just a "book".
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on February 28, 2010
The cover of this marvelous book has captured the essence of Barbara's story. From the loving shared gaze to the name on the slipper, the unconditional love she and her mother shared, and the remarkable journey taken together transcends ordinary life experiences.

This is a compelling book. Barbara's pain and the pain of Alzheimers is palpable. As Barbara tells the story of her mother's decade long illness, her love for her mother and her unwavering pursuit of quality health care for her is relentless.

I am struck by Barbara's courage and willingness to be completely open and honest with her own emotions and thoughts. Only through that honesty can the heartbreak of the disease and the truly sacrificial life changes of the caregivers be adequately acknowledged.

Barbara states the sometimes appalling realty of the health care facilities that house the Alzheimer patient in relatively nonjudgemental terms, yet with a directness that neither covers up nor condones them. Barbara has made a contribution to all those who live with and work with this debillitating illness, and she has advanced our awareness of the continuing need for Alzheimer research. This book is not always easy to read. I cried, I smiled, and, above all, I was left with the knowledge that as long as there is love, there will always be a connection.

Review by Pat Hoge of Columbus, Ohio
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on October 2, 2011
The photo of a mother and daughter, obviously a loving relationship, and the title of this book, "Embracing the Moment, An Alzheimer's Memoir" takes you straight into the heart of this story. The journal format written during a 10-year period offers a personal account, a brutally honest message, about coping with the toll of this terrible disease from its early recognition to its ultimate end. The reader experiences day by day how Alzheimer's deteriorates the patient and drains the caregivers who, as Pursley was, are living through painful events within their own lives while struggling to offer the best care possible for their loved one. Through journal entries the reader shares the author's frustrations at time with conditions at nursing homes, the humor in the way some patients view reality, and the emotional roller coaster of daily caregiving. Barbara Pursley is a photographer and her pictures allow you to realize that her mother, Bonnie Pursley, was a person, a woman who had laughed, danced, raised children, had dreams. Pursley's memoir takes Alzheimer's out of the cold, clinical rendition and presents the very human story of two women.

Caregivers, whether family or professionals, come away with insight into decisions that must be made and inspiration from a woman willing to share her intense 10-year journey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2012
I feel i have a better understanding of what may lie ahead with my own mother. Hopefully I can do it with as much love.
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on September 25, 2011
Embraceing The Moment takes us along on Barbara Pursley's 10 year journey as she copes with her Mother who has Alzhrimer's. It is rare to find someone so honest and
open with her emotions. Barbara shares the highs and lows while enjecting just the proper amount of humor to balance the story. The wonderful pictures say as much as the written text, thanks for includeing them in the book.

This is a must read for any family with the possibility of having to deal with this situation. The real lesson I took away from the book is to "EMBRACE THE MOMENT" and take each day with the blessings it provides us.

Barbara, thanks for sharing you wisdome with us, it make's the way easier for all who will have to walk down the same path.
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on January 9, 2012
Barbara Pursley's book Embracing the Moment was warm and touching, interesting and educational, open and brutally honest. Having been there and done that, I can relate to her experiences and I applaud her for letting others see her pain and the moments of humor as she struggled to take care of her mother. This is an excellent book for anyone to read, caregiver, family member, friend or healthcare professional. All would benefit greatly from Barbara's journey. Thank you, Barbara. Job well done.
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