Caring for aging parents

September 12, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Caring for aging parents is a concern facing a growing number of families. Mary Ellen Geist, a well-known personality in the Bay Area, shares her personal story. She is the former morning news anchor at KGO Radio and afternoon anchor at WCBS Radio in New York. In her book, "Measure of the Heart: A Father's Alzheimer's, A Daughter's Return," she writes about caring for aging parents and shares her remarkable story of courage and devotion.

Mary Ellen also discusses her decision to leave her high-profile radio career to return home to take care of her family - a trend that may prove increasingly necessary as Americans continue to live longer lives - and discusses the special joys and hard challenges she's experienced while serving as the primary caregiver (with her mother) of her father.

Another big part of Mary Ellen's story is the importance of music to connecting with her father, who although he is experiencing severe dementia has been able to sing with his music group The Grunyons and continues to remember the tunes, harmonies and lyrics of the songs he loves (you'll see that Oliver Sacks wrote the intro to the book - he included Woody Geist in his noted Musicophilia book).

About the book:
MEASURE OF THE HEART grew out of a 2005 New York Times Thanksgiving piece about former WCBS radio anchor Mary Ellen Geist that became one of the most read and e-mailed stories of the month. Geist, an accomplished and respected career person, left her high-powered radio job in New York City to return home to Michigan to care for her father, who is suffering from Alzheimer's, ultimately making the decision to live her life by a totally different set of priorities. She decided to be guided by her heart, not by outside accomplishments alone.

In MEASURE OF THE HEART, Geist uses her own personal story - as well as extensive interviews with doctors and others who have left careers to care for an aging parent - to inspire and provide advice for the thousands of Americans experiencing similar situations (there are an estimated ten million Americans caring for a person with Alzheimer's or dementia right now). She offers emotional insights about how to encourage interaction with the loved one you are caring for; how to determine daily tasks that are achievable and rewarding; how the personality of the patient affects care-giving and the progression of Alzheimer's; as well as invaluable advice on how readers can take care of themselves while accomplishing the herculean task of care-giving for others.

Booking signing
Mary Ellen Geist will be signing books at Books Inc. in Opera Plaza at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 12.

Buy the book on Amazon: Measure of the Heart

About Mary Ellen Geist:
Mary Ellen Geist was most recently the afternoon anchor at WCBS radio in New York, the flagship station of CBS Radio and CBS News. Prior to that position, she was the morning anchor at KGO radio in San Francisco and a reporter in Los Angeles. She lives in northern Michigan.

For more information, visit www.maryellengeist.com.

A Great Alzheimer's Resource
Caring.com is a free Web site that offers valuable resources for people caring for aging loved ones. Caring.com provides original articles by top experts in the industry, practical checklists for caregivers, a community that you can connect with, and a single, reliable source to get your questions answered. To learn more about Caring.com's Alzheimer's To-Do List please visit www.caring.com.


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