Judy Garwood’s New Book Touches Those Affected by Alzheimer’s

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By Mia Freneaux

    This past Saturday, at the Joor Road Public Library branch, Judy Garwood celebrated the long-awaited release of her new book by giving a reading and sharing her personal reflections.  The book, entitled “Mama, I’m here”, is a fictional account based on the real-life experiences Judy faced while caring for her Alzheimer’s afflicted mother.  Writing with an easy and graceful style, Judy shares funny moments and poignant moments and heart wrenching moments that will resonate with anyone who finds themselves in a caregiver’s role.  It chronicles the supreme efforts of a spouse to “cover” for their loved one and the difficulty and confusion that lie in facing the reality of Alzheimer’s. 

    Judy moved home from Massachusetts to care for her mother and her father, who had himself been diagnosed with dementia.  She became keenly aware of the huge drain on resources and energies that is placed on caregivers, and how little resources exist to support them.  Her book became not just a tribute to those who had passed on, but a plea on behalf of all who find themselves in such a situation.  Donating 10% of the profits from her book to the Alzheimer’s Association is just one way she has found to be an advocate for those who have none.  Another is the space for journaling she created in the back of her book for readers to write their questions and thoughts.

   Judy began writing the book In January of this year and completed it in July.  “It literally just poured out of me,” she says.  It began as a poem (which still exists in the book) but blossoming into a full-fledged novel about a woman facing her parents’ disabilities.  The main challenge in printing the book was in finding a publisher.  “No one wanted to touch it, it was like they were afraid of it because it dealt with Alzheimer’s, “ Judy says.  Alzheimer’s does strike fear into the hearts of most, because so many suffer from it now.  “It’s an epidemic,” Judy states, “There is not one life that is not touched by it.  It is growing at a rate faster than cancer and heart disease.”  Finally, Friesen Press took it on and the book was released in October of this year.  Judy has teamed up with Barbara Auten of the Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area and they are doing book signings together.  At the library, many there had questions for both Judy and Barbara. The laughter and tears shared there truly underscored the need for help for this overlooked group.  It was obvious that Judy has become not just an author, but a support as well.  Her book can be purchased through her website through links to and Barnes and Noble.

Below: cover art for Mama, I’m Here

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