Friday, November 25, 2016

Interview with Connie Ruben

On Wednesday, I posted my review of Connie Ruben's memoir, The Stages of Grace, a touching and reflective narrative on what it was like for her to transition from friend to caregiver and how she had to come to terms with what it means when someone you love is attained with Alzheimer's disease.

Having worked with seniors with Alzheimer's I can say that Connie's story is filled with honesty and gems of wisdom. I asked Connie for an interview and I'd like to share it with you. Be sure to enter the giveaway to win a copy of this beautiful book!

My interview with Connie Ruben

LCR: Can you describe your book in 20 words or less.

CR: A story of love and acceptance in the face of Alzheimers.

LC: I have a special interest in your book because for 4 years I worked in developing and implementing day programs for seniors with Alzheimer's. How important do you feel it is for seniors to participate in such activities outside the house?

CR: I feel this could be beneficial for the person with Alzheimer’s in the early stages of the disease. Even though the person with Alzheimer’s might not remember the day before or even the morning of, they have a purpose in that moment and it’s in that moment they live and appreciate. As the stages progress, it is more important for the caregivers to have these programs.

LCR: What is the best advice you would give to someone who is caring for a person with Alzheimer's?

CR: By far my advice is to take the time to formally and intimately grieve the loss of the loved one as they knew him/her. Only then can you truly accept the person who is there and be open to letting that person be who THEY need to be in the moment THEY need to be it. Its really a fact that can apply to any caretaker/loved one. Accept and allow life to happen. There can be so much joy. If you are constantly depressed by their behavior, then you will be as depressed by your own.

LCR: What feedback have you received from your readers that has made you happy you wrote this book?

CR: I absolutely love when people call this book a love story between Grace and I. Nothing could make me happier.

LCR: If you could travel back in time, where would you go? Who would you see?

CR: This is a funny question as people who know me have heard me say so many times that I would like to go back in time to meet Elvis Presley. I tell myself, and others of course, that I would make him appreciate his life and he would clean up his act and he would still be with us today.. In this scenario of course, he falls in love with me and we live happily ever after….

LCR: What is the funniest (or strangest, or scariest) incident that has ever happened to you?

CR: Years ago, Peter, Grace and I were out at the coast for a vacation. Peter wanted to swim across the channel to the little island nearby and asked me if I would stay close to him in the dingy in case a boat came by. Grace watched from shore as he swam and I guarded him from the dingy. The only problem was that I had never driven the dingy before and was not so good with the controls and the ability to steer it in the direction I needed it to go. 

As Peter seemed to be doing alright, I decided to go off to one side and just practice the steering. I looked over and saw that he was getting close to shore so knew I needed to get the dingy back to his location. As I came close to him, I realized I had slowed down so much I did not have control of steering it left or right, thus, I was going to go right over top of him. I started yelling but he could not hear me. I was terrified I was going to run him over and the motor would kill him. I took one of the oars and began frantically hitting the water around the dingy in attempt to get his attention. 

Finally it worked and Peter turned around in the water just as the oar was coming down on his head. He thought I had lost my mind and when he was able to get next to the dingy and saw that I was crying hysterically, he softened enough to ask me what was going on. I, through my tears and sobs, told him I was afraid I was going to run him over and kill him.. He started laughing when he realized that the only other alternative I could come up with was hitting him over the head with the oar.

LCR: On my goodness, this incident had me laughing so hard! Thank you for sharing a part of your life with me and my readers. 

About Connie Ruben

Connie Ruben is an entrepreneur with well developed management skills. She has run several large companies, and prides herself on empowering others to work to their full potential. Connie also has an intimate knowledge of the challenges and joys of caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease, as her mother-in-law Grace was diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer’s disease in 2003. While Connie still struggles to balance her work life and home life, her understanding of this disease has made it easier for her to negotiate the demands of being a caregiver, as well as a wife, mother, and employer. She has written this book in order to share the insights she has gained as Grace’s primary caregiver and friend. Most importantly, Connie wants this book to assure others that caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease can be enjoyable, life-affirming, and emotionally significant.

Connect with the author: Website

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