Jean Lee is a retired American teacher from Ohio who, like me, is an Alzheimer’s Daughter.  However, in my guest’s case, both parents were diagnosed with dementia.  And – and this is quite extraordinary – they were both diagnosed on the same day.


Jean is also, like me, a writer, and after her parents died she penned a memoir of her mum and dad, of their deep, lifelong love for each other and how they and their unbreakable bond weathered the tumultuous storms of dementia.

Called Alzheimer’s Daughter, the book is at once a tender, highly personal account of one family’s experiences with this “brain-devouring monster”, as Jean calls it, and a universal story with moments that many of us who have confronted the monster will recognise only too well.

Many of the descriptions brought back memories for me, perhaps none more so than when, after her parents’ death, Jean is asked whether she’s given herself permission to fall apart.  “Absolutely not.  I don’t believe I’ll fall apart, because mum and dad will suffer no more,” she says.  “I’ve fallen apart for the last ten years, now I’ll put myself back together”.

After her book came an offer to work with another American author, Marianne Sciucco, to gather stories written through personal experiences of dementia into an AlzAuthors collection.  That was in 2015.  Now, seven years later, AlzAuthors has over 300 books in their store and more than 300 authors writing for them (including little old me).  Three years ago they became a not-for-profit enterprise.  Their website signposts readers to caregiver resources and blogs, their travelling libraries and their newly launched customised caregiver collections, about which more later.  Oh, and they also have their own very good podcast.