Bridging  Memories with Caregiver Tools
Books As Memory Bridges
Mary Beth Sloan
Registered nurse turned author, Mary Beth Sloan, just wanted to create a useful gift for her mother-in-law, Ada Sloan, who struggled with the devastating effects of dementia. Compassionate and caring, Sloan wanted to stimulate conversation and social interaction with Ada. Aware of the struggle with the complexity of carrying on a verbal conversation, Sloan realized she needed a better way to stimulate communication. "I realized that she needed visually vivid, stimulating photos and simple text," says Sloan, "so I created a photographic journal, a handmade book and brought it for my next visit." The result; Sloan experienced a more interactive and enjoyable visit with her mother-in-law and she knew she was on to something. Picture Book Becomes Caregiver Tool for Dementia Patients The picture book she created eventually led to three books, Reminiscence, I Remember, and Caregiver's Tools: Bridging Memories published by Books As Memory Bridges, LLC. These books are used by family members, friends, attendants, nurses aids and other professional health care providers to generate conversation and make the life of a dementia patient feel less lonely and isolated. Dementia translates to "deprived of mind." It is an irreversible, serious cognitive impairment that affects memory, attention, language and problem solving beyond the effects of normal aging. The Mayo Clinic says, "Dementia isn't a specific disease. Instead, dementia describes a group of symptoms affecting intellectual and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning." Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. The Alzheimer's Association's 2011 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report states that 5.4 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer's Disease; about 1 out of every 8 older Americans. That number is expected to climb. Sloan just wanted to help her mother-in-law. A reluctant entrepreneur, she had no idea how many people her book would help, and how many caregivers would appreciate the simple tools to help improve the quality of life for a dementia patient. The journey from caring daughter-in-law to author and entrepreneur took about seven years. Motivated first, just to help her mother-in-law, Sloan discovered more motivation to expand and publish her book from her writers group. Write On! Pensacola - Writer's Group Provides Motivation Sloan and fellow writer, Kathleen Logan, author of Second Blooming for Women: Growing a Life That Matters After 50, founded Write On! Pensacola in 2001. Write On! Pensacola is a traveling writers group, meeting monthly in various locations in the Pensacola area, and boasts a large membership of fiction and non-fiction writers. "My fellow writers helped me perfect my idea and encouraged me to stick with it and get the books published," says Sloan. "My fellow writers were an amazing support and motivation for me." With the support of her writers group, Sloan began pitching her book idea to publishers, and although she received several rejection letters, many of them included a personal message telling her that it was an exceptional idea and that she shouldn't give up. She kept plugging away, motivated to help "the most ignored people on earth; people with memory loss." Collaboration Leads To Books & Workshops To Help Dementia Caregivers. Sloan decided to take a team approach and joined forces with photographer and co-author Derek Ferebee, author of children's book Dodger Goes West, and Laura Levitan, a licensed clinical social worker with expertise  in working with memory disorder patients. Levitan served as the catalyst that pulled things together with her conceptual design. The three collaborated to create Caregiver Tools: Bridging Memories. Sloan and Ferebee then created a workshop based on the book. The Art of Reminiscing Workshop helps caregivers better connect and reinforce bonds with dementia patients. Sloan and Ferebee co-present the Art of Reminiscing Workshop. The series of books are valuable tools for caregivers at every level to enhance the communication and care of a dementia patient. Mary Beth started BOOKS AS MEMORY BRIDGES after caring for her aging in-laws.  The scope and vision for the business expanded with the added expertise of her partners, Laura Levitan, LCSW and Derek Ferebee's Photography. Initially, Mary Beth had two objectives,the first was to publish three titles.  The second is to develop the foundation for becoming a leading publisher of adult read-aloud communications tools for people with memory loss by releasing volume 2 in each title series:  CAREGIVER TOOLS: Bridging Memories, REMINISCENCE, and I REMEMBER.   Completing this goal is well underway and remains Mary Beth’s focus for business development.
Pensacola Entrepreneur's Personal Experience Helps Dementia Patients "Caregiver's Tools" By Books as Memory Bridges, LLC. Helps Caregivers and Dementia Patients   Enjoy Quality Conversations” Gina Covell Maddox, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Books As Memory Bridges About Us Reminiscence Home Caregiver Tools Testimonials I Remember Dodger Goes West Testimonials