I have been working on my books and I have two updates and one new book to tell you about.
My newest book, “Flourish or Fade: A guide to total well-being for women at midlife and beyond” (2021) is now available in hardcover! This is the first book that I have been able to make into a hardcover version. Amazon had approached me to see if I would be interested in trying out this new feature they were offering, so I took them up on it. Let me know if you decided to get a copy of it in hardcover. I would love to know what you think.
I have updated the paperback version of “Caring for a Husband with Dementia” for 2021. I have taken out some links that no longer worked. Many of the links were from the “Alzheimer’s Reading Room” which has been removed off the internet. I have also added a reference to a book by Marie Marley and Daniel C. Potts which has a lot of the information that was in the links which have been removed. Their book is called, “Finding Joy in Alzheimer’s: New Hope for Caregivers” (2015).
I have completely revised, updated, and expanded my book on dementia caregiving to create a new book, “Caring for Someone with Cognitive Decline: Information, tips, and support for caregivers” (2021). It’s reasonably priced at $12.95 USD (eBook is $3.95 USD). This book was a project I had been wanting to do for a long time. I had been told the original book, “Caring for a Husband with Dementia” was suitable for all caregivers. After working with many people with dementia and their families, I felt it was time to complete this book project. The book is now available on Amazon, however, the cover is only temporary. I am currently in the process of seeking a new book cover design, so if you have any ideas, please let me know!
Flourish or Fade: A guide to total well-being for women at midlife and beyond provides you with the information and tools needed to improve life satisfaction. The Flower of Wellness Method will help you devise a plan to balance your body, mind, and soul.
You will learn how to enhance your overall well-being by exploring the ten dimensions of wellness:
This anti-ageist, realistic, and optimistic approach to life in the middle years and beyond will provide you with inspiration and tips that will have you feeling confident, happy, and satisfied with whatever may come your way.
The Flower of Wellness Method is a fresh and contemporary approach to finding balance.
Do you want to flourish or fade in the later years? It’s your choice.
Angela G. Gentile, M.S.W., R.S.W., is a registered clinical social worker/specialist in aging with more than 25 years of experience working with older adults and their families. She was born and raised in Ontario and now lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Celebrate National Women’s Health Week with us! On May 11, 2021, at 8:00 pm CST, Angela G. Gentile will be hosting a Zoom book launch for her newest book, “Flourish or Fade.” Register on Eventbrite to attend. There are a number of awesome books, services, and products that have been donated by some amazing women to help make this book event special. Please see the list below and enter to win! (see Contest Details below).
1. Angela G. Gentile: “Flourish or Fade: A guide to total well-being for women at midlife and beyond” (paperback, $21.00 CAD value). Now available!
2. Dr. Andrea Wilkinson: BrainShape Accountability Calls ($300.00 CAD value)
“Free Phase II Accountability Calls with Dr. Andrea of BrainShape” ($300 CAD value)
Accountability Appointments take place via TWO 60-minute video calls.
CALL 1: Discuss your concerns and struggles + build a plan to help you address them (e.g., sleeping difficulties, chronically stressed, low energy, lacking mental focus, etc.) Whatever the problem, let’s talk about it & build a plan you can implement right away.
CALL 2: Accountability Appointment to check-in on the goals you set out in Call 1.
The winner of the BrainShape Services prize will book their INITIAL CALL by visiting www.BrainShape.ca/call and book a time in Dr. Andrea’s calendar. This is a free offering of the supportive elements provided inside the Brain Vitality Blueprint, and helps people take the first step towards improving their health and well-being.
3. Billie Best:“How I Made a Huge Mess of My Life” (paperback, $12.99 USD value)
5. Kay Ross: “The Playground of Possibilities” (card deck, $20.00 USD value)
This card deck is a self-help, personal-development tool with 52 questions for you to ask yourself. Every question starts with “What would be possible for me if I…?”, to prompt you to let go of your old, limiting thoughts, beliefs and stories about yourself and the world, choose more useful ones, take inspired action, and improvise more resourceful, joyful ways of being. Kay was born in Scotland, grew up in Australia, and has lived in Hong Kong for 27 years. She’s passionate about personal development and healing, and is also an improv performer. The deck costs $20 USD plus postage from Hong Kong (the full amount depends on the number of decks ordered and the destination).
6. Camille Goscicki, of Vitalaging4women, “Seize the Moment! A Guide to Living in the Present” (ebook, $4.99 USD value)
Do you live with regrets from the past, and fear the unknowns of the future?
It’s time to let go of fears and regrets and live for today. Seize the Moment! is your mini-guide to grab the present moment and live for today. It includes three bonus worksheets that will help you become more mindful. (Everyday mindfulness tips, practicing mindfulness, and becoming present for peace of mind.) Note: eReader not included.
7. Donna Thomson: The Unexpected Journey of Caring (hardcover book, $39.00 CAD value).
“The Unexpected Journey of Caring: The Transformation From Loved One to Caregiver” by Donna Thomson and Zachary White, PhD with a foreword by Judy Woodruff (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019) Available at all online booksellers Hardcover – $39.00 CAD)
With a foreword by Judy Woodruff, The Unexpected Journey of Caring is a practical guide to finding personal meaning in the 21st century care experience.
Personal transformation is usually an experience we actively seek out—not one that hunts us down. Becoming a caregiver is one transformation that comes at us, requiring us to rethink everything we once knew. Everything changes—responsibilities, beliefs, hopes, expectations, and relationships. Caregiving is not just a role reserved for “saints”—eventually, everyone is drafted into the caregiver role. It’s not a role people medically train for; it’s a new type of relationship initiated by a loved one’s need for care. And it’s a role that cannot be quarantined to home because it infuses all aspects of our lives.
Caregivers today find themselves in need of a crash course in new and unfamiliar skills. They must not only care for a loved one, but also access hidden community resources, collaborate with medical professionals, craft new narratives consistent with the changing nature of their care role, coordinate care with family, seek information and peer support using a variety of digital platforms, and negotiate social support—all while attempting to manage conflicts between work, life, and relationship roles. The moments that mark us in the transition from loved one to caregiver matter because if we don’t make sense of how we are being transformed, we risk undervaluing our care experiences, denying our evolving beliefs, becoming trapped by other’s misunderstandings, and feeling underappreciated, burned out, and overwhelmed.
Informed by original caregiver research and proven advocacy strategies, this book speaks to caregiving as it unfolds, in all of its confusion, chaos, and messiness. Readers won’t find well-intentioned clichés or care stereotypes in this book. There are no promises to help caregivers return to a life they knew before caregiving. No, this book greets caregivers where they are in their journey—new or chronic—not where others expect (or want) them to be.
“Nobody grows up planning to be a caregiver, but many of us will become one and sometimes when we least expect it. Thomson and White bring powerful insights to help understand what it means to be a caregiver and how to truly support those of us who will travel this unexpected journey.” – Samir K. Sinha, director of geriatrics, Sinai Health System and University Health Network, Toronto; health policy research director, National Institute on Ageing
Contest open to adults aged 18+, worldwide. No purchase necessary.
Identify which prize(s) you would like to win. Submit the item name/number, your name and email address to Angela at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Your name and email address will not be given out to anyone else, unless it is required in order for you to obtain your prize(s)).
One entry per person, per item.
Entries accepted from Wednesday April 21, 2021 at 5:00 pm CST until Saturday May 15, 2021 at 12:00 noon CST.
Winners will be drawn on or before Sunday May 16, 2021 at 12:00 noon CST.
Qualified winners will be notified by email and your mailing address will be required so we can ship you your prize.
Every attempt will be made to get your prize to you, however, in the unfortunate event there are restrictions in your country, you will be ineligible. In that case, another draw will be made to seek a suitable winner.
It’s been one year since the release of my latest book, “Cancer Up the Wazoo” and to celebrate I am offering another chapter for free! Chapter 17 is about my beliefs and experiences with “integrative medicine.”
Check out the PDF “Integrative Medicine” on how complementary therapies combined with conventional treatment can help provide the best treatment for a diagnosis of cancer.
I have been learning a lot about nutrition and diets. After reading Gin Stephen’s book “Feast Without Fear,” I was curious to find out what kind of “personalized nutrition” options were available to me. I came across this company called Nutrigenomix (out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada) and talked to my doctor and dietician about it. It’s a genetic test for personalized nutrition worth $499.00 CAD, so I wanted to make sure it was worth it. With a doctor’s referral, I could get 80% of the cost covered by Manitoba Blue Cross. My doctor agreed to give me a referral.
I found a dietician that was trained in doing this kind of testing (at the Wellness Institute in Winnipeg), and I booked an initial consultation with Laura. On the first visit, I had to read over and sign a consent form.
Page 1 of Nutrigenomix consent form
Page 2 of Nutrigenomix consent form
Tube for Nutrigenomix saliva (DNA) sample
Laura then took a history, a brief assessment and told me a little about the DNA test. She was very interested in my intermittent fasting, so we talked a little bit about that. I also told her about the Low FODMAP Diet (for irritable bowel syndrome) and that I was learning I have an intolerance to certain foods like pistachios, almonds, and wheat flour.
She opened up the packaging and told me to get ready to provide a saliva sample for the DNA test. I had done a similar test for Ancestry DNA a few years back, so I knew it would take me a while to fill the tube up to the line (not including bubbles!). She said she would call when the results were in, which would take about three to four weeks.
Easy-peasy. Now the wait begins. Stay tuned. Watch for Part 2 when I receive the results!
I have been invited to attend the “Skate Your Butt Off” Roller Event fundraiser for the Anal Cancer Foundation. My event tickets are purchased, I have a travel buddy (Judy Lee-Wing) and our flights are booked!
Where does one begin when memory problems become an issue with an aging parent?
Issues such as getting a diagnosis, terminology (What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia?), resources (Book: Caring for a Husband with Dementia; App: Dementia Caregiver Solutions for iOS; Alzheimer Society), sundowning, and managing difficult behaviours are all discussed in this half-hour video.
Check out my video interview with Nancy Baker from Healing Healthy with Nancy called “Caring for Parents with Memory Issues.”
What do you get when two clinical social workers who work in a geriatric centre write a handbook on how to improve your memory skills? A fine little guide for helping older people who are concerned about the changes in their memory!
Janet Fogler and Lynn Stern team up in “Improving Your Memory: How to Remember What You’re Starting to Forget” (2014) in this fourth edition. Originally published in 1988, these social workers have created the book that I have been looking for. In this fourth edition, they have included the smartphone and other technologies that are helpful to us as we manage our daily tasks and are challenged by our aging minds and bodies.
The paperback (168 pages) is medium-sized and is packed with real-life stories and examples to help the reader understand the concepts. There are also quizzes throughout to help the reader apply the knowledge learned (to help one remember!). It is divided into four parts:
How memory works
How memory changes as we age
Factors that affect memory
Techniques for improving your memory
I cracked open the book and dived into section four, as I was eager to see what techniques the authors were recommending. They offered some great ideas, and even ones I had not heard of before. One of them had to do with switching your ring or watch to your other hand or wrist, as an indicator that you had something to remember. It is much like the classic “tying a string around your finger” trick. I found some of the mental exercises fun and a little tricky, and I enjoyed trying out some new skills to help me remember things. The one example for myself that comes to mind is when I am attending an appointment and I have to park in a large parkade. I will use an “active observation” technique so I won’t forget where I left the car!
The first three parts of the book are very easy to understand and come with an illustration of “A Model For How Memory Works.” For us visual learners, these kinds of diagrams are helpful. Encoding (getting something to stick) and retrieval (being able to recall something) can become a little more difficult as we get older, for a variety of reasons. The authors explain, in simple language, why these things happen and how we can try to combat them. Whether our forgetfulness is due to stress, grief, depression, poor concentration, medications, or illness, memory problems can cause added stressors. The authors give some good advice in the appendix on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias; “What is good for your heart is also good for your brain, so monitoring heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol is important” (page 142).
I was surprised to learn the book doesn’t talk about “mild cognitive impairment” and the prevalence rates of Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias. Knowing that the risk of Alzheimer’s disease increases with age is important to know, but not knowing the level of risk does not allay any fears or concerns one may have. (The World Health Organization estimates, of those 60 and over, 5 to 8 people per 100 will develop dementia.)
I also noticed the absence of the terms “mindfulness” and “meditation,” as those two terms are used quite often in most of the current brain health literature I have been reading. Fogler and Stern mention how alcohol can negatively affect your memory, but they omitted any mention of drugs. Interestingly the nutrition section has no reference to supplements. I also observed God, higher power, and spirituality are not discussed.
Overall, a highly recommended guide and workbook for those who want to learn about: how the brain stores and retrieves information (in our “working” and “long-term” memory); what happens to the aging brain; what may cause memory problems; and tips and techniques on how to maximize your chances of remembering things. I’ll leave you with these two tips: “Much of what is called ‘forgetting’ is a lack of paying attention” (p. 137); and “Study after study shows that increased fitness levels result in improvement on cognitive tests” (p. 64).
Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW
Author/Specialist in Aging
Dr. John Medina’s book, “Brain Rules for Aging Well: 10 Principles for Staying Vital, Happy, and Sharp” (2017), disappointed me. Perhaps I had high expectations as I was impressed with his first book “Brain Rules.” He has labeled himself the “grumpy neuroscientist” and his writing in this book shows. The hefty price of the hardcover ($36.99 CAD) made me believe that the information contained within must be good. As a specialist in aging, and someone who is very interested in the concept of “aging well,” I had to take a look.
I was encouraged by most of the reviews that this book was full of useful and helpful strategies to help one age well. As I dug in, I quickly realized that the book’s premise was inspired by the findings of an experiment from 1979 known as the “counterclockwise study” (Langer). This was a very small study based on the experience of eight seventy-year-old men who were “stereotypically old.” For one week they were subjected to a time warp –– and lived as if it were 1959. After being immersed in the happy days of old, they came out seemingly younger –– happy with improved postures, hearing, and vision. Their hand grips strengthened and they moved with improved ease. As a woman in my fifties, I started to doubt how this book could adequately cover the topic of aging well – and my doubts were confirmed.
The book is divided into four sections, with the proposed “10 Brain Rules for Aging Well” which Medina starts and ends with as the guiding principles. Parts called Social Brain, Thinking Brain, Body and Brain, and Future Brain with a handy index at the end comprises the layout of the book. He refers to many scientific studies and other resources, and he directs us to “Extensive, notated citations at http://www.brainrules.net/references.” I found this style of referencing quite odd, and it was difficult to find what I was looking for. When I sit down to read a book, I don’t want to have to go to the internet to find the references. Also, the way the references are listed doesn’t make it easy to find what you are looking for.
I found myself bored with all the scientific jargon and his stories to help explain some of the complicated workings of the brain didn’t hit the mark. I ended up skim reading through quite a bit. Some of his aging well advice, such as engaging in friendly arguments and playing certain video games were quite surprising to me. I have yet to understand how a specialist in brain research would suggest arguing with people and playing video games as part of a good plan for overall brain health.
I liked the summaries at the end of each chapter. Medina’s advice about exercise, healthy diet, friendships and “say no to retirement” were well-taken. I found the discussion on the updated term “working memory” for the outdated term “short-term memory” interesting. The personal stories he shares were endearing, especially the one about nostalgia, reminiscing and the “our song” syndrome he and his wife share.
The book was apparently well-proofed and edited (as Medina notes in his acknowledgments); however, I found two glaringly obvious errors. The first was on page 104, where Medina mistakenly tells us that reading from books 3.5 hours a DAY will help reduce our risk of dying by a certain age when compared to those who didn’t. In actuality, the research states it is a 30-minutes-a-day activity, which translates into 3.5 hours WEEKLY.
The second error, which I was astonished by (as an author and editor myself), was on page 164. Medina was talking about research on exercise done with people with limited mobility. He said that the participants were “assessed by a test called” and there was a blank space after that. The next paragraph started with a period. Perhaps that was the period that he deliberately omitted back in the introduction on page 7? I’d be pretty ticked if I were Medina, knowing this one slipped by all the reviewers.
I believe this was a good attempt by Medina to write a book on Aging Well; however, his dated references to works from 30-40 years ago (e.g., Hauri’s book No More Sleepless Nights, and the movie Cocoon) made me less confident in thinking he was using fresh and current research. This book was a good attempt at starting the conversation about brain health and aging well, but I think he has a lot more reading and researching to do on the subject. One last thought –– I wish he’d avoid using the term “elderly.” That’s a term we are getting away from in the aging well literature when discussing older adults. I believe mainstream media is also moving away from using that term.