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Twinsburg Educator Constance Longmire to Sign New Book Dec. 14th

Posted Dec, 13, 2013

Constance Longmire to Sign New Book Dec. 14th

Local educator shares caregiver experience, gives advice in new book

by Conner Howard | reporter Published: November 28, 2013 12:00AM

Twinsburg -- Caring for loved ones can be a physically and emotionally draining experience, and author and Kent State University instructor Dr. Constance Longmire is looking to provide a resource for these caregivers with her new book, "I Miss Talking To You."

Longmire, who wrote this collection of personal tales and research involving caring for ill family and friends, will sign copies of her book at the Twinsburg Public Library Dec. 14.

Having been personally affected by Alzheimer's disease and dementia, Longmire seeks to channel her struggles into a useful resource for others going through similar trials. Longmire's mother was diagnosed with dementia in November 2010 and was admitted to Great Lakes Caring Hospice, where she was attended to by staff and family until her passing in spring 2013. Longmire said the ordeal was taxing on her and her family, as they worked closely with hospice staff to provide support.

"Being a caregiver of my mom, my family as a whole, we were caregivers," Longmire said. "Caregivers are not as informed of different types of assistance out there for them and sometimes it's not enough assistance for them."

Throughout her mother's illness, Longmire said she and her family coped with feelings of helplessness and frustration. These feelings can be difficult to express for fear of appearing selfish, Longmire said. In her book, she seeks to address these feelings and make it known to other caregivers that their exhaustion is normal and valid.

"The feelings that a caregiver has, the feelings of guilt, the feelings of 'I can't be tired' ... how do you have a conversation to tell someone 'I'm really upset that my loved one is sick' without being misunderstood? You internalize a lot," Longmire said. "You want a strong support system to support caregivers and that's what birthed the book."

Longmire emphasizes the importance of taking time to look after oneself as well as a sick loved one, recording one's thoughts and maintaining a positive attitude.

"Keep their memory alive," Longmire said. "Even when they're ill, keep the positive memory of them alive. I ask the caregiver to write down their feelings. Read, meditate, pray and take care of yourself. I really want the caregivers to understand that there is hope for them. Anyone who is caring for someone, whether it's someone with a head cold or someone who is terminally ill, you're a caregiver."

For their part in caring for her mother and providing the basis of her book, Longmire thanks the staff of Great Lakes Caring Hospice for their effort and concern.

"I cannot give them enough credit for how they talked, they hugged, they cried, to this day," Longmire said. "My mom transitioned eight months ago and they still call to see how we're doing. It was genuine concern."

With average life expectancies on the rise and members of the Baby Boomer generation living longer on average, Longmire said conditions like Alzheimer's disease and dementia will create a need for family caregivers and the resources that support them.

"Baby boomers are living longer," Longmire said. "People are living longer and because of that, diseases are coming and they're lingering. Unfortunately, Alzheimer's/dementia is going to be one of the top illnesses of the world."

Longmire is a professor of Developmental Studies in the Office of Diversity and Outreach at the Kent State University Geauga Regional Academic Center in Twinsburg. For questions about her book or dementia care, email longmireconstance@yahoo.com.

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