AlzAuthors Shines Light on Dementia

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 6.2 million Americans aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2021. To help share Alzheimer’s and dementia stories and light the way for others, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit AlzAuthors was founded. The organization’s goal is to make a difference in the lives of those on their own journey with the disease.

Together, all AlzAuthors strive to eliminate the stigma surrounding the disease that affects an estimated 47 million people worldwide. To do this, AlzAuthors shares the written stories to serve as caregiver handbooks, guides through the disease process or a catalyst for muchneeded conversations. The organization also features a new author each week and receives requests for inclusion from over 300 writers globally.

Whether someone is a caregiver, family member or living with dementia themselves, they can find help and guidance from decades of caregiving within AlzAuthors’ memoirs, caregiver guides, novels, children’s books and blogs. There are numerous encouraging, real-life experiences behind these works. Furthermore, AlzAuthors invites others who have personal stories relating to Alzheimer’s or dementia to join in sharing their stories. The organization believes authors are bonded in a number of ways, including that:

  • We know the pain of being forgotten.
  • We have all witnessed decline.
  • We have provided countless hours of caregiving.
  • We know many others have experienced the same.
  • Now, more than ever, we believe in the power of sharing our stories.

In addition to the website, AlzAuthors now offers the AlzAuthors Bookstore. This is a vast, go-to collection of top books for individuals, assisted living facilities, doctor’s offices and other businesses offering eldercare services. As an Amazon affiliate, a small percentage of proceeds earned from bookstore sales contributes to the cost of maintaining the AlzAuthors website.

Hosted by the Whole Care Network, AlzAuthors shares the “Untangling Alzheimer’s and Dementia: An AlzAuthors Podcast as well. This podcast is another way the organization supports dementia journeys. Each episode features an AlzAuthors’ author who shares their personal story to help listeners learn about and cope with an Alzheimer’s disease or dementia diagnosis.

“We’ve curated hundreds of powerful and profound stories, spanning all disease types and stages through a variety of genres. You can read these stories on our blog, but if time is short and listening is your pleasure, follow the podcast to hear the author tell their story in more detail,” said podcast producer, editor, host and AlzAuthors cofounder, Marianne Sciucco.

History of AlzAuthors

In June 2015, Sciucco and fellow authors Jean Lee and Vicki Tapia became friends through social media after reading each other’s books. Recognizing the power of collaboration, the three women wrote blog posts about Alzheimer’s, dementia and caregiving for different caregiver websites. While they began promoting their books together, they found that three voices could increase impact.

Shortly after, Shannon Wiersbitzky joined the women, and AlzAuthors organized the first “National Caregiver Appreciation Month” awareness campaign (now an annual event). In June 2016, the team decided to create a website to gather resources in a singular place where caregivers and those living with memory impairment could find solid support. 

They sought a place where authors could find the proper audience as well. Thus, they invited authors to write short posts about the story behind their stories and these writings became Within the first year, over 60 individuals became “AlzAuthors.”

Today, Kathryn Harrison and Ann Campanella, together with Sciucco, Lee and Tapia, manage this not-for-profit organization. They are assisted by Susan Landeis and Gincy Heins. Past team members, Wiersbitzky and Irene Olson, have left management but continue to be strong supporters and resources for AlzAuthors.

Learn More About AlzAuthors


4 Warning signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

More than 6 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease, a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. Another alarming statistic, between 2000 and 2019, the number of deaths from Alzheimer’s disease as recorded on death certificates has more than doubled, increasing 145.2%, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. More recently, the nonprofit organization has reported that Alzheimer’s and dementia deaths have risen 16% in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. These increased rates of diagnosis and mortality are reasons for the public to become more aware of the numerous, potential warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, documented by the Alzheimer’s Association. 

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life

The Alzheimer’s Association explains that an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease is often the identification of disruptive memory loss. This can include information that was recently learned, peoples’ names, appointment times and more. Memory loss that disrupts daily life can also constitute repeating the same information over and over again or asking a question and repeatedly forgetting the answer. Oftentimes, those with early signs of Alzheimer’s disease will remember this information at a later time or start to leave themselves frequent reminder notes because they anticipate forgetting the details.

2. Difficulty planning or problem-solving

Those living with undiagnosed Alzheimer’s disease have been known to exhibit challenges when attempting to follow a plan. They may also struggle when working with numbers, such as when they are paying their monthly bills. For example, people with this type of dementia may begin to notice that they have been making financial errors when paying bills or that they forgot to submit a payment on time. While they may write these instances off as mere errors or mistakes, a continuation of these occurrences can be an indication of Alzheimer’s disease.

3. Unable to track down missing items

Someone with undiagnosed Alzheimer’s disease may begin to either put things in unusual places or lose items. When an item is lost, they will not be able to track the item down by retracing their steps or thinking back to the last time they were in possession of the item. As the disease progresses, these individuals may become defensive when questioned about their ability to remember where certain items are located. It is not uncommon for someone to misplace something once in a while. However, when losing items becomes more common, that is when someone may need to make others aware of the issue or seek medical advice from a professional.

4. Changes in mood and personality

A commonality among individuals with undiagnosed Alzheimer’s disease that can serve as a warning sign is apparent changes in mood or personality. This type of dementia can bring about feelings of anxiety, confusion, suspicion and fear. For these reasons, conversations that  normally flow may become difficult for the individual to hold. When something is misplaced or forgotten, this person may become extremely irritated, upset or depressed. If these characteristics become evident in individuals who had not previously presented such behaviors, loved ones, friends, family, co-workers or others who know the person should consider the possibility that this could be a warning sign of Alzheimer’s.

Other Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease