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 much–needed 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 co–founder, 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 AlzAuthors.com. 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.