On Saturday, the Barnes &Noble store at Olympia’s Capital Mall will host Aberdeen author Victoria Adams.
But the event will be far more than a simple book-signing. With help from the Olympic Area Agency on Aging, Adams is looking to educate people about dementia and its effects on patient and caregiver alike.
Besides reading excerpts from her book, “Who I Am Yesterday,” Adams will answer questions and offer additional resources to help those caring for loved ones with dementia.
It’s a mission that’s very personal to her. Her book, published in 2012, tells the story of her experience with her late husband, who began showing symptoms of vascular dementia during an island vacation: He suddenly started seeing her not as his wife of many years, but as the travel companion she had been to him previously (hence the book’s title).
She writes that an early moment of clarity was realizing “the world in his eyes would never be the same and would change with every day. If I wanted to keep him, I would have to move through those worlds with him and not try to keep him in mine.”
Her book tells of many such steps in her journey of discovery during their first year living with the disease, and offers constructive advice based on that experience.
One important nugget is not to take a one-size-fits-all approach.
“Each and every person with dementia is different,” she writes. “The professional help available is invaluable, but it must be applied with care and with an awareness of your specific situation, and your own inner convictions.”
As part of her presentation on Saturday, Adams will share an extensive list of resources, including a wide range of reading materials and online videos, as well as contact information for companies that provide support services and products for dementia patients and caregivers.
She said the bookstore also planned to display many of the books she recommends during the event, making it easier for attendees to find what they need.
Adams tells her heart-wrenching story in first person, but never refers to her husband by name in the book.
“My husband was a very private man, and he shied away from public exposure of any kind. I have tried to honor that preference,” she said.
Her secondary reason was of a more practical nature: “I wanted the book to be personal, but general in reference. I think it is easier for a reader to relate to their own situation if the people being discussed can be thought of within their own reference points.”
Adams’ husband passed away in March 2015, about three years after her book was published. She is working on a follow-up, titled “Caregiving Backstage,” which will cover her experience making decisions on hospice and palliative care for him.