Just See Me-Love Still Lives Here
Sacred Stories from the Other Side of Dementia
My upcoming book, drum roll please... "Just See Me-Love Still Lives Here-Sacred Stories from the Other Side of Dementia". Expect to have it in your hands by May, 2018.
What's the Progress of "Just See Me-Sacred Stories from the Other Side of Dementia"?
All 13 interviews and portrait sessions are complete and the publisher and I are finishing and fine tuning! Thirteen families opened their hearts and shared their stories about caring for their loved one with dementia. I learned so much about living well, and I can’t wait to share the portraits and the beautiful stories with you! Families will have a beautiful legacy for their family.
Who is a Caregiver?
While interviewing 13 families, my definition changed a bit. A caregiver is someone who cares for another. A caregiver is someone who cares for themselves with the same integrity and authenticity they put into caring for others. We are caregivers to our parents, our children, our spouses, our friends, our pets and even our businesses. In the last few years, I realized I care for my business, my passion, better than I care for myself. I have to work hard to keep the designated self-care time reserved and not let it get taken over by business tasks. Certainly, we all have something we care about enough to consider ourselves to be a 'caregiver.' This is not to say I am comparing my various caregiving tasks to those of someone who cares for their loved one with dementia. Caregiving for someone we love as they slowly lose their memory and other cognitive abilities can be heartbreaking. The devastation can be so much that there is no room for self-care.
Thoughts on Care-Giving
What you can do
About 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the last 12 months. [National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2015). Caregiving in the U.S.]
1. Smile, give a hug and offer a hand to a caregiver. It can be life-changing. Open your hearts with no judgment and full compassion.
2. All caregivers deserve compassion. The world can change with just the tiniest bit of compassion. If we can have more understanding, we can change the world to be a kinder place. We can all agree- we need this!
3. Open your eyes and open your heart. You don't know what others are going through. People who care for others are everywhere. They're at the grocery store, the schoolyards picking up their kids, next door to us... Don't ask what you can do because it places the burden on them. Instead, offer yourself and your services. It is easier to say 'yes' to an offer than it is to think about what you might need.
4. Caregiving can be thrust upon us without our approval. It can be an opportunity to rise up and show up 100%. It will be a time of many tests.
5. Practice active listening. Be present as someone shares a story. It is healing and essential to a robust life for all of us.
6. Giving makes you feel like you are living. Share your story, it builds intimacy and connection.
7. Money is not a substitute for tenderness. It is great to offer money to charities, but it isn't a replacement for true thoughtfulness.
The thirteen families in "Just See Me-Sacred Stories from the Other Side of Dementia," will ground us and remind us all about what is really important-Love, Gratitude, Forgiveness, Connection and other basic spiritual needs.
You may know I am a holistic nurse practitioner, and portrait, lifestyle and humanitarian photographer. I capture compassionate images-even of the hard times. About 2 years ago, I had a pull to document the stories of those caring for their loved ones with dementia. I believe when we truly have a ‘passion’ for something, no obstacle is too much. This is how I felt. It has become a book of spiritual lessons and so much more than I ever imagined. "Just See Me" is written so we can all be better caregivers- for others, our businesses and most importantly ourselves.
Recent Press Release: Posted to 242 Media Websites!
AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Many families have no suitable photographs of their loved ones who have Alzheimer's. They don't realize honoring ordinary moments with compassionate photography is an important part of their parent's journey.
Austin photographer Carmen Buck is on a mission to safeguard those memories.
Carmen Buck captures meaningful photographs during ordinary times
Carmen Buck honors those people who have dementia by taking the time to create compassionate photographs that show their zest, unique personality, humor, quirks, and expressions.
"One family told me, 'These photos are priceless and mean so much to us now that she is gone,'" said Carmen, president of Carmen Buck Photography. She honors people with Alzheimer's Disease and their caregivers by:
- Photographing important events that raise awareness such as the Walks for Alzheimer's Texas and Alzheimer's Association. Carmen is the official photographer for Alzheimer's Texas. She will photograph the Travis County Alzheimer's Association walk.
- Capturing meaningful photographs during ordinary times. Photos include multiple generations, friends, caregivers, and pets. These photographic treasures become family legacies.
- Honoring those people who have dementia by taking the time to create compassionate photographs that show their zest, unique personality, humor, quirks, and expressions.
With one in 10 people over the age of 65 living with Alzheimer's Disease, more than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias. These caregivers are often daughters, wives, sons, and husbands who are plunged into caregiving.
"Families don't know how to honor and create meaningful memories as unexpected changes occur with their loved ones and relationships," said Carmen.
About Carmen Buck, Photographer, Author, Speaker and Nurse Practitioner
Carmen Buck is a humanitarian photographer who captures love, light, and compassion in every situation. During her 40-year nursing career as a holistic nurse practitioner, she worked with thousands of people who sought meaning and connection during challenging times. Healing and connection through storytelling and photography are her passions, and she strives to help caregivers find meaning during difficult times. Her latest book, "Just See Me-Sacred Stories from the Other Side of Dementia," will be released early 2018. She is an international speaker and author who teaches live events and webinars on the topics of spirituality, photography, and caregiving. She creates legacies for people of all ages in the Austin area and beyond.