Local author Carole Fulmer, of Newberry, recently has released her second book with the contributions of seven other women. "Alzheimer's: The Thief That Stole My Love" was printed at minimum costs to keep prices down, so one hundred percent of the proceeds can go directly to the Alzheimer's Association.
Fulmer typed, edited and compiled the short stories based on personal experiences of Louise Bergen, Debbie Black, Jeanne Fisher, Sharon Hamilton, Donna Ickes, Marilyn Kern and Fran Worthington, in addition to her own stories and poetry.
The 56-page paperback book is being sold for $10 and is dedicated to anyone who has or has had Alzheimer's and also to Debbie Black, who passed before seeing the fruits of her labor.
Fulmer has had numerous experiences in dealing with Alzheimer's. The disease that causes mental deterioration has affected many people in her life, including her maternal grandmother and paternal grandfather. Her mother, husband and brother-in-law also suffered from Alzheimer's. The latter three had the disease at times which all overlapped within a 25-year span.
She recalls a story from her past about her grandmother feeling as if nobody loved her because no one kissed her anymore. The disease prevented her from remembering all the love her family gave her, so Fulmer found a way to help her see how much she was loved, by putting on lipstick and kissing her cheeks and face.
The next time her grandmother asked why no one kissed her, Fulmer held up a mirror and asked, "Where have you been? How did you get that on your cheek if no one's been kissing you?"
Fulmer feels it is important to get the patients laughing. She says people should "see joy in difficult and sad situations."
Because of her having a barbershop quartet come sing to her husband before his passing, that hospice adopted the idea of singing at people's bedsides.
For years, Fulmer acted as a caregiver for her loved ones for as long as she possibly could, until it came time for her to care for herself and allow others to fill the role of caregiver for her family members. She uses her experiences to counsel and guide others in similar circumstances.
As a facilitator of the Alzheimer's Support Group of Divine Providence Hospital, Fulmer leads meetings at 6:30 p.m. on the second Monday of every month at Divine Providence Hospital for other caregivers like herself. The support group is an affiliate of the Greater Pennsylvania Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, and it is at this support group that Fulmer introduced her book idea to the others.
"I have a dream that I would like to see us join forces and write a book from the support group and raise money for the Alzheimer's Association," she said. With that, the incredibly determined Fulmer began compiling her second book.
Her new book is similar to the first, "Dead Man in My Chair: Alzheimer's Disease Brings Strange Visitors," in that it is comprised of short stories and poems focused on Alzheimer's. She was able to get the first book published with the help of renowned author Cecil Murphy. She met him at St. David's Christian Writer's Group and was able to help him with a book of his, previous to publishing her own.
Not only does Fulmer help the caregivers in handling their loved ones' situations, she also holds workshops in which she teaches individuals with Alzheimer's how to communicate. She tries to "maximize the positive" and the quality of life for those people. She says, "Find a task, however trivial, they may be able to complete, even the most impaired need to be needed." She also says, "Try to affirm them in any way you can. I try not to lie, but sometimes that is a necessity for safety's sake." She has been successful in helping many people with her words, both verbal and written.
In order to promote her book and raise more money for the cause, Fulmer has been busy with speaking events, book signings and the Walk to End Alzheimer's. Some of the other contributors make appearances at the events to help raise awareness and sign books as well. If anyone would like to meet the author or purchase a book, many opportunities await in the weeks ahead.
An ecumenical luncheon will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Pine Street United Methodist Church, where Fulmer will be present as the speaker of the day.
A few days following her appearance at the luncheon, Fulmer will attend the Alzheimer's Walk at Indian Park on Sept. 28, beginning with registration at 10 a.m. and the walk starting at 11 a.m.
In addition, the month of October holds a couple more events where Fulmer can be found promoting her cause. She will be having a book signing at Christian Light Bookstore at 1009 Washington Blvd. from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 12. And the Pine Street United Methodist Church will host a Candlelight Vigil on from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 16. All events are open to the public.