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A Daughter's Promise

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To the memory of Ruth Swerdloff, whose journey you are about to take.
Many people fall into routines that require them to do the same thing, the same way, everyday. They get up, go to work and perform the same job, read the same types of books—never changing anything. When they are forced to vary from their routines, some people often find it difficult, or virtually impossible. People, not just seniors, who take part in different activities each day give their minds a chance to workout, which may reduce their risk of developing dementia. This book is dedicated to all those whose memories are precious, whose lives have been drastically changed, and whose families I hope after reading this book will understand the huge undertaking and commitment they are making when they decide to become a caregiver. In my heart and soul, I hope someday a cure or a preventive will be found for Alzheimer’s disease. I dedicate this book to my mom, Ruth Swerdloff, who gave me the courage to be the person I am today, and taught me the true meanings of courage and survival.

146 pages, Paperback

Published January 1, 2017

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About the author

Fran Lewis

45 books124 followers

Biography: Fran Lewis

Born in the South Bronx, I grew up with people from many ethnic backgrounds. I learned to play and work with children in my school that came from other countries and different places.
I was always over weight as a child and got picked on a lot by the other children in my class and even my teachers. I found it hard to do many of the sporting activities that my sister and cousins could do. I learned at an early age that kids can be mean and I promised myself that I would never retaliate or do mean things to other kids in return.

When I decided to write my short stories I realized that I had a lot to say about my youth and in both of my books I tell about a ten year old girl named Bertha who learns to deal with real life issues kids face today at home and in school. I write reviews for other sites and I wrote three children’s books and currently writing one on Alzheimer’s Disease.

As an educator I the New York City Public Schools for over 36 years, I realized just how unique and precious our children are. I was the reading and writing staff developer in my school and the dean. I loved the children and had the respect of my fellow teachers and parents.

Teaching children to read was really very rewarding and introducing them to writing and creating their own stories was exciting for the students. I am a member of WhosWho of America’s Executives and Professionals as well as a member of WhosWho of America’s Teachers. I am the author of three children’s books and my fourth entitled Memories Are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey: Ruth’s Story will be out next month. I am currently writing my fourth Bertha Book and a second on cognitive ways to keep your brain alert. The tentative title is Sharp as a Tack or Scrambled Eggs: Which Describes Your Brain. This book will deal with how we should help those who are seniors keep their minds and bodies active as well as ways to help delay dementia and Alzheimer’s.

I review books for Manic Readers, I justfinished.com and BookPleasures.com. I review books for authors upon request and would love to get paid for doing my reviews. There are publicists that send me books to review and that get paid for my reviews. I wrote five books that are self-published and I am going to complete one book children’s book and one based on a true story.

I host two radio shows on Red River Radio. The first is a book discussion where I interview or ask authors questions about their writing and books along with a book club panel to ask additional questions. I am going to host a show for children’s and Ya authors starting in August. I have been interviewed many times. I will be interviewed on D’s Roundtable on August 19th at and page Page Readers on Sept. 27th at three. My book discussion show is the third Wed. of every month at one eastern and my children’s author’s show will be four times a year. I am also going to interview Dr. Kenneth Weene on Sept. 21st at four. I had to reschedule the interview due to personal reasons. We will discuss the inside scoop about insane asylums and his career working in one plus his book Memoirs from an Asylum.

I hope this gives you a picture of what I do. Fran

I am a reading and writing staff developer and I worked with children with reading and writing disabilities.

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Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews
Profile Image for Fran.
Author 45 books124 followers
October 7, 2021
To the memory of Ruth Swerdloff, whose journey you are about to take.
Many people fall into routines that require them to do the same thing, the same way, everyday. They get up, go to work and perform the same job, read the same types of books—never changing anything. When they are forced to vary from their routines, some people often find it difficult, or virtually impossible. People, not just seniors, who take part in different activities each day give their minds a chance to workout, which may reduce their risk of developing dementia. This book is dedicated to all those whose memories are precious, whose lives have been drastically changed, and whose families I hope after reading this book will understand the huge undertaking and commitment they are making when they decide to become a caregiver. In my heart and soul, I hope someday a cure or a preventive will be found for Alzheimer’s disease. I dedicate this book to my mom, Ruth Swerdloff, who gave me the courage to be the person I am today, and taught me the true meanings of courage and survival.
Profile Image for Lois.
323 reviews9 followers
December 5, 2017
The indomitable spirit of womankind radiates throughout this revealing memoir of the author’s mother, who was partly responsible for the written text, and who proved herself so worthy to be the ultimate source of the material on which A Daughter’s Promise is based. This small volume is a worthy commemoration of a life well lived, and with each word Fran Lewis brings honor to her mother’s name. The deep sense of respect that Lewis has for her mother, Ruth, is shown in the lifelong values that the latter inspired in her. As she notes, “Perfection: that’s what she always told me. Each piece of writing, each assignment had to be done to the standards set out by my teachers and professors, and then pass the highest test, mom’s.”

Apart from being an intelligently written memoir, A Daughter’s Promise is, above all, testament to how one family copes with the gradually declining mental health of a pivotal figure who has helped make them who they are, with the root cause for the decline being Alzheimer’s—that dreaded scourge which, despite the most miraculous seeming advances in modern medicine, still has the medical experts stumped. Tracing her mother’s disease from its early days to its final progression, at which stage Ruth’s doctors were unable to assist any further in the amelioration of the disease, the empathetic way in which Fran helps her mother to cope with her steady decline in health until she is unable even to control her own bodily functions, reveals the best of intentions in the face of impossible odds.

In A Daughter’s Promise, Fran has put to good use the insights that she gained in struggling to cope with her mother’s deteriorating state of health, and ultimate demise. By sharing her findings with others, she has been able to point the way forward to others who fear being unable to deal with the onset of Alzheimer’s in their own family and friends. For instance, she provides the lowdown on the tests (the biomarker test, brain imaging and cognitive assessment) that are used to detect the presence of the disease and to assess its progression, as well as indicating the signs and symptoms of the illness, in its early, middle and late stages. Lewis also discusses survival guidelines for the embattled caregivers who only too often are expected to neglect their own health and well-being in caring for the Alzheimer’s sufferers—she encourages them to be gentle on themselves, so that they can treat those afflicted with the disease with as much care and concern as they deserve.

A Daughter’s Promise is supplemented with numerous black-and-white photos that form a photo album appended to the main text, showing various members of the family at less stressful periods in life than at the very end. The blend of memoir and self-help book for Alzheimer patient caregivers works as a whole in that Fran’s journey has been a deeply personal one. Her other two books on the subject, Memories are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey—Ruth’s Story and Sharp as a Tack or Scrambled Eggs: Which Describes Your Brain?, bear additional witness to the fact that Lewis has benefited from her experience in many tangible ways, not least of which is her determination to fight for the best quality of life that her loved ones can possibly have, no matter the stage of their life.
Profile Image for Eileen Thornton.
Author 27 books116 followers
August 18, 2017
This is the true story of how a daughter was determined to keep a promise she made to her mother. Ruth, the mother, had always been a strong woman. She had three children and always stressed that whatever they did in life they should do it well. There was to be no half measures. Therefore it must have come as a great shock to her when she found she had Alzheimers.

I have to admit, I didn't know a great deal about this illness until I read this book. Yes, I knew that the person was likely to lose their memory and forget simple things. However, I had no idea about what the illness really means to those affected by it or for their families. Fran Lewis, the daughter and author of the book, explains in detail, the various stages of what happens to all the people concerned.

The story is told through two viewpoints: Fran and Ruth. Fran tells us of how she sees the mother she loves being transformed through this terrible illness. But, by taking down her mother's dictation, she is also able to show us how her mother really feels about what is happening to her mind and how she was deeply stressed at the thought of going into a care home. This is when Fran gently explains to her mother that she would never send her away. A promise Fran is determined to keep at all cost.

Later in the book Fran includes some valuable advice for people who suddenly find themselves in this situation.

This is an inspiring story of the love and dedication of a daughter to the mother she loved.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
1,405 reviews35 followers
November 3, 2017
A Daughter's Promise is a compelling memoir that follows author Fran Lewis' mother Ruth Swerdloff's journey after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and the affect that the disease had on Ruth, Fran, and their family.

Ruth and Fran take the reader on an emotional journey as they recount Ruth's difficult battle as the progression of the disease overtakes her life, and the tragic affect that it had on Fran as her primary caregiver.

As a retired nursing home administrator, I couldn't help but become captivated by this bittersweet story. In my twenty years of running nursing homes, I have watched many patients, families, and caregivers as they tried to navigate and deal with this heart wrenching disease as best as they possibly could.

A Daughter's Promise is a beautifully written and very moving memoir that documents the very sobering struggle that Ruth endured while battling the disease, and how Fran was determined to keep the promise of providing home care for Ruth instead of placing her in a nursing home. You can't help but feel compassion and empathy as Ruth's story unfolds, it will tug at your heartstrings as both Ruth and Fran's account of this devastating disease changed their lives. I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I appreciated the very detailed information, facts, and website links that Fran provides the readers if they should ever find themselves facing this journey with their loved ones.

A Daughter's Promise is an amazing memoir that will tug at the heartstrings and stir the soul.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Providence Book Promotions.

Profile Image for Joan.
3,741 reviews71 followers
November 4, 2017
Lewis has given us a very raw and honest account of caring for her mother through an Alzheimer's journey. There were intense feelings when her mother was mistreated or ignored. There was distress when family members did not share in the commitment of care but rather went on vacations. At one point Lewis laments, “I have been nowhere for the last seven years...” and admits to getting “quite upset” with relatives and their lack of help. (Loc 626/1314)

Lewis adds writings from her mother's journal too. It is heartbreaking to read of her mother's own awareness of her disease and the frustration she experienced.

Lewis ends her book with some tips for caregivers, such as ideas to help dealing with erratic behaviors, bathing, clothing and feeding a patient with Alzheimer's.

I found Lewis' writing style a little difficult to follow. Events were generally not in chronological order. Events were frequently repeated, although usually from a slightly different viewpoint.

Nonetheless, this book contains a great deal of information about Alzheimer's, including the diagnosis, tests, and symptoms. It also contains good information for caregivers and those who have loved ones dealing with Alzheimer's.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Providence Book Promotions. My comments are an honest and independent review.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
5,262 reviews195 followers
November 5, 2017
Fran really does portray a good image of what it is like for a family member to have to deal with a loved one with Alzheimer's. I liked that this book was told from Fran's mother's own thoughts. It brought me the reading audience closer to Ruth and Fran. Which in turn kept me engaged in the book. Plus, it was not like I was just reading a book about someone who had Alzheimer's but it was like I was reading about a family member who was experiencing Alzheimer's.

Another thing that is important to point out are caregivers. These can be people in the professional medical field or family and friends. Who find themselves thrust in the role of professional caregiver. You may briefly give thought to the toll a caregiver experiences caring for someone but unless you are a caregiver yourself, you don't really have an idea. Fran provides insight into what it is like caring for your loved one, while seeing them change into a different person. This book is worth checking out.
Profile Image for Ann.
485 reviews5 followers
August 12, 2017
A wonderful book by Fran Lewis. This is a very personal, emotional, heart breaking but also heartwarming tribute not only to a courageous lady but also her daughter.  

Fran remembers how her mother Ruth reacted and subsequently coped from when she first realised she had Alzheimer's.   Fran also recalls how she herself struggled at times to keep her promise to her mother.

This amazing story is even more special in the way it is told from two perspectives,  Fran's and also Ruth's.  The courage, strength but also much love shine all the way through.  I have to admit to shedding a few tears in places.

Ruth or affectionately known as Ruthie, had lived a very active and busy life. She helped so many and was involved in programmes to help disadvantaged individuals and communities also helping to foster women's rights and so much more.  It was tough to realise she could no longer help others but needed to accept help herself.  One of the hardest things was the realisation that she was no longer in control of her own mind.

This book gives a wonderful insight to living with Alzheimer's and the many obstacles to overcome.   Many of us will know or be connected to someone who has this dreadful disease from caregivers to family members who will find this helpful.  

My grateful thanks to Fran for sharing this story and also for keeping her promise.

I hope many will read and gain help from this unique story.  
Profile Image for Martha Cheves.
Author 5 books67 followers
November 20, 2017
A Daughter's Promise - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of: Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish

"Six years ago I was able to drive a car and go shopping by myself. I was even able to eat in a restaurant and have lunch with my children and my sister. I took my own medications, I ran the journal for my organization. I even went around to collect money for ads to promote different businesses in my neighborhood. I had o trouble remembering where I was going and when I was supposed to get there."

"Then all of a sudden I began noticing little things. I could not remember where I put my glasses or my car keys. I could not remember why I walked into a room, or what I was looking for. I began overdosing my meds because I did not recall taking them. If that was not bad enough, I could not remember what I had eaten for breakfast, or that I was even hungry. I forgot to get my blood tested each month, thinking I'd had them done the month before. I never remembered calling the doctor for the results, because I did not recall taking them. Worst of all was my ability to drive a car, because my independence was about to come to an abrupt halt. Everything about my life was about to change, and there was nothing that I could do to control or stop it."

You have just been introduced to Ruthie and thousands of others like her. She as well as all of the others have Alzheimer's disease.

As I read this book I found myself comparing some of the signs to my own life. Many times I've gotten up to go into another room to get or do something and as soon as I walked through the doorway I find that I have totally forgotten why I even got up. I find myself forgetting names of people I've know forever, people I used to work with, the names of streets I've been down many times and the names of movies I watched the night before. These 'signs' do worry me but I feel that in my case this 'forgetting' is due to being so active. I justify this by the fact that I can remember so much from the past. My childhood friends - names, parent's names, streets, and all. I can remember movies that I saw years ago and which theater I went to and who I went with. I tell myself that way back then was a much slower time for me whereas now I stay busy and forget things. At least that's what I hope is causing my memory losses.

In A Daughter's Promise, Author Fran Lewis breaks down the beginning as well as the end of this terrible disease. And she knows everything 'first-hand' because she became the caregiver of Ruthie who was her mother. She fills you in on what to expect, not only as the patient but also as the caregiver. She helps you understand what the patient is going through both physically as well as mentally. And she also helps you understand what the caretaker goes through both physically as well as mentally.

Whether you know a person with Alzheimer's disease or not, this is a book that needs to be read by everyone! You may one day find yourself being the caregiver or even the patient and this book will help you know whats in store for you.

Profile Image for Lynda Dickson.
581 reviews57 followers
November 16, 2017
Fran tells the story of her time as a carer for her mother Ruth, who was battling Alzheimer's. When Fran first found out about Ruth's diagnosis, she honored her mother's wish and promised not to confine her to a nursing home. This was Ruth's greatest fear: "if it were up to the staff of the hospital I would have been placed in a nursing home and left to be forgotten with the rest of the people who have this terrifying, humiliating, and awful disease."

This book is a love letter from a daughter to her mother. Fran states: "I hope that this book and what I have written will help anyone that has a parent, grandparent, child, aunt, or uncle hit by this dreadful disease to understand it from the viewpoint of the caregivers and the person that will never be the same." Fran describes the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's in general and details the memory loss, deteriorating health, and changes in behavior in her mother, in particular. Fran concludes the book with tips for caregivers to look after themselves, tips on caring for their loved one, and a list of online resources. While Fran kept her promise to her mother and never regretted her decision, she does admit that looking after an Alzheimer's patient may not be the right decision for everyone and that not all nursing homes are as bad as the ones she experienced.

Fran's account is interspersed with the words of Ruth herself, written at various stages of the disease. Fran tells us: "I created this book from the years of personal journals that my mother kept from the moment she realized something was wrong." Ruth's account is heartbreaking in places: her loneliness at being ignored by neighbors she has known for over forty years and, especially, when she realizes her daughter Marcia has died. Ruth's contributions give us a great insight into the thoughts and feelings of the Alzheimer's sufferer.

Only a few events are actually detailed in the book, and these are repeated a number of times, albeit from a slightly different perspective each time. This may be a deliberate technique by the author to mimic the tendency of a person with Alzheimer's to repeat the same story over and over again. We are left with a touching insight into how this disease affects two strong women. I love the addition of the photo album of family snaps at the end of the book.

I received this book in return for an honest review.

Full blog post (17 November): https://booksdirectonline.blogspot.co...
Profile Image for  CCAM&GZM.
310 reviews91 followers
October 27, 2017
The book is written both from point of view of Ruth and Fran using Ruth’s records and Fran memories. One chapter is even written "by" Miracle (you’ll see).

But what is important is that the keyword related to this book is emotion.

The feelings of sadness and of helplessness are both acute and tell us that we are not our masters after all. What individualizes us, the soul and our rationality, crumbles under the fragility of substance. Or maybe not… because Ruth fought to be herself with everything she got still and used every last crumb of her lucidity. Actually, her “writing” is what I liked. Her fight, her torment and even the last of her hope are all present and mark the reader. The promise (of a daughter) doesn’t impress me much because, from where I come, we are still close to our family and still, very rare, we send our parents to a retiring / nursing home; therefore, for me, the promise to take care of my parents is not a promise, but the normal course of things.

The style of writing seemed to me to be one that goes from clear to somehow chaotic. Information and events start to repeat themselves, but in Ruth’s parts, I interpreted them as “normal” because they paint the canvas of her reality. She is pained not only by the illness but also by those who preferred to “forget” her even before her demise.

It was also interesting to see how differently Ruth and Fran perceived the same event. This is a good reminder for all who have next to them persons who cannot understand or express themselves properly.

Maybe I would not have liked Ruth entirely before her illness, but certainly, I felt her pain and desperation to remain whole. And certainly, I felt Fran’s pain and I appreciated her effort during her mother's tribulations.

A Daughter Promise is a book for everybody and a good book for those who are tried by fate; all of us could even find some advice regarding the illness based on authors' own experience.

Read and feel!

Profile Image for Wall-to-wall books - wendy.
952 reviews22 followers
October 19, 2017
A very touching and endearing tribute to this author's mother who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. If you have never known anyone who had to go through this themselves or with a friend or family member, it is a terrible disease, probably the hardest one to have to go through. I liked that the author added both her thoughts and her mother's. It was truly hard and frustrating for both of them.

My daughter was Asst. Activities Directer for an Alzheimer’s and Dementia facility. She would come home some days just crying. She got very close to some of the residents and it was heartbreaking for her to work there sometimes. I never had to go through this with any of my family but I have known friends who did, its heartbreaking. Fran was lucky she was able to keep her mother close to her and out of a facility. My friend's father had to be put in a home because he turned violent as do many Alzheimer sufferers.

Go on this beautiful heartwarming journey with Fran and her mother, Ruth. This is a very short and quick read, but you will want to read it slowly to catch every word and thought. ~ Nicely done!

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Partners in Crime Tours ~ Thank You!
Profile Image for Cindy McDonald.
Author 17 books117 followers
September 14, 2017
True confession: This was a difficult book for me to read. It was a difficult book for me to put down--you see, my mother also suffers from this dreaded disease. She is in the final stages. Fran Lewis details the progression of the disease as it affected her mom and of course Fran herself. As I read through the book, I could identify with each stage, each moment, each tear. This is a book that needed to be written and the strength it took Ms. Lewis to write it is amazing. Thank you for your candor. Thank you for the opportunity to peek into your private moments with your mom. 5 STARS

Profile Image for Cheryl Masciarelli.
432 reviews2 followers
October 28, 2017
A poignant, heartbreaking, and at times emotionally raw, memoir of the devastating disease of Alzheimer’s affecting both the patient and family that love her.

This book touched me to the core in more ways than one, in the different roles of my life. A daughter, having been the sole caretaker of my own mother several years ago and as a retired nurse, caring for patients afflicted by the disease.

A once vibrant, independent and active woman, Ruth Swerdloff, starts to realize that she is starting to forget the little things in life. And then the shattering diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. It also tells of the stages of this cruel disease, and what it robs the patient of, that has it.

The story is told in both Ruth’s and her daughter’s, as the caretaker, perspectives. How it destroys the mind of the patient and the emotional and physical toll it takes on the caretaker.

It is a book, that I feel should be read by everyone, because I believe a reader may, unfortunately, could find themselves in either situation.

A touching and tragic story of a daughter’s love and a beautiful legacy to her mother Ruthie!!! A must read and highly recommend!
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