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“Don’t let the photo on the cover fool you—this is a serious AND seriously funny book, offering a compassionate and unique perspective from a professional caregiver working on a dementia ward. Schoenfeld relates many humorous anecdotes about working with patients in the dementia ward, but not in a way that ridicules or belittles them. His stories highlight the humour but also reflect the care and compassion—and love—he felt for these people as he helped them live and watched them die on his ward.”
“I just want you to know how much I enjoyed your book.
As I was reading I felt like I was standing next to you and experiencing the situation with you. I am not much of a writer but I just wanted you to know not only did I enjoy the book; it gave me a new perspective on how to treat people no matter the situation. I volunteer 2 to 3 days at Presbyterian Homes, and work in the care center on wheelchair duty. I don’t work with dementia patients, but some of the situations you describe also happen in the care center. Yesterday when I was at work your writings gave me a whole new perspective and I feel I will be better for it.”
“…reading your book I went through just about every emotion. It is true and honest, real, informative, funny, sad, beautiful, all wrapped in one. Several years ago I ran the medical record department for a convalescent hospital, so I have been around plenty of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. When this terrible disease attacks a loved one, it is even more difficult.
Your book is exactly what I needed at this time. Thank you for your servant’s heart and the reminder that no matter how awful this can be, there are still so many blessings. I cannot help but to wish you could take my dad hunting. At this time in his life—he would be in heaven!”
“It was such a pleasure having you here last evening. The feedback that I’ve received has been beyond belief!!… people stopping in, calling or emailing to thank all of us for bringing you to Birnamwood.
Don’t sell yourself short on your ability to deliver an awesome presentation. It’s not often these days that we hear someone speak from the heart, be 100% genuine, and tell stories with such passion, compassion and humor as you did last evening. It was wonderful in every way!!
Very Very Sincerely,”
“As a social worker and college instructor, I can honestly say that I have read ALOT of books. Some for fun and others because I had to. This book was a wonderful example of the lessons I try to share with my students on a daily basis. You will find yourself crying, laughing and wanting to travel to their world.” I loved this book so much that I have decided to add it my Gerontology course as a required text. This is must read for anyone who works with the elderly, loves the elderly or will be elderly one day.”
“…such an actively caring, articulate, tell-it-like-it-is person who has a great sense of humor, who loves his wife—and is willing to admit it.”
“Charles … thank you for this important work.
I got halfway through the book, up to “Agnes” and then “Sally”, and with all the great humor and then the tears your most eloquent telling of their stories’ brought up in me, I realized I was going to have to put it down for a while. Wow.
Way too often we only get the academic 101 on mental illness. Your contribution is a stellar example of the empirical 101 that is so badly needed and appreciated by the loved ones of the afflicted.
My experience with mental illness is not limited to my Mother’s elderly dementia/Alzheimer’s. I have a thirty one year old daughter who is finally on the ‘winning’ side of a 10 year struggle to manage a Bi-polar diagnosis, and I lost a brother (at 50) to severe clinical depression back in 2000.
Your writing here gives me hope that one day we will arrive as a culture and view mental illness as worthy of our utmost respect and most importantly… our embrace.””
Professionals tell us what they see.
You tell us what you feel.
They are objective. Your story is about being subjective…more like family or friend of the patient. That is a valid point of view and exactly why professionals can appreciate your story.
Professionals maintain a filter, an emotional distance in order to be able to do what they do…your experience had no filter…learning from your experience would make them better professionals…you educate and entertain.”
“I truly enjoyed your book. It was nice to reminisce. All the people I take care of become my friends. Some the bond is deeper. One of those people for me was Noreen. I visited her in the hospital and she remembered me. She asked me for a cheeseburger from Burger King in her child like voice. Unfortunately she was not longer able to swallow and I was only able to give her a Burger King crown. I will never forget her along with many others.
I always liked it when I saw your name on the schedule; I knew it would be a good day. I enjoyed your humor and genuine interaction with the residents. You have made a difference in the lives of many. I know you have heard this before but we need more “Chucks” in the field.
May your book provide comfort for the families dealing with this disease.”
“A friend recently sent me a book I’d like to recommend. The book was written by a male CNA in a nursing home in Wisconsin, a friend of my friend. When I first saw the title I was a little concerned, wondering if the author made fun of his patients, but it was just the opposite. I’m sure there are folks who wonder how you could find anything funny in dementia but we who deal with it know that there many times of humor and without a sense of humor we’d all crack up! Charles is a very loving, compassionate man who writes of his patients with great respect and affection. I found the book valuable in that it just reminded me to appreciate the sweet things about my husband and to keep focusing on the positive. I loved what Charles said describing his job: ‘This job enlisted me in a war that promised no victory. The most I could hope for was to serve honorably until the end.’
That is my hope as well.”
“a very entertaining and educational book on Alzheimer’s. Anyone dealing with someone who has this disease should read this book; I highly recommend you’ll walk away with a different perspective.”
“I couldn’t stop reading until 2:30 in the morning. I expected this to be a good book, but Charles went above and beyond that – straight into greatness. People can be taught to write, many become good, a few are great. He is among the great.
The book springs from a heartfelt passion and willingness by the author to be transparent. He invites the reader into a journey where more than one lesson can be learned. This book is a treasure hunt of lessons. In one scene, a gem might be a reminder that just because people are different is no reason to be afraid of them. The next treasure could be an assurance that it can hurt to love, but the rewards far outweigh the cost. With a gentle hand and a smile, the reader is encouraged and educated. This is a book that can and will touch the hearts of many and transform lives because its messages offer opportunities for people to think about their own lives, it gives hope and courage to those struggling through circumstances and makes them laugh along the way. That is why this book is a rare and wonderful gift to readers who have been waiting to hear from Charles Schoenfeld. He has written a real winner!”
“Chuck walked into my life when I was a CNA Instructor and my life has never been the same. This is a MUST read! This book opens ones eyes to the real life behind the closed doors of the mind of Dementia or Alzheimer’s. The book is funny, sad, entertaining, and bewildering… and that’s just the ‘Introduction!’ Chuck – you have really earned your A in the class of life. Nice Job!”
“Best book I have read! Really helps me to understand not only dementia but my mother and wife who LOVE (d) taking care of these very special people! Thanks for this book. Everyone should read, should be a part of nursing school and CNA curriculum!”
“Finished my read this evening! I enjoyed the book immensely Charles. Well done on both counts – writing and loving. I had the joy of managing a dementia program in Australia (about 18 years ago) and loved the men and women in my care. Like you I have treasured memories about them that are more precious than gold!”
“Chuck, your book is absolutely amazing! You brought things to perspective even I still haven’t figured out, and I am still trying! Absolutely fabulous! You were an awesome CNA and truly loved your job. If everyone was as passionate as you about our work it would be perfect! Again, wonderful job on the book”
“Your book was in my mailbox today, I started to read it, I didn’t want to put it down, but I had to finish some of my Christmas Eve duties. When I picked up for the 3rd time I couldn’t put it down, When I was chuckling to myself (my family was looking at me weird) I was laughing with tears running down my face, I teared up, then I was crying with rivers running down!!! Thank You for reminding me why we do the things we do!!!”
“Well Chuck I think you found your next calling. The book was great! It took me a while to read it though – my family kept calling and asking how far I was. I had to keep putting it down to answer the phone. Thank you and all the others who took care of Dad – it helped knowing he was in such good and caring hands.”
“Thank you! Thank you! for writing your book. I loved it!
My Dad was a proud Marine and he would have been proud to have read your antidote with his newspaper article about him. When you inscribed my book and wrote, “It was an honor, I wasn’t quite sure what that meant until I reached pg. 131 where you wrote, “This wasn’t a job it was an honor – I got it. I got it deep within my soul. Your book provided smiles, tears and memories. Thank you again for taking the time to write this book.”
“Dear Chuck (Charles)….
I couldn’t wait to get this book we talked about since I met you in St. Germain…I have to say, I’ve already learned so many things I never knew of the origin of health facilities ‘and’ of Mt. View itself.
I can relate to the feelings of guilt you speak of ….but laugh! Your humor is so subtle and so perfectly placed … I’ve been wiping tears from laughing and I’m only on page 19!!!
Just had to drop a line and let you know that I am enjoying thisbook immensely!!!
(an email at 5:36 am the following day, titled “it’s me again”):
This is so incredibly good! I am laughing out loud!
I’m going to be back in Wausau at Mt View this Friday from 11:00 to 7:30pm; would you have three more books on hand?”
“The author offers a compassionate and unique perspective as a professional caregiver. He reminds us all that any person living with Alzheimer’s is still a person with a rich history of interests, relationships and experiences. Alzheimer’s disease may affect a person cognitively and physically, but it doesn’t diminish the person or the emotional connectedness they have with their loved ones.”
“Although the day was never routine, the life of a CNA has a certain pattern, helping with eating and with activities. However, this pattern was full of the dynamics of dealing with people with different levels of dementia.
The major part of the book tells the stories of the individual residents in the dementia wards of North Central Health Care Facilities.
With great respect for the patients at North Central Health Care, the author brings deep respect for the patients, dedication to helping those in need, and a faith that keeps him going through everything that gets thrown at you in a nursing home, including the death of those he helped and cared for.
This is a story that is not told elsewhere and should be read to get a small glimpse of the dedication of all health care workers and of the lives of those whom they cared for.”
“Charles has written a book that is about ordinary people that live right here. This book is also about dementia and caring for those with dementia. With the baby boomer generation flooding the elderly age group, our society needs to accept that many of us will have Alzheimer’s disease and the rest of us will likely be affected by it at some level. Charles has very personal and professional experiences in this area and fortunately for readers, he has the remarkable ability to write about them in a beautifully enthralling way.
Charles writes about his friends, both those he works with and those he cares for, detailing the raw needs of basic care, compassion, understanding, and human touch that those with dementia often live with.. It is clear that he also truly sees the intelligence, wit, and personality of the people he has come to know so well.
Charles’ experiences at NCHCF tell a story that often sounds like fiction, but for those who already know Alzheimer’s Disease it is a story that both hurts your heart and fills it with love. For those who do not know the path that dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can take you down, it is a funny, colorful, totally enthralling, and often difficult read that will make readers want to learn more.
Charles’ book is written with deep insight, intelligence, grace, and above all, kindness.
Readers are likely to finish this book feeling as if they too know Charles’ cherished characters.”
“Remarkable insights of skilled nursing care from an insider! Married father of four retires, studies then becomes a CNA. During his seven years of service you’ll read about the “Secret Club,” drama, compassion, and even deer hunting. A must-read for every family struggling with the idea of moving a loved one into a nursing home. Inspiring reading for nursing home managers. Includes tips for visitors.”
In a humble, compassionate and humorous way, Charles Schoenfeld helps us understand that even when Alzheimer’s steals every single memory, there still remains a person who is capable of being loved. “A Funny Thing Happened On My Way The Dementia Ward” is required reading in the caregiving course we teach at Western Oregon University. Students appreciate learning how to connect with and care for people who are living in a reality that is very different from our own. Tender, poignant and laugh-out-loud funny, this book is a must read for families and professionals who are caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Reading a book that I know will end but don’t want it to……Great book.
Best money I have spent on a book in years. I did not want this book to end.
I recently retired from working as an LPN in nursing homes for the last thirty years and have collected stories along the way with the intent of somehow letting people know of the life that goes on in those places, as opposed to the usual stories that get printed about them.
I believe CNAs are the most under-appreciated group of workers we have in our society. They work their butts off routinely doing jobs that would repulse, wear down or frighten their fellow citizens and as they do these jobs you can feel the love that flows from them to the persons they care for.
You did exactly as what is called for in seeing the residents as unique. Your remarkable creativity in divining what would be helpful to salve the souls of your residents needs to be recognized and put into action in homes nationwide. I am hoping to hear that someone in power reads your book and recommends you as a consultant to Wisconsin homes that show interest in putting their money where their mouths are. Once they see the results I believe the word will spread like wildfire.
This has to be the most heartfelt book I’ve read concerning such an ugly disease. Charles writes with humor and love. I feel like I was there with him, getting to know his charges. I was moved to laughter, and to tears, as he told of his time as a caregiver. When/if I ever go down that path myself, I want a ‘Charles’ in my life. These people’s lives were richly blessed by your presence, Charles.