Barry Tutor of Fairfax has turned his hard-won lessons as a full-time caregiver into a book, “Never Giving Up & Never Wanting To,” about the harsh realities associated with caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.
Tutor has cared for two afflicted family members: first, his elderly mother; and 16 months later, his middle-aged wife, who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. For a while, he was the sole caregiver for both women.
Someone in the United States develops the disease every 68 seconds, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Many people consider Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders as exclusively affecting the elderly. Tutor says that’s a misconception.
“This disease is not just the disease of parents and grandparents,” he said. “It is also the disease of spouses, siblings and children.”
An estimated 15 million adults provide some level of care to Alzheimer’s patients living at home. The importance of preparation is “paramount,” Tutor says. His book details not only the emotional stresses but also the physical and financial strains and the growing isolation from friends.
“Many outsiders see caregiving as a part-time job,” Tutor said. “New caregivers do not realize how much this disease will change caregivers’ lives and for how long they might be in the caregiving trenches.”
Alzheimer’s disease robs individuals of their cognitive faculties, which causes memories to fade and personalities to become altered, Tutor said.
“I love my wife very much, and not a day goes by that I don’t pray for her improvement and comfort,” he said. “I will continue to help her in any way possible, … even though she no longer remembers the life we had built together.”
“Never Giving Up & Never Wanting To,” from Trafford Publishing, is available in hardcover for $23.33, in paperback for $13.33 and on Kindle for $3.99.
Fans have voted David Supley Foxworth of Reston and Jennifer Luu of Alexandria as two of the top 10 storytellers from Better Said Than Done, Northern Virginia’s premier storytelling troupe.
Foxworth, 39, previously has performed two stories with Better Said Than Done at Epicure Café in Fairfax.
Luu, 31, performed a one-woman show in 2009 and has since been seen storytelling at Atlas Performing Arts Center, Black Cat, Jammin’ Java, University of Maryland and James Madison University. She is a storytelling teacher with Better Said Than Done.
For its two-year anniversary, Better Said Than Done is celebrating with a live storytelling contest next month. The 10 “best of the best,” who will come from as far away as Philadelphia, were asked to prepare a new story witten to the theme, “The Art of War: Competing, Fighting, and Winning.” At the end of the evening, audience members will vote by secret ballot for their favorite story. Prizes will be given to the top-three performances of the night.
The contest takes place at 7 p.m. May 25 at The Auld Shebeen, 3971 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, with doors opening at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door. For more, visit www.bettersaidthandone.com.
Del. Tom Rust and volunteers from Team Rust will join hundreds of Reston and Herndon residents April 21 for the 2013 Northern Virginia Kidney Walk at the Reston Town Center.
The National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Walk helps fund initiatives in awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease and the need for organ donation.
“This is an issue that hits close to home,” Rust said. “I have two people very close to me with diabetes, and kidney health is something that we are all very much aware of. So many Americans are unaware of the complications that can accompany issues with diabetes and high blood pressure, and kidney disease is one of them.
“I hope that residents in the Reston and Herndon areas will consider participating in the walk with us,” said Rust, honorary chair of the walk, which begins at 2 p.m. For more, call 703-437-9400, or email email@example.com.
The Virginia Education Association named Del. Tom Rust a “Legislative Champion” at its state conference this month, for his support of public education during the 2013 General Assembly. As a champion of public schools, he introduced a resolution proclaiming the VEA’s 150th anniversary.
“For the past 150 years, the Virginia Education Association has worked tirelessly to give each student a high-quality public education,” said Rust. “This is possible because of the outstanding teachers and staff who are dedicated to the students.”
During the 2013 General Assembly session, Rust co-patroned a bill on allowing school boards to set their school calendar, a measure that passed in the House, but failed in the Senate. His other bills will become law July 1: requiring school boards to prohibit bullying in their policies and procedures; providing early intervention in reading and math for underachieving students; requiring teacher personnel records be confidential; and three bills to improve school safety.
Rust represents Herndon and parts of Oak Hill, Chantilly and Sterling. He serves on the House of Delegates Education committee and chairs the Higher Education Subcommittee.
The City of Fairfax and Brandstetter Carroll Inc. have launched Our Parks, Our Future, a new website developed by MindMixer, where residents can communicate and collaborate with the Fairfax Parks and Recreation Department on a new parks master plan for the city.
Our Parks, Our Future gives residents a chance to offer their own ideas, support others’ ideas and give feedback on initiatives. Questions such as these will serve to prompt discussion:
• What is your vision for the future of parks, recreation, trails, open spaces, cultural arts and community events in Fairfax?
• What are the most important park facilities to have within walking distance from your home?
City administrators say they hope the new online tool will generate ideas and feedback that they can use to prioritize future projects. To learn more, call 703-385-7858, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has appointed these local residents to state boards and commissions.
• Joint Leadership Council of Veterans Service Organizations: Stuart Williams of Springfield, retired U.S. Army colonel.
• Statewide Independent Living Council: Sherri Moore Coles of McLean, disability consultant.
• Commission on Military Installations and Defense Activities: The Hon. Jim Cheng of McLean, secretary of Commerce and Trade; Al Edmonds of Alexandria, retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant general; and John R. Wood of Alexandria, retired U.S. Army lieutenant general.
• Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Board of Trustees: Burson Taylor Snyder of Alexandria.
• Joint Leadership Council of Veterans Service Organizations: Matthew H. Dailey of Alexandria.
• Real Estate Appraiser Board: Rene Fonseca of Springfield, business development executive at Ozinga Bros. Inc., of Chicago.