What makes a garden grow?

John Grove 3For John Grove (Choices In Community Living) there are special memories associated with his garden in the back yard of his Huber Heights home. They are the memories of the mother he lost last year. When there is too much sadness thinking of her loss or when it’s not been the best of days, he goes to his garden, sits on the bench, looks at the garden sign and there finds a measure of comfort.

John has had a long-time interest in gardening in all its aspects, from planting to maintenance to the last of each season when there is the harvest. He and his roommates live in a home that is operated by Choices In Community Living. While his housemates don’t have any interest in gardening, John has shared with his staff how much he likes it. They helped him prepare for his garden, which included two community volunteers who made the raised beds for him. This season he has planted radishes, carrots and cucumbers. He is looking forward to sharing them with his roommates for many dinners to come.

John Grove 2He first tried his hand at gardening last year but it didn’t grow as he had hoped it would. There was something different this year, as can be seen in how well his “crops” are doing. Still grieving the loss of his mother, his Program Administrator Chrystal Goines bought him a plaque in her honor and was with him as he placed it in his garden in her memory. His garden is now a place of comfort for him. He enjoys the hard work – all the mulching and weeding. What he enjoys most is sitting by himself on a beautiful summer afternoon where there is stillness and plants growing and that sign to help him focus and to remember. It is those memories that are making this one garden grow this summer. It is those memories in the quiet time that surround John, those memories and the support of Chrystal and his staff who continue by his side. What makes a garden grow? What makes this one small garden grow are the memories and the promises – memories of loss tinged still with sadness – promises of acceptance and of the harvest yet to come.John Grove on bench


The Gifts of Autism and Alzheimer’s

Nancy RederWhile taking care of his mother with Alzheimer’s, Ken Routson noticed in her characteristics and behaviors similar to those in people with autism. He was very familiar with autism, as he has worked in a variety of positions in the field of developmental disabilities for over 35 years. He saw within those shared characteristics and behaviors the value of sharing stories that gave new insight to both disabilities – not the negative ones we so often associate with them, but the hope, possibilities and the gifts that come with them.

Ken approached his friend Nancy Reder, RN, who, like him, had years of service in support of children and adults with developmental disabilities, and together they have authored The Gifts of Autism and Alzheimer’s: Stories of Unconditional Love & Self-Determination. The authors are the first to acknowledge that the title might seem at odds with the way we usually view autism and Alzheimer’s, but that the stories within the book will indeed open eyes and hearts to see that even within these challenges there can be gifts.

In a ringing endorsement of the book, renowned Alzheimer’s expert Dr. Peter Whitehouse shared these words, “a revolution is underway and this book is an exciting part of it. Positive human stories are a powerful response to the negative words that our unhealthy medicine and unthinking science try to label us with as our brains and bodies age. True hope lies in community and caring, not in the hype of and false hope of molecules and money.”

Ken Ritchey, senior partner of Public Policy Impacts of Washington D.C. and former director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, says this of the book. “I wish that this book had been available when I was first learning that my daughter had a disability. I loved the personal comments, as they made the reading both interesting and well worth the time.”

Both of the authors are from the Dayton area and dedicated their professional careers to individuals and families throughout this region. Their book is available at Tulip Press by calling 937-3009 or by email at tulip2252@aol.com. It is also available on amazon.com and from Ken Routson at 513-594-5489 or by email at kenroutson1@aol.com.

The forward to the book was written by Raun Kaufman, whose family was depicted in the award-winning NBC TV movie “Son Rise: A Miracle of Love.”  He said this of the book. “It is a spectacular marriage of psychology and physiology – of attitude and emotion – of biology. One of the most moving and indispensable aspects of the book is the beautiful collection of first-person stories. You will get so much from these people!”

Note: Nancy is one of our most dedicated Partners volunteers.