The Alzheimer's Disease Bookstore

The Rakhma Story

by Shirley Joy Shaw

Institutions and care-giving services are being pressed to respond to the growing demand for elder care for Alzheimer's victims with innovative, individualized, dignified services. Half of all nursing home patients suffer from Alzheimer's disease or a related disorder. A significant number of these do not need medical care.

The Rakhma Story:

  • Sets forth a dignified model of long-term care that works well for people with Alzheimer's disease and their families.
  • Provides information about Alzheimer's care issues such as family decision making and response to memory loss.
  • Sustains a model adaptable to other long-term care settings for the general elderly population.

The author, Shirley Joy Shaw, says:

It's a privilege to share this loving model of eldercare. Rakma means "unconditional love" in Aramaic. Fifteen years ago I had a vision of being able to provide personal, heart-centered, loving care for the frail elderly. I started with one small residential home setting which gradually grew to three small homes-Rakhma Peace, Rakhma Grace and Rakma Joy. Most of the residents who came in the beginning had Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. We now work only with people with memory loss and their families. We have so many wonderful residents and family members who lent their stories to this book. Their struggles and joys are the marvelous threads that weave The Rakhma Story together.

Writing it with co-author Lynn Baskfield was a five year project. I am so pleased it is out. One thing I know is that this model of loving eldercare is a model worth sharing. In July of '99, Lynn and I were invited to speak to the 9th annual Alzheimer's Europe conference held in London, England. The Rakhma model can provide dignity, joy and nurturing relationship to elderly people-no matter how frail or forgetful they are-in small settings anywhere in the world. Being able to speak about what I have learned over the last 15 years to people from 34 countries is one more affirmation that the kind of care the Rakhma Story describes is working. Rakhma was not created by me. I was only an instrument to give care and teach love. To follow this path has been a privilege. It took many dedicated people, prayers, and God's grace to do this work. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to bring forth the Rakhma model.

About the Authors:

Shirley Joy Shaw is Executive Director of Rakhma, Inc., Services for the Elderly, an innovative group home concept she developed that provides joyful, personal, ongoing assistance to aging men and women. Inspired by her grandmother, who taught her the meaning of unconditional love, Shaw's model moves elder care out of the institution and into the heart. She feels very strongly that teaching about aging is as much a part of her work as caringfor the elderly. Thus, this book.

Lynn Baskfield, M.A., is a transformational educator and a personal development coach assisting individuals and businesses to use their creative resources. She is also a storyteller and award-winning writer. Her insight into creative care for the elderly is derived from a long friendship with Shirley Joy Shaw and involvement in the development of her vision. Lynn's mother, who had Alzheimer's disease, lived with dignity and love at Rakhma Peace Home until her death in 1994.

A reader said:

I am not an avid reader, but I read the book in two days! It gave me a little more insight into daily life with my own mother. She does not have Alzheimer's but she has become more forgetful which I find frustrating-and sad. But the idea of meeting her where she is, not where I want her to be, has helped me already - although some days are better than others in handling the events! I thank Shirley Shaw for opening the Rakhma Homes. God bless her and all her helpers.

P.S. My mother also read the book. She used to love to read and is again doing so. She's 87.

You can now order the book listed below directly on the Internet from Lake Solitude Media's Alzheimer's Bookstore in affiliation with Books. Click on the link below.