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He used to be Somebody
A Journey Into Alzheimer's Through the Eyes of a Caregiver

. . . about the Author

Beverly at age 5

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The Bigtree Sisters  1962

Beverly Bigtree Murphy  MS, CRC, Caregiver

Beverly received her BS from the College of Human Development at Syracuse University and her M.S. in Counseling from City University, NYC.  She then continued, for several years, as Adjunct Faculty in that institution where she taught and supervised graduate students.  She has been a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor since 1967, and built a 25-year career as a counselor and case manager with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in New York.   She  specialized as a case manager with a head trauma and psychiatric case load for 25 years. She has had a unique view of this illness both from a professional standpoint and a deeply personal one, resulting in her ability to offer practical first hand insight on subjects such as adapting the home, handling incontinence, grief and mourning, dealing with the behavior changes, and family issues.

She was one of the founding members of the Community Eldercare Coalition of Boulder County, a board member of the Colorado Respite Care Coalition, a  participant in the 1995 White House Conference on Aging, and advocated for the home-caregiver at the Alzheimer's Association Public Policy Forum,  in Washington.  She is a passionate speaker who has appeared at numerous events, training seminars, and on radio and television talk shows.  She has lectured at colleges, feeling a deep need to reach out to this generation of students in order to facilitate change in their attitudes towards the care of the elderly, Alzheimer's Disease specifically.  She designed, launched and edited "Care Connections," an award winning newsletter designed to bridge the gap between caregivers and services available in Boulder County until 1997 when County Services took over.  Her articles  on the realities of caring for an Alzheimer's family member have been printed in the Congressional Record, the New York Times and other publications.  Her first book,   "he used to be Somebody, A Journey Into Alzheimer's Through The Eyes of a Caregiver,"  has been widely received and embraced as one of the few that speak   to the positive rewards of caregiving as well as the realities of a disease process.

She is a member of the Mohawk Nation at Akwasasne in New York State.  She was raised in a culturally diversified home with a wide extended family.  She saw all her grandparents die in their own homes and grew up watching the long-term care of her grandmother.  She is the first to acknowledge the importance of participation in all of life's rituals and credits her aunts and uncles and especially her parents with giving her a frame of reference from which she could draw when her husband became ill.  She toured through Central New York as part of "The Bigtree Sisters," a sister act for  which she did all of the musical arrangements and choreography, through most of    her formative years.  They appeared on local radio and television until her graduation   from college.  She learned about meeting challenges during those years and she learned about her ability to be creative, which she maintains is  the key to successful caregiving.  She raised two sons on her own, after a failed first marriage, while developing her career as a counselor for the handicapped.

Her interests are varied.  She has been a working fiber artist for twenty years.  She knows the lyrics to a multitude of songs all written before the '60's.  Fifteen of those old standards found their way into "he used to be somebody."  The poetry of those old love-songs begin each chapter and the music was so much a part of her sense of Tom and their commitment to each other that the book was incomplete without them.  

Oh!  There's one more thing...  She can still do a mean tap dance.



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