After watching both mother and grandmother slowly drift away from her with one of the most common forms of dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, Tanya Lee Howe opted to DO SOMETHING.

You can't save that loved one who is drifting on that raft of forgetfulness, in the dark, without any knowledge of where she is, frightened by the stars, but you gather your frustrations and compassion to write a down-to-earth guidebook for other families, Supporting Parents with Alzheimer's (Self-Counsel $19.95).

And if you've still got some passion remaining, you can ask a good friend to bicycle across Canada with you, spreading the word that research funding for this modern scourge is absurdly low. (Tanya Lee Howe made it as far as Nova Scotia before her first serious encounter with the pavement. She successfully dipped her wheels in the Atlantic Ocean not long afterward.)

Three years ago the director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center noted that cancer research in the U.S. was getting $5.6 billion per year, heart disease research was getting $1 billion per year, and Alzheimer's' research was getting just $500 million even though more people will die from Alzheimer's Disease next year than from cancer or heart disease.

Someone has to speak up. There is a already a shortage of geriatric specialists and the problem will only increase as the Baby Boomers start to flood the nursing homes. So families must educate themselves, sooner rather later, about eldercare.

That's why Howe has gathered her own family's experience and hard-won wisdom for a manual that helps caregivers reduce triggers that cause mood swings in Alzheimer's patients, find activities for AD patients, prevent elder abuse, prepare in advance for the progression of the illness and to avoid caregiver burnout.