Kimberly Williams-Paisley: Sharing Her Family Story

Kimberly Williams Paisley - Care Begins With Me 2016 Speaker





October 4, 2016
5 to 9 p.m.
Sheraton Grand Hotel
Sacramento





Actress and Best-Selling Author

You probably know Kimberly Williams-Paisley from movies (Father of the Bride, among others) or TV (Nashville and Something about Jim) but this year she has added bestselling author to her resume. Her book detailing her mother's diagnosis of a rare form of early onset dementia has touched readers around the world.

Interestingly, Kimberly thought by the time her first book was published, her mother would be dead. "I thought this story would end with Mom's death. She didn't die. In fact, she rallied," Williams-Paisley writes in Where the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again. The book was released this spring. 

Her Mother's Journey

Her mother's struggles with primary progressive aphasia, which affects both mental and physical abilities, crippled her capacity to talk, walk and eventually recognize her husband and her children. The family struggled, too, trying to understand how to best care for and love the person Linda Williams was becoming.

"For a long time, the most painful visits with her were the ones where I was holding onto the person she used to be; she had this ghost right next to her that she used to be, but I was left with this transformed person that I didn't know," Kimberly told USA Today earlier this year.

After spending the first chapter of her mother's illness trying to keep the family secret, Kimberly has now embraced the role of advocate for those living with dementia, as well as their caregivers.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, by 2025 the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer's disease will reach more than 7 million in the USA. 

Women in their 60s are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's sometime in their life as they are to get breast cancer. There are also 15.6 million people caring for someone with Alzheimer's and dementia, according to the association.

"It is a horrifying disease and I am doing what I can to raise awareness and hopefully find a cure one day," Kimberly said. "What I learned from my mother is to look for the silver lining; see who is in front of you. In some ways she has been really delightful, empathetic; she communicates on an emotional level and I have learned from her."

Where the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again 

In the book, Kimberly also explores the complex relationships between mothers and daughters, recognizing that even before a health crisis changed their lives, her relationship with her mother was not perfect. 

"What I learned from my mother is to look for the silver lining; see who is in front of you. In some ways she has been really delightful, empathetic; she communicates on an emotional level and I have learned from her."