When Lisa Steele-Maley began helping her father navigate the details of a life interrupted by dementia, she was in unfamiliar territory. As a wilderness traveler, she was accustomed to adapting to ever-changing situations, but as her father’s health declined, the idea of finding stability seemed impossible. Only one thing was sure: her father was losing perspective—losing track of time, the slippers at his feet, and his ability to find his way home. Lisa wasn’t sure she had the skills, experience, or patience to competently travel this path with him, but taking one step at a time, she found it was as simple—and as profound—as life in the wilderness: Be prepared, be present. Trust the process, stay close.
Without a Map weaves together Lisa’s experience of caregiving with lessons gleaned from decades of wilderness travel, rural living, and parenting. Revealing the uncertainty, wisdom, love and reciprocity of a caregiving relationship, this memoir contributes a deeply personal perspective to the subjects of dementia and aging.
After growing up in small towns of New England and Wisconsin, Lisa Steele-Maley developed a strong connection to the affirming rhythms of wilderness living while working in the mountains and coasts of Alaska and Washington. She has always sought opportunities to help individuals and organizations cultivate healthy, responsible relationships in their human and natural communities. Lisa lives in an aging farmhouse on the coast of Maine with her husband, two teenage sons, and a handful of animals.
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