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Deborah Swiss
Deborah Swiss is an author, speaker, and consultant with a specialty in women's history, gender equity, and work/life balance. Her latest book, The Tin Ticket: The Heroic Journey of Australia’s Convict Women, won runner-up honors in 2011 for Best Non-Fiction book, awarded by the American Society of Journalists and Authors and was selected by Reader’s Digest Australia and New Zealand for their 2012 Encounters series. She has appeared on The Today Show in the United States and on ABC Radio across Australia. Deborah holds her master’s and doctorate from Harvard University and her B.A. magna cum laude from Bowdoin College. Visit her online at:

Entries by Deborah Swiss

Better Than Chopped Liver as an Alzheimer's Caregiver

(0) Comments | Posted April 26, 2016 | 3:30 PM

Being better than chopped liver was sometimes a lofty goal during the five and a half years I provided Alzheimer's care for my mother Peg. Toward the end of my Mom's life, she was convinced that my partner Digney was her boyfriend. On most days, it was adorable and we...

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The Golden Rule For Alzheimer's Care

(3) Comments | Posted March 3, 2016 | 4:58 AM

Trial and error as an Alzheimer's caregiver taught me that it's better to be patient than to be right. That golden rule and the two magic words "OK Mom" rescued my sanity on many a day as advancing Alzheimer's tightened its grip on my mother Peg. This simple phrase frequently...

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The Best Lesson I learned From Alzheimer's Care

(0) Comments | Posted January 20, 2016 | 2:10 PM

Alzheimer's care had begun to take its toll. Exhausted, a light bulb finally turned on in my head: If something doesn't change, stress might just do me in. Then who will care for my mother Peg? There's no sugarcoating how challenging Alzheimer's care can be. But confronting this reality head-on...

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What Alzheimer's Care Did For My Sense of Humor

(5) Comments | Posted December 18, 2015 | 4:37 AM

As my Mom's Alzheimer's advanced, my personal goals grew simpler. I was determined to hang on to at least a shred of my sense of humor. This proved challenging when my mother Peg refused to take her meds or when I stayed awake through the night to prevent her from...

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A Song for the Alzheimer's Journey

(0) Comments | Posted December 4, 2015 | 1:46 PM

Margaret Tobin Swiss in 1952

Alzheimer's caregiving is the toughest job I've ever known but it also vividly distills what's really important in life. For five and a half years, I cared for my mother, Peg Swiss, as advanced Alzheimer's tightened its grip...

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Buy Her Bag, Not Her Body

(1) Comments | Posted June 16, 2014 | 2:58 PM

Imagine you are a seven-year-old being offered for sale to a strange man -- by your own father. "I looked into his eyes and could see that he did not want to give her up," said Diana Mao who witnessed the horrors of sex trafficking during her 2007 trip to...

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Child Trafficking in Your Own Backyard

(1) Comments | Posted March 31, 2014 | 11:50 AM

It happens in Boston, Massachusetts. It happens in Kolkata, India. More human beings are currently enslaved than at any time in history. Globally, 80 percent are women and children, most of whom are the victims of sex trafficking. About two million children are currently being exploited in the international commercial...

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Tough Mothers, Nobody's Slave

(1) Comments | Posted March 7, 2014 | 11:59 AM

What would you do if you were 12, without parents, and starving? That was the predicament faced by Agnes McMillan, just one of the 25,000 girls and women who Great Britain conscripted as "tamers and breeders" and deported to Australia from 1788-1868. Agnes was poor and illiterate. In the middle...

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The Alzheimer's Reality: A Nation in Diapers

(10) Comments | Posted July 18, 2013 | 1:56 PM

My mother Peg did everything right in terms of controlling risk factors yet today suffers from advanced Alzheimer's. She worked as a nurse until retirement and enjoyed solving puzzles of all sorts. She walked her golden retriever two or three miles every day. The energetic woman who was never larger...

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One Woman's Guide to Changing the World

(1) Comments | Posted March 7, 2013 | 5:28 PM

Two hundred years ago, Elizabeth Gurney Fry dared to enter Newgate Prison, which was labeled as London's "prototype of hell." It was the start of 30 years of visionary reforms by one of history's most effective and hands-on social activists. Yet Fry is unknown to many. As we celebrate women's...

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Calling Rotarians Worldwide: Is It All in the Genes?

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2013 | 2:19 PM

It's been only 26 years since a Supreme Court ruling opened the door for women's membership in Rotary International. Among the more than 1.2 million Rotarians worldwide, women account for 22% in North America and 15% internationally. Kerry Kornhauser, a Rotarian from Melbourne, Australia is certain we can do much...

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Stop the Binge Drinking, Ladies: Alcohol Killed My Sister

(23) Comments | Posted January 25, 2013 | 3:50 PM

Two years ago this month, my sister Diane lost her long battle with the bottle. She was brilliant. She was beautiful. And she was an alcoholic. On Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011, I received the call from a police detective that no one wants to hear: "Ms. Swiss, I have some...

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The Heart of Christmas Past

(0) Comments | Posted December 20, 2012 | 10:52 AM

Australia is one of the first places in the world to ring in Christmas. So it seems fitting to reflect on a holiday not so long ago that was celebrated in Lismore, New South Wales on Dec. 25, 1869. The newspapers tell us that it was a lovely summer day....

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Alzheimer's and the Case of the Missing Turkey

(5) Comments | Posted November 21, 2012 | 8:45 AM

Thanksgiving has always been a major celebration in our family. It's also the season where I was first given hints about the early phases of my mom's Alzheimer's. Over the years, I've often conjured up unrealistic expectations for the perfect family celebration. My holiday ideal certainly did not include chasing...

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A Fine Soft Day For A Writer In Ireland

(1) Comments | Posted November 1, 2012 | 7:00 AM

It had been raining off and on as we made our way from Galway, along the Ring of Kerry, to charming Cahersiveen. The grey-blue sky and rolling mist gave the green fields the magical look that defines the west of Ireland. It's what the Irish affectionately call "a fine soft...

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Finding the Blessing in Alzheimer's: Peg's Crush on Dr. Oz

(4) Comments | Posted August 10, 2012 | 9:24 AM

It's another return trip -- three years' worth -- from weekend care for my mother, Peg, who suffers from moderate Alzheimer's. My hair is clipped up haphazardly, I haven't showered in two days, yet I'm not the family member who has dementia. I'm sitting in the bumper-to-bumper circus that is...

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Strong Shelias: I'll Take a Tall, Leggy Blonde Please

(1) Comments | Posted July 6, 2012 | 11:03 AM

When Julie Henderson accepted her role as manager of the Cascades Female Factory in Hobart, Tasmania, congratulatory messages included some good-natured ribbing. "Ah, I'll take a tall, leggy blonde please," joked one well-wisher. If only Julie's job were as uncomplicated as manufacturing a batch of living Barbies. Her mission includes...

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Don't Forget the Willy Warmer: A Writer's Journey to New Zealand

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2012 | 12:45 PM

"Hello happy people." That's a salutation you don't see every day. It was an email from book buyer Colette Doherty and my first clue about Kiwi culture. The fun-loving folks who live on New Zealand's wildly beautiful Coromandel Peninsula share an unbridled appreciation for the arts.

Thames, New Zealand...

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Patriotism and the Hero Factor

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2012 | 3:36 PM

On April 16th, Massachusetts celebrates Patriots' Day, a local holiday that honors the start of America's struggle for independence. For the past thirty years, I've lived in historic Lexington, down the street from the site that marks the battle that sparked the American Revolution. Yet I have never felt more...

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Iron Petticoats and Darwin's Blunder

(4) Comments | Posted March 7, 2012 | 4:12 PM

March 8 is International Women's Day. This year's theme focuses on ending hunger and poverty so it's especially fitting to consider the legacy of the 25,000 convict maids shipped from Great Britain to Australia, the vast majority sentenced for crimes born from hunger and desperation.

Today an estimated one...

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