Léonie Rosenstiel watched as multiple people she loved succumbed to various forms of incapacity. Her beloved grand-aunt, whose family could no longer care for her, was placed in an institution.
Her dearly-loved grandmother died several days after a hip fracture, never seeming to have regained full mental function after her anesthesia. Another grand-aunt who had been close spent seven years as a quadriplegic and was diagnosed as being in a light coma after a run-in with an unqualified anesthetist. Leonie’s father served as her guardian and conservator.
While working as a writer, Léonie witnessed the increasing incapacity of a world-renowned musical figure. She chronicled the horrifying picture of former assistants controlling and manipulating their employer in the final section of her book, Nadia Boulanger: A Life in Music (W. W. Norton).
More recently, Léonie participated directly in the “mental incapacity” journeys of the two people closest to her. Her husband passed away in 2007 of Atypical Parkinson’s Disease. One of its most upsetting symptoms is dementia. At the same time, Léonie’s mother was on a similar journey. Her mother’s diagnoses varied, but always included the dreaded word, “dementia.” Her mother’s struggle (after the legal judgement of incapacity) lasted almost nine years.
Léonie has an extensive educational background. She has a Ph.D. from Columbia University, and six master’s level degrees, in subjects ranging from pastoral counseling (The New Seminary), to Acupuncture (Tri-State College of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture), to public health (Walden University). Regardless of what and where she studied, no program came close to mapping out the real-world options or explaining why family members often seemed to be shut out of their loved ones’ lives at crucial moments.
As part of a vow to her mother to try to remedy the situation, Léonie embarked on the work that produced both the newly-released book, Pretense of Protection: My Mother’s Nightmare Journey through Legal Guardianship, and its prequel, Pretense of Perfection, which will be released in late 2021, (both published by Wisdom Editions/an imprint of Calumet Editions). She also created the programs and services that Dayspring offers to help others in similar situations. Contact Dayspring for further information.