Voices of Alzheimer's: the Healing Companion by P-IndependentPublish


More Info
									Voices of Alzheimer's
Voices of

Author: The Healing Project
Table of Contents

Professional Caregiver's Section
Parent's Section
Grandparent's Section
Spouse's Section
Self Section
After word

Written by those touched by the disease, this collection of more than 50 stories recounted by the
spouses, victims, caregivers, friends, and family members provides a look at their journeys and serve as
a companion to those currently struggling to cope with Alzheimer’s. The contributors write with candor,
clarity, and humor about their experiences with the disease, providing insight and strategies for living with
the Alzheimer’s patient and sharing about the positive effect the experience can have on those affected.
These essays illustrate the indomitable strength of spirit of those whose lives are irrevocably changed in
the face of heart-wrenching adversity.

In 1996 we set off from Kalamata airport in a hired car and spent three glorious days exploring the
southern Peloponnesus of the Greek mainland. I’d dreamed of this journey for years. It was well worth
every second of that wait, and I was blissful as we headed north via the rugged western edge of the Mani
peninsula to a resort called Stoupa. The sun was hitting the ocean as we cruised into the golden bay that
would be our base for the remainder of the holiday. And then, in a single sentence, he killed
the holiday mood. The words Jim used confirmed what I had
been refusing to face for a long time: “I can’t remember the name of a single place we’ve visited,” he
confessed. And so began the battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Within a few months of arriving back home
in England he’d lost his job, which was hardly surprising, since he had a managerial position and his
deteriorating memory had been giving rise to increasing concern.Navigation problems came next. We’d
arrive at a road junction in an area he knew well, and he’d say, “Which way?” The first time it happened I
laughed and told him to stop joking, but when I turned and looked at his profile I could see his jaw was
set. What must it have been like for him to feel lost, to be heading into an uncertain and confusing world
but be incapable of articulating his fears to his nearest and dearest because of a growing inability to
express himself?We’d both started employment at the age of 15 in a culture that
subscribed to a strong work ethic. We were brought up to carry on despite illnesses; to recuperate on
weekends. Retirement was the carrot. All our lives we chased it with the promise of pensions and time to
enjoy the fruits of our labors. I had a whole shelf full of books on Europe in readiness. Maybe we’d buy a
camper van. Perhaps we’d take a backpack of casual clothing and go islandhopping in Greece, or fly to
the French Riviera and use the fast
TGV trains at will.I can recall the sheer bitterness I felt about our situation in general,
and towards Jim in particular. Not only had a lifetime of
dreams been shattered but the retirement for which I’d always yearned had been cancelled. As if the blow
of his illness were not enough, the loss of his income was a further burden. For almost a year, while it
was still safe to leave him unsupervised, Jim stayed at home as I continued to work. But despite my
pleadings, he
steadfastly refused to see a consultant and clung to our family doctor’s theory that he could be suffering
from stress.Unknown to Jim, I eventually confronted his doctor and suggested we trick him into a
consultation. When we finally saw a neurologist, the diagnosis came as no surprise, but I was grateful
that Jim was immediately prescribed the cognitive enhancer Aricept, which greatly slowed the progress of
his illness.A person under the age of 65 who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is classified as having early-
onset dementia. Sadly, there are instances of Alzheimer’s Disease among those who have small children
or still have young people to put through college. Consequently, early-onset Alzheimer’s, while having
plenty in common with other dementias in the way it presents itself, brings a different set of problems
because of the younger age and consequent needs of its victims.At that time, there was scant
consideration of the quality of the life of early-onset victims and little available day care. I was particularly
concerned about Jim’s ego and dignity,...
Author Bio
The Healing Project
The Healing Project is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2005 and dedicated to creating a community
of support for those challenged with chronic and life-threatening illnesses.

"This poignant, insightful, distinctive, and informative book is highly recommended."

"Will help to dispel myths about Alzheimer’s and help people who have no experience with the disease."

To top