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.
Voices of Alzheimer's Voices of Author: The Healing Project Table of Contents Introduction Foreword Professional Caregiver's Section Parent's Section Grandparent's Section Spouse's Section Self Section After word Resources Index Description 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. Excerpt 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. Reviews "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."
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