On my next birthday I’ll be 61 years old. Both of my parents
died of Alzheimer’s. I wrote about my journey as their caregiver in Alzheimer’s Daughter. Does the thought that I might become
afflicted with the disease haunt me? Yes. It niggles in the back of my mind.
I’m lucky to live in a small town and still doctor with a
Marcus Welby, M.D.-type family physician. This man has treated four generations
of my family; my parents, myself, my children, my grandchildren. Needless to
say he knows us well.
After Mom and Dad died, I asked my trusted doctor about my
risk. He answered since my parents had not been diagnosed until they were in
their mid-eighties it was not really a part of my family history. He reasoned
if everyone had parents who lived into their eighties, nearly everyone would
have a history. This reassured me, but still the thought persists, especially
when I can’t think of a word I want to use, or lose my train of thought in a
November 1-7, 2015 is National Memory Screening Week,
bringing awareness to the positive aspects of screening and attempting to
remove stigma. When I visit my doctor for my yearly physical, my blood pressure
is noted, I’m prompted to have a mammogram, vials of blood are drawn, I’m
questioned about diet, exercise and assessed for depression. All of these are
types of screening. Why not routinely offer a Mini
Mental to patients at age 60-65 to collect some baseline data? Comparisons
could then be made as we age?
I know, health care costs are already prohibitive and many
people are afraid to know. As for me, I’d appreciate the baseline data. In the
meantime I keep exercising, taking my fish oil and eating handfuls of spinach
If Alzheimer’s has touched your life, and you seek
connection with others who have shared this journey, below are five books
written from five perspectives about the disease.
All of us felt compelled to
write our books, hoping to make a difference…hoping that we might make the
pathway of others traveling this road a little less painful and lonely. Perhaps
you will find comfort and support within our pages.
Vicki details the daily challenges, turbulent emotions,
and painful decisions involved in caring for her parents. Laced with humor and
pathos, reviewers describe her book as “brave,”
“honest,” “raw,” “unvarnished,” as well as a “must-read for every
Alzheimer's/dementia patient's family.” Vicki wrote this story to offer hope to others, to
reassure them that they’re not alone.
herself as a writer who happens to be a nurse. This work of fiction is based
upon her care for the elderly. It's a tenderly told love story about Jack and
Sara, owners of a New England bed and breakfast. Sara is stricken with
Alzheimer's and Jack becomes her caregiver.
Shannon writes this
work of fiction through the eyes of a small-town preteen girl, Delia, whose
elderly neighbor, Old Red Clancy is failing mentally. The aged gentleman has to
be placed in a care facility, but Delia will not let him wither away. She
devises a way for the whole community to remind Old Red how important he has
been in all of their lives.
Diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, Greg O’Brien’s
story isn’t about losing someone else to Alzheimer’s, it is about losing
himself a sliver at a time while still fighting to live with Alzheimer's, not die with it.
memoir details my journey caring for both parents who were diagnosed on the
same day. It is written with wincing honesty about the cruel affects of the
disease, but a WWII love story held together by faith and family is contained
within the pages.