Books written by/about people with Alzheimers

Writings on the crippling disease that impacts 48 Million people globally.
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The Caregiver: A Life With Alzheimer's

by Aaron Alterra

About the book:  Aaron and Stella Alterra had been married for more than sixty years when Aaron began to notice puzzling lapses in his wife's memory. Innocuous at first, they became more severe and more alarming. After a series of appointments and tests, the Alterras were informed that Stella was one of the more than 4.5 million Americans with Alzheimer's disease.Combining medical research on the disease and often-painful anecdotes of memory loss, deteriorating motor functions, personality shifts, support-group and daycare experiences, and drug trials, Alterra chronicles his transformation from husband to caregiver after his wife's diagnosis.More than a chronology of one family's experience of Alzheimer's disease, The Caregiver is an intelligent, beautifully reflective testimony to how family members turned caregivers become the ultimate advocates for their loved ones in the face of a disease with no cure.


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Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer's: One Daughter's Hopeful Story

by Lauren Kessler

About the book:  Previously published in Hardcover as Dancing With Rose One journalist's riveting and surprisingly hopeful in-the-trenches view of Alzheimer's Nearly five million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer's. Like many children of Alzheimer's sufferers, Lauren Kessler, an accomplished journalist, was devastated by the disease that seemed to erase her mother's identity even before claiming her life. But suppose people with Alzheimer's are not slates wiped blank. Suppose they experience friendship and loss, romance and jealousy, joy and sorrow? To better understand this debilitating condition, Kessler enlists as a bottom-of-the-rung caregiver at an Alzheimer's facility and learns lessons that challenge what we think we know about the disease. A compelling, clear-eyed, and emotionally resonant narrative, Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer's offers a new optimistic look at what the disease can teach us and a much-needed tonic for those faced with providing care for someone they love.


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Jan's Story: Love Lost to the Long Goodbye of Alzheimer's

by Barry Petersen

About the book:  Jan's Story is a full, rich story of two people - and millions like them - for whom "forever" suddenly and terrifyingly has an expiration date. Even though Barry has spent his long-time, award-winning TV career covering wars and events that shaped the world... he was not even slightly prepared for what happened to his darling wife, Jan, and how it would impact his life. Multiple Emmy Award-winner Barry Petersen has covered wars, genocide, interviewed dozens of stars, and several Bosnian War Crimes Tribunal suspects. Barry earned one of his Emmys for reporting the Siege of Sarajevo for CBS Sunday Morning. He shared both Peabody and DuPont Awards for being a part of the CBS News Radio coverage of the Tiananmen Square uprising in 1989, and on Edward R. Murrow Award for, of all things, sports writing for a story on baseball coming to Beijing. Barry works for CBS News and makes his home in Denver, Colorado.


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Losing My Mind: An Intimate Look at Life with Alzheimer's

by Thomas DeBaggio

About the book:  "We are foolish, those of us who think we can escape the traps of aging," writes Tom DeBaggio. "I was one of them, dreaming of a perfect and healthy old age....Now, at fifty-eight, I realize the foolishness of my dreams as I watch my brain self-destruct from Alzheimer's." Losing My Mind is DeBaggio's extraordinary account of his early onset Alzheimer's, a disease that "silently hollows the brain" and slowly "gobbles memory and destroys life." But with DeBaggio's curse came an unexpected blessing: the ability to chart the mechanics and musings of his failing mind. Whether describing the happy days of his youth or lamenting over the burden his disease has placed upon his loved ones, DeBaggio manages to inspire the reader with his ability to function, to think, and ultimately to survive. By turns an autobiography, a medical history, and a book of meditations, Losing My Mind is a testament to the splendor of memory and a triumphant celebration of the human spirit.


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Measure of the Heart: Caring for a Parent with Alzheimer's

by Mary Ellen Geist

About the book:  Mary Ellen Geist decided to leave her job as a CBS Radio anchor to return home to Michigan when her father's Alzheimer's got to be too much for her mother to shoulder alone. She chose to live her life by a different set of priorities: to be guided by her heart, not by outside accomplishment and recognition.The New York Times wrote a front page story about Mary Ellen on Thanksgiving 2005. It was one of the most e-mailed stories for the month. Mary Ellen also kept a blog of her experiences, which received an enormous response from readers on WCBS880.com. Through her own story and through interviews with doctors and other women who've followed the "Daughter Track"--leaving a job to care for an aging parent--Geist offers eye-opening advice. She shares emotional insights on how to encourage interaction with the loved one you're caring for; how to determine daily tasks that are achievable and rewarding; how the personality of the patient affects the caregiving and the progression of the disease; as well as invaluable advice about how the reader can take care of themselves while accomplishing the Herculean task of constant caregiving to others.Geist's years in journalism allow her to report on Boomers' caretaking dilemmas with professional objectivity, and her warm voice brings compassion and insight to one of the most difficult stituations a son or daughter may face during his or her life.


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Mother in the Middle: A Biologist's Story of Caring for Parent and Child

by Sybil Lockhart

About the book:  Sybil Lockhart, a Berkeley neurobiologist, became a "mother in the middle" when she was pregnant with her second daughter and her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. What makes Sybil's story different, and so powerful, is that she understood the neurological processes, by turns exciting and devastating, that were taking place in the brains of those she loved. Interweaving her scientific expertise with her own complicated emotions, she writes with elegant simplicity and breathtaking honesty about biology's inevitable, powerful effects on the people around her. When her mother begins to show the first subtle signs of the disease that is slowly ravaging her brain, Sybil refuses to consider the possibility of dementia, insisting that all her mother needs is a daughter nearby. She relocates her young family to her beloved San Francisco Bay Area, where her memories of her mother and her childhood are deeply anchored. As Sybil sets about creating new memories against the backdrop of her past, the emerging undeniable truth about her mother's condition threatens to overwhelm her ability to maintain her career, nurture her marriage, raise her young daughter, and care for herself during her second pregnancy. Even though she appreciates the beauty of the dramatic biological processes at work inside the brains of her family members, she also understands their inevitable power, and she bravely describes the complicated emotions -- denial, rage, ambivalence, exhaustion -- that so many caregivers experience. With a unique combination of science and intimate experience, Mother in the Middle is a story of mothers and daughters, science and creativity, and life's exquisite intertwining of love and loss.


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Speaking Our Minds: What It's Like to Have Alzheimer's

by Lisa Snyder

About the book:  Helping you gain insights into the world of the person with Alzheimer's, this title provides a view into the day-to-day experience of Alzheimer's through the reflections of 7 diverse individuals with the disease. Suitable for people with early-stage Alzheimer's and related dementias, it explores the many dimensions of the Alzheimer's experience.


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The Thousand Mile Stare: One Family's Journey through the Struggle and Science of Alzheimer's

by Gary Reiswig

About the book:  A true story of one Midwestern family’s discovery, The Thousand Mile Stare combines factual medical research, intriguing family genealogy, and the emotional challenges of the Reiswigs as they experience the devastating effects of Early Onset Alzheimer’s and act out their desires to understand the science behind the illness.


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Ten Thousand Joys & Ten Thousand Sorrows: A Couple's Journey Through Alzheimer's

by Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle

About the book:  "Ten Thousand Sorrows & Ten Thousand Joys offers a vision of lives well-led, and of love in the thick of crisis and loss. Beyond inspiring."-Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence "This beautiful book is unlike any other personal account of living with Alzheimer's disease that I have ever read . . . it offers patients and families practical insights into how they can live their lives more fully amidst the heartbreak of a mind-robbing illness."- Paul Raia, Director of Patient Care and Family Support, Alzheimer's Association, Massachusetts Chapter "A story of courage, love, and growing wisdom in the face of Alzheimer's."-Joseph Goldstein, author of One Dharma, Founder / Director of Insight Meditation Society In this profound and courageous memoir, Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle describes how her husband's Alzheimer's diagnosis at the age of seventy-two challenged them to live the spiritual teachings they had embraced during the course of their life together. Following a midlife career shift, Harrison Hobliztelle, or Hob as he was called, a former professor of comparative literature at Barnard, Columbia, and Brandeis University, became a family therapist and was ordained a Dharmacharya (senior teacher) by Thich Nhat Hanh. Hob comes to life in these pages as an incredibly funny and brilliant man who never stopped enjoying a good philosophical conversation-even as his mind, quite literally, slipped away from him. And yet when they first heard the diagnosis, Olivia and Hob's initial reaction was to cling desperately to the life they had had. But everything had changed, and they knew that the only answer was to greet this last phase of Hob's life consciously and lovingly. Ten Thousand Joys & Ten Thousand Sorrows provides a wise and compassionate vision for maintaining hope and grace in the face of life's greatest challenges. (This memoir was originally self-published as The Majesty of Your Loving.)


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