Title: Shared Stories From Daughters of Alzheimer’s
Sub-title: Writing a Path to Peace
Edited by: Persis R. Granger
Publisher: iUniverse Star
Genre: Non-Fiction / Health/ Memoirs
Presentation: Soft Cover
This book is a collection of personal stories shared by daughters of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. The shock, the anger, the grief, the stress etc. are brought out with sincerity and honesty by the different authors. The editing by Percis R. Granger is by and large excellent and the book is highly readable (though my sharp eye caught some slips, they won't interfere with the reading). The book is not easy to read because of the emotions that are shared but is a valuable addition to the growing literature on Alzheimer's disease, a progressive and as of today incurable form of dementia, whose final diagnosis can only be made through a postmortem!
More and more people are becoming victims of Alzheimer's (partly because of increasing life span) and caring for them when they fail to recognize themselves and their care givers is no easy task. Relationships get affected apart from financial difficulties. Sending the person to an institution for care is one of the toughest decisions and the stories give an intimate look at the emotional trauma of the care givers. The book is thus moving at many places. In a country like India, where elders are supposed to be taken care of by children and there is no real infrastructure for their separate living, the relationships are affected severely due to the stress and strain of chronic illness and consequent burden on the care givers. Some of the stories in the book will thus strike a chord for such readers too!
Though the book focuses on Alzheimer's, any chronic illness that makes the person dependent on others causes similar problems and thus the book would be relevant to patients and caregivers of other chronic and debilitating diseases.
The book has a foreword by Pat Jimison, an introduction by Kathleen Adams and resources section at the end. However, alternative, holistic treatment options if any are left out and it is hoped that the future editions and a website will carry such information (as of now there is no specific website for the book). A lot of research on the role of antioxidants and herbs in delaying the onset of or improvement of Alzheimer's is now coming up and the book / website could have covered that.
I went through many emotions as I was reading this book since my own mother passed away in 2003 at the age of 89 and I felt (and feel even now) that I could have been a better son as far as her care is concerned. Her presence in the house was not stress free and many times I felt helpless! Journalling as suggested in the book is a good and effective way of coming to terms with the emotions that one cannot process immediately.
I recommend this book to all caregivers and even to chronic patients to give them an idea of the life ahead for those in early stages of Alzheimer's.