Greg O’Brien, an award-winning investigative reporter, has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's and is one of those faceless numbers. Acting on long-term memory and skill coupled with well-developed journalistic grit, O’Brien decided to tackle the disease and his imminent decline by writing frankly about the journey. O’Brien is a master storyteller. His story is naked, wrenching, and soul searching for a generation and their loved ones about to cross the threshold of this death in slow motion. On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s is a trail-blazing roadmap for a generation—both a “how to” for fighting a disease, and a “how not” to give up!
Opening the door of your heart
During his wanderings and work over the last 30 years as a Buddhist monk, Ajahn Brahm has gathered many poignant, funny and profound stories. While traditional Buddhist philosophy is at the heart of this collection, these thoughtful stories are written like playful parables, which are used to launch into a deeper exploration of subjects such as mindfulness, suffering, forgiveness, hope, wisdom and unconditional love. Told with wit and good humour, they reveal moments of compassion in the lives of ordinary people and the timeless wisdom of the Buddha's teachings.
book review: I can't praise this book highly enough. Firstly, let me say I have no interest in pursuing Buddhism (or any other religion), and I am also not the type to be found in the "self-help" section. But this book is a thing of absolute beauty. On the two occasions I've read through it - firstly whilst going through a messy breakup in 2008, and again recently whilst confronted with a different flavour of awful - different stories have jumped out at me and helped me find peace. Reading it really is like having a calm, endlessly patient and understanding friend in the room, and I never say this, but I actually would recommend this to everyone. Yes, everyone!
Still Alice - book or DVD
Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. A Harvard professor, she has a successful husband and three grown children. When she begins to grow forgetful, she dismisses it for as long as she can, but when she gets lost in her own neighbourhood she knows that something has gone terribly wrong. She finds herself in the rapidly downward spiral of Alzheimer's Disease. She is fifty years old. Suddenly she has no classes to teach, no new research to conduct, no invited lectures to give. Ever again. Unable to work, read and, increasingly, take care of herself, Alice struggles to find meaning and purpose in her everyday life as her concept of self gradually slips away. But Alice is a remarkable woman, and her family, yoked by history and DNA and love, discover more about her and about each other, in their quest to keep the Alice they know for as long as possible. Losing her yesterdays, her short-term memory hanging on by a couple of frayed threads, she is living in the moment, living for each day. But she is still Alice.
This is an intimate portrait of Frank, a man in his late eighties who finds himself caring for his wife of 61 years. Whilst no formal diagnosis is ever made, it is apparent that Irene has dementia and requires more support to continue to live at home. Facing the realities of their changing circumstances, Frank decides to build a dwelling more suitable than their long-term family home and is thrust into the contemporary world of permits, plans, building codes and the consequences of not complying with these restrictions.
Whilst taking on more tasks within the home, to compensate for Irene’s changing abilities, Frank also contends with the concerns of his seven children and their preference to have Irene, or possibly both Frank and Irene, getting professional care or support. Still Mine is ultimately a story about a relationship between husband and wife and their staunch determination to remain together and care for one another. At times, this means other family members are excluded and disregarded. Yet no one doubts their devotion to one another. It is a story of empowerment and acceptance in very stressful circumstances. Whilst their situation bends them, it does not break them and Still Mine is, among other things, a story of triumph.
Inside the O'Briens
What would you do if the body and brain you rely on suddenly let you down - and would it change the person you are inside? Joe O'Brien is a Boston cop; his physical stamina and methodical mind have seen him through decades policing the city streets, while raising a family with his wife Rosie. When he starts committing uncharacteristic errors - mislaying his police weapon, trouble writing up reports, slurred speech - he attributes them to stress. Finally, he agrees to see a doctor and is handed a terrifying, unexpected diagnosis: Huntington's disease. Not only is Joe's life set to change forever, but each of his four grown-up children has a fifty per cent chance of inheriting the disease. Observing her potential future play out in her father's escalating symptoms, his pretty yoga teacher daughter Katie wrestles with how to make the most of the here and now, and how to care for her dad who is, inside, always an O'Brien.
This book grabbed me from the beginning, I laughed and I cried and did not put it down until I finished reading. Very well written and am very proud of Deborah for sharing her story and giving us all an insight to how difficult it is caring for someone you love with dementia.
A beautiful love story that will stay with me forever.
A great insight into what life is like when dealing with a loved one with FTD. Also goes to show that a sense of humor is needed in life to get by, even during the toughest moments. Great story.
I found it to be an easy read. Full of insight and humor and honesty and most of all ..Love..The author has given us an insight into how devasting this disease is and yet she also lets us in on her humor and such a sweet and honest insight into their marriage and life together.. I highly recommend this book for anyone to read.. I couldn`t put it down!
Just past 70, Witchel's smart, adoring, ultracapable mother began to exhibit undeniable signs of dementia. But as medical reality undid hope, Witchel retreated to the kitchen to come to terms with her predicament. daughter s longing love letter to a mother who has slipped beyond reach Just past seventy, Alex Witchel s smart, adoring, ultracapable mother began to exhibit undeniable signs of dementia. Her smart, adoring, ultracapable daughter reacted as she d been raised: If something was broken, they would fix it. But as medical reality undid that hope, and her mother continued the torturous process of disappearing in plain sight, Witchel retreated to the kitchen, trying to reclaim her mother at the stove by cooking the comforting foods of her childhood: Is there any contract tighter than a family recipe? Reproducing the perfect meat loaf was no panacea, but it helped Witchel come to terms with her predicament, the growing phenomenon of ambiguous loss -- loss of a beloved one who lives on. Gradually she developed a deeper appreciation for all the ways the parent she was losing lived on in her, starting with the daily commandment Tell me everything that happened today that started a future reporter and writer on her way. And she was inspired to turn her experience into this frank, bittersweet, and surprisingly funny account that offers true balm for an increasingly familiar form of heartbreak.
Review by our helpline staff member
This memoir is a love story. It is inspirational, engaging and intimate. The writer shares the tumultuous events in her marriage which result when her husband, who has early signs of dementia, suffers severe brain damage after a fall.
The author openly shares her innermost feelings and struggles. Within the diabolically changed circumstances of their lives there is much sadness and despair at times but this is countered by a sense of striving to truly live fully as a couple and as individuals. They are forced by the unfolding new reality of “what is” to redefine their relationship.
The title conveys the strength of her determination – at first with her husband’s needs being paramount and then, finding a precarious balance, as she rediscovers her own life.
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