Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver
194 Pages, 5.50 x 8.50 in, 19 Illustrations
One year shy of her fiftieth wedding anniversary, Dee Hershberger was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Her husband, Bob, serving as her primary caregiver, kept a journal the following four and a half years. Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver provides an unflinchingly honest and heartbreaking account of what the couple went through.
During the first two and a half years, Dee gradually lost short-term memory but maintained most physical and social abilities. Over the last two years she lost these abilities, most words, and long-term memory. She also became incontinent, suffered from undetected illnesses, and experienced psychotic episodes and uncontrollable, violent behavior.
This is a brutally raw look at what it is like to lose a loved one to Alzheimer’s, including what the disease does to the patient and the effects it has on loved ones and caregivers. This personal view into caring for a spouse with Alzheimer’s will help readers understand the physical, emotional, and financial consequences of the disease, as well as provide support, advice, and hope to anyone in the same situation.
Chapter 1: First Year of the Journey
Chapter 2: Second Year of the Journey
Chapter 3: Third Year of the Journey
Chapter 4: Fourth Year of the Journey
Chapter 5: Fifth Year of the Journey
About the Authors
"Simply put, this is a poignant, day-to-day description of a husband’s impressions and experiences of his wife’s journey through Alzheimer’s disease from the earliest suspected symptoms through the time of her death. His reflections and thoughtful advice for caregivers evolve with the advancing stages of his wife’s dementia. Though there are many books about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, it is rare to be given such intimate insight into this challenging journey." —Richard J. Caselli, MD, Professor of Neurology, Mildred A. and Henry Uihlein II Professor of Medical Research, Mayo Clinic
"As a nurse specializing in dementia care for over twenty years, I know this book holds truth in every word. Diary of an Alzheimer's Caregiver honestly depicts both the lovely moments and the ugly realities of dementia caregiving, highlighting the particular challenges of caring for a spouse with a failing brain. Spousal caregiving is a completely different journey from caring for a parent or other relative. From diagnosis to life after caregiving, Hershberger kept notes on the couple's experiences. Those notes became the foundation of Diary of an Alzheimer's Caregiver, offering a message of hope and reassurance to families that they are not alone. Its insights are pure gold for families, professionals, and those living with dementia. This generous gift makes the book a treasure to be spread far and wide." —Gail Weatherill, RN CAEd, The Dementia Nurse, author of The Caregiver's Guide to Dementia
"Chronicle of a loving husband's five-year odyssey of caretaking for his wife. While intensely sorrowful, the couple's journey is often poignant, grounded in true love and unshakeable devotion. It's also an insightful, knowledgeable guidebook with essential advice for concerned readers facing similar circumstances. A somber yet candid and emotionally supportive portrayal of a spouse's cognitive decline." —Kirkus
"This diary is an exceptional read, remarkable for its humanity and compassion. An array of useful recommendations spans the five-year journey this couple makes together. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers." —CHOICE
ExcerptThis book provides an up close and personal view of Deanna (Dee) Hershberger’s four-and-a-half-year journey through Alzheimer’s disease, from its first manifestations in the fall of 2010 until her death on March 1, 2015. As Dee’s husband of more than fifty years and her primary caregiver, I first recorded changes as they occurred but later as an almost daily diary. I hope that this digest of the original entries will help readers appreciate what occurred throughout the course of the disease.