The Caregiver, The

The Caregiver, The : A Life with Alzheimer's

3.92 (14 ratings by Goodreads)
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'A touchingly exact and superbly composed account written by a real writer. This is the best and most expert book on Alzheimer's that I have read and it should be closely read by every caregiver.' - John Bayley A beautifully written and deeply humane account of caring for someone with Alzheimer's that anyone even remotely connected to the care of a person with this devastating disease should read. A bestseller in hardback in the USA, it demonstrates what love is, at the core and stripped of hope and more

Product details

  • Paperback | 204 pages
  • 137.16 x 213.36 x 12.7mm | 294.83g
  • Steerforth Press
  • South Royalton, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 1586420070
  • 9781586420079

Review Text

A husband's unsentimental but deeply loving memoir of caring for his wife, who is stricken with Alzheimer's. Alterra (a pseudonym adopted by the author, a novelist and short-story writer) didn't take his wife's forgetfulness seriously when he first began to notice it in 1994. Stella, a talented concert cellist, was, after all, 80. It was when he understood that what she was losing was not simply vocabulary but a sense of the connectedness of things that he became concerned enough to take his wife to their family doctor. Subsequent consultation with a psychiatrist led him to understand that Alzheimer's is managed less by physicians than by caregivers, and from this point on, Alterra took control. Through the Aizheimer's Association, he learned about clinical trials of new drugs, and he put Stella into one when she was unable to tolerate the standard drug for slowing the progression of Aizheimer's. An unusually resourceful man, he persuaded the local police lab to test the medication Stella was given, and on learning it was a placebo, he got her into a program where she was given Sandoz ENA 713. It's this drug that he credits with slowing her subsequent decline. Nothing, however could halt it, and Alterra unflinchingly describes the inexorable deterioration of Stella's mind and body. When she could no longer unclench her teeth to eat, he found an infant feeding siphon that worked; when she lost the ability to walk, he figured out that, for a while, marching and dancing could still propel her from place to place. Day care for her and support groups for him helped, but surprisingly, Medicare did not. Alterra's tale of his bureaucratic encounters is a story in itself, and one he relates with more amusement than bitterness. Today, Stella is wheelchair bound and barely able to speak, but with Alterra still her devoted caregiver. A beautiful, tough-minded love story for all, regardless of age or state of health. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

14 ratings
3.92 out of 5 stars
5 29% (4)
4 36% (5)
3 36% (5)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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