Only the spouse of someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease will completely appreciate this book.
Alzheimer’s spouses are asked to keep the marriage vow to love their husband or wife—despite the physical and emotional ravages of the disease—”until death do us part.” In this timely and specific book, journalist and author Mary K. Doyle, whose husband of almost a quarter of a century suffers from advanced Alzheimer’s and no longer even recognizes her most of the time, gives gentle advice to other Alzheimer’s spouses about what is in store for them and how to deal with their beloved soulmate in loving and practical ways while still protecting their own health and happiness.
As she writes in her first chapter:
We begin our marriage with a covenant, an agreement that will bind us with our spouse through the good times and the bad times. Few of us, however, reflect much about the implication of the vow to have and to hold in sickness and in health. We are often young. We are beginning a joyful new life. We realize there will be unhealthy days somewhere in the future, even expect them. But we are never prepared for the terrorist known as Alzheimer’s disease, which may even have been an uninvited guest at our wedding. It was at mine.
For each of the subchapters in this book, Doyle offers spouses of Alzheimer’s patients bulleted suggestions for “What We Can Do” on specific issues at different stages of the disease. As she reminds her readers:
Happiness is a choice, in many ways. There’s beauty, love, and support around us. We only have to reach out and grasp it. We find ourselves in the midst of what is almost certainly the most trying time of our marriage. When we are exhausted and frustrated, it can be easy to overlook the small joys in our life—the joys both within and beyond our spouse. If we must live with hardship, we should also enjoy these gifts.
About the author
Mary K. Doyle is the author of ten books, including the award-winning Navigating Alzheimer’s: 12 Truths about Caring for Your Loved One. She cared for her husband, Marshall Brodien, for over ten years at home after his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and now visits faithfully in the extended-care facility in which he now lives. She speaks regularly around the country on “finding the grace” to be the primary caregiver of a loved one with Alzheimer’s.