Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Book Review: Before I Forget

In May of last year, my mother suffered some heart trouble and ended up having a stent inserted. During that time she suffered a mini-stroke and they believe this triggered vascular dementia, although I have also heard my father toss out the diagnosis of Alzheimer's. Thus, I've been more interested in reading about the subject and when this book came available at my local library, I put my name on the hold list.

Before I Forget: Love, Hope, Help, and Acceptance in Our Fight Against Alzheimer's is the story of B. Smith and Dan Gasby and their experience with B.'s early-onset Alzheimer's. It is part-memoir, part-awareness-boosting information. I think the scariest thing for me was the realization of how expensive Alzheimer's will be for our family. A minimal amount of home health care runs about $1000 a week. When round-the-clock care comes in, the number is closer to $100,000 a year for care expenses. That was startling.

The stories of B.'s decline were interesting. I felt sorry for them when she wandered off a bus and was missing for a period of time. I know something like that could happen for my parents and it makes me feel so helpless to be so far away from them. Still, moving them closer opens up a whole different set of challenges.

If you have a loved one who is facing an Alzheimer's diagnosis, this would be an interesting book to peruse. The book also referred to two other interesting books (ones my book club read), Still Alice by Lisa Genova and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (a book I intended to read for book club, but somehow missed). Sadly, I don't feel terribly hopeful after reading this book. I wish it had more positive news to share about breakthroughs in research. She's a beautiful woman with a sad story.

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