03 December 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Dementia Diary, A Caregiver’s Journal by Robert Tell

I think it’s safe bet that most people have been touched by some form of dementia, whether it’s a parent, a grand parent or a friend. I’m no different. My grandmother suffered with Alzheimer’s and it was painful to watch, not only her, but also my mother and her siblings. Dealing with someone with dementia is a whole other ball of wax. It’s been over a decade, but reading this book brought back a lot of that time and remembering how helpless I felt to do something for my mother. It also brought back some smiles, remembering all of the “crazy” things that my grandmother did. It truly is a laugh or cry situation when you have someone you love with dementia. My husband’s grandmother currently suffers with a form of dementia as well. Okay, so that’s where I’m coming from when I read this book…

I really applaud the author for this honesty, I felt that he not only gave his mother the honor of telling her truth, but also allowed himself to let go of some of the guilt he was (is?) carrying around. I think that’s the prevailing feeling with all caregivers though and I would be shocked if he didn’t have that undertone. I also liked when he gave us a glimpse into the day-to-day drama (and there’s always drama!) of dealing with his mother, her caregivers, and her supporters. It truly felt like he had a second job.

I read a lot of memoirs (it’s my favorite genre) and what I think this book is missing most is that the author didn’t give us enough information about HIM. This is an odd combination of a memoir and biography, almost. I wanted to know about him. I wanted him to open up and I wanted to know how he was feeling. Yes, I cared about what he was doing, but I think this book really is missing the emotional element. It was very “action” and not enough “feeling”, I guess. With dementia, there are a LOT of feelings. There were a few times he opened up and I think those little glimpses really made me realize that we needed more from him.

Either way, my heart goes out to the author. My mother had her children and several siblings to lean on. It must be just that much more difficult dealing with this alone. Although the author provided me a copy of this book for review at no cost, I did purchase it to share with a few family members that I think would benefit from it.

I recommend this book for those that have been touched by someone with any of the various forms of dementia. It will remind you that you are not alone and just how prevalent this problem can be.

Description:
What’s it like to be the only son of a widowed mother rapidly sinking into the fog of dementia, and who lives alone half a continent away? Robert Tell tells this tale with compassion and humor. If you have watched helplessly as your parent, spouse or friend’s identity disappeared into the sinkhole of Alzheimer’s Disease (or another dementia), “Dementia Diary” will touch you deeply.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Book count for 2010: 94

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