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The Caregiver: A Life with Alzheimer's

Overview

Aaron and Stella Alterra had been married for more than sixty years when Aaron began to notice puzzling lapses in his wife's memory. Innocuous at first, they became more severe and more alarming. After a series of appointments and tests, the Alterras were informed that Stella was one of the more than 4.5 million Americans with Alzheimer's disease.

Combining medical research on the disease and often-painful anecdotes of memory loss, deteriorating motor functions, personality ...

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Overview

Aaron and Stella Alterra had been married for more than sixty years when Aaron began to notice puzzling lapses in his wife's memory. Innocuous at first, they became more severe and more alarming. After a series of appointments and tests, the Alterras were informed that Stella was one of the more than 4.5 million Americans with Alzheimer's disease.

Combining medical research on the disease and often-painful anecdotes of memory loss, deteriorating motor functions, personality shifts, support-group and daycare experiences, and drug trials, Alterra chronicles his transformation from husband to caregiver after his wife's diagnosis.

More than a chronology of one family's experience of Alzheimer's disease, The Caregiver is an intelligent, beautifully reflective testimony to how family members turned caregivers become the ultimate advocates for their loved ones in the face of a disease with no cure.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In this thoughtful and honest memoir, Alterra effectively impresses on the reader that the 'primary physician' is not the doctor but the caregiver who lives with the patient."—Publishers Weekly

"A husband's unsentimental but deeply loving memoir of caring for his wife, a talented concert cellist."—Kirkus Reviews

"Alterra is the pseudonym of a prolific and award-winning short story writer and novelist. . . . Alterra's book will strike a chord with anyone who has a family member with Alzheimer's: the search for understanding, the hallucinations, mood changes, loss of mental and physical functioning, and unpredictable nature of the disease."—Library Journal

"The book is so well written that you might find yourself reading it as a story rather than as an autobiographical account. The book also shares a simple message: that carers are people too and that their lives are also significantly compromised and overshadowed by dementia. It is a powerful voice that deserves to be head-and a power book that deserve to be read."—Ageing and Society

"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 studied by every caregiver."—John Bayley, author of Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch

"The Caregiver is one of the few examples of the lived experience of Alzheimer's disease from the perspective of a loving, reflective, and articulate husband. Aaron Alterra paints a beautiful and honest picture of how Alzheimer's disease changed one family's world, a literate world full of life, music, art, and words. His story will touch physicians, nurses, social workers, physical therapists, psychologists, and healers of all sorts who struggle to assist families in their journey with this disease."—Patricia G. Archbold, Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Scholars Program, American Academy of Nursing

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Foreword   Arthur Kleinman     ix
Forgetting How Things Are Done     1
The New Primary Care Physician     31
Second Opinions     55
Giving Up the Keys     81
The Right to Know     105
The Real and the Unreal     123
Another Way     141
Paying the Bill     163
I Want to Go Home     183
Coda     205
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