My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping, and Surviving as an Alzheimer's Caregiver

My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping, and Surviving as an Alzheimer's Caregiver

My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping, and Surviving as an Alzheimer's Caregiver

My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping, and Surviving as an Alzheimer's Caregiver



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In My Two Elaines, author Marty Schreiber, former governor of Wisconsin, watches his beloved wife, Elaine, gradually transform from the woman he fell in love with in high school, and who diligently supported his political career, to the Elaine who knows she is declining and can’t remember how to cook a meal, and finally to the Elaine who no longer recognizes Marty or their children.

One part love story, one part practical advice, this compelling book includes several unique elements:

  • Excerpts from Elaine’s journal, recounting her thoughts, concerns, and frustrations as the disease progresses
  • A recurring feature called “What I Wish I’d Known,” which provides helpful takeaways for caregivers based on Marty’s observations about what he wishes he’d known sooner and done differently
  • A Q&A between Marty and neuropsychologist Dr. Michelle Braun, to equip caregivers with the right questions to ask and empower them to advocate for their loved ones and their own needs

Beyond sincere, practical advice, My Two Elaines gives the reader permission to feel the full spectrum of emotions, including humor, even in the face of this relentless illness. And the book speaks to anyone touched by this disease--spouse, child, friend, or family member.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780785291701
Publisher: Harper Horizon
Publication date: 06/13/2022
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
Format: eBook
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 226,822
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Former Wisconsin Governor Martin J. Schreiber is an award-winning crusader for Alzheimer's caregivers and persons with dementia. Reaching audiences nationwide at live events and via media, he uses humor and compassion to share lessons from his ongoing, decade-plus journey as a caregiver. Since 2017, Schreiber has given more than 400 presentations to audiences that include family and professional caregivers, healthcare workers, social workers, nursing and pharmacy students, civic and business leaders, senior community residents, library patrons, and more. 

Prior to writing My Two Elaines--and while he still cared for his wife at home--Schreiber helped the Alzheimer's Association launch Operation: Stronger Together, beginning in 2015. This multiyear awareness program has helped the Southeastern Wisconsin chapter connect record numbers of families to education and resources that are vital to successful caregiving.

Schreiber also collaborated with Wisconsin's state government and business groups to help create the Dementia-Friendly Employers Toolkit, which is used by human resources departments and employee assistance programs. Such initiatives have led to Schreiber being recognized with awards from the Alzheimer’s Association and other organizations.

Schreiber's work on behalf of older citizens dates back decades, to his 16 years in public service as a state senator, lieutenant governor, and governor, where he focused on improved quality for nursing home care and development of the in-home Community Care Organization. He went on to become a successful insurance executive and publisher before he started his own government relations firm in 1988. 

Schreiber attended Valparaiso University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and earned a doctorate of law from Marquette University.

He and his wife, Elaine, are the parents of four children, Kathryn Lyon, Martin Schreiber, Kristine Haas, and Matt Schreiber. They have 13 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.

Table of Contents

Foreword Mark Johnson xiii

Preface xvii

Introduction xix

Chapter 1 When Marty Met Elaine 5

Part I Learning About Alzheimer's Disease

Chapter 2 Diagnosis 17

Chapter 3 Danger on the Trail: How Alzheimer's Can Harm Your Health 29

Chapter 4 Isolation 39

Chapter 5 Irrational Irritability 47

Part 2 Coping with Alzheimer's Disease

Chapter 6 Reaching for a Lifeline 59

Chapter 7 Being a Real Man 71

Chapter 8 Therapeutic Fibbing: Entering Her Reality 79

Chapter 9 Living in the Now 87

Part 3 Surviving Alzheimer's Disease

Chapter 10 Challenges 97

Chapter 11 What Surviving Looks Like 105

"If Alzheimer's Could Speak" Tara Reed 115

Afterword Tom Hlavacek 117

Acknowledgments 119

Resources 121

Appendix A Q&A Conversations from the Road 123

Appendix B Q&A Between Marty and Dr. Michelle Braun 129

Notes 155

Index 161

About the Authors 167

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