An assortment of reality-based portraits examines dementia and Alzheimer’s disease sufferers and their hardworking caregivers.
Veteran caregiver Boggs channels her nearly 20 years of experience in elder support into this heartfelt, illuminating debut book focusing on both patient convalescence and the importance of self-care while delivering aid to those in need. The author believes there is limited knowledge of Alzheimer’s and dementia in contemporary society and therefore an underappreciation for the impact these illnesses have on patients, their families, and the emotional and physical well-beings of caregivers themselves. Among the patient profiles she provides is that of ornery, diminutive 93-year-old Cynthia, who rejects repeated offers for caregiving suggested by her concerned nephew. Her story is narrated by Annelle Bright, an aide with a Connecticut home care agency. Bright escorts readers through the various stages of her client-caregiver relationship with Cynthia, a prideful former professional who had lived in her home for over 60 years until a dementia diagnosis. As bonding progresses, Cynthia generously shares her rich, extensive, melodramatic personal and familial history with Bright even as her disease progression ebbs through an eventual heartbreaking, irreversible descent. Boggs’ volume emphasizes themes of perceived familial abandonment, loneliness, and confusion alongside the hopelessness, frustration, and sadness caregivers must endure for the greater good of their patients. The author stresses that her book is not meant to replace nor supplement clinical guides on elder dementia care but instead act as a motivational learning and emotional support tool. Sensitively rendered throughout, the work will give readers a good sense of the critical importance of administering attentive care to those struggling with age-related memory impairment and mood alterations. Boggs’ chronicle of Cynthia’s past and upsetting incremental decline does tend to ramble on a bit lengthily, with overly extended chapters on developments with her caregiver. Even so, the author’s message is one of tough love tempered with the kind of exasperated humor that occurs during situations that are beyond anyone’s control. Boggs reminds readers that the consistent patience, humanity, and resilience required to assist Alzheimer’s patients can be difficult to muster and that those delivering this essential care are a selfless, compassionate, unparalleled breed.
Poignant, eye-opening, and uniquely relevant patient stories interwoven with practical approaches to compassionate elder care.