FOR SASHA, WITH LOVE: An Alzheimer's Crusade by Gail Bernice Holland

FOR SASHA, WITH LOVE: An Alzheimer's Crusade

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Anne Bashkiroff was in her forties, her husband Sasha in his sixties when he first exhibited symptoms of Alzheimer's disease after being hospitalized for an acute kidney infection. Almost ten years later he died, having progressively lost most mental, and then physical, function. Suffering from loneliness, guilt, and depression, Bashkiroff attempted suicide; she gradually fought her way back to health by mounting a crusade for assistance to families of Alzheimer's disease victims. That effort would take her to Washington to testify before Rosalynn Carter--but the essential story here, as Holland tells it, is Anne Bashkiroff's of her husband. She describes their White Russian heritage, the struggle to become established in the US (Sasha worked with eventual good fortune in the garment industry), and then the inexorable progression of the disease--which Bashkiroff reacted to largely by denial. Not uncommonly, Anne tried to hide his illness from Sasha himself (by pretending nothing was wrong), from their son, and from friends; hence she delayed seeking appropriate treatment. When she finally looked for help, there was none--so Sasha spent his final years being transferred from nursing home to psychiatric hospital to other long-term facilities, as his condition worsened. Bashkiroff's frustration and sorrow will be a familiar story to many in a similar situation--though this remains essentially, and touchingly, a personal account.

Pub Date: May 27th, 1985
Publisher: Dembner--dist. by Norton