3 out of 4 stars
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There are some absolutely devastating events that occur in people’s lives. One of my biggest fears, however, is watching a close family member suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. In Dealing with Early Onset Alzheimer's Love, Laughter & Tears, Sonia Discher writes about this exact situation. She details how she dealt with the challenges and heartbreak following her husband’s diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s. This book is one part memoir, one part informative, and in my opinion, one part therapy.
Discher starts off her book with an introduction to her husband and their life together prior to the disease. He was an active member in the Canadian Armed Forces and had a very happy family life. She continues by outlining some of the warning signs she might have picked up on (hindsight is 20/20 of course) and then described Steve’s slow deterioration over the next couple of years. She talks about many of the challenges she faced as the disease progressed, some of the resources she used, and tips for those in a similar situation. The book touches on treatments that they tried, fundraising for those treatments, and the various different levels of care they received. Through a chronological progression of the disease's impact on this family, the reader not only hears their story, but is also presented with valuable nuggets of advice/information that could help them in a similar situation.
Having dealt with the horrors of this disease first hand, Discher is writing the book from a position of passion. Her love for her husband and her willingness to do anything in her power to make his life more comfortable were key themes in this book. I loved how she was able to skirt the line between it being a memoir (detailing her and her husband’s fight with the disease) and an informative read (providing the reader with lessons learned, tips, and information on the disease). Some of the lessons were discovered the hard way, and some of the lessons come from a place of joy (creating lasting memories for example). These valuable pieces of advice discovered through real-life experiences are what I liked the most about the book. The piece of wisdom that I hung onto the most is that of self-care. Knowing you can’t take care of your loved ones without taking care of yourself is essential to staying sane in all the chaos.
The only thing that I disliked about the book was that it was missing a professional editorial touch. Despite the amazing message, there were way too many grammatical, editorial, and other mistakes within the copy that I read. The only other thing that I’ll mention, even though it didn’t bother me too much, was the style of the book itself. Some readers may not appreciate the informal, memoir-like approach that the author takes. I really felt that this book, in addition to the goal of instructing and telling a story, was a kind of therapy for Discher.
Since this book not only tells a heart-wrenching tale of one family’s battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s, but also gives solid and informative advice, I highly recommend it. I’m forced to take away one star due to editing alone, but I gladly give this book 3 out of 4 stars. If there is a history of Alzheimer’s disease in your family, someone you love has just been diagnosed with it, or if you are interested in the effect it has on the person diagnosed (or their family), this book is for you. If you have no connection whatsoever with this disease, however, you’re unlikely to be interested in this one.
Dealing with Early Onset Alzheimer's Love, Laughter & Tears
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