No one decides to become an Alzheimer’s caregiver. Alzheimer’s disease creeps slowly into a person’s life but never retreats. Eventually, the individual’s memory fails in too many important areas, and someone must keep watch. Round-the-clock care is needed, and that invariably falls to the ones who care most—one’s partner or children.
Becoming a caregiver to your partner of many decades is difficult. Speaking to the former governor of Wisconsin Marty Schreiber helped me be a better caregiver. Marty has seen his beloved wife, Elaine, gradually transform from the woman who had gracefully entertained in the Executive Residence to one who sometimes no longer recognizes him as her husband. Candidly counseling those taking on this caregiving role is the main message in his book, “My Two Elaines.”
Sharing his knowledge by writing the book has been Marty’s late-in-life career. “My Two Elaines” is more than an accounting of Marty’s struggles in caring for his wife. Offering sage advice that respects the one with Alzheimer’s while maintaining the caregiver’s health is the primary message of the book. Because two-thirds of those with Alzheimer’s are women, he offers special guidance for men thrust into an unexpected job. With patience, adaptability, and even a sense of humor, Marty shows how love continues for his Second Elaine.
Reading My Two Elaines is an enjoyable way to help you in coping and surviving as an Alzheimer’s caregiver. I listened to the audiobook and felt as if I knew Marty before our interview. Marty is a warm and friendly person whose main goal in life is to support caregivers.
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