Love Is Ageless is a collection of various stories,
articles and poetry; some with helpful practical hints and
thoughtful commentary of Alzheimer's disease. The stories
in the book are of patients as well as many of the
compassionate and loving families, friends, and caregivers
of Alzheimer patients. The stories are of the painful and
bitter sweet memories of time spent caring and the times
of just being there together.
There are also stories with a combination of love, guilt,
and the loneliness of caring for an Alzheimer patient.
As baby boomers get older so are their parents as well.
It is often that one becomes a caregiver unexpectedly
as an adult child in caring for aging and ailing parent.
Many of whom have no previous experience and training
for such task. This book's concept is to help people in
the role of caregiver. Be it a parent, a spouse, a
companion, or a child. A theme of the book is that
"you are not alone and you can do it".
A Sample Poem
I'll hold you like a scarf
close to me, dancing.
I'll drape a part of you
around my waist,
put a corner of you
across my shoulder, weary,
then swing slowly
around this quiet room
Let's try holding you to the
your faint imprint
like a shroud.
Your deep dolors fade
to a pastel you never were,
shadows move, but sadly
no features, no laugh -
I am forgetting.
I barely remember,
and you cannot remember.
That must be it.
A banner for the day
we learned to love each other.
You are pressed to my chest,
hammered by exactly
From Love Is Ageless,
Stories About Alzheimer's Disease
Edited By Jessica Bryan
More Book Review: Love is Ageless
Robert W. Griffith, MD
November 4, 2002
The chances of having Alzheimer's are 10% from age 65, and 50% from age 85. At my advanced age, I have a natural curiosity about the disease that is clearly based on self-interest. While I've a fairly good technical knowledge of Alzheimer's, I had no real understanding of its heartbreaking effects until I read 'Love is Ageless', an anthology edited by Jessica Bryan. The stories and poems she has selected represent a variety of personal experiences, written by patients, family, friends, and caregivers. The result is a collection of heartwarming texts and verses that explain, edify, and entertain.
Ms Bryan set out to create a 'support group in a book', and she has succeeded magnificently. The experiences of others will help the reader through difficult times - when the first definitive symptoms appear, when (and how) to consider nursing home placement, when to indulge in the patient's illusions and when to give a reality check. The nursing home atmospheres described range from 'home-from-home' to 'a black hole'; the lessons to be drawn here are obvious. Discussion of death and religion are included in some stories, and the use of 'loving deception' in others, while the indignities of the late stages of the disease are not shirked. However, while the stories cover so many facets of Alzheimer's, through them all shine compassion, caring, and love.
Perhaps the main use of this book is the one Ms Bryan intended. A full reading should prepare the relative of an early-stage patient for what is to come; so many aspects of behavior and affect are described that there should be few surprises. What is important, however, is the clear, overarching message that, with enough love, almost anything can be handled. The final story consists of a series of vignettes, written by Ms Bryan herself, describing her life with Irma, her mother, proceeding from the first stages of Alzheimer's to the final one. They illustrate how the inevitable periods of fear, rage, and denial can transcend into a deeper love than existed before. This book is clearly fundamental reading for anyone facing Alzheimer's - either as a patient or a caregiver.
Love is Ageless: Stories About Alzheimer's Disease. 2nd edition. Jessica Bryan (editor). ISBN#0-9619311-1-6 Lompico Creek Press, PO Box 1403, Felton, CA 95018-1403, USA. ($14.95 plus $3.00 S&H)