Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer's: One Daughter's Hopeful Story

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9780143113683: Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer's: One Daughter's Hopeful Story
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Previously published in Hardcover as Dancing With Rose

One journalist's riveting and surprisingly hopeful in-the-trenches view of Alzheimer's

Nearly five million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer's. Like many children of Alzheimer's sufferers, Lauren Kessler, an accomplished journalist, was devastated by the disease that seemed to erase her mother's identity even before claiming her life. But suppose people with Alzheimer's are not slates wiped blank. Suppose they experience friendship and loss, romance and jealousy, joy and sorrow? To better understand this debilitating condition, Kessler enlists as a bottom-of-the-rung caregiver at an Alzheimer's facility and learns lessons that challenge what we think we know about the disease. A compelling, clear-eyed, and emotionally resonant narrative, Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer's offers a new optimistic look at what the disease can teach us and a much-needed tonic for those faced with providing care for someone they love.

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About the Author:

Lauren Kessler is the author of six works of narrative nonfiction, including Raising the Barre: Big Dreams, False Starts, and My Midlife Quest to Dance the Nutcracker, the Washington Post bestseller Clever Girl, and the Los Angeles Times bestseller The Happy Bottom Riding Club. Her journalism has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times Magazine, O magazine, and The Nation. She directs the graduate program in literary nonfiction at the University of Oregon and lives in Eugene, Oregon.

From Publishers Weekly:

The growing number of readers who have relatives with Alzheimer's will warm to Kessler's excellent account of the months she worked as an unskilled resident assistant in an Alzheimer's facility on the West Coast. This facility, which she calls Maplewood, is a state-of-the-art institution, divided into small "neighborhoods" of 14 rooms with private baths, a common space and enclosed patios. The author of several nonfiction books, Kessler (Full Court Press) was attempting to resolve her feelings after her own mother, with whom she had a troubled relationship, died of Alzheimer's; bittersweet memories of her are scattered through the narrative. At Maplewood, Kessler feeds, toilets and converses with residents in varying stages of the illness. Marianne, for instance, an alert and well-dressed woman, appears not to belong at Maplewood. She still regards herself as a successful working woman, and the author treats her as such. Kessler becomes strongly attached to some of the other men and women in her neighborhood, feeling bereaved when several die during her tenure. She comes to regard Alzheimer's sufferers as individuals who can still enjoy life, given the care and recreational opportunities extended at this facility—a powerful lesson in the humanity of those we often see as tragically bereft of that quality. (June 4)
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9780670038596: Dancing with Rose: Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer's

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ISBN 10:  0670038598 ISBN 13:  9780670038596
Publisher: Viking Adult, 2007
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