Saturday, January 19, 2013

Review # 267: When Your Parent Becomes Your Child - A Journey of Faith Through My Mother's Dementia by Ken Abraham

Description: (from Amazon)

     At first, Ken Abraham wrote off his mother's changes in behavior as quirks that just come with old age. There was memory loss, physical decline, hygiene issues, paranoia, and uncharacteristic attitudes. He soon realized that dementia had changed her life—and his familiy's—forever.

     "How is it possible to lose a loved one while he or she is still living, still sitting right in front of you, talking with you, smiling at you—and yet the person you have known and loved for years is somehow gone?"

     According to the Alzheimer's Association, an estimated 5.4 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's disease. That's one in eight older Americans. More than likely, that figure includes someone you know and love.

     As he chronicles his own mother's degenerative condition, New York Times best-selling writer Ken Abraham educates while offering inspiration to help readers cope with and manage their family circumstances. With humor and spiritual reminders of God's command to honor our parents, Abraham encourages readers through often-difficult responsibilities. And though in most cases patients will not recover this side of heaven, he suggests many practical things that families can do to make the experience safer, kinder, and more endurable for everyone involved.

     When Your parent Becomes Your Child tells the story of one family's journey through dementia while offering hope to family members and friends, that they might better understand the effects of the disease. Don't let this catch you by surprise—be informed before you face the challenges and difficulties of a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia. This book can help.


     I chose to review this book because my family and I are currently going through this with my 84 year old grandmother. She was diagnosed with dementia several years ago, but until we moved her into our house, we only had a partial idea of her mental/physical decline. Soon after she moved in, we experienced her mood swings - going from grandmotherly to threatening in a moment's time. She refused to eat, made up stories, raised her hand to us, tried to make herself sick, acted out, bullied us, cried a lot, became paranoid, and started forgetting events of the recent past. Some days were fine, other days were unbearable, but we refused to let her fragile state break us down. It definitely is not easy taking care of an elderly parent or grandparent. It doesn't matter how much you love them, the diseases of old age still strip away the pieces, leaving an unfamiliar shell. There will always be parts that you recognize, a brief glimpse of the past, but it can be difficult to see someone you love slowly disappear.

     Ken Abraham's When Your Parent Becomes Your Child is a book that I wish I had read before my grandmother's health started declining. His story is full of heartbreak and hard decisions regarding the care of his aging mother, Minnie, but his resolve, faith, devotion and attitude towards her condition is a must read for anyone approaching (or in the middle of) a similar situation. He recounts times when Minnie's medications were incorrect, having discussions with uncaring doctors and medical personnel,  trying to pay increasing medical bills, and watching his mother lose her mental and physical faculties, while still keeping the story of her last years' more optimistic than negative. A lot of the sections are really emotional, and can be hard to read for those who can relate to it. There were several instances where I had to close the book and reflect on my own experiences with my grandmother - the sadness, the uncertainty, the feelings of despair, the sparks of recognition - all a part of a process of aging that is getting more and more commonplace. There were also sections that gave me hope regarding her future state, and my attitude towards it. Ken and Minnie's relationship with God was something that really touched me; even near the end, they both sought out God's word for comfort and understanding - a trait that I strive for daily. This journey not only changed the lives of the author and his family, but also changed my outlook and feelings towards aging illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer's. I wholeheartedly recommended this book to all readers because we will all be there someday.

Rating: On the Run (4.5/5)

*** I received this book from the author (BookSneeze) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

No comments:

Post a Comment