Who is your Alice?

If there is one book on your reading list, let it be Still Alice by Lisa Genova.  It is not a new book, published first in 2007 and again in 2009, and yet it is a must read for those who care for and about anyone living with Alzheimer’s disease.  Without giving away too many poignant details, I will say it is a beautiful, heart wrenching, and completely believable account of a woman’s experience after being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.  What’s compelling to me about this book is that Alice tells the story; it is written from the viewpoint of the person living with the disease, not a caregiver’s interpretation of the experience. Perhaps this is what makes this work of fiction feel so real. There is much wisdom to be gained from Alice as she describes often being stuck between remembering and forgetting, knowing and not knowing, being afraid or completely oblivious to her state of mind.

I’ll be honest:  I openly wept at parts of this book – even at a public yard sale where more than one passerby looked at me sideways. Again, I’ll be honest:  I didn’t care. It was that moving. For example, in a moment of lucidity, Alice says, “I miss myself.” And her husband says “I miss you too, Ali, so much.” She says, “I never planned to get like this.” He replies, “I know.”

Whether you are new to long term care or a seasoned veteran, I guarantee you will not be disappointed or untouched after reading Still Alice. It reinforces everything you know about those stricken with this disease and may impart something that you didn’t know.  But it is dotted with unmistakable rays of hope for the future that one day, a cure will be found if we continue advocating, researching, and storytelling.  Just when I thought I couldn’t be any more appreciative of what caregivers do, this book comes along!  I am so grateful for the thousands who have chosen to work in long term care and care for the many Alices in our lives.  Post a comment with your email address to be entered into a drawing of a free copy of the book!

With a renewed sense of purpose,

Nadine

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One Response to Who is your Alice?

  1. Vicki May Billings, LSW says:

    This book is an amazing story and wonderfully written. I run a support group for caregivers of persons with memory loss. Our Conversation Series has continued to drive my passion in this field. I recommend this book to people frequently and it has been a blessing to me and everyone that I have encourage to read it.
    It does reinforce all that we are taught about this disease, but it opens our eyes and hearts with awareness of the feelings of that loved one who receives the diagnosis. I encourage everyone who is touched by this to read Still Alice and to share it with a friend.
    I have read Still Alice several times and continue to hold it in my hand and my heart.

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