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Required Reading: Insight on Caregiving

Stria Staff March 18, 2018
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The stigma of cognitive impairment is still unabated, but these books offer unique perspective into the world of dementia. They illuminate the viewpoints of both the person diagnosed and the caregiver—roles which we are increasingly likely to play at some point in our own lives.

Still Alice
By Lisa Genova

From New York Times bestselling author and neuroscientist Lisa Genova comes the definitive — and illuminating — novel about Alzheimer’s disease. Now a major motion picture starring Oscar winner Julianne Moore! Look for Lisa Genova’s latest novel Inside the O’Briens.

Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life — and her relationship with her family and the world — forever. As she struggles to cope with Alzheimer’s, she learns that her worth is comprised of far more than her ability to remember.

At once beautiful and terrifying, Still Alice is a moving and vivid depiction of life with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease that is as compelling as A Beautiful Mind and as unforgettable as Ordinary People. (From the publisher)

 

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir
By Roz Chast

In her first memoir, New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast’s memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.

While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies — an anxious father who had relied heavily on his wife for stability as he slipped into dementia and a former assistant principal mother whose overbearing personality had sidelined Roz for decades — the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care.

An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can, Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant shows the full range of Roz Chast’s talent as cartoonist and storyteller. (From the publisher)

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