Tag Archives: Alzheimer’s

‘Feeding my Mother: Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as My Mom Lives with Memory Loss’ by Jann Arden

“You are not supposed to get it right out of the gate. My favourite people in the world, my dearest friends, all rattle when you give them a shake. They have little pieces that have broken off inside of them that are a constant reminder to them, and me, of how far they’ve come and how much they’ve learned and what they have survived.”

Canadian singer/songwriter Jann Arden has written a heartfelt book about walking along side her mother through Alzheimer’s. It was surprisingly good and I appreciated her honesty and wisdom as she shares this diary-style journey of caring for both of her parents in their twilight years. Although I’ve listened to Jann Arden’s music, and even met her once in Tanzania, I didn’t know much about her and didn’t expect to find her writing so inspirational. I ended up jotting down a lot of quotes and really appreciating her perspective. A quote that will stick with me: “My Mom says tears are God’s lubricant to get you through the tight spots.” And I always love books with easy tasty recipes! Jann says, “There is something about feeding people you care about that is extremely comforting for both of you.”

From the publisher: “When beloved singer and songwriter Jann Arden’s parents built a house just across the way from her, she thought they would be her refuge from the demands of her career. And for a time that was how it worked. But then her dad fell ill and died, and just days after his funeral, her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. In Feeding My Mother, Jann shares what it is like for a daughter to become her mother’s caregiver–in her own frank and funny words, and in recipes she invented to tempt her mom. Full of heartbreak, but also full of love and wonder.”

‘Still Alice’ by Lisa Genova

Alice is diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s at age 50. This important moving story is written like a memoir, although it is fiction, and gives a tremendous insight into this devastating disease.

The author is qualified to write her first novel on this subject because she has a PH.D. in neuroscience from Harvard.  But there is alot more than medical stuff. The story is also about identity and living a life that matters, and about what crisis situations can do to relationships.

Alzheimer’s is a disease with memory loss, and of course while I was reading it I worried about things that I was forgetting. In the book there is a test that Alice takes to see how her memory is, and I found I was testing myself on that as well! We always make things about ourselves, don’t we? Don’t be afraid to read this book.  You will gain an awareness and sensitivity to the realities of living with Alzheimer’s, and in the end there is a hopeful tone. When so much recognition and ability for Alice is gone, what she still can recognize and detect, if even only in nuance, is love. I find that reassuring.

If you have already read Still Alice you might be interested to know that Lisa Genova just came out with another novel called ‘Left Neglected’ about brain injury.