Thursday, August 9, 2012

Support for Stolen Days

Jean Todesca is a children's librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column in the August 10, 2012 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

An Oriental rug carpets the floor of the home's entry way. As I walk with steadfast purpose, my thoughts are drawn to earlier years when Frank and I would enjoy quick witted banter. We'd joke and solve the world's problems while playing a mean game of cribbage. Often in a fit of laughter, I tried not to inhale crumbs while snacking on our usual fair of crackers and sharp cheddar cheese.

Approaching my destination, I recall a previous lunch where we shared a ham and Swiss sandwich. It was after the presidential election; midstream in a heated conversation on whether Obama could make "change." Frank paused and asked "What time is the train?'

Fear invaded my mind; this was out of character for Frank. As each hole in his memory developed, a slow steady acceptance seeped into my conscience. The end of the hall is near and his door lays open. As I enter, I greet Frank with a hearty, "Good Morning! How is your day?” I receive no response.

Frank clad in his plaid pajamas covered with a tattered robe is looking ahead with a vacant stare. On his tray untouched is a bowl of cottage cheese and fruit. I inhale deeply to hardened my resolve and ask "Do you think Obama is making enough effort to improve the economy?' I don't expect an answer. Those days are gone. I have gradually accepted this new relationship, but my memories float back to sharper days.

Many of us face the difficulty of a loved one dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease. The library can provide informational support for families and caregivers. A Caregiver’s Guide To Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases by Judith McCann-Beranger and Coach Broyle’s Playbook for Alzheimer’s Caregivers: A Practical Guide compiled by Frank Broyles are two of our offerings. There are titles that document families’ experiences.

Ten Thousand Joys & Ten Thousand Sorrows: A Couple’s Journey Through Alzheimer’s by Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle and The Ten Thousand Mile Stare: One Family’s Journey Through the Struggle and Science of Alzheimer’s by Gary Reiswig offer insight into the future after diagnosis.

Although there are no scientifically proven preventive measures for Alzheimer's disease, there is a guide book for steps toward delay of symptoms. The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program: Keep Your Brain Healthy For the Rest of Your Life by Gary Small & Gigi Vorgan is in the library’s collection.

By using your library card, medical databases can be accessed from home. Health Reference Center Academic and the Health & Wellness Resource Center are great resources. Reference librarians can guide you to informational websites for example the Alzheimer’s Association at We are all faced with challenges in life. Please remember to use the support that your library can provide.