Monday, July 25, 2016

Dancing With Rose- A Book About Alzheimer's

I've been sticking to my "One Book at a Time (Sweet Jesus)" rule for checking books out at the library.  I find that when I check out only one, rather than a big stackful like I've always done up until just recently, I don't feel rushed to get to the next book in the pile.

This past week, I read Dancing With Rose by Lauren Kessler.  For me, it was such a good one.  I read it fast, but not because I was trying to rush through it, but because it was so good, I could barely put it down.

That is not to say that it's for everyone though.

Ricky gives this book his stamp of approval.
It's a memoir, written by journalist Lauren Kessler, about working in a Alzheimer's facility.  Her mother had Alzheimer's, and she felt sort of guilty about her lack of involvement in her mom's disease.  So, years after losing her, she decided to write about the disease, and to delve into her research by getting a job in an Alzheimer's care place, known in her book as Maplewood.  She was an hourly waged worker that did all the heavy lifting and non-glamorous jobs that people who work with the very elderly do... helping them bathe, get dressed, go to the bathroom, etc, etc, etc.

So yes, it's a hard read in part, but it's worth it. She absolutely helps us see the residents where she worked as people, rather than just patients with advanced Alzheimer's.  She tells sweet stories, funny stories, and yes... sad ones too.  But it's somehow a positive spin on Alzheimer's, if there ever was one.

In reading all about her job responsibilities, it's hard not to feel enraged that these workers get less then $10 an hour.  The senior living places make loads of money, but that money isn't going to the workers that actually take care of the elderly.  So, it's hard to get and keep good employees.

Although not everyone is going to get dementia, many will. And if we live long enough, we will grow old, and eventually need help.  This is a huge issue, and it clearly needs some help.  Shining a light on it is important.

Anyone who has a loved one with dementia, in my opinion anyway, will find this book interesting, educational, and believe it or not, uplifting.


Kelly Warren said...

I share your anger at how little senior care facility staff are paid! I lost my grandmother to complications from Alzhiemer's and she was in a senior care facility for the last two years of her life. For the most part, the staff was wonderful and caring, and I know she was well cared for through her last days. Might have to check this one out.

Kerri said...

kelly, i am so sorry- i lost my grandmother the same way!
b/c my dad also has it, i read anything that seems hopeful and this was the best i've found so far. we HAVE to get nice care for the elderly figured out... i want the people to take care of seniors to get loads of money and to feel appreciated. it should NOT be a low level, low wage job. it's so important.