For Caregivers who love to read, here is a "part memoir and part coffee table art book" by Emily Page. Using an elephant as her symbol of dementia, Emily Page turns to art and words to get through the diagnosis of her father in 2009. In her book, Fractured Memories, Emily says “Life will throw all kinds of obstacles our way. It's our job to scramble over them and hunt for the little miracles tucked away, then leave some reminders for the people that follow behind us.”
This holds true in the accounts of her experience with her father. She recounts the heartbreaking realities, but also sheds light and laughter where she can. Page, being a young caregiver, fills 118 pages with the ups and downs as her father progresses with the disease. She spent time as an established artist and also uses this as a way to convey deeper emotions, incorporating 40 paintings over sheet music.
Her father was formerly a jazz musician, before being diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. FTD is a degenerative disease that causes progressive nerve damage in the cells behind the frontal or temporal lobes. This form of dementia, as Page describes in her book, progresses more rapidly than Alzheimer's with no current treatment to slow the process.
She documents the emotional journey, including insights to the personal fear of dementia it created for herself, as well as her father's transition in everyday tasks. This book is a wonderful piece that sheds insight to the disease and how to handle the diagnosis personally, or with a loved one.
As you are learning to deal with the changes that aging can bring, be patient with yourself, patient with your loved one, seek advice and answers to questions, and remember you are not in this alone. Contact a Caring Senior Service team member today!