By Christine Zimmerman
CreateSpace, $15.99, 304 pages
Christine Zimmerman delves into the daily struggles and triumphs of caring for a grandparent with Alzheimer’s in her book Beyond Forgetting. While young twenty-something Chrissy is struggling to establish her identity and life, her grandfather is slowly losing his. Repeated questions, paranoia and anger from her grandfather as well as guilt about occasionally losing her temper or having to trick her grandfather seem to fill most of Chrissy’s days. Her aunts and mom help take care of Chrissy’s grandfather which helps give them all a reprieve from the daily frustrations of caring for an elderly family member.
“I longed to wake up without Grandpa’s anxiety and repeated questions. I no longer had anything that resembled a normal conversation with him.”
Sometimes Chrissy’s grandfather is trapped in certain moments from his past. Often he thinks he’s still a kid and needs to get home to his parents. It’s anyone’s guess what he will remember on any given day or moment. As her grandfather’s condition continues to get worse, Chrissy and her family must make the difficult decision to place him into a group care facility. Chrissy is eventually able to start a family of her own.
Beyond Forgetting is a good read for people who find themselves acting as a caretaker for a loved one but also for people who want to understand more about Alzheimer’s from the author’s perspective.
Reviewed by Jon Sanetel