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Still Alice
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September 2020: Psychological > Still Alice by Lisa Genova 5 stars

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Cheryl Coppens | 372 comments Alice Howland is a well respected Professor at Harvard University. She is in her early 50's when she starts having problems with her memory. Alice is diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease. This si Alice's story told from her point of view.
I have known for a long time that I wanted to read this book, but wasn't sure I was up to it. The subject is heart breaking and Lisa Genova does an excellent job telling Alice's story. We see Alice losing parts of who she is piece by piece.
When people hear Alzheimer's they joke about forgetting names, or not remembering where they put something, but anyone who has dealt with this knows these are the easy times.
My family went through this with my mother-in-law. By the time she got her diagnosis at the age of 60 she hadn't driven in years, she was insisting she had to go to church every day, no longer dealt with money (had no concept of its value or even what it was for), and could no longer take care of herself. One of the heart breaking situations was she had dealt with this with her mother and knew what was coming. One thing that struck me was the way Alice was able to cope and temporarily hide what was going on from others. My Mother-in-law was amazing at this. I also found the different reactions her family had to the diagnosis. My husband , my children and I built a house with my FIL to help care for her while my husbands brother insisted she didn't have it, and his sister was just "too busy to help in any way. Being a care giver in this situation is incredibly hard and demanding on everyone. My MIL ultimately died when she could no longer remembered how to swallow. It is a horrible, horrible disease. I would like to thank Lisa Genova for writing this book. It was amazing and should be read by anyone interested in the subject.


message 2: by NancyJ (last edited Sep 23, 2020 09:07PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5784 comments Cheryl wrote: "Alice Howland is a well respected Professor at Harvard University. She is in her early 50's when she starts having problems with her memory. Alice is diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease...."

This was such a moving book. It was fascinating how she set up a daily test for herself. I think she skirted some difficult details at the end of the book, which is probably just as well. I really admire her writing.

I commend you for keeping your mil at home. It can't have been easy toward the end. My grandmother had Alzheimer's and she lived well into her 90's (her onset was later) in a memory care facility. It was really tough on her husband. We bought a new house so my mother could move in with us when she got sick. My husband is great with her. We all expected my sister to step up, but she didn't. Until Covid, my brother visited a lot to give us a break.


Cheryl Coppens | 372 comments NancyJ, I apologize if I gave the impression that my MIL stayed at home until the end. She was in an Alzhiemer's unit for probably the last 3 years of her life when it became apparent that we could no longer take care of her. By this time it harder on us than her as she no longer communicated in any way or even showed any response to our presence. The one good thing (if you can call it a good thing) was that my MIL knew what was coming and was able to let her wishes be known back when she was diagnosed. She was a wonderful woman and we all treasure those years we got to spend with her.


NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5784 comments Cheryl wrote: "NancyJ, I apologize if I gave the impression that my MIL stayed at home until the end. She was in an Alzhiemer's unit for probably the last 3 years of her life when it became apparent that we could..."

Oh, that's what I figured. It's too hard at the very end. My grandmother didn't know us anymore. She also started to swear in her 80's, which was a big surprise to all of us. My other grandmother was a runner - she kept running away from the hospital in the last year of her life.

I appreciate the time with my mom too. We lived far apart for most of my adult life, so this time is really important.


Jenni Elyse (jenni_elyse) | 1397 comments I read this for my IRL book club. I read it rather reluctantly as I didn’t think I’d like it. I ended up reading it in one sitting, which is rare for me. I found it very captivating and sad and hope I nor someone I love has to go through EOD.


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