A review of Measure of the Heart: a Father's Alzheimer's, a Daughter's Return, by Mary Ellen Geist (Springboard 2008).
As lifespans lengthen, it's an unfortunate reality that more and more of us are likely to encounter the tragedy of Alzheimer's Disease. In Measure of the Heart, ambitious, successful California and New York radio news anchor and reporter Mary Ellen Geist tells of leaving her career to help her mother care for her father as he declines in the clutches of this terrible affliction.
Both an exlanation of Alzheimers and a personal caregiver's memoir, this book explores the tragic effects of the disease on the vctim and his family. As the disease progresses, the author learns to let herself be guided by her heart rather than by the pressures of her demanding career.
This very personal story helps to explain the devotion of Woody Geist's wife, daughters, and other family members to this nice, kind, cheerful former CEO who loves to play tennis and to sing, activities he is able to continue long after the disease strikes. The family's selfless devotion and refusal to put Woody into a care facility seem puzzling as the disease progresses, and yet their extraordinary love is admirable.
In addition to telling the victim's and caregivers' stories, this book explores and lists various resources: helpful organizations, publications, and web sites devoted to Alzheimer's and those dealing with it. The book makes fascinating reading for anyone who has ever wondered about the disease or marveled at the dedication of those dealing with its victims. For anyone faced with an Alzheimer's diagnosis in the famiy, it should be required reading.
Copyright 2008 by Marlys Marshall Styne