Where Did Mary Go?: A Loving Husband's
Struggle with Alzheimers

Frank A. Wall

Synopsis

In late 1984, sixty-four-year-old Mary M. Wall first experienced symptoms of brain degeneration. For the next seven years - until her death in 1992 - she would be the victim of a triple assault on her mind and body as she suffered from a combination of Parkinson's disease, Multi-infarctdementia (frequent small strokes), and Alzheimer's disease. In Where Did Mary Go?, Frank A. Wall shares his very personal account of their struggle with Mary's illness, beginning with the chilling recognition that "something is wrong with Mary." Determined to be the primary caregiver for his wife, he candidly discusses this stress- and emotion-filled time as Mary gradually slipped away from him and their children. Confronted with the twenty-four-hour care of his beloved patient in all facets of her daily life, Wall describes in detail the caregiving problems and frustrations he encountered, the creative solutions he devised to cope with these obstacles, and his own anguish. Wall gives the reader a roadmap explaining what to expect as the illness progresses, including some of the signals, symptoms, and reactions to mental confusion, incontinence, falling, wandering, and other related problems. He conveys Mary's reactions at various stages of her illness and her ability to cope with these diseases and their effects on her family. Especially revealing is the pictorial section showing Mary's decline from a vibrant, healthy individual through the torturous progression of her mental and physical decline until her death. Wall shares many of the practical lessons learned during his caregiving, and with this hands-on experience provides new caregivers with insights about what to expect and how to cope with caring for their loved ones, while also caring for themselves.

 

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