A University Professor with a PH.D. in psychology, Richard Taylor was diagnosed with Dementia, probably of the Alzheimer’s type at age 58. He continued to teach for the next three years until needing to retire due to the progression of the disease. The book, written in short essays offers a rare glimpse into the world of those who are actually living with the disease. Taylor shares a provocative and courageous account of his transformation, cognitively, emotionally and socially as the disease progresses.
His clarity of thought and use of analogies creates thought-provoking imagery for the reader. His candor about the effect of the disease on not only his world, but also on the world of his wife and family is profound. The chapter, “What Is It Like To Have Alzheimer’s Disease”, paints a picture of the ever-changing disease process as he likens life with the disease to sitting in his grandmother’s living room looking through her lace curtains where occasionally the wind will blow and he will be able to see more clearly the world beyond the curtain and at times the curtain is filled with knots that don’t allow him to see what is beyond.
In yet another chapter, Taylor shares deep insight about how our health care system is focused primarily on managing patients with the disease medically and encouraging caregivers to find ways to improve their life by improving the behaviors of the person with the disease. He discusses how the professionals become a support system for the caregivers because it’s easier to understand and come up with solutions for their issues than to understand and “fix” the issues of the person with the disease. He shares a very moving plea to those professionals to take a deeper look at the person instead of the disease.
Taylor’s dry yet apt use of humor assists in setting the reader at ease when approaching such a life altering diagnosis such as Alzheimer’s disease. In the chapter titled “I Wish I Were a Nude Mouse”, he shares a humorous yet serious essay about how scientists utilize these special mice to assist them in their research of disease progression and pharmacological interventions.
This thoughtful and self-reflective book is a valuable resource for family caregivers of someone afflicted with Alzheimer’s, as well as a tool for professionals to look at the disease from a new perspective.
Dr. Richard Taylor
About the author: Richard Taylor has lived for five years with a diagnosis of dementia probably of the Alzheimer’s type. A former psychologist, he is now a champion for individuals with early-stage and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Richard serves on the board of the Houston and Southeast Texas Alzheimer’s Association and is now a member of a special committee of the National Alzheimer’s Association looking at how to evaluate and provide effective support to individuals in the early stages of the disease. He has started over 50 chat rooms worldwide for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their loved one and is also the editor of a quarterly newsletter for people with early onset, early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.
For more information: www.richardtaylorphd.com