Synopses & Reviews
Mary Ellen Geist decided to leave her job as a CBS Radio anchor to return home to Michigan when her father's Alzheimer's got to be too much for her mother to shoulder alone. She chose to live her life by a different set of priorities: to be guided by her heart, not by outside accomplishment and recognition.
The New York Times wrote a front page story about Mary Ellen on Thanksgiving 2005. It was one of the most e-mailed stories for the month. Mary Ellen also kept a blog of her experiences, which received an enormous response from readers on WCBS880.com. Through her own story and through interviews with doctors and other women who've followed the "Daughter Track"--leaving a job to care for an aging parent--Geist offers eye-opening advice. She shares emotional insights on how to encourage interaction with the loved one you're caring for; how to determine daily tasks that are achievable and rewarding; how the personality of the patient affects the caregiving and the progression of the disease; as well as invaluable advice about how the reader can take care of themselves while accomplishing the Herculean task of constant caregiving to others.
Geist's years in journalism allow her to report on Boomers' caretaking dilemmas with professional objectivity, and her warm voice brings compassion and insight to one of the most difficult stituations a son or daughter may face during his or her life.
"'For everyone who loves someone with Alzheimer's,' Geist observes, 'there are markers and moments that tell you the disease is on the way.' Her account of two years spent 'helping a person with Alzheimer's stay in this world' is both travel guide and love story neither in the conventional sense. As Geist makes her way, 'trying new things, failing, scratching plans, making mistakes, and starting all over again,' she uses her professional skills as a journalist and TV anchor to incorporate conversations with other caregivers, consultation with experts and wide reading in the literature. Sensitive that 'Alzheimer's disease affects patients and spouses in many different ways,' Geist offers helpful suggestions ('using his words instead of trying to teach him mine') and practical advice ('Doing activities alone is imperative to the survival of a caregiver'). True, there was 'a downside to having to come home to help care for my father,' but Geist's love of her parents and their love for one another is as palpable as the sadness wrought by the disease. To all readers, she offers a deeply affecting account of personal growth: 'I define myself and my life in a whole new way. These days, it is the measure of the heart that matters most to me.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Mary Ellen Geist taps her reporter's curiosity and considerable investigative skills to try to make sense of the disease that is stealing her father. In the process, she reachers deep into her own heart. The result is a compelling, respectful--and somehow reassuring--book for every caregiving family that must look Alzheimer's, or any serious illness, in the face."--Susan Strecker Richard, Editor in Chief, CARING TODAY
"Helpful suggestions...and practical advice...a deeply affecting account of personal growth."--Publisher's Weekly
Through her own story and through interviews with doctors and other women who've followed the "Daughter Track"--leaving a job to care for an aging parent--Geist offers emotional insight into one of the most difficult situations a son or daughter may face during his or her life.
About the Author
Mary Ellen Geist currently reports for Michigan Public Radio. She was the afternoon anchor at WCBS Radio in New York, which is the flagship station of CBS Radio and CBS News. She was heard everyday by an average of two million people. Prior to that she was the morning anchor at KGO Radio station in San Francisco, and a reporter in Los Angeles for almost 20 years before that.