Between Two Worlds

By: Ellen P. Young

Reviewed By: Jon Henshaw, M.A.

Between Two Worlds
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Living with and caring for those with Alzheimerís disease and dementia can be an agonizing experience for loving family members and caregivers. It may seem impossible to find the silver lining of hope during these difficult times. How can caregivers and family members lighten the load of grief brought on by such cases? And how do caregivers especially deal with the intensely difficult day-to-day work with those who are afflicted?

Veteran hospital social worker Ellen P. Young, who saw both her mother and aunt struggle with Alzheimerís, says that though hard to find, humor is often the best medicine. Similar to The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks, Between Two Worlds is the first book to explore, through personal accounts and vignettes, the rare moments o humor that unexpectedly pop up during the caregiving of people suffering from Alzheimerís and related dementia. Young brings the courageous experiences of care providers and relatives to life as they encounter the challenges of dealing with these seriously afflicted patients. At the same time she reveals the touching and gently humorous moments that go a long way to ease the tension and pain.

While respectful of the plight of affected families and patients, Young gathers a timeless collection of "fear busters" that "access mirth" with touching chapters such as "Please Donít Eat the Marigold," and "Iíve Just Found Out Iím in Baltimore."

"By staring the Alzheimerís monster down and even laughing a little in the face of it," Young says, "we bolster our courage and release the chemicals (endorphins) in ourselves to gain a sense of well-being in the face of adversity." A must for all caregivers and families, this is truly a book that, once started, cannot be put down.

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