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Jan's Story: Love Lost to the Long Goodbye of Alzheimer's Paperback – June 15, 2010
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About the Author
Barry works for CBS News and makes his home in Denver, Colorado, where he wrote Jan's Story.
His website: http://www.barrypetersen.com/index.htm
Top Customer Reviews
That said, I'm certain there will be a profusion of outrage over it, and I can just see the reviews now: he's abandoned her -- he should be ashamed -- it's his story, not his wife's.
But it is nothing of the sort; and anyone waxing judgmental, without walking a mile in the man's shoes, is the one who should be ashamed. For the record he has not abandoned his wife (who no longer recognizes him or remembers his name), but he has found a way to move on with his own life -- to avoid allowing it to be consumed along with hers, while at the same time doing everything he can, financially and emotionally, to support her in her tragic and incredibly sad decline that he is powerless to halt.
Keep in mind that these people are still in their 50s -- Jan could linger on, continuing her relentless downhill course, for another 30 years, or more. Remember also that the incidence of Alzheimer's is increasing (no one knows why), and by 2040 there will be a 1:4 to 1:3 chance that you or someone you love will suffer from it. And there is no realistic prospect of a cure. And there is no evidence that there is anything -- anything -- you can do to prevent it.
I can't imagine how I would cope with a similar situation -- but what I really don't want to think about is how my wife and children would cope if it happened to me. If I'm afflicted, I'll be in la-la land, I won't care; but the financial and emotional and other effects on the people I love are things I cannot even bring myself to contemplate. There is no question, in my mind, that the real victims of Alzheimer's are the loved ones, much more than the patients.Read more ›
Mr. Peterson mainly talks about his own reaction to his wife coming down with Alzheimers, and about the terrible toll a disease takes on the caretaker. I was very much in sympathy with him, and I found myself often shaking my head in agreement because my father has Alzheimers and the responsibility of his care fell on me.
At the same time, when I picked up this book I did think it would be more about Jan. There are a few chapters that detail the various stages of Alzheimers and the author does describe Jan's decline, but this book is definitely more about him. Mr. Peterson clearly felt great guilt over putting Jan into an assisted living facility, and I can't help but feel that he spent too much time in this book trying to convince us, the readers, why he did that, and why it's okay that he would want to move on with his life.
I think most of us reading this book would shake our heads in agreement over the choices he made, and he didn't need to repeat his reasons why. I think he still has to convince himself and that's a shame - he seems like a very good man who did the best he could.
This is a horrible disease, and my heart goes out to anyone who loves or has to take care of someone who has it.Read more ›
Be careful...once you start, it is impossible to put down.
Jan's Story is a very honest and touching look into what it feels like to lose someone to early onset Alzheimer's disease, and into what it means to be a caregiver for that person. Barry Peterson spares no details when it comes to describing his journey and I can only assume that his recollections are accurate, or at least as accurate as he remembers them. He covers everything from initial signs, behavioral changes, Jan's coping mechanisms and diagnostic tools to care giving challenges, emotional responses and reactions by family and friends.
I believe that his intent with Jan's Story was to provide others in similar situations with a feeling that they are not alone, and he definitely succeeded in that regard. Given that many people assume that Alzheimer's is a disease that only affects the very elderly, Barry also gives a different face to the disease - that of his wife Jan. Prior to her diagnosis, Jan was vibrant and lively, with many more years ahead of her. She loved to be around people and was often the life of the party. She was by no means the typical person someone would associate with Alzheimer's, and yet she was another one of this terrible disease's victims.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was our book club's July selection. Rarely have I felt so much disdain for an author. The book should have been titled Barry's Story. Read morePublished 1 month ago by MissE
An interesting true-life story and is thoughtful, caring, sad, and a book anyone with a family member with alzhiemers should read tho it will make you cry, hope you don't have to... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Marjorie Herron
This book was an excellent read! I am a Director for an Alzheimer's assisted living. Reading this gave me a greater understanding of what my spouses go through when placing their... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very touching. A must read for those facing this awful disease. Barry is the kind of man I would want caring for me if I had to face this or any other illness. Read morePublished 12 months ago by LINDA WAGNER