Sunday, February 7, 2016

Book Review: A View from Within: Living with Early Onset Alzheimer's

A Review of "A View From Within: Living with Early Onset Alzheimer's"

Author: Dr. Thaddeus M. Raushi, Ph.D.

Publisher: Northeastern New York Chapter of the Alzheimer's and Related Disorder's Association, Inc. 2001

What is it like to have probable Alzheimer's Disease? Not just what are the signs, but what is it like? How does it feel? When he wrote this powerful book, Dr. Thaddeus Raushi was in the early stages of probable Alzheimer's at age 57 (which is young for AD), as well as someone with Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia (an incurable lymphoma cancer) since age 55. Until retiring because of his condition, Dr. Rausi was a college counselor. After retiring and at the time of writing this book, he continued to coordinate regional cancer support groups and served as a volunteer with the Alzheimer's Association.

Who will benefit from this book?  First, persons who are experiencing dementia, especially those experiencing Young Onset/Early Onset, may feel validated when reading Dr. Raushi's experiences.  Care Partners of all types will also benefit by gaining insight into what AD is like for one person.  These insights could foster understanding of a disease that is so hard to appreciate from the outside.

A View From Within is heartfelt and well-written. I imagined as though I was next to Dr. Raushi having a dialogue with him. He would share a concept or example, I would think of a follow up question, and he would answer it in the next sentence or paragraph. This made the book very easy to read.

Some of the most meaningful topics to me include:
  • Blessing of being diagnosed while he could still plan his life and care wishes
  • What conversations with others are like and the exhaustion after trying to keep up
  • What not to say when someone says they memory challenges
  • The difference of forgetting keys-like everyone does-versus probable AD
  • The unfortunate "Labeling" of AD and moving from "person to patient" ( p 62-63 )
  • The need to grieve losses in order to deal with them appropriately, rather than to deny them
  • Why he does not pray to have the disease removed
There are many more insights I could share, but the best person to do this is Dr. Raushi in his own words.

At the moment, this book is out of print and according to staff at the Northeastern New York Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, there may be a few copies around the office. It is my intention to connect with the Chapter and encourage them to republish it in Kindle and other media. The book is worth finding used on Amazon.  If I learn of more copies and any interest in a Kindle version, I will update you.  I hope you will sign up for updates to the blog for the new developments.

Special thanks to Dr. Kathleen Rusnak, Ph.D. who brought it to my attention as I listened to the CD audiobook of her lecture "Before They Forget: Maximizing the Spiritual Possibilities of Alzheimer's" (2005 The Brick Wall 2, Inc.).

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In Peace,


Matt Estrade, MBA, CAPS is the Founder and Chief Mentor at Care Partner Mentoring, LLC in Covington/New Orleans, LA, USA. A more extensive biography can be found here.

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