A heart-warming story of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver Story of Love was shared by Seniors Lifestyle Magazine last January. We would also love to share the amazing YouTube interview with Bill Galea. For those going through life with Alzheimer’s or caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s you will appreciate his words and thoughts.
Bill’s book has also received a wonderful review which we are proud to share below.
Pacific Book Review
When I Go Home is truly a special kind of love story. It is a poignant memoir that takes readers into the world of Alzheimer’s disease, and offers an insightful perspective from a devoted son who knew no bounds in providing compassion and care for his beloved mother who suffered with this illness.
Bill Galea’s mom was the heart and soul of her family. Beautiful, kind, and generous, her glowing personality would light up a room. In 1999, short-term memory issues and the incident of leaving a tea kettle boiling on the stove brought her to a neurologist where she was diagnosed with MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment), a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. Medication slowed its progression, but ultimately her subsequent wanderings led the family to decide the best option was to place her in a nursing facility.
It was a heart-wrenching necessity that Bill likened to “an emotional tsunami.” At the same time, Bill was dealing with his father’s recurring cancer, then sadly, his passing shortly thereafter. Clearly these events exemplified the old adage of “when it rains, it pours.” For anyone who has dealt with an ailing loved one, it is hard not to be touched by Bill’s moving biographical account. The main focus of this book is specifically on the challenges of Alzheimer’s, a disease that attacks the brain and robs an individual of their memory, physicality, identity, and dignity. Readers dealing with any type of longterm caregiving situation should find value in Bill’s shared experience, personal insights, and diligent observations. His near daily visits with his mother led to extensive journaling that he openly incorporates into this book. Here readers will witness the tender moments of hugs, laughter, and tears between a mother and her adult child, as well as glimpse the harsh realities of dealing with inadequate health care facilities. Readers will feel the stress of coping with financial issues, and realize the major toll this devastating illness takes on both the patient and family members.
When Bill heard his mom use the phrase When I Go Home while she was conversing with an aide, though he felt this may be an impossibility, his mother’s sense of hope inspired him to use it as the title of this book. For the Alzheimer’s patient we learn that the word “home” is often just a concept or idea of being in a loving place, surrounded by family. While the decline of a loved one is always sad, any humorous light amidst a serious prognosis should always be treasured. One such highlight occurred as Bill pointed out a 100-year-old fellow patient to his mom. He stated, “Mom, this woman is almost 100 years old. Can you believe it?” Her response was a quick and snappy “She looks it!” Laughter is always good medicine. The book also includes several black and white images that help put a face to his family. From childhood snapshots to wedding photos, and a lovely 50th Anniversary portrait of his parents, all seem bittersweet reminders of happier and healthier times.
Bill also makes an important analogy when he likens Alzheimer’s patients to delicate flowers needing water, nutrients, sunshine, care, love, and attention. These are not merely elements for survival, but rather key components for a patient to thrive and bloom. During such overwhelmingly trying times, he wisely stresses that caregivers also need to treat themselves with delicate and purposeful care. Under the mountain of stress that a situation like this brings upon you, caring for yourself is a necessary indulgence.
At the heart of this story is a powerful lesson about being the best possible advocate for any loved one afflicted with this terrible disease. Reading this emotionally charged book is a humbling experience that will leave you with no regrets. There is real gratitude for the moments of living life with those you love that are so important to cherish; as the memory and legacy of those encounters are all that truly remain years afterwards.
Everyone needs to read When I Go Home: An Alzheimer’s Caregiver Story of Love. This book is not only for those who are faced with Alzheimer or dementia in their lives, but also for anyone who has ever cared for another human being afflicted with any type of illness, because sooner or later most people will face this in his or her life.