Caregivers Who Love to Read Invited to Join Virtual Book Club
Book lovers caring for a loved one with dementia are invited to take part in a special virtual book club/support group. Offered by the Hudson Valley and Long Island chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association, the group will be held from 4-5 p.m. on Mondays starting May 3 and run for six weeks (with no meeting on Memorial Day), ending on June 14.
The group will read the book “Elizabeth is Missing,” by Emma Healey, which tells the story of forgetful Maud — who suffers from dementia — her exasperated daughter and her missing friend, Elizabeth. Participants will discuss and relate Maud’s story to their own experiences loving and caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia.
Program facilitator Deborah Ackerman, who also oversees a caregiver support group for the Hudson Valley Chapter, said Maud’s perspective in the book offers caregivers a window into how their loved ones with dementia may be thinking about things.
“I think it gives the caregivers more of a sense of when Mom looks at you blankly or does the opposite of what you asked her to do, here’s what might have gone on in her head,” she said. “Mom can’t tell you why she just threw the knives and forks in the garbage instead of the sink, but Maud’s thoughts kind of give that answer. And hopefully it helps the care partner — even though it’s a frustrating situation — realize that their loved ones are not deliberately doing things to be annoying,” she said.
Participation will be limited to eight to create an atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable interacting. Ackerman said if more people express interest, the program will be given again. It was also held previously on Long Island.
“I believe if there is enough interest, they will do it again, and if it goes over, I’d be glad to run it again,” Ackerman said. “I think after we go past eight, it’s hard for people to get their say in.”
She said the book is fun to read and doesn’t involve any clinical terminology.
“It’s six weeks, and it’s an enjoyable book. It’s an easy read; the chapters are short. And it’s not very technical or medical. You’re not dealing with the diagnosis, you’re dealing with the symptoms, and looking at what she’s doing, and it’s coming from her point of view,” she said.
Participants are encouraged to register by April 19 to receive a free copy of “Elizabeth is Missing” by mail. Registration can be done online at the link above or by calling the Alzheimer’s Association at 800.272.3900.
Ackerman said the program may attract people who haven’t sought out help from the Alzheimer’s Association to learn more about its programs and services for caregivers.
“This is such a great book that it may encourage people who have never tried the Alzheimer’s Association to learn about it and take advantage,” she said.
About the Hudson Valley Chapter
The Hudson Valley Chapter serves families living with dementia in seven counties in New York, including Duchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester. To learn more about the programs and services offered locally, visit alz.org/hudsonvalley.
About the Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Its vision is a world without Alzheimer’s and all dementia. Visit alz.org.