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Alzheimer's Canyon: One Couple's…

Alzheimer's Canyon: One Couple's Reflections on Living with… (edition 2022)

by Jane Dwinell (Author), Sky Yardley (Author)

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1181,523,665 (4.57)5
Title:Alzheimer's Canyon: One Couple's Reflections on Living with Dementia
Authors:Jane Dwinell (Author)
Other authors:Sky Yardley (Author)
Info:Rootstock Publishing (2022), 282 pages
Collections:Your library

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Alzheimer's Canyon: One Couple's Reflections on Living with Dementia by Jane Dwinell


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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
An interesting combination of perspectives and genres: memoir-style, from both Jane and Sky; blog entries, and Sky's attempt at fictionalizing what his increasing dementia was like, from the inside. I would have liked more non-fiction from Sky, especially in the early days as his disease progressed. I found the gruff "cowboy style" of his fiction jarring and off-putting (ending up skimming most of them). Also, possibly, more from Jane about her day-to-day life and feelings. Overall, though, an unusual and compelling read. ( )
1 vote bobbieharv | Sep 25, 2022 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was an excellent book. I love books that have you follow someone’s story and experiences while also gaining glimpse into their insights. It is such a powerful way to learn. This book is no exception; well written and easy to follow along and get lost in, but have a pen ready because there are so many things you’ll want to write down and remember/reflect on. Truly enjoyed this and will recommend it to others; whether struggling with Alzheimer’s in their family or could just benefit from increased understanding of the experience of those that do. ( )
1 vote kustomambition | Sep 22, 2022 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book provides an enlightening, heartbreaking, sometimes humorous and ultimately inspiring story about grappling with dementia. It contains a plethora of insights (when I jot down more than 30 notations, it’s a clear indicator of time-well-spent with a book). It’s unique format is both a plus – and at times – a bit of a deterrent. For the most part, “Alzheimer’s Canyon” skillfully integrates chapter overviews, blog entries from multiple perspectives and a more fantastical/fictional narrative into a highly engaging work. However, in some spots, the chapter overviews tend to be unnecessarily repetitive with blog entries that come several pages later (“Didn’t I just read this exact anecdote? Did I somehow misplace my bookmark?”) Also, I tended to speed-read through some of the latter entries of the fictionalized tale. But I quibble. The real-life insights I gleaned from Dwindell and Yardley far outpaced my short-lived frustrations. There are too many relevant “takeaways” to list them all, so I’ll confine my list to three. One important reality: There are no “road maps or visitors guides” to navigating dementia, because every path is radically different. Also, it’s important to know that most people with dementia are not living in residential care facilities. They live at home. Finally, readers are repeatedly shown that people who live with dementia can be incredibly astute and even inspirational. Some of Sky’s utterings even in his waning months are eye-opening. One such utterance: “It’s foolish to try and control everything. It just makes for more heartache and more pain.” Fortunately, I have yet to be placed in the position of having to deal with dementia in my family or circle of friends. If that day comes, I’ll search my crammed bookshelves for “Alzheimer’s Canyon,” because I know it will be a helpful armchair companion. ( )
  brianinbuffalo | Sep 11, 2022 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Jane Swindell and Sky Yardley are a couple who first met in Vermont in 1984, fell in love soon afterward due to their shared interests and compatibility, and became lifelong partners the following year, spending time building and refurbishing houses in New England and New Orleans, boating in the United States and France, and working for the benefit of others within the Unitarian Universalist Church, where Dwinell was a minister, and in their community.

In the winter of 2012 Sky started developing problems with his memory and concentration, which slowly but progressively worsened over the next four years. In August 2016 he was diagnosed with “probable early stage Alzheimer’s” at the age of 66, and despite receiving appropriate care he died in 2021, with his beloved wife at his side.

Alzheimer’s Canyon begins just after Yardley receives his fateful diagnosis, and it consists primarily of posts from both Yardley and Dwinell on a blog they created entitled “Alzheimer’s Canyon” (http://alzheimerscanyon.blogspot.com/), which chronicles their individual and joint experiences with the disease, Yardley as a patient and Dwinell as a primary caregiver, and describes the deep love and devotion they share. The title refers to a series of episodes written by Yardley about a man who descends into an absurd and grotesque world which he has difficulty navigating or understanding, which is meant to reflect what he experiences as his disease progresses. Although there is useful medical information about Alzheimer’s disease and the challenges that caregivers of people with dementia face, the book stands out by providing a vivid and touching first person account of the life of a person with the disease. Yardley is unable to continue writing a little more than three years after his diagnosis, and Dwinell provides a moving description of the last months of his life, along with an epilogue about their relationship, and a list of helpful hints for couples going through that awful disease.

As a son of a mother who has moderate Alzheimer’s disease, and a father whose life was so consumed by caring for his beloved wife of 60 years that he neglected his own health and died suddenly as a result, which caused me to assume the role of primary caregiver for Mom, I found Alzheimer’s Canyon to be a very valuable and insightful read, which both broke and warmed my heart, and gave me a better sense of what my mother is experiencing. I cannot recommend it highly enough for anyone whose lives are affected by this awful and dreaded disease, and I thank Rootstock Publishing and LibraryThing for providing me with an Advance Reviewers’ Copy of this outstanding work. ( )
3 vote kidzdoc | Aug 23, 2022 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As someone challenged with a loved one with a form of dementia, this work resonated with me.
The story of Jane and Sky's challenges with recognizing the onset of mental issues and differentiating general mental decline from dementia was something that we have observed. A poignant picture of the very difficult experience of managing the difficulties of mental decline in someone that you love and care for. Alzheimer's has its own unique character with short term memory loss being a primary feature. Other forms of dementia may differ, but the experience of the couple here will be beneficial to anyone who is dealing with mental degradation in a loved one. ( )
2 vote Spitty | Aug 20, 2022 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dwinell, Janeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yardley, Skymain authorall editionsconfirmed
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