Friday, September 20, 2013

Book Review: When Your Parent Becomes Your Child

Ken Abraham's book, When Your Parent Becomes Your Child: A Journey of Faith Through My Mother's Dementia, is both encouraging and heartbreaking at the same time. It takes a lot of courage to share the intimate details of walking through the valley of memory loss with a loved one. Anyone who has experienced this journey, and especially those in the middle of it, will appreciate the helplessness felt by Ken and his family as they watched his mother slowly change into someone very different from who they had known and loved.

Through nearly every step of the way, it brought back many memories of how our family witnessed the incremental loss of my dear grandmother. I could relate very well to most of what Ken went through: the struggles, the grief, the frustrations, but also the humorous situations, getting to know the new person emerging from the fog, and those precious times when the window of memory was open for even a brief moment.

If you happen to be facing this arduous journey for the first time, this book is a valuable resource for what you might expect, how to handle difficult decisions regarding care, and how to maneuver the sometimes strained relationship with the one suffering from dementia while retaining their honor and respect.

Ken walks you through the process he faced from the very beginning, explaining along the way how they made decisions at different stages of her illness about where she would live while striving to retain her independence as long as possible, what physical procedures should and should not be implemented, and meeting her spiritual needs. I especially appreciate how he respected his mother's person hood. His love and respect for her as his mother never faltered throughout the journey. And, though the title seems to imply his mother became like a child to him, he never treated her like one.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading When Your Parent Becomes Your Child. Though it brought tears to my eyes as it brought back memories of my grandmother, it also encouraged me that others might be helped by Ken's story and possibly avert some of the more painful and disastrous situations we found ourselves in. If you or someone you know is facing the care of a loved one with debilitating memory loss, please get this book as soon as possible and read it. You will be blessed and helped tremendously.