Author Shares Experience Caring for Mother with Alzheimer's
Steve Adubato goes on-location to the 2017 Russ Berrie “Making a Difference Awards” to talk with Bill Galea, author of “When I Go Home, an Alzheimer’s Caregiver Story of Love,” about his experience helping his mother with Alzheimer’s disease and his hope to help other families.
"Bill Galea is the author of When I Go Home: An Alzheimer's Caregiver Story of Love. Why did you write this book? Well, basically I wrote it, Steve, because I was... when I was visiting my mom in the nursing home, she had Alzheimer's disease. I started journaling, because my mom was a very interesting, funny person, and I realized if I don't start writing stuff down, I'm gonna lose it. So I started journaling. And eventually the journaling became a book, and the title of the book came from my mom. One night, she was being changed, getting ready for bed, me and my sister were waiting out in the hall, she was talking to the aid and during the conversation she said, "When I go home." And when I heard that I was like, "Oh my God", it was either that day or the next day, I said, "That's the title for my book" because I think it helps... sums up the hope and the frustration of what people with Alzheimer's and their loved ones deal with everyday. Everybody wants to be home. We wanted that... nothing more than that for our mom, and we knew on some level we could never do it. So we always brought home to her. It's interesting, we're here actually at the Russ Berrie Making a Difference Awards, and the event just concluded and everyone here is trying to make a difference. And in fact, that is why you wrote this book, to make a difference? Yes, I actually... well I had the luck of being able to spend a lot of time with my mother, I did a little bit of work as a consultant on the side. I literally, in over... in a little over eight years I spent over 6,000 hours of visiting time with my mom, not including commuting time, actually being with her. So I think I'm a thought leader on the emotional aspects of the disease, and how to really communicate effectively and with a lot of compassion and patience with someone who has Alzheimer's disease. And the message you want to give to everyone else who's dealing with a family member with Alzheimer's is? You have to be very patient, you have to be very compassionate, and basically it's, you know, you put yourself in their shoes. I know that if I had Alzheimer's disease I would want someone to understand me, and be patient with me, and be as sensitive and loving as possible, as much as possible. And that's what I was able to give to my mom, and I just... I owe her everything..."