Dancing with Alzheimer's
One woman finds her identity while caring for another who's rapidly losing hers.
After leaving her wealthy, dictatorial husband, Lolita Rimblas is deeply in debt and searching for a job for the first time in her life. When she is offered the position of companion to a former dancer struggling with the first stages of Alzheimer's, she apprehensively accepts. Her first weeks on the job are a chaotic nightmare, as she endures the insults, bizarre rituals and erratic and often embarrassing behavior of the autocratic Mrs. Elizabeth "Betty" Bromley. Though Lolita initially takes offense at Betty's behavior, she begins to learn more about the disease and the way in which it is ravaging her employer's mind. As she inures herself to the daily onslaught, she develops methods for anticipating and preventing outbursts. She also learns to make the most of Betty's limited moments of lucidity, instilling in the diseased woman's mind a sense of love and safety that Alzheimer's cannot erase. Their relationship proves to be therapeutic for Lolita as well; the similarities between Betty's personality and Lolita's husband's cause the caretaker to reflect on her own past, enabling her to heal the emotional wounds of her troubled marriage. The author presents a vivid, loving portrait of the debilitating effects of Alzheimer's disease, conveyed by the force of Betty's character. Those who are caring or have cared for someone with Alzheimer's will recognize not only the peculiar behavior of the afflicted, but the intense, conflicting and often ugly emotions that the disease elicits from caretakers as well.
An emotional novel of lost love and painful memories.