"A husband strives to make the right care choices after his wife is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in this debut memoir.
The two communicated by touch and by “talking with our eyes.” The author writes of making a new, deeper connection through nonverbal interactions that seemed to bypass the part of his wife’s “brain affected by Alzheimer’s.”
The subject matter of this work is unavoidably distressing, but Alderdice maintains a positive tone throughout, embracing the seize-the-day sentiment suggested in the book’s title: “Make the most of everything you love—the ‘dancing’ in your life—developing strong relationships and creating great memories that will last as long as possible.” The author has a levelheaded writing style, describing his physical and emotional states clearly and without unnecessary adornment...Caretakers will relate to Alderdice’s spectrum of emotions, from a sense of “loss and loneliness” to feelings of guilt and regret.
…a well-written, uplifting memoir. The author is keenly aware that with regard to Alzheimer’s, “no two stories are the same,” but his personal experience demonstrates that the trajectory of the disease does not always take the shape of a continuous downward spiral. The suggestion that a higher plane “of happiness” may be achieved on a journey that presented “horrific times” may offer hope to those facing similar circumstances.
A tenderly observant account that champions the power of love in the face of adversity.”
Readers' Favorites Review - 5 Stars:
Don't Forget to Dance: A Unique Alzheimer's Journey - from Bizarre to Blissful follows the story of Mary and her husband Marc as they face challenges of early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Diagnosed at the age of fifty-nine, Mary's initial symptoms were subtle, but the progression of the illness led to psychiatric manifestations and a decline in communication skills. As they confront the realities of the disease, they navigate anticipated and unexpected complications, finding ways to cope and remain resilient. Mary's journey involved moments of distress and the need to make difficult decisions, ultimately leading to a choice of specialized memory care. Throughout the ups and downs, their strength in the bonds of love and support for each other shines.
Marc Alderdice's memoir Don't Forget to Dance struck a chord with me as I read about his wife's journey with Dissociative Identity Disorder amidst the challenges of Alzheimer's. Having witnessed my late grandmother's struggles with dementia, Alderdice's descriptions of his wife's embodiment of alternative personalities were insightful and, sadly, relatable. The young adult identity, where Mary was pleased with her appearance and had conversations with an imaginary friend in the mirror, presented a dichotomy in the sorrow of Mary having the disorder and it being somewhat uplifting in how it made her feel: beautiful. This profoundly honest book will surely resonate with those facing similar situations, providing support and understanding. Moreover, it offers valuable insights for clinicians and students navigating the complexities of dementia in a more personal and empathetic light.
Very highly recommended.
Bill Groom, retired educator and missions pastor, Dallas, Texas
Everyone knows someone, or will know someone, with the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease. Don’t Forget to Dance allows readers to take a very personal walk with the author, Marc Alderdice, through many experiences of loving and caring for his wife as she lives with Alzheimer’s. As I read this story, I often felt like I was with them.
This is almost an instruction manual on how to enjoy life with your spouse, regardless of the circumstances. Marc uses phrases like: “We found a way to make it work.” And “We discovered…” He explains how he experimented and found ways to support Mary, and eventually also himself.
Don’t Forget to Dance illustrates how very individual each person’s experience is, and how valuable family, friends, and support groups have been for them both. This story can definitely help prepare readers for dealing with the difficulties of Alzheimer’s, but it can help anyone see new opportunities to strengthen their current relationships. Two lessons I took from Don’t Forget to Dance are your words and actions have great power to enhance your life and the lives of those you love, and that no caregiver or Alzheimer’s patient should go through the experience alone.