Keeping Love Alive

love

as Memories Fade: The 5 Love Languages®
and the Alzheimer’s Journey Book by local authors helps relationships thrive on the Alzheimer’s journey

In The New York Times bestseller, The 5 Love Languages®, Winston-Salem pastor and marriage counselor Gary Chapman, PhD, gave couples an elegant shorthand for expressing affection and devotion. Wherever the love languages have been embraced across America and around the world, they have revitalized relationships and pulled marriages back from the brink of divorce. 

But what happens when Alzheimer’s disease (AD) trespasses into a relationship? The nation’s 6th leading cause of death, AD now afflicts 5.4 million Americans. By mid-century, someone in the U.S. will develop the disease every 33 seconds.

Nancy and Ronald Reagan’s long goodbye helped draw attention to the challenges of caring for a partner through the grinding decline of dementia. Their story and so many others have made us wonder: Can you maintain intimacy with a spouse who is no longer the person you married? How can you stay close to a parent who may not even recognize you?  

Chapman and his co-authors, Deborah Barr, MA and Edward Shaw, MD, have answered those questions with an innovative new application of the 5 love languages. Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade: The 5 Love Languages® and the Alzheimer’s Journey shows us how intentional love can gently lift a corner of the dark curtain of dementia and allow us to sustain an emotional connection with a memory-impaired person.

The book balances basic brain science with grounded advice for family and friends about expressing love in every way imaginable, switching tactics as the brain changes of dementia turn love into “a moving target.”

Growing out of frank conversations with families, Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade does not sugarcoat the hardship of slowly losing both your past and your future with a special person. There is no prevention or cure for AD and related dementias—and no silver lining to the burden they place on families.

But Chapman, Barr and Shaw (whose wife, Rebecca, battled early onset AD for nine years), make the case that deliberate love, “spoken” in the right language, can keep emotional attachments alive and even lighten care partners’ loads.

Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade: The 5 Love Languages® and the Alzheimer’s Journey (Northfield Publishing, 2016), by Gary Chapman, PhD, Edward Shaw, MD and Debbie Barr, MA, is available on Amazon.com and at bookstores everywhere. For more information, visit www.5LoveLanguages.com.

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