Former Wisconsin Gov. Martin J. Schreiber has seen his beloved wife Elaine gradually transform from the woman who gracefully entertained in the state’s Executive Residence to one who could no longer drive a car, follow a recipe, use the bathroom or dress herself. She grew to depend on her decades-long partner in marriage, political campaigns and child-raising for everything. Over time, Elaine no longer even recognized Marty as her husband. In My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping, and Surviving as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver, Schreiber candidly counsels those who take on similar caregiving roles.
My Two Elaines is more than an account of Marty Schreiber’s struggles. It provides small but monumental suggestions for how to respect the person with Alzheimer’s as well as the caregiver. He shares why it’s important for caregivers to practice self-care, as not to become one of the thousands that become sick themselves and unable to care for their loved one. Two-thirds of those who live with Alzheimer’s are women, so Schreiber offers special guidance for men that are thrust into an unexpected job of “doing it all.”
With patience, adaptability, and even a sense of humor, Marty Schreiber shows how love continues for the person his wife is now — his Second Elaine.