Who I Am Yesterday: A Path to Coping with a Loved One’s Dementia
Who I Am Yesterday is my personal journey through the first year of learning to manage the day to day joys and tribulations of living with a loved one’s dementia. It is a personal story which provides the foundation of the relationship that I had with my husband. It is also a journey of observation, a tale of learning and discovery, and a sharing of the coping mechanisms that worked for me. Join me as I follow the incredible workings of the human mind and learn how to find humor in the midst of heartbreak.
The book has recently gone through a reprint with Citron Concasse’ using their Lumen Anime imprint. This edition is available on Amazon and will is available to the retail trade through Ingram Booksellers. The book is also available in a Kindle version.
In the first few chapters of the book I mention our vacation in beautiful Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It seemed appropriate to use this forum to share some of the photos taken during that defining trip. It is the place where I finally acknowledged this particular path and where I began to form my own coping mechanisms.
There are several posts on this site that tell more of that journey. Check out the category for Caregiving Backstage.
What readers are saying…
One part compelling narrative, one part resourceful tutorial… By Gregor Collinson September 7, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition
I feel like caregiving books are either a narrative, or a tutorial – both equally effective – but this book gives you both, something I really appreciated. The narrative is a fascinating play-by-play of the author’s husband’s decent into Dementia, starting with the “inciting” incident that first put Adams on high alert, and the tutorial is a comprehensive manifesto of sorts, packed with some pretty brilliant ideas and insights I hadn’t heard explained quite the same. I’ve actually just shot off a detailed email to a good friend of mine who is caring for someone with Dementia, with multiple lines from this book. I’m sure she’ll appreciate them.This excerpt from the closing chapter particularly sticks out in my mind as a metaphor for the whole book. It’s as heartbreaking as it is unintentionally amusing, something to which anyone who has cared for a person with dementia can relate:
“When I would call to check on him he would want to know who was calling. So, I would try using my name, then, “your wife,” then, as things got desperate, “the lady that fixed your breakfast.”
In two lines that pretty much outlines the crazy journey.
Brave beyond words. By Margaux Moraleson July 10, 2014 Format: Kindle Edition I picked up this book and couldn’t put it down. I just had to see what happened next. How would Victoria be able to pull both herself and her husband out through the other side with dignity still in tact.
I was recently introduced to Victoria over Facebook and the phone. She seemed to be such a caring person as she helped our daughter navigate the waters toward getting published. After reading her challenges, I have a new and higher degree of respect for her. Good bless Victoria and all of us fellow caregivers.
This book would be a great read for any caregiver, family and friends dealing with the loss of their loved ones mental faculties.
I can tell you straightaway-for anyone who is a caregiver, knows a caregiver, or who will soon become a caregiver for someone with dementia, this book is an absolute must. And not only with dementia; you can plug in almost every mental and physical handicap known, and there will be some wisdom that can be drawn from it.Having been down this road, with and without help, Ms. Adams has written this book to help others in her same situation. But it is no medical essay-she does not go into the whys and wherefores in jargon that only the health-centric educated can understand. Her style is such that it seems she is sitting across the table from you, offering tea and sympathy, and not just a little much-needed advice.
Written with obvious love for her spouse, she takes the reader from the beginnings of the symptoms to her present “dance” with her husband. And that is what she calls it throughout the book. In her own words, she explains her choice of description this way: “There is always a balance, one you must seek each day and that changes as surely as the speed and depth of the disease changes.” It may involve how the chores get done, how much time a person can stay away from the one being cared for-a myriad of possibilities.
This book is well thought out, working from the simple to the complex areas of dementia care. She wraps her advice seamlessly around anecdotes and events that she and her spouse have gone through. Not making any bones about it, she freely confesses when she found herself “solving the wrong problem”. But even that became a learning process.
Some gems I found from reading Ms. Adam’s story, and ones which I will carry with me as I see the need for this kind of caregiving more and more:
“If you need help to find balance, find it. You will do no one any good, least of all yourself, if you try to `brave it through’ and lose yourself in the process.”
Grab those ever-dwindling moments of lucidity and cherish them. Don’t take them for granted.
Communicating: “As far as they are concerned, everything they say is perfectly understandable; you are the one with the problem.”
“At least for now” – (The relationship ) is a dance that must take into consideration the changing landscape of your lives.
“Look for support resources that fit in YOUR box, rather than surrendering everything to fit in theirs.”
“He really was living in a house of mirrors and only the mirror he had lighted at any one moment had any existence in his mind: in that moment.”
There is so much to be learned from Ms. Adams’ experiences-and a lot of sound advice-especially in the areas of prescriptions, foster care, and legal planning.
This is a book that should be placed in the libraries of assisted-living facilities everywhere. I know that copies will be distributed to the ones in my town.
Victoria and her husband have entered into a journey that a lot of aging couples in the United States find themselves negotiating. How to care for your loved one and preserve their dignity. When my parents arrived in the ‘zone’ my father was the person in need of being cared for as he had suffered what the doctors had referred to as mini-strokes. This exhausted my mother and at the time my sister and I had our separate families, we did whatever we could to help when it would be accepted. I will just state at this time that I do not believe dignity was always the priority when it could have been.I do not know how my wife and I will face this if and when it arrives but I hope either one of us will care for the other with love. The retelling of incidents and how they were handled in a fashion to ramp down hurtful emotions was really eye opening. Determining the signs of a person having a fit of dementia before you react and do something deeply damaging to the remains of a relationship is an art and we can all benefit from the experiences related in this work. Thank you Victoria for sharing.
Sharing the complexities of living with dementia
By portiamcveeon April 18, 2013
What an amazing story of love, courage, resilience and determination. The author keeps the writing light though never marginalizing the seriousness of her husbands condition or what she as a caregiver has had to personally sacrifice in order to do the best she can for him. She will have you chuckling, smiling with affection and feeling heart sore for the journey they have undertaken. What shone through the entire book for me was her commitment to do what is right for her husband as a human being, to allow him to retain his self respect and while no doubt tested beyond her limits on many occasions on many levels, she never once gives the impression of ever giving up on him. It is without a doubt a great companion book for anyone reading it who is going through the same thing and also an education to anyone who has no clue what it’s all about.
A wonderful read for everyone! March 28, 2013
By Philip Nork
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
Who I Am Yesterday is a fascinating read. It centers on a wife whose husband suffers from dementia. It is written with grace, understanding and humor. Although this is a non-fiction, sort of self help book for those who are caretakers, I read it more as an adventure.You never know what God has in store for you and those that you love. By taking things one day at a time, and living each day to its fullest, even a bad situation can bring joy.The patience and love Victoria Adams has for her husband is quite apparent. The writing style is part journal and part guidance. Throughout, there is a hint of humor written in. Actually seeing and experiencing the difficult things her husband is going through has opened Victoria to much more than the average person. She takes the little things that are accomplished and hangs on to them.
Even though no one in my immediate family has dementia right now, I can still take some of the things she writes about and apply them to my life. In addition, I now understand the issues my grandmother had when my grandfather entered the Alzheimer’s phase of his life. I can appreciate her efforts and can feel her pain when the man she loved for over 50 years suddenly is “gone.”
Life is short and unpredictable. Victoria takes what is handed to her and learns from it. If only others could react the same way. I recommend this book to everyone. Whether you’re a caregiver or not, you will take something away from this book that will make your life a better one.
I applaud the openness to share that the author obviously went through. I am sure this wasn’t an easy book to write, although it is an easy book to read.
As one in the healthcare profession, I find this book to be not only informative but very enjoyable. This is a must read for those who are touched by dementia and the day to day challenges and joys that they face on a daily basis. I highly recommend this book and hope that it reaches a wide audience in the near future as I know it can offer not only support but comfort to those living with and the care givers to those with this disease.
One of the best March 14, 2013
By Dorothy I. Grappo
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
I didn’t choose to read this book out of need for information on the topic but because I know the author and wanted to read her work. Of the 80+ books I have read in the past few years, this book is at the top of my list. I found it to be extremely well written, truly interesting, sad where it would naturally be sad and funny where it could be funny under the circumstance. Her use of adjectives and adverbs make it impossible not to enjoy reading about a part of her life which may not be enjoyable. Her commitment to caring for her husband with enduring patience is remarkable. I can highly recommend it without exception.
A beautiful and heart wrenching tale of love, commitment and grief., December 22, 2012
By jason mueller – See all my reviews
This review is from: Who I Am Yesterday (Kindle Edition)
A beautiful and heart wrenching tale of love, commitment and grief. Victoria Adams delves deep into her own pain as she recounts her husband’s decent into dementia. She also covers some of the basics for people who might be thrust into this new season of life of a loved one as she shares some of her hard won wisdom. A true account of love unconditional……….
I enjoyed it and learned from it November 10, 2017
Deals with a very difficult subject in a moving and personal way. It even finds humor in the darkness. I enjoyed it and learned from it.
A truly invaluable source of information, written with grace and a little humor too!.. March 14, 2019 By Lori Johnson
Victoria Adams’ gives some refreshing insight and advice while dealing with the affects of her husband’s mental and physical challenges due to Vascular Dementia. She wrote this book in such a heart-warming way, it almost felt like reading part of a romance novel. Adams advice is given as though she were talking to a friend over coffee. This is absolutely a MUST-READ for anyone who’s loved one may be experiencing the affects of dementia, or Alzheimer’s. All of her tricks and pointers about how, when, or when not to react to a situation is truly invaluable.
Reviewed by Nonnie Jules for Readers’ Favorite Who I Am Yesterday by Victoria Adams is a plan to help others cope with a loved one’s dementia. This book will appeal to those with aging parents and caregivers of loved ones who are showing signs of forgetfulness or disorientation. This book was one woman’s journey in learning about her husband’s dementia and the road she took to care for him. Every detailed note that she has taken or recounted leads you into the world in which her husband now lives, inside his own mind. Victoria Adams is a MAGNIFICENT writer! The way she navigated the journey of her husband’s dementia with such grace, patience, and understanding gives you hope that you could do the same. She does not paint herself as saintly; actually she does the total opposite. She admits to her frustrations with her husband at times, and she readily owns the anger when it arises. But through it all, she comes out victorious because all that matters to her is that her husband’s needs are being met, while he goes through this very difficult time in his life. The author recounts very vividly the places and the people, and she writes so well that you feel yourself on this journey with her. In every sentence, she’s “teaching” you how NOT to lose yourself in the process of caring for your loved one. Not only do I recommend this book to caregivers with loved ones who have dementia, but I whole-heartedly recommend it to ANY and EVERYONE who enjoys great writing! This is a phenomenal piece of work! Kudos to the author.