Jun 11, 2011

Is Barry Home?

She turns to me. I see it then, the worry in her eyes even as she walks with me out of the darkness. Her words say what we are both thinking. “I miss Barry.”

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Earlier today I wrote, Alzheimer's Caregiving Five Days a Week. This reminded me of a really wonderful article I read in the Dallas Morning News a several months ago. It is about a son who cares for his mother who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. It is written from the perspective of his sister.

Like me, Barry is the youngest of three children. Obviously, he is a man. About 40 percent of Alzheimer's caregivers are men. We are a large minority.

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The caregivers arrived, first a few days a week, then every day when Barry realized he couldn't bear to bathe his own mother.


When I arrived in New Jersey so Barry could take his June vacation, I saw my childhood house with new eyes.

Barry showed me the breakers he turns off so Mom can't turn on the stove. He showed me the lock on the deck door so she cannot wander. He told me to turn on the classical music to help her wind down at night and what to listen for early in the morning or in the middle of the night when her mind will not let her sleep.

I once marveled that he knows all of this. Now, I rely on him to tell me how to help.

"Is Barry home?" she asks, the same question she has asked each of the six mornings I have been here.

This time, I say yes.

Soon after, my brother walks into the kitchen. My mother smiles and holds out her hands to him.

"Hi, Barry," she says.

This article has a lot of warmth, insight, and feeling.


Go read about Barry, his mom and his sister Karen.

More Insight and Advice for Caregivers

The Alzheimer’s Action Plan: The Experts’ Guide to the Best Diag­no­sis and Treat­ment for Mem­ory Prob­lems
The 36-Hour Day A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room