Health and Wellness

Hope, Healing and WellBeing

Mary Treacy O'Keefe

Hope, Healing and WellBeing Show – My Marriage, My Family and Alzheimer’s Disease with Barbara Blanch Roy

In her book, Under The Bridge Backwards: My Marriage, My Family and Alzheimer’s, Barbara Blanch Roy shares her story of life with her husband Phil after he was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. In his early sixties when diagnosed, he had retired a few years earlier after many years as a surgeon.

Barbara describes the meaning of the title of her book by telling how she and Phil were swept backward under a bridge and into the Mississippi River after their boat’s engine stalled several years ago. The experience of losing control left her grateful that the event wasn’t catastrophic, and the event later became a metaphor for what living with Alzheimer’s Disease became for her and her family.

She felt compelled to write her family’s story, not only for herself and her family, but also to help others going through their own experiences with Alzheimer’s Disease. After Phil died, she needed to pick up the pieces and “hold them in her heart and put them into an integrative whole.”  Her book was a cathartic way to tell her story honestly and also authentically affirm experiences of other caregivers.  Although each person’s story is different, the sense of loss and being out of control are consistent for anyone who lives with a loved one with dementia.

Tune in to discover how Barbara and her family learned to “live into” the reality of having a husband and father with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Learn how family and friends helped the couple, and how important it was for Barbara to take good care of herself during the final years of her husband’s life. Her compelling story, strong faith, wise insights and practical suggestions are helpful for caregivers and anyone facing their own challenges.