Several years ago, Dr. Sandeep Jauhar wrote a book called Heart: A History. It is about the heart, the organ as well as the center of emotions and feelings, medical research, science and his personal story. Jauhar’s grandfather had a heart attack and died at a young age, which impacted his decision to become a cardiologist. My father also suffered a minor heart attack at a young age and thankfully survived; as you probably know, I did not become a doctor! …but my interest in the subject was piqued when I came across the book, and I found it incredibly informative, relatable and well written.
Once again, Sandeep Jauhar has my attention as his new book, My Father’s Brain is about his family’s journey with his father’s memory loss, diagnosis and progression of Alzheimer’s. He shares explanations of research, personal feelings, family tension, medications, doctor visits and hospital stays, caregiver stories and his own emotional journey toward acceptance during such a difficult period of time.
As one of the millions of people who have a family member with some form of dementia, I found so much of what the author shared in this book all too familiar, from his father getting locked out of the house to the constant changing of medications and the wondering if more meds were needed or if the meds were just making things worse. Everyone’s experiences can be so different, but there are threads of familiarity, which is comforting, allowing us to realize that those in similar shoes can relate. I hope you choose to read My Father’s Brain to gain a better understanding of how dementia impacts a family.
If you are looking for information on how to help a loved one here are a few places to reach out to:
In addition, an eldercare lawyer can advise and your local social services office may offer ways to receive financial support. With the 5 year look-back for Medicaid, and the monetary expenses that go along with care, it is best to address memory loss right away and plan for the future.
About the Author:
Sandeep Jauhar has written three bestselling books, all published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. His first book, “Intern: A Doctor’s Initiation,” was a national bestseller and was optioned by NBC for a dramatic television series.
His second book, “Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician,” was a New York Times bestseller and was named a New York Post Best Book of 2014.
“Heart: A History,” his last book, was named a best book of 2018 by the Mail on Sunday, Science Friday, Zocalo Public Square, and the Los Angeles Public Library, and was the PBS NewsHour/New York Times book club pick for January 2019; it was also a finalist for the Wellcome Book Prize.
His forthcoming book, “My Father’s Brain,” is a memoir of his relationship with his father as he succumbed to dementia, but it is also about the history and science of brain degeneration. In the book, Jauhar sets his father’s descent into Alzheimer’s alongside his own journey toward understanding his father’s disease.
The book relates the complications that arise when family members must become caregivers, as well as the bonds of siblings—and the testing of those bonds. Though the conflicts are personal, they are also in many ways universal—conversations and conflicts that every family facing the mental erosion of an elder has. At the same time, the book explores everything from the history of ancient Greece to the most cutting-edge neurological―and bioethical―research. It delves into what happens in the brain as we age and our memory falters, how memory gives meaning to our lives, even as it changes with time, how dementia complicates our understanding of what it means to have a self — and what all this means for patients, their families, and society at large.
A practicing physician, Jauhar writes regularly for the opinion section of The New York Times. His TED Talk on the emotional heart was one of the ten most-watched TED Talks of 2019. To learn more about him and his work, visit his website at www.sandeepjauhar.com or follow him on Twitter: @sjauhar