Former Gov. Schreiber helping Alzheimer's patients cope

Says caregivers need to take care of themselves

Former Wisconsin Gov. Marty Schreiber is using his platform to share his wife’s journey with Alzheimer’s to help others cope with the devastating effects.

It’s a powerful love story, poignant and personal.

"Elaine kept a series of personal notes and diaries," he said.

Schreiber has co-written a book called “My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping, and Surviving as an Alzheimer's Caregiver”.

In the book, Schreiber describes his first Elaine as intelligent, kind, gracious, loving, and self sacrificing. His second Eliane could not drive without getting lost, forgot her grandchildren, can’t cook, keep house or dress herself.

“Once a person understands the courage it takes, and what they are going through you can more easily handle the daily frustrations because you know their brain is broken,” he said.

Schreiber launched his book officially at the Milwaukee Press Club Luncheon Wednesday, and all the profits will go to the Alzheimer’s Association.

“Caregivers have a better chance of dying early a better chance of becoming ill, a better chance  of having their savings dissipated, a greater chance of having trouble at work because of the terrible emotional to," he said.

Schreiber warns that if caregivers don’t take care of themselves, they’re less able to help their loved ones.

He aims to make his wife as happy and comfortable as possible. He also wants to remind loved ones that even in the new normal, joy is possible.

“Rather than worry about coming in from the rain, you should learn how to dance in the rain..if caregivers understand the disease better, certainly the caregiver will not dance, but learn to cope and survive,” he said.

Schreiber has also launched Operation Stronger Together through the Alzheimer’s Association, connecting caregivers and families with assistance in caregiving.


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