Mary Ellen Geist decided to leave her job as a CBS Radio anchor to return home to Michigan when her father's Alzheimer's got to be too much for her mother to shoulder alone. She chose to live her life by a different set of priorities: to be guided by her heart, not by outside accomplishment and recognition.
“Measure of the Heart is an insightful book about love—a love powerful enough to compel a daughter to give up her exciting career to move back home to help care for her father deteriorating from Alzheimer’s disease. Family caregivers will treasure Measure of the Heart as a window into their own experiences. Health professionals should read it to understand what family caregivers confront in their labor of love.”
—Carol Levine, Director, Families and Health Care Project, United Hospital Fund
The farmhouse where I grew up has that sweet musty odor of a century-old wooden home. Ever since I left for college, whenever I came home, it seemed as if the floorboards and walls contained secrets that seeped from each knot in the wood. I used to have a ritual whenever I returned: I would place my hand against the wall next to the front door. When I held my palm there, it was as if I could feel—even see—the various stages of our lives that this house has contained since my sisters and I were small. There is my little sister at age three with her stiff blond hair that grew straight up in the air from the day she was born. There is my older sister strolling by in her bell-bottom blue jeans and Indian print top in high school. There is my mother in what we call The Big Hair Days with her white cat’s-eye sunglasses in the 1960s. There is my father, holding his briefcase and wearing a suit as he comes home from work in the 1970s, opening the car door and rubbing the ears of our springer spaniel, who bounded out to the driveway to welcome him.
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Publisher: Springboard Press
Pub. Date: August 6, 2009
Measure of the Heart featured in O Magazine, read the article, Wired for Sound by Oliver Sacks, MD here.
Are you interested in making the world a better place by spreading the word and getting involved in the healing power of music, especially when it can help people living with Alzheimer's disease? Are you a musician, and in particular, an a cappella singer? For published references on music therapy most likely to engage people living with Alzheimer's, sources of vocal groups near you, ideas on getting started, etc., please contact Bart at with 'Alz' in the subject line.
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