Father’s Rooms is a sweet, humorous and painfully revealing memoir which chronicles a fifty-year-old daughter’s experiences of caring for her father with dementia. Helen arrives at her hometown in the Midwest to take her popular and respected father to California. She has received numerous phone calls and letters about his behavior. She wants to deny his diagnosis of Alzheimers, even as she arrives to rescue him. Her father is the family hero. His illness surfaces conflictual feelings among his children.
While admitting his diagnosis, he still tries to renew his driver’s license, hitch hikes around California, and appropriates the laundry room of his assisted living home.
Although a non-fiction memoir, Father’s Rooms has the dramatic elements of fiction. Place becomes a metaphor for her father’s internal world. As the disease progresses, the author must move her father to facilities, which provide more care and greater restrictions. His rooms mirror the interior landscape of his disease.
This book is a must read for adult children or partners of people suffering from Alzheimers. It combines the self-help guidance of The Thirty-Six Hour Day, and the philosophical sweetness of Tuesdays With Morrie, to tell a piercing story of love and loss that never hides in sentimentality or romanticzation.