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True Love Stories in Caregiving

By January 12, 2017No Comments3 min read

Two men discuss the journeys that reshaped their lives & loves

Former Wisconsin governor Martin Schreiber and Milwaukee financial adviser John McCarthy will share two compelling true love stories at an author reception and book signing on Wednesday, Feb. 8, from 6 to 8 p.m., at St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care-Stein Campus at 2801 E. Morgan Ave. Schreiber’s book unravels the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on his 55-year marriage, and McCarthy’s looks at life with an adult child with special needs.

In My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping, and Surviving as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver, Schreiber candidly counsels those taking on the caregiving role—as he did 12 years ago when his wife, Elaine, was diagnosed with the disease. He offers practical advice on how to respect the one with Alzheimer’s while avoiding caregiver burnout. As two-thirds of those with Alzheimer’s are women, he offers special guidance for men taking on the traditionally female role of caregiving. “One of my biggest learnings was that I had to let go of the woman I met at 14 and instantly decided I wanted for my wife—the woman who gave me our three children, supported me in every endeavor of my life and never let me feel defeated,” Schreiber said.

With compassion, raw honesty and gentle humor, Schreiber describes the journey he’s taking with his Second Elaine, now in a memory care center. He explains how love has continued with a woman who he describes as “always cheerful, always happy and always telling me how handsome and intelligent I am,” although sometimes not recognizing him as her husband.

The central character of McCarthy’s book, Maggie’s Angels: Loving, Living with and Learning from a Special Needs Daughter, is his 31-year-old daughter. Born with a rare, neurological disease, Maggie experienced slowed physical and mental development and cognitive and behavioral challenges. Along with memorable moments with Maggie, McCarthy spotlights the inspiring stories of some 60 other people with special needs—artists and musicians to Special Olympians—their parents, coaches and teachers, who’ve become “angels” in his family’s lives.

Founder of McCarthy Grittinger Financial Group, McCarthy also gives advice in the book on preparing for the long-term care of adults with special needs, using specially designed financial and estate plans.

St. Ann Center has a connection to both stories. For years, Maggie has been an occasional guest at the Stein Campus’ overnight respite. And in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, Elaine came to the campus for reiki massage and to swim and exercise at the Aquatics Center. Both authors are longtime St. Ann Center supporters. Part of the proceeds from the evening’s book sales will go to support the children and adults served by the center.

The free reception will include refreshments and a chance to meet the authors. Signed books will be available for purchase. For more information, contact Casey Rozanski at 414-977-5062.

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