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The Things We Keep
A poignant story of one of today's nightmares: early-onset Alzheimer's.
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What did you think of the decisions Jack made and the way he and his wife treated Anna? What about the way he and Luke's sister reacted to the relationship between Anna and Luke? How would you have reacted if you were in their shoes?

Created: 02/23/16

Replies: 16

Posted Feb. 23, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

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What did you think of the decisions Jack made and the way he and his wife treated Anna? What about the way he and Luke's sister reacted to the relationship between Anna and Luke? How would you have reacted if you were in their shoes?

The Things We Keep explores both what it's like to live with Alzheimer's disease and what it's like to live and love someone who has it. How did you react to the decisions Jack made and the way he and his wife treated Anna? Did you agree or disagree with them? What did you think of the way he and Luke's sister reacted to the relationship between Anna and Luke? How would you have reacted if you were in their positions?


Posted Feb. 28, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
candaceb

Join Date: 03/30/14

Posts: 36

RE: What did you think of the decisions Jack made and the way he and his wife treated Anna? What about the way he and Luke's sister reacted to the relationship between Anna and Luke? How would you have reacted if you were in their shoes?

Jack's decisions were made out of love and concern for his sister and for his own family...a juggling act that would be heart-wrenching when their interests were not in alignment. I understood his fears of Anna being pregnant but didn't understand his decision to keep the bedroom doors locked. Anna could have been on birth control pills so there was no fear of pregnancy and she and Luke could comfort and love each other for as long as possible. I admired the way Jack brought his children to see their aunt even when she didn't recognize them. He was teaching them a valuable lesson about love, loyalty, and responsibility.


Posted Feb. 28, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susanr

Join Date: 04/14/11

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RE: What did you think of the decisions Jack made and the way he and his wife treated Anna? What about the way he and Luke's sister reacted to the relationship between Anna and Luke? How would you have reacted if you were in their shoes?

I think that Jack and his wife probably needed some education on what to expect with the disease but I Think that they really tried to do what they thought was the best for her. Jack's main goal was keeping her safe and he did the best he could with his limited knowledge of the disease. I do think that they shouldn't have tried to keep Anna and Luke apart. They were bringing each other comfort and should have been able to continue.


Posted Feb. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

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RE: What did you think of the decisions Jack made and the way he and his wife treated Anna? What about the way he and Luke's sister reacted to the relationship between Anna and Luke? How would you have reacted if you were in their shoes?

I agree with Jack wanting to keep them apart as far as their having sexual relations. There was a concern about an unwanted pregnancy. However I think it was going too far keeping them apart at other times. They certainly would benefit being together sitting outside, or at meals and in the activity room.


Posted Feb. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
wordybird

Join Date: 06/29/12

Posts: 3

RE: What did you think of the decisions Jack made and the way he and his wife treated Anna? What about the way he and Luke's sister reacted to the relationship between Anna and Luke? How would you have reacted if you were in their shoes?

From personal experience as a caretaker for an elderly relative, who has a traumatic brain injury, I know you are always second guessing yourself. You want to protect the person, yet you want her to have as normal a life as possible under the circumstances.

Now we are faced with the possibility of dementia on top of the injury. None of the experts seem to agree if her mental deterioration part of the injury or if it is due to her age.

I think Jack did what he thought was best for a beloved sister. I do not think he was right in keeping Anna and Luke apart. He tended to treat her like a child, forgetting she was still a grown woman.

As for the sexual aspect of the relationship, I agree with Luke's sister. They are adults. They were still capable of Informed Consent.


Posted Feb. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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bestmartin

Join Date: 02/20/13

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RE: What did you think of the decisions Jack made and the way he and his wife treated Anna? What about the way he and Luke's sister reacted to the relationship between Anna and Luke? How would you have reacted if you were in their shoes?

I like what wordybird said. I believe Jack and his wife were trying to do the best they could and they wanted to protect Anna. Plus, I believe they were fearful of the consequences. Still I don't think they were right to separate Luke and Anna. They could connect and love each other for as long as they were able and I think they could have found a way to prevent pregnancy ( if that was even a reality).


Posted Feb. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ScribblingScribe

Join Date: 02/29/16

Posts: 47

RE: What did you think of the decisions Jack made and the way he and his wife treated Anna? What about the way he and Luke's sister reacted to the relationship between Anna and Luke? How would you have reacted if you were in their shoes?

Jack was afraid and he made the best decision he could given their past. His choice to keep them apart was reactionary and not in Anna's best interest, but it was not malicious. He was concerned about consent and the ramifications of a sexual relationship involving two mentally challenged partners. I can understand his fear. But it bothered me that he was so quick to react. He didn't take the time to watch them together or find out whether their relationship was helping or hurting Anna. That was his biggest failure--going with fear not facts. Like others said, pregnancy could have been prevented.


Posted Feb. 29, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyh

Join Date: 01/23/15

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RE: What did you think of the decisions Jack made and the way he and his wife treated Anna? What about the way he and Luke's sister reacted to the relationship between Anna and Luke? How would you have reacted if you were in their shoes?

The family needed additional information on the disease process, Anna and Luke were capable of companionship and love in their own way. Once staff were aware they were an item, birth control should have be given to Anna.


Posted Mar. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
judyh

Join Date: 01/26/16

Posts: 20

RE: What did you think of the decisions Jack made and the way he and his wife treated Anna? What about the way he and Luke's sister reacted to the relationship between Anna and Luke? How would you have reacted if you were in their shoes?

So many decisions made on the behalf of someone with dementia are difficult to make in part because there is no one "right" decision. Jack made the decisions he made out of love, and then he changed his mind about his decisions, also out of love. The moral and ethical questions around sex between people with dementia are not black and white or easy to answer. There are consequences beyond the happiness of the people with dementia, e.g., pregnancy, STDs, consent, inappropriate behavior in the common areas. I think that I would try to enable Luke and Anna to have contact for as long as possible while affording them protection against pregnancy and testing for STDs.


Posted Mar. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
christineb

Join Date: 10/13/11

Posts: 46

RE: What did you think of the decisions Jack made and the way he and his wife treated Anna? What about the way he and Luke's sister reacted to the relationship between Anna and Luke? How would you have reacted if you were in their shoes?

I think it is really difficult to "believe" that patients with dementia are capable of true feeling and falling in love. I thought this book portrayed these feelings through many dimensions and I do understand where Jack was coming from. His decision was unfortunate for Luke and Anna, but I think it gave him peace of mind. His job was difficult- trying to keep his sister safe, while letting her still lead what small parts of life she could.


Posted Mar. 03, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
maribethr

Join Date: 10/29/14

Posts: 16

RE: What did you think of the decisions Jack made and the way he and his wife treated Anna? What about the way he and Luke's sister reacted to the relationship between Anna and Luke? How would you have reacted if you were in their shoes?

Families must make the best decisions based on what they know about the person they are responsible for. While the assisted living facility had a lot of loving people there to give care, it was pretty loosely run in many ways. You don't often find the cook being in a position to have that type of contact with patients. I would think it would make it even harder for a family to want less than lots of control of the situation when they were able to observe the crazy personnel situation in the facility. I believe that this family was trying to make a decision based on the safety of the sister they cared for.


Posted Mar. 05, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scottishrose

Join Date: 07/24/11

Posts: 38

RE: What did you think of the decisions Jack made and the way he and his wife treated Anna? What about the way he and Luke's sister reacted to the relationship between Anna and Luke? How would you have reacted if you were in their shoes?

Jack's wife kind of disappeared from the story after the home visit where Anna went berserk to use the author's word. And Jack and Luke's sister seem like polar opposites in regard to the relationship between Anna and Luke. I do feel that Jack was trying to make what he considered the best decisions for his sister and she must have had some confidence in his decision making or she wouldn't have given him power of attorney. But I do feel that sometimes he took the easy way out rather than think about Anna's feelings. My dad doesn't have dementia but we just moved him from a nursing home rehab situation to an assisted living. Decisions about what is best for another person are never easy because you can't get inside their head. All you can do is try to take their feelings into account and do the best you can.


Posted Mar. 08, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Peggy H

Join Date: 06/13/11

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RE: What did you think of the decisions Jack made and the way he and his wife treated Anna? What about the way he and Luke's sister reacted to the relationship between Anna and Luke? How would you have reacted if you were in their shoes?

Jack had already dealt with his mother's dementia, so he should have known more about what this might mean. He did try to find a good place fir her to stay, but it was obviously not the best place. Since Anna sometimes reacted sternly Zjack was trying yo protect his children.


Pegh
Posted Mar. 09, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Retired Reader, NE

Join Date: 09/16/11

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RE: What did you think of the decisions Jack made and the way he and his wife treated Anna? What about the way he and Luke's sister reacted to the relationship between Anna and Luke? How would you have reacted if you were in their shoes?

Jack and his wife seemed to act out of love but weren't very well informed. The way they treated Anna was sad. In all fairness to Jack he was in a difficult position. It would be difficult to find the balance between protection and Anna's freedom to choose love.


Posted Mar. 10, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jww

Join Date: 05/31/11

Posts: 128

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RE: What did you think of the decisions Jack made and the way he and his wife treated Anna? What about the way he and Luke's sister reacted to the relationship between Anna and Luke? How would you have reacted if you were in their shoes?

Jack reacted as so many others would. He was afraid of what Anna might do and didn't know how to cope with her disease or personality. Typical big brother stuff. And, he no longer thought of her as a whole person capable of making decisions for herself. Luke's sister was much more realistic. As someone mentioned earlier, Anna could have been put on the pill. It was actually very cruel to keep them apart. So much education is needed for family and friends of dementia patients. In this case, the facility needed more education too.


Posted Mar. 12, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
amandap

Join Date: 03/12/16

Posts: 12

RE: What did you think of the decisions Jack made and the way he and his wife treated Anna? What about the way he and Luke's sister reacted to the relationship between Anna and Luke? How would you have reacted if you were in their shoes?

I believe Jack thought he was making the right choices to protect Anna. However, it seems that he didn't really treat Anna in the way she had become but in the way she had been. Meaning, Eve has no experience with Alzheimer's nor of Anna but she quickly learned what made Anna happy. She knew by observing Anna that things like a lot of noise or people talking at once bothered Anna. Yet her own brother did not pick up on this in the examples that by he was protecting her by letting her live with him after the fall, but yet did not even pick up on how unhappy she was away from her new home. His protecting her was in a way him protecting himself from guilt. He could always say and feel like he did his best for his poor sister. I hope that I would have been more like Luke's sister. She only separated them after Jack bullied her into adopting his choices.


Posted Mar. 13, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
louisee

Join Date: 06/29/15

Posts: 67

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RE: What did you think of the decisions Jack made and the way he and his wife treated Anna? What about the way he and Luke's sister reacted to the relationship between Anna and Luke? How would you have reacted if you were in their shoes?

I agree with many who said Jack was acting out of love for his sister. As mentioned by ScribblingScribe he just didn't take the time to assess her situation with Luke. Luke and Anna should not have been kept apart. They were perfect companions for each other and should have been allowed to be together. I would have figured out the best way for them to be together and be safe.


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