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Former WI Gov. Marty Schreiber to share Alzheimer’s caregiving experience in Rhinelander and Antigo

Alzheimer's Association

Former Wisconsin Governor Marty Schreiber wishes he had asked for help sooner when it came to caring for his wife Elaine.

She died in 2022 after a 20-year battle with Alzheimer’s.

When Elaine was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, Schreiber wanted to be the one to care for her.

For the first 12 years, they stayed in their home and Schreiber took on her care himself.

Then he made what he called one of the most difficult decisions to have her go into assisted living.

“What was so important about that decision is that it nailed home for me just so directly that I was the one who was the selfish one in trying to protect my rights about what I was going to do with this disease rather than being concerned and aware of what I could do help my wife Elaine live her best life possible,” said Schreiber.

Schreiber says he did his wife and himself a disservice by not seeking help sooner.

In trying to care for her, Schreiber stopped caring for himself.

“I was not getting enough exercise. I was not eating right. I decided that if I could get to 5:00 at night I deserved maybe one, maybe two, maybe three drinks,” he said. “My wife is suffering. She’s going through this disease of losing her memory and I’m at the same time destroying my own ability to help her as well as destroying my own health. That does not make any sense.”

Schreiber wrote a book, My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping, and Surviving as an Alzheimer's Caregiver, and is giving a series of talks hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association.

He hopes by sharing what he and his wife went through and the hard lessons he learned that people can find comfort and support in their own experiences with Alzheimer’s.

“I want to be able to talk with anyone who has any connection with this disease to help them understand that while it can’t be cured right now and it can’t be prevented right now, but we can make everything, every effort to help our loved one live their best life possible. We can take joy and hope in that,” said Schreiber.

Schreiber will be speaking in Rhinelander and Antigo on April 17th.

It’s free to attend and open to the public. Registration is encouraged.

The event in Rhinelander is at ADRC of Oneida County at 1:00 p.m. Register: https://bit.ly/msrhinelander

The event in Antigo is at the Senior Center of Langlade County at 5:00 p.m. Register: https://bit.ly/msantigo

Following Schreiber's presentation, there will be a chance to learn about resources offered by the Alzheimer's Association and ways to get involved in this year's Walk to End Alzheimer's.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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