Maryanne Scott Discloses the PTSD of Alzheimer’s Care in Memoir

Maryanne Scott, An Eight Year Goodbye

By Maryanne Scott

My father suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for eight long years. Those years were filled with memory loss, confusion, and loss of independence for him. For my brother and I, they were years filled with sadness, fear, guilt, and despair. We struggled every day with the delicate balance of caring for him while still allowing him to maintain as much independence and dignity as possible. There were days I didn’t think I could make it through another 24 hours of watching this horrific disease take over his mind. I hated Alzheimer’s for what it was reducing him to.

After his death, I sought counseling, and was told by my therapist I was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Like a soldier fighting in combat, I didn’t have time in my eight years of caregiving to think about the battle and give in to my emotions. I just had to keep fighting and moving on day to day in caring for my father. But once the battle of Alzheimer’s was over and I was able to reflect on what I had been through, all of the emotions came crashing down and left me feeling lost and experiencing many of the same symptoms of PTSD: flashbacks, anger, irritability, difficulty sleeping, guilt, avoidance of people and memories. She suggested I start writing down some of the situations I had experienced and said it might be therapeutic for me.

She was right. As I began to write down some of the experiences I had been through in my caregiving journey, I found myself crying, laughing, and processing many of the emotions I had suppressed during the Alzheimer’s combat. It was cathartic in so many ways. It allowed me to feel peace after so many years of angst. I began to wonder if my writing would help others going through this.

I also found during this time that some of my peers were starting to experience this awful disease with their own parents. Knowing I had gone through this with my father, many of them turned to me for advice. One of them suggested I write a book. An Eight Year Goodbye is the result.

My goal in writing this memoir was twofold. I wanted to be able to reach someone who is feeling the desperation I felt and let them know they are not alone or abnormal in their feelings of guilt, anger, sadness, and despair. It is a lonely battle fraught with a roller coaster ride of emotions each and every day as you watch your loved one slowly slip away and become a shadow of the person they once were. I wanted to give suggestions on how to handle some of the many challenges that will present themselves on this journey. I felt that if I could help someone going through this, I would have made a difference.

The other reason was that I just wanted people to know the wonderful man who was my father.  A man who served his country with honor, who worked hard to support his family, and who loved his family with all his heart.  A man who ended his life unable to communicate with the family he so loved and unable to do simple things like feed himself or tie his shoes.  But even though he was reduced to this due to this horrific disease, he never lost his dignity, sense of humor, or kind hearted nature.  He was a wonderful man up until he took his last breath. So, in the end, Alzheimer’s may have taken many things from him. But it didn’t take the essence of this amazing man. So, who really won this battle?

Purchase An Eight Year Goodbye on Amazon

About the Author

Maryanne V. Scott was born in Pennsylvania to Italian American parents who stressed the importance of family and caring for one another. She grew up in a middle-class household with her younger brother, Sam. Life revolved around family get-togethers and enjoying the simple things that life has to offer. Maryanne graduated from Temple University with a degree in business administration/marketing. She worked for many years for Unisys Corporation until her husband’s career brought them to Albany, New York, for six years. At that time, she decided to stay at home to raise her children and work part time as a Teacher’s Aide in their school district. Shortly upon returning to Pennsylvania, Maryanne’s father developed Alzheimer’s disease, and she became his caregiver for eight years while also working part-time, raising her two children, and caring for her husband who had a spinal cord injury. Upon her father’s death from the disease, she decided to become involved in the crusade to fight this devastating illness. Today she lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with her husband and works as an Educational Assistant in the local school district. She continues to advocate for Alzheimer’s disease research by participating in annual Walks to End Alzheimer’s and writing to her congressmen, encouraging them to support efforts to fund Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health. It is her dream to see a world without Alzheimer’s disease.

Connect with Maryanne Scott






Share the Post:

Subscribe to Our eNewsletter

SUBSCRIBE to our weekly eNewsletter! Be among the first to know about new authors, podcasts, events, and more for help on your dementia journey. As a welcome gift, you may download our FREE booklet “Caring for a Mother with Dementia,”  featuring 15 quality titles. Subscription is through You may unsubscribe at any time.

Support Our Mission

Your support enables us to continue to provide quality resources for dementia caregivers. We appreciate any donation. Thank you for your support!