Doris Ober

Selected Work

Memoir
Do not be alarmed by the title: The Alzheimer's Years: A Mother and Daughter Reunion is not a depressing book, though it is touching and frequently very funny. Molly Bourne, M.D., director of Hospice in Petaluma in the California Bay Area, writes: "A treasure. I think of those just early into the possibility of a dementia diagnosis and how this is an accessible, real, inspiring, funny glance at it without crushing the heart or making one run fast in the other direction."
A middle-aged couple of escaped New Yorkers become shepherds in the rural outpost of West Marin California, and learn much about life—and about death—from the experience.
Prose, Poetry, and Art
managing editor
A literary/art journal with works by locals and visitors to this very special northern California community. Robert Hass, Jane Hirshfield, Susan Trott are a few of the stars in Volume 4.
Nonfiction
with Sukie Miller, Ph.D.
“This is the best book on parental grief that I have seen.”
--Seattle Times
English/Spanish Language
with Richard Kirschman
“It says, Go ahead, give this language a try; you’ve already got the vocabulary.”
--San Francisco Chronicle
Portraits
with Charles Garfield and Cindy Spring
“An extremely valuable source of information.... Your heart will be touched and your mind opened.”
--Bernie Siegel, M.D., author of Love, Medicine, and Miracles

The Alzheimer's Years: A Mother and Daughter Reunion

In an account as good-humored as it is heart-warming, The Alzheimer’s Years introduces readers to Betty Ober at age 89. Betty is clever and funny, still the life of a party, loves puns and poetry, does all her own cooking and house cleaning. Once a nurse, she reads blood pressures at a local assisted living facility with her own stethoscope and cuff. She was events coordinator for the senior department at the Jewish Center in her town for more than a dozen years. She leads a walking group, participates in Yiddish theater and in the Center’s annual senior fashion show. She has a group of three or four very close friends, and a very large circle of friendly acquaintances.

Betty is also afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease and with the less-well-known Lewy body disease, but it will be years more before this is understood. In the meantime, Betty moves to Point Reyes Station from Palo Alto, California to be closer to her daughter…. Not a how-to book—though readers will learn much about ways to have fun, and things to do and not do with someone with dementia—more a love story, this daughter’s account of her mother’s last years, leavened with illustrative letters, poetry, and humor is also the story of a fractured relationship that healed, and love that grew.