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Book Recommendation – Before I Forget by Smith and Gasby

Monday April 18, 2022

I am always interested in reading about dementia care from a different perspective. In Before I Forget, Dan Gasby and B. Smith bring us their perspectives as a man caring for his wife, a successful and active woman living with dementia, and an African American couple.

Smith was a restaurateur, model, author, businesswoman, and television host. She and her husband’s life changed when she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. In this book, Smith gives us the gift of her perspective as a person living with dementia. And her perspective is powerful. So often, what we read is written about people with dementia and not by them.

Gasby also shares his perspective as a caregiver. He gives the highs and lows of each day and explains what he learned. He goes through the A’s of Alzheimer’s – Agitation, Agnosia, Amnesia, Anomia, Anxiety, Apathy, Aphasia, and Apraxia.

So importantly, Smith and Gasby give voice to the racial inequalities the Black community experiences in medical care and research. They talk about the staggering number of African Americans living with dementia and the hesitancy to participate in research due to the traumas inflicted during the Tuskegee experiments. Research holds the key to a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. And how can we find a cure for Alzheimer’s if an essential segment of the population is not represented in research?

(As a side note, keep in mind as you read: this book was published in 2016. A lot can and has changed in Alzheimer’s research and medications in 6 years. But unfortunately, there is still no cure.)

Before I Forget was an excellent and quick read.

Some powerful words from Smith and Gasby:

“When someone in your family gets Alzheimer’s, we were learning, you have to start to think not just about managing them but about managing your own life in tandem with theirs: building in the time to be a daily caregiver, but also scheduling time off to replenish yourself and be able to help your loved one the next day.” (pg. 75)

“Every day is like the beginning of a new normal.” (pg. 77)

“People say, ‘Don’t dwell in the past.’ Let me tell you with Alzheimer’s, the past is the best place to dwell. You want to linger over every one of those sweet, long-ago scenes. They’re where happiness still resides.” (pg. 133)

Since writing this book, B. Smith passed away in February 2020.

You can check this book out from our resource library for free. Just give us a call at 901-854-1200 and let us know you are interested in borrowing it. You can learn more about Before I Forget and find links to purchase your own copy at

Written by Sheri Wammack, LBSW