5 of the Best Books on Understanding Dementia

How can you better understand a disease that is devastating for the patient and family, but also affects you?

People diagnosed with dementia are often abandoned by their families. In order to learn more about this degenerative disease, these 5 books will offer a varied approach.

Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s: A Groundbreaking Approach for Everyone Dealing with the Disease, by Joanne Koenig Coste

Joanne Koenig Coste, now a renowned pioneer in implementing positive methods of caring for Alzheimer’s patients, began to develop her groundbreaking approach when her middle-aged husband was diagnosed with progressive dementia shortly after the birth of her fourth child. As she struggled to care for him and their family, she recognized that it was possible to avoid some of the tremendous emotional burdens Alzheimer’s patients and their care providers endure during the course of the disease. In this book Koenig Coste explains the five tenets of her “habilitation” approach, an accessible and comprehensive plan proven to have worked with thousands of patients and care providers.

Refuting long-accepted ideas, she calls for care “partners” to join patients in their current sense of place or time; to encourage patients to use their remaining skills to support their sense of independence and dignity; and, most of all, to continue communicating with patients by focusing on their emotional “language.” Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s also offers hundreds of practical tips to ease life for everyone involved with Alzheimer’s, including how to

  • cope with the diagnosis and figure out if the patient wants to discuss it
  • respectfully stop the person from driving
  • make meal and bath times as pleasant as possible
  • adjust room design and lighting for the patient’s comfort
  • deal with wandering, paranoia, and aggression
  • establish a plan of care

Activities to do with Your Parent who has Alzheimer’s Dementia, by Judith A. Levy EdM OTR

Activities to Do with Your Parent Who Has Alzheimer’s Dementia provides a selection of user-friendly activities that will help maintain your parent’s self-care skills, mobility, and socialization. These tasks encourage success and feelings of self worth, and offer imaginative ways to interact with your parent. The Activity Assessment Form objectively allows you to look at each of these tasks. It can help to determine the setup and environment that works best with your parent. This written format is a tool which also encourages consistency between caregivers. In this book you will find:

  • Over fifty activity ideas with implementation suggestions
  • Activity Assessment Forms-Alzheimer’s dementia support sources
  • Caregiver burnout prevention ideas
  • Definitions of frequently used medical terms
  • Room by room safety suggestions
  • Home and personal safety assessment

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer’s & Other Dementias: 101 Stories of Caregiving, Coping, and Compassion, by Amy Newmark

No one should face Alzheimer’s or dementia alone. These 101 stories will provide support, advice, and comfort for caregivers and those living with Alzheimer’s.

This collection of personal stories will support you through all the phases of your journey. You’ll read chapters on:

  • Accepting a New Reality – How to keep the dialogue going
  • What Does It Feel Like? – What it’s like to have Alzheimer’s
  • Strategies and Tips for Coping – Great advice from other families
  • Next Steps and Tough Choices – You’re not alone in big decisions
  • Taking the Journey with Your Parent – Tips and support for a new role
  • Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s – Support for younger families
  • In Sickness and In Health – Keeping marriages strong and loving
  • The Lighter Side – Laughter is the best medicine
  • New Ways to Make Connections – Powerful music and art therapies
  • It Takes a Village – We’re one big community
  • The Special Bond with Grandchildren – Those special connections

The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer’s Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss, 6th edition, by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins

Through five editions, The 36-Hour Day has been an essential resource for families who love and care for people with Alzheimer disease. Whether a person has Alzheimer disease or another form of dementia, he or she will face a host of problems. The 36-Hour Day will help family members and caregivers address these challenges and simultaneously cope with their own emotions and needs.

Featuring useful takeaway messages and informed by recent research into the causes of and the search for therapies to prevent or cure dementia, this edition includes new information on

• devices to make life simpler and safer for people who have dementia
• strategies for delaying behavioral and neuropsychiatric symptoms
• changes in Medicare and other health care insurance laws
• palliative care, hospice care, durable power of attorney, and guardianship
• dementia due to traumatic brain injury
• choosing a residential care facility
• support groups for caregivers, friends, and family members

The central idea underlying the book―that much can be done to improve the lives of people with dementia and of those caring for them―remains the same. The 36-Hour Day is the definitive dementia care guide.

Creating Moments of Joy Along the Alzheimer’s Journey: A Guide for Families and Caregivers, 5th edition, by Jolene Brackey

The beloved best seller has been revised and expanded for the fifth edition. Jolene Brackey has a vision: that we will soon look beyond the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease to focus more of our energies on creating moments of joy. When people have short-term memory loss, their lives are made up of moments. We are not able to create perfectly wonderful days for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s, but we can create perfectly wonderful moments, moments that put a smile on their faces and a twinkle in their eyes. Five minutes later, they will not remember what we did or said, but the feeling that we left them with will linger. The new edition of Creating Moments of Joy is filled with more practical advice sprinkled with hope, encouragement, new stories, and generous helpings of humor. In this volume, Brackey reveals that our greatest teacher is having cared for and loved someone with Alzheimer’s and that often what we have most to learn about is ourselves.

Thoughtful Home Care

If you are experiencing difficulty with loved ones going through dementia or Alzheimer’s symptoms please reach out to the experts at Thoughtful Home Care! We have the professional help and support you need.