Caring for someone elderly or a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia is not only about patience and empathy, but actually requires a lot of knowledge on an assortment of topics. These may include things such as coping with dementia behaviours, financial planning and legal details, emotional support, health warning signs to look out for and general day-to-day care.
Based on recent research and an array of recommendations by many top professionals, here are 5 essential resources to lend a helping hand in your care giving journey as a family member or carer:
1. The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer’s Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss in Later Life - by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins.
This book has come to be considered the ‘holy grail’ of all resources for family members caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The book covers important, relevant topics such as emotional strains of caring, financial planning, dementia behaviour and how best to handle it, as well as information on nursing homes and residential living.
2. Mayo Clinic Guide to Alzheimer’s Disease: The Essential Resource for Treatment, Coping and Caregiving - by Ronald Petersen
This book delves deeper into the workings of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and how it affects the brain. Free from overwhelming medical jargon, the book covers information on how the brain works, how to age in a healthy manner, signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and not-to-mention the most recent developments in Alzheimer’s diagnosis and treatment.
3. The Alzheimer’s Action Plan: The Experts’ Guide to the Best Diagnosis and Treatment for Memory Problems - by P. Murali Doraiswamy; Lisa Gwyther
Written by an expert physician in the field of Alzheimer’s and dementia, this book offers a wealth of advice for both family members and care givers. The book includes a detailed guide to diagnosis and treatments of Alzheimer’s and dementia, and also outlines coping strategies for life after diagnosis. Also included is what to expect at different stages throughout the disease and how best to participate in clinical trials.
4. Alzheimer’s Early Stages: First Steps for Family, Friends and Caregivers - by Daniel Kuhn, MSW, and David A. Bennett
This book is focused on the care giver – offering practical coping advice, suggestions on how to handle caregiver stress and first-person accounts by care givers on what they have faced in certain situations. Additionally, the book focuses on the early stages of Alzheimer’s and how families can better understand the behavioural changes of a loved one suffering with the disease.
5. The Forgetting. Alzheimer’s: Portrait of an Epidemic - by David Shenk
Written by well-known journalist David Shenk who has written more than one book on Alzheimer’s disease, this resource covers an exploration into the history of the disease. In this deeply empathetic book, Shenk discusses the role of scientists, care givers and policy makers in the history of the treatment of Alzheimer’s and the overall human impact of the disease.
The best way to give the best form of care is by educating yourself, and the above resources are a sure fire way to help!