5 Must-Read Books for Caregivers of People with Dementia or Alzheimer’s

November 9, 2016 in Our News & Bulletins by Anchor Health Care

5-must-read books for-people-caring for-loved-ones with-dementiaMore than four million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia and the majority of them are cared for by family members.  There are many resources available to families, but it takes time to review them all and decide which to read. Here are five top picks; each providing a different perspective and approach to caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.

The 36-Hour Day
Nancy L. Mace & Peter Rabins

This book is often referred to as the definitive guide for people caring for someone with dementia. Originally published in 1981, it has been revised five times and has updated sections on long-term care facilities and financing, and a section on new equipment that is available to manage problems such as wandering.

Mace and Rabins believe that caretakers make a profound difference in the lives of their loved ones who have Alzheimer’s or dementia.  Their book is designed to answer a broad range of questions so that caretakers have the information they need to anticipate their loved ones needs and adjust to living with an irreversible disease.

Topics include behavioral symptoms at the onset,  how patients  progress  from independent to dependent living,  daily care challenges,  safety hazards, medical problems , wandering, behavioral changes, mood changes, family relationships and change in family dynamics, getting outside help,  how being a caregiver affects you,  advances in research and prevention.

There is a helpful index at the back of the book that makes it a valuable, time-saving resource.


Creating Moments of Joy for the Person with Alzheimer’s r Dementia: A Journal for Caregivers
Jolene Brackley

Brackley helps caregivers understand what people with dementia are communicating through their daily patterns of actions and words.  By reframing their perceptions, caregivers can become less frustrated by their loved one’s behavior, and more open to appreciating where their loved one ”is” at any given moment.

“When a person has short-term memory loss, his life is made up of moments.But if you think about it, our memory is made up of moments, too. We are not able to create a perfectly wonderful day with someone who has dementia, but it is absolutely attainable to create a perfectly wonderful moment…”

Her book provides concrete examples and illustrations of how to tap into the “treasures” that are still in your loved one’s memory to remind them of who they are and create moments of joy .

Surviving Alzheimer’s: Practical tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers
by Paula Spencer Scott

While Brackley’s book focuses on providing moments of emotional joy,  Paula Spencer Scott’s book is a practical guide that is often described as a “first aid kit for stressed families.” Scott combines “big picture insight” with nitty gritty advice on a huge variety of situations that the average Alzheimer’s caregiver will come across.

She provides detailed strategies  for dealing with some of the most challenging aspects of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s such as bathing. specific aspects of memory loss , behavior problems like aggression, shadowing, hoarding, sundowning, trouble with familiar gadgets, wandering, communication problems, personal care problems and eating problems.

Scott also offers suggestions on how to deal with family and personal stressors that might arise – mourning the loss of personal time, how to defuse resentment, guilt, anger and family friction.


While I Still Can
by Rick Phelps & Gary Joseph LeBlanc

The co-authors of this book give two different perspectives of Alzheimer’s. Rick Phelps, founder of “Memory People,” an online Alzheimer’s and dementia support group, offers a rate first-hand account of living with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Gary LeBlanc tells his point of view as a caretaker for 10 years.

Between the two of them, they give the reader a level of insight and understanding few books can match.


Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope While Coping with Stress and Grief
by Pauline Boss

Pauline Boss explores the “ambiguous loss” of dementia– when someone you love is physically there, but psychologically absent.  Boss writes that the incurable nature of dementia creates the deepest and longest lasting kind of stress and grief for caregivers. They often feel they must either ignore the loss of the relationships they once had or act as if their loved one is gone already.

But she believes there is a middle ground where caregivers can acknowledge the loss and lack of closure, but can still move forward.

This book is focused on the caregiver and helps them stay connected and feel supported while they are providing care.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email