May 18, 2017

What’s the first step in understanding Alzheimer’s?

Six books to read when you’re touched by Alzheimer’s or dementia

     When you or a loved one first encounter the reality of Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s often times scary and confusing. Here at Heritage Springs our staff are highly trained in Alzheimer’s and dementia care and have a vast knowledge of the disease and how to care for someone affected by it; however, most people don’t have the experience and knowledge that our staff have, especially when they are first touched by the disease. The most important first step is to learn all the information you can about how Alzheimer’s and dementia progress, tips to care for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, and first-hand accounts of caregivers or people actually affected by Alzheimer’s or dementia. Here is a list of six books to help you learn about these topics, and start your journey through the world of Alzheimer’s and dementia care.



Navigating the Alzheimer’s Journey: A Compass for Caregiving by Carol Bowlby Sifton

This easy-to-read book is a comprehensive guide for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. This book is chopped full of useful information including common examples of challenges in day-to-day care, guidelines for ways to respond to these challenges, and making use of the abilities of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The author also explains a problem solving approach to enable caregivers to address unique situations. The suggested care techniques are activity-focused, making them both practical and applicable. The book also suggests ways in which the caregivers can take care of themselves and reduce caregiver stress. The last chapter provides guidance for the difficult process of planning future care, supporting the transition to long-term care, and suggestions for maintaining the caregiver relationship with their loved one.

The Simplicity of Dementia: A Guide for Family and Carers by Huud Buijssen

This book offers an accessible and sympathetic introduction for relatives, caregivers and professionals looking after people with dementia. Drawing on the two “laws of dementia”, the author explains the causes of communication problems, mood disturbances, and “deviant” behaviors, with particular emphasis on how these are experienced by dementia sufferers themselves. This book also includes typical symptoms and the progression of dementia, and clear guidance is on how to support dementia sufferers at every stage and help them deal with the challenges posed by their condition.

Strength in Caring: Giving Power Back to the Alzheimer Caregiver by Mark Matloff

This book is important because it is about the well-being of the caregiver. Being the caregiver to someone with Alzheimer’s can be one of the most stressful things to do. It’s important to make sure you are looking out for yourself and dealing with the stress and frustration that can accompany your journey. Good self-care leads to being a better caregiver. This book is a guide to help readers equip themselves psychologically and practically and, reduce stress and anxiety. It is also filled with exercises and tips for gaining control and moving ahead.

Still My Grandma by Veronique Van den Abeele

With charming, sensitive illustrations, this story gently introduces young readers to the realities of Alzheimer's disease, and reminds them that love is more powerful than any illness can be. This book focuses on the special relationship between Camilla and her grandma. Camille learns that her grandma is sick, but "not the kind where you cough and blow your nose." Grandma has Alzheimer's disease, which is what makes her do strange things. And even though Grandma has to move out of her house and rely on nurses to care for her, Camille finds a way to continue their special friendship.

Keeping in Touch with Someone who has Alzheimer’s by Jane Crisp

This practical book guides caregivers with methods of keeping in touch throughout the many phases of dementia and many difficulties presented, emphasizing the concrete and emotional benefits to all involved.


Dancing with Dementia: My Story of Living Positively with Dementia by Christine Bryden

This book is a vivid account of the author's experiences of living with dementia, exploring the effects of memory problems, loss of independence, difficulties in communication and the exhaustion of coping with simple tasks. She describes how, with the support of her husband Paul, she continues to lead an active life nevertheless, and explains how professionals and carers can help. Christine Bryden makes an outspoken attempt to change prevailing attitudes and misconceptions about the disease. Arguing for greater empowerment and respect for people with dementia as individuals, she also reflects on the importance of spirituality in her life and how it has helped her better understand who she is and who she is becoming. Dancing with Dementia is a thoughtful exploration of how dementia challenges our ideas of personal identity and of the process of self-discovery it can bring about.