Essential Resources for Caregivers: Books

By Pamela Atwood, MA, CDP Director of Dementia Care Services

When faced with a challenge, the first thing you need is information. The old adage “Knowledge is power” has never been more true than when you face caregiving. In this series, we’ll review some books, videos/DVDs and websites that you may find helpful. Some of my favorite caregiving resources are available electronically, from your local library, and book retailers.

The 36-Hour Day (current ed., 2012) by Peter Rabins and Nancy Mace is still THE premier resource for caregivers of people with memory disorders. As I tell all of our families, this is not a book you read cover to cover; rather it is one you peruse problem by problem, a chapter at a time when you need it.

Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s (2004), authored by Joanne Koenig-Coste, is a superb method for caregivers of people with any kind of memory loss. With a focus on remaining skills, communication and the environment, this book teaches readers the best-practices of communication and the habilitation approach.

Hiding the Stranger in the Mirror: a Detectives Manual for solving problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease and Related Disorders (2012) is a new book by Cameron Camp, PhD. This is a brilliantly written, easy-to-read guide to dealing with all kinds of behaviors.

Elder Rage- or Take My Father, Please! (2001, e-book 2010) was written by Jacqueline Marcell. The author gives important information on caregiving for families where relationship challenges pre-exist the memory disorder.

The Complete Guide to Alzheimer’s-Proofing Your Home (2000) by Mark Warner is still one of my favorite books. It gives terrific information about memory disorders, as well as resources and tips on keeping people in the home of their choice as long as possible. Although some of the resources may be out of date, it will give you ideas about what technology and strategies can minimize household risks.

Still Alice (2009) was written by Lisa Genova, a Harvard-PhD neuroscientist and author. Although fictional, it is very realistic as it chronicles a woman’s experience with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease. This book spent more than 40-weeks on the best-seller list for a reason – it’s haunting as it gives caregivers insight into the experience of a person with progressing dementia.

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