My mom was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. I am looking for a few recommendations for books I might read to help me understand how I can best help her through this.
Receiving a diagnosis is often just the first step in a long journey. It is a great idea to start gathering information and resources to further your understanding of the disease process and the impact it will have on the entire family. Some of these books may be good to share with your mom, but keep in mind, too much information at one time, might feel overwhelming.
I would suggest ordering a few books and pacing yourself. In addition to books, there are also a lot of online resources, as well as support groups. These support groups are often open to adult children and can be very beneficial for both learning and sharing resources. I have always found that it really helps to be around people who are dealing with a similar experience. While everyone’s journey with Alzheimer’s is unique, you will find some commonality. Some support groups remain virtual, while others are resuming in person meetings. Two great places to start are the National Alzheimer’s Association alz.org and the Dementia Alliance of North Carolina dementianc.org. These will provide you with resources, guides and support group information. AOS and Friends Care is another resource that can provide some guidance and resources aosfcare.org.
Now, to answer your original question, here are some books I would recommend. All of the links can be found on the AOS and Friends Care web site referenced above.
1. Living Your Best with Early-State Alzheimer’s by Lisa Snyder, is one of my favorite books to use in support groups. This is a writer for the person who has been diagnosed and contains personal stories and tips for coping with specific challenges. I would recommend this for you and your mom.
2. The Alzheimers Action Plan by P. Murali Doraiswamy, was first published in 2008 but remains a staple resource. This book does a good job describing the different stages and provides examples to help apply the information presented. There is also a “Top 40 Questions and Answers” section that provides great information. This is excellent for an adult child or spouse.
3. The Other Side of Alzheimer’s by Martha-Lee B. Ellis, was written by a spouse of someone with Alzheimer’s and focuses on the changing to the marital relationship. It discusses the physical, mental and emotional challenges, with some humor mixed in. If your mom is married, this would be a great book for her spouse. It is excellent for someone dealing with a new diagnosis.
4. A Dignified Life: The Best Friends ™ Approach to Alzheimer’s Care: A Guide for Care Partners (2012) by Virginia Bell, focuses on finding positive ways to interact with your loved one living with Alzheimer’s Disease. The book provides usable tips, therapeutic activities, and advice for caregivers. It is a universal program that focuses on helping the individual maintain a connection to their world.
5. The Emotional Journey of the Alzheimer’s Family by Robert B. Santulli, focuses on the emotional journey of the family. It is a very straightforward book, sharing the struggles and triumphs families often encounter.
There are a lot of available resources and books on this topic. Some of them, like The 36-Hour Day, are more advanced and can be an overwhelming place to start. The books listed above should get you started. Just remember that you are on a journey as well. Educating yourself and finding a local support network is a great start.
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