Best books about Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia

Katinka Hesselink

Films With Alzheimers Patients

Alzheimer's is a sad disease. It leaves those suffering from it at first merely forgetful, then confused and angry at the world and at last so oblivious to what is, that it no longer bothers them. The patient, the caregiver and family can all use the help of a good book to deal with what is. I've found you books for and by all three groups.

The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss in Later Life

THE best guide to dealing with Alzheimer's in a family member yourself. This latest edition contains results from the latest research as well as practical hands on tips on how to manage with the confusion, aggression and sadness that accompanies the patient as well as those around them.

While I would never recommend keeping an Alzheimer's patient at home, I know that sometimes it's the only solution. If you're thinking of going that road, or have committed yourself to it, this will be a very helpful book.

Make sure you get enough sleep... and get all the help you can, while you still have the energy to ask for it!

Alzheimer's Early Stages: First Steps for Family, Friends and Caregivers

At the end of the road, Alzheimer's becomes something to be dealt with one day at a time.

The early stages are much more challenging in a way: the patient is starting to loose the ability to do things that we all consider normal: driving, finding directions, remembering where the keys are... At the same time they'll come across as quite sane, and not at all nutty just yet.

Dealing with this in a way that causes the least amount of trouble AND keeps everybody as safe as can be managed is quite the challenge.

Alzheimer's Early Stages helps you through this process with kindness and practical tips.

Losing My Mind: An Intimate Look at Life with Alzheimer's

Thomas DeBaggio

One reviewer notes that this book is misleading. Well, yes. It would have to be: the Alzheimer's patient who can still write a book is quite a different one from the patient who can no longer remember her own birthday.

However, the main advantage of this book is precisely that: it tells the story of Alzheimer's from the perspective of an early onset patient, in the early stages of the disease. And while those early stages are in some ways nothing like the later ones, they're still confusing for both the patient and their loved ones, and this book will help understand and deal with what is.

Coping With Your Difficult Older Parent:

A Guide for Stressed-Out Children

Oh boy, how's that for a confrontational title? So real, yet so sad...

Children of parents with Alzheimer's will recognize a lot in this book - and find support from that recognition as well as practical tips on how to survive emotionally and keep the relationship with that parent as healthy as possible.

The Validation Breakthrough: Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with 'Alzheimer's-Type Dementia'

At some point you'll likely get to where you leave the taking care part to the professionals. However, you still care. You still want to be there. You'll still be visiting your parent or grandparent.

What then? How do you deal with irrational stories? With aphasia - the patient not finding the words to say what they mean, if there's still meaning to be expressed? How to deal with illusions? Dead people seen today?

This is the book for dealing just with those issues: how to communicate with someone who's literally losing their mind...

Finding the Joy in Alzheimer's: Caregivers Share the Joyful Times

One contributor writes 'we laugh so we don't cry'. That may be true, but it's also true that caring for Alzheimer patients DOES bring it's share of funny, joyful, even emotionally healing moments. They only come when we take the time, have the patience, give the love and endure the complaints and the repetitive stories. But those moments ARE there and make the rest endurable.

Lily writes:

I just got done working with an elderly woman who was in the later stages of Alzheimers. She was a sweetheart but was at the point where she needed 24/7 care and help with all activities of daily living. It was extremely hard on her family but a rewarding experience for me. She's now in a nursing home as her needs have changed. Although I miss working with her, its where she needs to be and it takes a bit of the burden off her family.