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Learning to Speak Alzheimer's

Updated on July 25, 2015
Learning to Speak Alzheimer's
Learning to Speak Alzheimer's | Source

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4.7 out of 5 stars from 3 ratings of Learning to Speak Alzheimer's

An Excellent Book to Help Cope With Alzheimer's

The title really says it all for this book. I'm very impressed with it. Our family learned most of our Alzheimer's knowledge from living with it and through it. Had we read this book early on, it would have made the path easier to understand and accept. Written by Joanne Koenig Coste, her experience is clear through what she says.

Learning to Speak Alzheimer's takes you through the basics you need early on, including getting a diagnosis, what to expect in each stage, and possible supplements and medications that may help. For later stages, the options of home care and out-of-home care are included. There's also a section on food suggestions, organizations you can contact, and one for books and products you may be interested in. All good to have for continuing reference.

The main premise of her book, 'habitation,' is one I so agree with. It surprised me to learn that not that many years ago when an Alzheimer's patient would say something incorrect (such as 'I"m waiting for my mother,' who is long dead), the caregivers were trained to correct them, to make them aware of the present, where they were now. Imagine how stressful it would be for one who doesn't remember to be told her (his) mother is dead, every time she asks about her. Talk about upsetting!

With habitation, you go along more or less, you redirect, allowing them to stay with those memories. In other words, you go where they are in their minds. It keeps them calmer, with less anger and anxiety, and as a plus, less caregiving and even medication is needed to respond to any outburst.

The Breakdown of the Book

She divides habitation in five categories: physical environment, communication methods, remaining skills, living in their world, and enriching their life. Giving each a chapter, she gives excellent examples of the 'how-to' of managing each part.

That is what attracted me. Ms. Coste does a thorough job of discussing the many issues you may face. Especially in the early stage, it is very difficult for a person to give up their independence, or even admit the need for it. Driving is a good--and scary--example. Their self esteem suffers as they see themselves at failing at routine tasks.

As caregivers, it's so important that we try to build up as we can, let them do as much as they are able, help them in little unseen ways to maintain their dignity and self-value. Often they are little things, easy to accomplish to provide a peaceful environment for both the person with Alzheimer's and the caregiver as well.

I'd suggest this for anyone facing the future with this disease. Besides Learning to Speak Alzheimer's, The 36 Hour Day is an important book to keep on hand. With a thoroughness you will appreciate, it covers stages, recognizing the disease, so many of the issues you will face, and more. It's a book you will refer to often.

The 36-Hour Day

The 36-Hour Day, fifth edition: The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book)
The 36-Hour Day, fifth edition: The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book)

Updated version of a classic in the field. It's been around for over 25 years. Covers the basics of the disease, coping mechanisms, support groups, and the financial side.

 

Being Prepared for Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's disease or dementia will often sneak up on you. Since it is normal to lose some brain cells when you age, what may seem like expected forgetfulness can sometimes become dementia. The sooner you are aware of it with a loved one, the more you can do to prepare.

So far there is no cure or effective treatment, though hopefully that will change in the near future. With so many baby boomers aging now, the disease is getting much more attention. The numbers are expected to increase dramatically.

If you think it is a near possibility in your family, I recommend you start learning about it now. Not only so you can take any steps to delay or alleviate it, but also so your family can have time now to talk with your loved one. While you can still ask them questions, take care of the legal issues, know their wishes, it's important that you do.

For more information about Alzheimer's and dementia, please visit Alzheimer's HQ.

While we had much of it taken care of, there are so many questions we wish we could ask our mother now. Questions about her life, the little things, the sweet memories.

Please don't delay learning what you can.

I've danced,

I've sung,

I've given birth,

I've laughed,

I've succeeded.

Why is everyone so sad?

— From the book "Learning to Speak Alzheimer's"

300 Tips

A Caregiver's Guide to Alzheimer's Disease: 300 Tips for Making Life Easier
A Caregiver's Guide to Alzheimer's Disease: 300 Tips for Making Life Easier

Great book! Filled with lots of great information. Laid out by stages so you can jump ahead to whatever your need is.

 

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    • Merrci profile image
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      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Wow, thanks Brite-ideas. Not sure it's vast, but you sure pick up a lot of tidbits over the years! I so hope you never need the book too. Hopefully they will find a cure very soon.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Merry your knowledge on this subject is vast, and I have to say I hope I never have to buy this book - very helpful though for those having to go through this with family

    • Merrci profile image
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      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      @Mary Crowther: Thanks MareeT. Appreciate your comments. Sorry your father-in-law has it too. I'm glad you've adjusted to go with the flow. That acceptance helps with the struggle, I think.

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 3 years ago from Havre de Grace

      My father-in-law has Alzheimer's and it was difficult in the beginning. This would be a very helpful book for families to read. We've now learned to enjoy our time with him and "go along with the flow".

    • Merrci profile image
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      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      @WriterJanis2: Thanks so much WriterJanis.

    • Merrci profile image
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      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      @Gloriousconfusion: Thanks so much.

    • Merrci profile image
      Author

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      @Brite-Ideas: Thanks Brite-Ideas. I hope you never need it! I appreciate your comments.

    • Merrci profile image
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      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      @georgepmoola2: Thanks George!

    • Merrci profile image
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      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      @Adventuretravels: Thanks so much for your comments. I really appreciate them.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      This book sounds very educational about an illness that is so sensitive for loved ones.

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 4 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      Merrci, A great book review. Unfortunately, the approach it recommends needs to be synchronized across the family and friends. There will always be some people who insist that correction is the best pathway. I read parts of the "The 36-hour Day" when my Mom had some non-Alzheimer's-related dementia problems.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      This approach to Altzheimers is very kind and caring, and I shall try to remember it. I enjoyed your review

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      the points you've highlighted are incredibly important - I'm glad I read it this as a reminder, if God forbid, I find myself dealing with this - When I would go to see dad in the hospital, there were quite a few alzheimer patients on the floor - and I recall many of the nurses handling the situations like how you mentioned here - allowing them to live in their world, then redirect them - but I have to say, a few didn't do this, and now that you point this out, it would have been the kinder thing to do

    • georgepmoola2 profile image

      georgepmoola2 4 years ago

      Good lens and review, all done with sensitivity.

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 4 years ago from Perth UK

      I have had 2 grandmothers with this, my aunt has it and I think my mum had the early stages of it before she had a stroke, also, my best friend's mum has it. So it feels as though we all need as much help coping as possible. There is so much info out there and finding the right kind of help can be overwhelming. So reading an honest and thoughtful review about a good book on this whole subject is very helpful. Thanks.

    • Merrci profile image
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      Merry Citarella 4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      @aka-rms: I surely hope you don't either Robin! Thanks so much for your comments.

    • Merrci profile image
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      Merry Citarella 4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      @fullofshoes: That's experience enough. Thanks for your comments!

    • profile image

      fullofshoes 4 years ago

      I have no first hand experience with Alzheimer's specifically but my mother suffered from dementia at the very end of her life. It was tough and I wish I knew about this book back then. Great review.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 4 years ago from USA

      I honestly hope to never need it but your review is wonderful.

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