Learning to Speak Alzheimer's
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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
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 given birth,
Why is everyone so sad?— From the book "Learning to Speak Alzheimer's"
Great book! Filled with lots of great information. Laid out by stages so you can jump ahead to whatever your need is.