As a caregiver, you need all of the support, information, and encouragement you can get. Here are five recommended memoirs to give you even greater insight into dementia, those suffering, and those who selflessly offer care.
Why you should read it: It was voted one of Alzheimers.net’s Top Alzheimer’s Books for Caregivers this year, it was the winner of Memoirs at the 2013 Next Generation Indie Excellence Book Awards, and it won a silver medal in Health/Medical at the 2013 Readers’ Favorite awards.
What it’s about: This story chronicles Martha Stettinius’s journey as she takes over the role of her mother’s caregiver–who suffers from Alzheimer’s–at home, in assisted living, at rehab, in a nursing home, and at a “memory care” facility. What makes this memoir special, however, is the optimistic tone Stettinius takes, reminding us that caregiving can strengthen relationships and that there IS hope.
Inside the Dementia Epidemic is also an excellent resource for new information. The author shares useful information like things she wished she had known sooner, medications that help soften the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and preventative measures you can take. She calls for better care and additional funding for research.
Why you should read it: While it’s more common for dementia memoirs to detail the journey a person takes caring for an ill parent, Lauren Kessler shares what she did after her mother passed away, offering a unique and enlightening story.
What it’s about: After losing her mother, Kessler becomes a caregiver at a facility to delve more into the relationships between victims of Alzheimer’s and the people who care for them, who are frequently underpaid and overworked. What comes as a bigger shock to her, however, is how much life is still left in people battling dementia. AARP describes it as “an Alzheimer’s tale that’s warm, uplifting, even hopeful, qualities not normally associated with the illness. This odd dichotomy—joy atop a ravaging disease—makes this book a refreshing standout.”
Why you should read it: Gail Sheehy offers wisdom and insight explained in an unflinching story that can’t be ignored.
What it’s about: Sheehy gives an empathetic, intelligent, and information-soaked account of encountering dementia in your loved one, starting from those early warning sides we all dread and taking you through the eight stages of caregiving.
Why you should read it: Deborah Shouse teamed up with Michelle Niedens, education director of the Heart of American Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to bring together emotional storytelling and a must-have dementia resource.
What it’s about: Shouse offers the touching and heartwarming story of caring for her mother–who has dementia–combined with practical suggestions to other caregivers and families and things she learned along the way that helped lighten the load on her shoulders tremendously.
Why you should read it: Charles G. Schoenfeld has special insight on elderly people battling dementia, as he served as a certified nursing assistant for seven years.
What it’s about: This memoir details the care that professionals provide for aging people with diminishing mental clarity, sometimes in a heartbreaking fashion, other times in an uplifting one. Learn about the individual residents in his facility, and you’ll begin to see that although dementia tries to steal the mind, affected individuals still want to love and be loved.
Have you read any other books that should be included on our list? We’d love to know about them. Stop by our Facebook page or catch us on Twitter to share them with us! Select Home Care offers in-home care for the elderly and disabled, and we have locations all over the country, including in Westlake Village, Pasadena, and Las Vegas. Contact us today to learn more about our services. (877) 230-3160
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