November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. If you or someone you know is caring for a person with this terrible disease, we recommend these seven books.
On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s by Greg O’Brien (Codfish Press)
Journalist Greg O’Brien knew what was waiting for him when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of fifty-nine, having watched both his grandfather and mother suffer through it. So after a relatively short amount of shaking his fist at God, he let his journalism instincts take over. On Pluto is from-the-front-lines reporting for a disease that still has no cure. Also read our Foreword This Week interview with the author.
Sexuality and Dementia: Compassionate & Practical Strategies for Dealing with Unexpected or Inappropriate Behaviors by Douglas Wornell, MD (Demos Health)
The 2013 IndieFab Silver winner for Psychology. Often people with dementia exhibit inappropriate and uncharacteristic sexual behavior, which puts a strain on spouses, partners, and other loved ones and caregivers. Wornell provides practical solutions and essential information to coping with these outbursts.
An Absent Mind by Eric Rill (Avante Press)
In his brilliant third novel, Rill chronicles the devastating decline of a man with Alzheimer’s and how each family member reacts to the crippling disease that affects over thirty-five million people worldwide. An Absent Mind is a work of fiction, but, informed by the author’s experiences caring for his father who had Alzheimer’s, the book is so well crafted that readers may forget that Rill’s fully-human characters are not real people.
Inside Alzheimer’s: How to Hear and Honor Connections with a Person who has Dementia by Nancy Pearce (Forrason Press)
Inside Alzheimer’s is a practical, conversational guide for those new to the disease, as well as advice and techniques for seasoned professionals. Pearce has a Master of Science in education and is a licensed social worker with more than twenty years of experience working with patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s in long-term care and hospice facilities.
Where Two Worlds Touch: A Spiritual Journey through Alzheimer’s Disease by Jade C. Angelica (Skinner House)
Shifting elegantly from academic to personal, this memoir offers spiritual insights into Alzheimer’s caregiving. Angelica’s training in improvisational theater became the catalyst for her realization that its axiom to always make one’s improv partner look good translated beautifully to Alzheimer’s caregiving: “When we affirm persons with Alzheimer’s by saying yes to their choices and realities, we are stepping into direct relation with them; we are recognizing and acknowledging their divine essence.”
Never Giving Up & Never Wanting To: A Caregiver’s Journey by Barry Tutor (Trafford)
Barry Tutor probably never expected to find himself the sole caregiver for two loved ones with Alzheimer’s. When his elderly mother and, later, his middle-aged wife were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Tutor stepped up to the challenge. Sharing the details of his struggle to care for his mother and wife as they face the ravages of their disease, he provides an insider’s perspective that is chilling, informative, and touching.
When My Mother No Longer Knew My Name: A Son’s “Course“ in “Rational“ Caregiving by Stephen L. Goldstein (Grid Press/L&R Publishing)
Memoirists often offer the lessons of their lives for the benefit of others, but few combine autobiography and advice as seamlessly as Goldstein. He dedicated over ten years to caring for his mother at the end of her life. His book describes a journey that required both careful planning and constant flexibility. Along with detailing his own day-to-day experiences caring for his mother at home, Goldstein offers ideas for others to consider when the time comes for them to take care of members of their own families.