The author, an experienced medical and science writer known for her ability to clearly explain complex and emotionally sensitive topics, is also a former family caregiver herself. Using both personal narrative and well-researched, expert-verified content, she guides readers through the often-confusing and challenging world of dementia care. She carefully escorts caregivers through the basics of dementia as a brain disorder, its accompanying behaviors, the procedures used to diagnose and stage the disease, and the legal aspects of providing care for an adult who is no longer competent.
She also covers topics not usually included in other books on dementia: family dynamics, caregiver burnout, elder abuse, incontinence, finances and paying for care, the challenges same-sex families face, and coping with the eventuality of death and estate management. Each chapter begins with a real-life vignette taken from the author's personal experience and concludes with "Frequently Asked Questions" and "Worksheets" sections. The FAQs tackle specific issues and situations that often make caregiving such a challenge. The worksheets are a tool to help readers organize, evaluate, and self-reflect. A glossary of terms, an appendix, and references for further reading give readers a command of the vocabulary clinicians use and access to valuable resources.
- ISBN-13: 9781616147518
- ISBN-10: 1616147512
- Publisher: Prometheus Books
- Publish Date: July 2013
- Page Count: 427
- Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-06-03
- Reviewer: Staff
In this splendid manual, science writer Shagam (Regaining Bladder Control) combines the practicality of a how-to guide with the heartfelt story of caring for a parent suffering from senile dementia. Shagam’s mother, Dorothy, was 96 when a fall triggered a cascade of complications. Managing difficult behaviors proves to be “the crux of dementia care,” first at a rehabilitation facility, then back at home, and finally at a memory-care facility where Dorothy died a day shy of her 100th birthday. Each chapter is supplemented by worksheets and FAQs for those caring for someone with dementia or any other chronic progressive illness, and Shagam covers it all: from the practical—including power of attorney, advanced directives, feeding difficulties, nursing-home “visiting skills,” dealing with “wandering” and hygiene, finding paid caregivers, and differences between medications—to the emotional (the scribbled sketches from dementia patients that introduce chapters make it clear how devastating their disease is). She courageously transforms her painful journey into an enlightened guide and a primer on appreciating what you have while you have it: “It’s impossible to emerge at the other end without a profound respect for those things that make us human, and... for those subtle characteristics that make us the person we are.” Photos and illus. (July)