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Monday, February 9, 2009

Living with Alzheimer's

Living with Alzheimer's disease or any form of dementia, or loving someone with Alzheimer's, takes a huge amount of patience, humor, persistence--some might even say stubbornness!--and flexibility. Some days are better than others, and some moments are really awful. I've recently found a resource to help with this journey, one that views communication and everyday life for a person with Alzheimer's from a perspective I hadn't seen before. The book,"Learning to Speak Alzheimer's," is written by a woman whose husband had early-onset Alzheimer's. As they lived with the disease, she developed the idea of putting more emphasis on his remaining skills than on what he had lost, and on entering into his world rather than continuing to try--usually unsuccessfully--to keep him in hers. The book is filled with practical tips for daily life and common issues, anecdotes (nothing like knowing others share your experience), and consideration of the emotional aspects for all those involved.

Another excellent resource is "The 36 Hour Day," now in its 4th edition. This book offers realistic guidance and support for care partners and family members of a person with dementia. As evidenced by the title, the book reflects a compassionate understanding of the demands of such a role and the toll it takes on one's life and spirit.

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