Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s Guide and Sourcebook is a realistic but not overwhelming presentation of the disease progression and how to address each phase. The book also offers care for the caregiver, with practical resources as well as supportive suggestions for addressing grief and stress. While this book is somewhat dated (having been published in 2001), the insights are timeless and the book remains well worth your time.
One of my favorite Alzheimer’s resources is The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care, along with other books in the Best Friends series, including Best Friends Book of Alzheimer’s Activities, Volume One and Best Friends Book of Alzheimer’s Activities, Volume Two. I loved these books because the focus is on learning about people with Alzheimer’s, their histories and preferences, and then designing a care plan specifically for them. You may be in the best position to provide information about your parent, and reading this book will jog your memory. Even tiny details like knowing whether your parent prefers to sleep under a blanket or not will help your parent be more comfortable, and you must become both your parent’s external memory and his or her advocate. The Best Friends Approach will assist you in that process, and the activity books include fun ideas for people with all stages of dementia. I particularly appreciated these activity books because they intentionally included activities more typical for male interests, which many other activity books overlook.
When I found Early Stages, my father had progressed through the stages it addresses. But the lessons are useful even later in the disease because it’s important to understand the progression. It won’t carry you into the depths of caring for your loved one who has the disease, but it will give you a necessary foundation, and if your parent is in the early stages of the disease, this is a must-read book.
I both loved and hated Creating Moments of Joy. If you’re struggling, it may seem unrealistic to imagine moments of joy. However, this book really does offer a blueprint for how you can create joy through understanding. Numerous examples will help you to apply the book’s ideas to your parent. Read it when you’re at neutral or even in a positive frame of mind — but read it.