INSIGHTFUL, INSPIRING + INDISPENSABLE RESOURCES

THESE BOOKS + MEDIA ARE THE BEST IN THEIR FIELD TO QUICKLY GAIN A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF HOW TO BE THE BEST FAMILY CAREGIVER YOU ARE ABLE.

(Clicking the title will take you to that item.)

 

THE DEMENTIA CAREGIVER

A well-organized guide to compassionately understanding Alzheimer's disease. This book, published in 2016, is ideal if you want finely edited and thorough information to get up to speed on a new diagnosis.

 

LEARNING TO SPEAK ALZHEIMER'S 

This book will allow you to apply real life practices that you can implement to understand better where your caree is coming from regarding behavior and what their needs are due to the invisible illness of Alzheimer's.

 

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THE DUTIFUL DAUGHTER’S GUIDE TO CAREGIVING

Wow, wow, and wow. If you are caring for a parent or parents, regardless of specific health issues, this is a must read. You'll laugh, you'll cry, but mostly you'll laugh. And gain new perspectives and invaluable tips + tricks that will enable you to caregive like a pro. A mix of personal history with practical advice for the reader, this book is a stand out in its field. 

 

HOW TO CARE FOR AGING PARENTS

Why didn't this book exist when I was a caregiver?!?!?! Published in 2014 this book is the "What to Expect When You are Expecting" of caring for older adults. It contains everything, and I mean everything you need to know. If there is only one book from this list that you purchase, make it this one. 

 

THE CAREGIVING YEARS

Denise Brown has spent her career helping family caregivers. She has created a framework of stages that enable caregivers to bring an ordered understanding to the often chaotic overwhelm that this new life experience can bring. Filled with real life stories, practical self-care tips, and resources, I consider this book the roadmap to a caregiver's journey. 

 

CAN'T WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE PLEASANT?

I must publicly thank Roz Chast for writing and illustrating this book so I don't have to create my own version. If you are caring for parents, this book will resonate for you with it's conflicted feelings, hilarious childhood flashbacks and somber reflections on what it means to take care of those who once cared for you. If you order any of the above books, consider this as the "do you want fries with that" add on. Remember, if you don't laugh at some of caregiving, all you'll do is cry. 

 

THE 36-HOUR DAY

Considered the bible of caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease. Comprehensive and perfect for us Type A's out there. 

 

THERE IS NO GOOD CARD FOR THIS

Just as the subtitle states, this book help you know, "What to say and do when life is scary, awful and unfair to people you love."  If you have ever felt unsure about "the right thing to do" in a situation, this is a book that will leave you confident in expressing your empathy. 

 

PASSAGES IN CAREGIVING

A guide to the emotional labyrinth a caregiver journeys through. If you are interested in where and why you sit within your thoughts and emotions within your new role as caregiver, this book offers an exploration into meaningful insights. 

 

RISING STRONG

While not specifically about caregiving, this is an excellent book that explores what it means to get knocked off your feet and what it takes to pick yourself up off the floor. 

 

VIDEOS

HBO DOCUMENTARIES: THE ALZHEIMER'S PROJECT

A poignant series about Alzheimer's disease and the effects on both the patients and their families.  The episode, "Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am", is wonderful to watch with children. 

 

ALIVE INSIDE

Groundbreaking. Earth-shattering. An absolute must watch if you are caring for someone with Alzheimer's. Follow Dan Cohen on his quest to bring the healing power of music to awaken the spirits of individuals with dementia. I know firsthand from caring for my Dad, how powerful music is in bringing joy to someone who is losing their ability to communicate.

You can watch this moving documentary's trailer HERE.

You can buy an iPod Shuffle HERE.

You can donate an iPod to the Music and Memory program HERE.

 

ASSESSMENT TOOLS

THE MILD BEHAVIORAL IMPAIRMENT CHECKLIST

This is a 34-question checklist that can help identify people at greater risk for Alzheimer’s.  It was created by a group of neuropsychiatrists and other experts from the International Society to Advance Alzheimer's Research and Treatment (ISTAART). This does not replace an evaluation by a physician but can give you a starting point to determine whether or not your suspicions of dementia are based in reality. 

You can read a more detailed article titled "Personality Change May Be Early Sign of Dementia, Experts Say", about this checklist HERE

 

THE HOLMES-RAHE STRESS INVENTORY

This form is one I continually return to when discussions of "I'm so stressed" come up. How stressed are you? Well, one look at this chart and you'll be able to evaluate just how heavy a load you are carrying. This is one test you don't want to score well on, because as it advises, "The higher your life change score, the harder you have to work to get yourself back into a state of good health." Check it out HERE, if you dare.

 

IMPORTANT FORMS

THE FILE OF LIFE

If you have a loved one who lives alone, this form is a MUST HAVE. Created by a non-profit with the goal of saving lives, you fill this form out and place it on the refrigerator. It will contain all medical information – including allergies, medications, contact persons and more – all in one safe place. Recognized and Endorsed by Hospitals, EMTs, COAs, TRIAD’s, Municipal, Medical, Senior Citizen Organizations, Police, Sheriff’s, and Fire Departments. You can order a sample on their website or contact them to find who in your area supplies them. No senior who lives alone should be without one. 

 

MEDICAID INFORMATION

SHIP: STATE HEALTH INSURANCE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

If you need help with Medicare, you can locate your state's office that can assist you with insurance questions. 

SHIPs provide free, in depth, one-on-one insurance counseling and assistance to Medicare beneficiaries, their families, friends, and caregivers. SHIPs operate in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.