As health systems move away from healthcare access models that involve referral management shrouded in mysterious fax processes, caregivers and clients embark on a new path towards self-guided care. This is why we created Caredove in the first place. Our goal is, and has always been, to help people remain healthy and happy at home, by providing everyone with easy access to relevant local services through a network of quality community organizations.
We have spent countless hours designing and developing the right tools for the job. Over 700 organizations use our platform to receive streamlined eReferrals, allowing staff to spend more time with clients, and less time on faxes and phone tag. But how do we best help the client or caregiver, awash with the anxiety of a new diagnosis?
How might we help them learn to direct their own care?
Where do we start?
The best health care access processes involve clients directly in the selecting of services and convenient appointment times. We strive to eliminate referral confusion often associated with documents faxed to vague destinations, with unknown service wait times. When someone is newly diagnosed, for example, with Alzheimer's disease, the last thing they need is anxiety related to who can help them, and when. We believe a more informed health care consumer will experience better health outcomes.
As we support clients and caregivers with improved service access, they also need resources to better manage conditions like Alzheimer’s. Our friend Kathryn Harrison at AlzAuthors has provided helpful reading material. We hope that you may find a helpful book or two to help you on your journey, or to recommend to a friend caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or related dementia.
10 Essential Books About Dementia for Caregivers
1. A Pocket Guide for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver by Dr. Daniel C. Potts and Ellen Woodward Potts
Written by a neurologist and caregiver, this “how to” guide offers clear, concise, practical, and compassionate advice to help improve the lives of people with Alzheimer's and those who care for them. “In my writing, I often attempt to place myself in the shoes of the person with dementia and speak in what I perceive to be their voice.”
2. Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians by Rick Lauber
Specifically for Canada, this book gives readers valuable tips and advice to help them to provide the best elder care possible, while balancing their other demands. This comprehensive guide answers many common caregiver questions. Feedback on the book includes “superbly written”, “a lifesaver” and “a wonderful, concise, practical book.”
3. Connecting in the Land of Dementia: Creative Activities to Explore Together by Deborah Shouse
“Across the globe, writers, painters, musicians, gardeners, dancers, expressive therapists, and other innovators were using the arts, creativity, and imagination to tap into the spirit that thrives in those living with dementia. I talked to dozens of creative experts, collecting their ground-breaking ideas, and translating them into easy, meaningful activities.”
4. Dementia with Dignity: Living Well with Alzheimer's or Dementia by Judy Cornish
This book details the often unmet emotional needs caused by dementia and provides techniques for responding to them. When the caregiver learns these techniques, it will help the loved one enjoy more peace and security in their home. This book is “filled with stories from my years with my clients—stories of their courage, wisdom and perseverance.”
5. I Care: A Handbook for Care Partners of People with Dementia by Jennifer A. Brush and Kerry C. Mills
“I wanted to write something that was hopeful and helpful, something that made life better and more manageable. There are so many ways that a person with dementia can still contribute to a relationship. Focus on what the person can still do, not what is lost.”
6. If Only You Would Ask: A Guide to Spending Quality Time with the Elderly by Eileen Opatz Berger and Joan Berger Bachman
With forty-two topics and over four hundred questions, this book provides a framework when visiting with the elderly for tapping into memories that may not have been thought about or talked about for years! “This resource has great potential as a way to encourage enjoyable visits.”
7. Managing Alzheimer's and Dementia Behaviors (Health Care Edition) by Gary Joseph LeBlanc
From decades of experience in caregiving and years of research, this book was created to help caregivers become more dementia-friendly. “I have truly learned that there is no greater “expert” than one actually living with the disease. We need to listen to these folks—and I mean, truly, listen.”
8. Meet Me Where I Am: An Alzheimer’s Care Guide by Mary Ann Drummond
This book leads caregivers to joy, while preparing them for the road ahead. “Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease requires an abundance of knowledge, patience and love. My goal was to give caregivers a tool that would teach, enlighten, and comfort while preparing them for the journey ahead.”
9. Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories by Carol Bradley Bursack
“Through my book – a portable support group - I offer emotional support. Through my newspaper column, I give practical advice and resources. Through all of my work – my blog, column, caregiver’s forum, speaking, and my role as writer and moderator for major caregiving websites – I offer support from the caregiving trenches.”
Written by a physician and researcher, this resource for caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia, provides information about a variety of medical conditions and dementia-related behaviors. This book “was written to help share the practical knowledge that has accumulated during the past 40 years.”
Kathryn Harrison is a director for the non-profit organization AlzAuthors, the global community of authors writing about dementia to light the way for others, breaking the silence and stigma that often accompanies a dementia diagnosis, one book at a time. Find more of their best Caregiver Guides and reading suggestions here.