Living your best with early-stage Alzheimer’s : an essential guide

From Ginny Pisciotta
Author:  Lisa Snyder
Title:  Living your best with early-stage Alzheimer’s : an essential guide
Living Your Best with Early-Stage Alzheimer’s is different from most of the books about Alzheimer’s disease because it directly addresses the person who has the disease.  It is a thorough but easy to read guide for coping with the symptoms as well as the emotions of an early-stage Alzheimer’s diagnosis.  It covers topics such as when to stop driving, informing others of your disease, whether or not you can live alone, accepting help, staying active, family relationships, friendships, exercise, nutrition, planning for the future, support groups, treatments and therapies, etc. . The unique situation of those with early-onset Alzheimer’s (those who get the disease at a younger age) is also addressed.  The book also includes tips from those actually living with the disease.

I would readily recommend this book to anyone who has been diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s, as well as their family and friends.

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Learning to speak Alzheimer’s : a groundbreaking approach for everyone dealing with the disease

From Ginny Pisciotta
Author: Joanne Koenig Coste
Title: Learning to speak Alzheimer’s : a groundbreaking approach for everyone dealing with the disease
Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s is a fascinating and informative book that considers the emotional and physical well-being of both the patient and the caregiver.
There are many excellent books on the subject out there, but what I found to be unique about this one is that I felt like it actually gave me a window into the mind of the Alzheimer’s patient. Strange and seemingly random behaviors are more understandable and often even avoidable, when you learn to see things from the perspective of the Alzheimer’s patient.
The author calls her method “habilitation” which is based on entering the patient’s reality rather than trying to make them understand yours. There are 5 basics tenets to habilitation:

1. Make the physical environment work
2. Know that communication remains possible
3. Focus on Remaining Skills
4. Live in the Patient’s World
5. Enrich the Patient’s Life

The book is full of fascinating anecdotes , examples, helpful tips and suggestions, information, and resources. It gives hope to the caregiver, helping them to realize there are ways to make things a little easier, and that they can still communicate with their Alzheimer’s patients as well as enrich their lives.

Solving America’s Healthcare Crisis

From Frank DelBalso
Title: Solving America’s Healthcare Crisis
Author: Pamela A. Popper Ph.D N.D.
This books covers a variety of healthcare topics but mostly it focuses on how healthy eating can reduce our reliance on traditional healthcare. Having trouble having a baby? Find out the diet that can help you and save you thousands versus in vitro fertilization. Find out about some drugs that do more harm than good. Find out how politics and trade groups tied to the food industry are blocking a path the a healthier America. Find out how the USDA promotes an unhealthy America. Very interesting and easy to read.

You Say Goodbye and We Say Hello – The Montessori Method for Positive Dementia Care

From  Ginny Pisciotta
Author:  Tom & Karen Brenner
Title:  You Say Goodbye and We Say Hello – The Montessori Method for Positive Dementia Care
You Say Goodbye and We Say Hello is an amazing book.  It is short and easy to understand, but full of encouragement and wonderful ideas to help the caregiver connect with and care for the dementia patient.  The book is philosophical, yet immensely practical.

The authors  do not sugar-coat the disease but show how a change of mindset and methods can improve the quality of life for both the patient and the caregiver.

Tom and Karen Brenner combined  his background in gerontology and hers as a Montesorri educator to come up with this inspiring method of dementia care.  The basic principles and specific ideas set forth in this book are brought to life with the telling of individual stories of patients they have worked with.

I Remember Better When I Paint : Treating Alzheimer’s Through the Creative Arts [videorecording DVD]

From Virginia Pisciotta
Author:  Eric Ellena
I Remember Better When I Paint : Treating Alzheimer’s Through the Creative Arts [videorecording DVD]
I Remember Better When I Paint is a fascinating documentary on how art therapy is producing positive results in those suffering from Alzheimer’s  disease.  Many facilities are now using art and other creative outlets such as music to improve the quality of life of Alzheimer’s patients and open up paths of communication between patients and family members or caregivers.  Scientists have found that the parts of the brain related to emotions and creativity still function in the Alzheimer patient.

Visits to art museums are also highly effective.  You would never guess from watching the visitors respond to the art and listening to their conversations about the art, that they had Alzheimer’s disease.

I would highly recommend this documentary to anyone who has a family member or friend with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, or who works in a facility with Alzheimer’s patients.  In fact, I think most anyone would find this both interesting and encouraging.

Brain on Fire: my Month of Madness

From Margaret Mezzacapo
Author:  Susannah  Cahalan
Brain on Fire: my Month of Madness
Brain on Fire is the story of a 20-something who contracts a rare type of encephalitis. Due to the rarity of her physical illness, the symptoms are initially chalked up to mental illness. This is an interesting story, with one feature I found a little bumpy in the telling. She will, in several places, give a little anatomical/physiological/pathological explanation, which can be somewhat educational, but doesn’t seem, IMHO, to transition smoothly with the rest of the text.

Scary note: If someone living in New York City, and being hospitalized in a prestigious place like NYU Langone, must seemingly wait ages to be properly diagnosed, what might happen to someone with the same disease who does not have access to these resources?

My Stroke of Insight

From: Margaret  Mezzacapo

My Stroke of Insight

Author: Jill Bolte Taylor

I had read Ms. Taylor’s book several years ago from my viewpoint at the time as an EMT and member of the Fire Department, which I still am. But reading it now from the viewpoint of having had a stroke myself at a relatively young age, it takes on a whole new meaning and perspective. There were times when this book was almost uncomfortably close to home. Ms. Taylor chronicles everything spot-on. I’d recommend this to all audiences.