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Top Alzheimer’s & Dementia Books for Caregivers

Sarah Stevenson
By Sarah StevensonAugust 30, 2015
Top Alzheimer's & Dementia Books for Caregivers

We’ve compiled a list of the top books about Alzheimer’s disease for caregivers. Learn more about these books, which share ways to cope with the challenges of caring for someone with memory loss.

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Books for Caregivers

Caregivers need comfort too — and few people know this fact better than the family members of someone with Alzheimer’s.

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Caring for someone with dementia poses unique challenges, but it can be difficult to figure out where to turn to ask about senior care options or how to cope with difficult behavior. So we’ve researched a range of top books on the subject of caregiving for Alzheimer’s, and our final list consists of seven that come highly recommended by professionals as well as garnering top ratings from readers and reviewers.

Nearly all of these titles have been recommended by both the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Institute on Aging:

1. The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People With Alzheimer’s Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss in Later Life

by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins. 4th ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006

Considered the “bible” for families caring for a loved one with AD, this book features practical advice and plenty of examples covering all aspects of care, including emotional issues of caring, financial details, and day-to-day coping with dementia behaviors. Also includes information about nursing homes and other types of residential living.

2. Mayo Clinic Guide to Alzheimer’s Disease: The Essential Resource for Treatment, Coping and Caregiving

by Ronald Petersen, ed. Rochester, MN: Mayo Clinic Health Solutions, 2006

If you’re looking for a book that explains how Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia affect the brain, but without confusing medical jargon, this concise guide outlines how the brain works, what constitutes healthy aging, signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s, as well as recent developments in diagnosis and treatment. It also includes a caregiver action plan with tips on medication administration, behavior management, home safety, and more.

3. The Alzheimer’s Action Plan: The Experts’ Guide to the Best Diagnosis and Treatment for Memory Problems

by P. Murali Doraiswamy; Lisa Gwyther. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008

Families and health professionals alike will find a wealth of advice in this book, which was co-written by a social worker and a physician who is expert in AD and dementia. In addition to providing a guide to diagnosis and treatment methods, it outlines coping strategies for life after diagnosis, including what to expect from different stages of the disease and how to participate in clinical trials.

4. Alzheimer’s Early Stages: First Steps for Family, Friends and Caregivers

by Daniel Kuhn, MSW, and David A. Bennett, MD. 2nd ed. Alameda, CA: Hunter House Publishers, 2003

This book is unique in its focus on the early stages of Alzheimer’s and how families can better understand and cope with its effects as their loved one begins to experience cognitive and behavioral changes. Beyond practical coping advice, it provides suggestions on how to handle caregiver stress, an extensive list of resources, and a section consisting of first-person accounts by caregivers and family members who have faced similar situations.

5. The Forgetting. Alzheimer’s: Portrait of an Epidemic

by David Shenk. New York: Random House, Inc., 2003

Shenk is a journalist and NPR commentator who has written more than just a book about AD, but a moving exploration of the nature of memory and the history of the disease from its discovery to the present. He discusses the role of scientists, caregivers, and policymakers in the treatment history of the disease, giving examples of well-known personages who suffered from Alzheimer’s. The National Institute on Aging calls it “a readable, accessible description of the history of AD, research, and the human impact of the disease.”

6. Alzheimer’s Disease: Unraveling the Mystery

National Institutes of Health, 2008.

This free NIH publication can be downloaded in PDF format or ordered as a print copy from the National Institute on Aging’s website. It takes a closer look at the healthy aging brain in comparison to the brain with Alzheimer’s, covers the latest information from the frontlines of diagnostic and treatment research, and talks about the need to improve caregiver support across a broad spectrum, especially for family caregivers.

7. Understanding difficult behaviors: some practical suggestions for coping with Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses

A. Robinson, B. Spencer, and L. White. Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI: 2007

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “This resource receives high praise for its format, specific hard-to-find information, and practical steps to take when faced with a variety of behaviors.” It helps families and caregivers understand why challenging behaviors occur, how to communicate, and how to cope. It’s also recommended by the Family Caregiver Alliance and the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

8. Activities to Do with Your Parent Who Has Alzheimer’s Dementia

by Judith Levy, EdM, OTR. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014

This book offers user-friendly activities and a means to objectively assess if the activities helped or need to be adapted. This resource enables consistency and communication between caregivers which benefits the loved one.

Have we missed your favorite book? Share your suggestions with other caregivers in the comments below.

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Sarah Stevenson
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Sarah Stevenson

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