Do you know who I am?
Yes, I was your first baby.
You were my #1?
My mother was a cut-up, an RN, an ambulance squad leader, a mother of four and the last living senior member of my family. When she died, I popped to the top of the old age squad.
Before she died, she lost her marbles. All of them. But she never lost her humor or her love of ice cream and her hatred of bananas.
In spite of having 2 RNs and a certified EMT as children, my mother was able to hide her failing memory for a long time. She developed tricks of the trade so to speak. She was always sneaky with her memory so she knew the ropes.
We faced her fading memory and faltering physical health as best we could right up to the end. Alzheimer’s and good old standard full-blown dementia never come with a manual.
The Alzheimer’s Medical Advisor: a caregiver’s guide comes about as close as a layman can get to a manual. I have had this book for a couple of years; negligent in my responsibility to Sunrise River Press and LibraryThing to provide a review in exchange for this advanced reader’s copy.
Now that my brother faces a severe form of early onset fronto-temporal dementia, I find myself reaching for the book for answers to so many questions. And in doing so, I remembered I owed a review, so here it is.
This book is a gold mine of information. You won’t be smothered in fifty-cent size medical lingo that makes you feel overwhelmed.
The initial chapters cover dementia, general care information, setting goals and stresses the importance of taking care of yourself.
The heart of the book discusses 54 common issues encountered in the care of the patient. Each issue is covered in a two-page spread beginning with basic facts and highlights signs of a possible emergency, lists other important things to observe, identifies ways to handle the issue at home and when to contact medical health professionals.
One concluding chapter deals with general health issues and gives tips to accomplish the tasks, like taking the temperature or pulse of a confused and scared person, and when monitoring vitals can be helpful.
Another chapter tackles the tricky subject of medical safety and management and does so in great detail.
Quoting the book, “Throughout the course of illness, persons with dementia often require services from multiple types of health care providers in many different settings.” Each level of care is covered from selecting a primary care provider through emergency and general hospitalization all the way to full-time residential care.
The hardest chapter deals with end of life decisions. Everyone and every family must explore their own feelings about the end of life wishes of a person no longer able to make their own decisions. These pages are more of an outline of topics helpful in developing a course of action working with the person while still capable of decisions and understanding the course of their disease or in the case that incapacity precludes that discussion.
The final pages are worksheets that can be reproduced and deal with gathering information necessary before consult with a health care professional. Filling out the personal information and preferences in advance makes a stressful time easier.
I hope this review is helpful. I encourage anyone with ANY long-term illness, not just dementia, to look at this invaluable resource.