Tag Archives: Caregiver

The Alzheimer’s Medical Advisor: a caregiver’s guide

Do you know who I am?

A girl?

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.

alzheimer's medical advisor coverBefore 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.

mom and ice cream infoWe 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.

dementia table of contentsThis 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.

sampleOne 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.

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When Someone You Know Has Depression

When Someone you know has depression coverby Susan J. Noonan, MD, MPH
head-in-his-hands

 

“It’s easy to understand depression as an illness when you’re distanced from it.  It is more difficult to keep that in mind when you’re living with someone day to day who has depression.” 

John Hopkins University Press (June 2016)
ISBN (paperback): 978-1421420158
160 pages
Genre: Non- Fiction/Mental Illness/Caregiver

An advance reader copy was provided free of charge by John Hopkins University Press through edelweiss in exchange for my honest opinion.

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This newest book by Dr. Susan Noonan, When Someone You Know Has Depression is aimed at supporting parents, spouses and friends who are on the front line.

Noonon says, “Family members and close friends are usually the first to recognize the symptoms of depression and the ones providing daily support.  Most felt powerless to know what steps to take, what to say or do in response to symptoms, or how to change the course of the illness.”

There is a ton of information in this little 160 page book.  Some of the discussion covers information most likely known already but now viewed more intimately and personal.  Noonan’s bedside manner is helpful and styled to make concerned supporters feel more confidant and secure in their conversations and observations.

The book is scattered with many professionally developed tables such as Symptoms of Depression, Warning Signs of Suicide, and Anger in your Family Member or Friend.

Although it is impossible to address every concern, there’s enough here to provide a guide for each reader.  Even a chapter on taking care of the caregiver.  And a brief chapter advising the concerned supporter that the depressed person (over 18) has the right to refuse treatment but can be overridden if in danger of harming themselves or others.

I would like to have seen some discussion of where the caregiver can turn if the loved one loses the strength to go forward and commits suicide.  Perhaps added to the chapter on taking care of themselves to avoid burnout.

Overall, a very useful book.

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