How to Support Friends and Loved Ones Who Have Dementia or Are Caregivers

Find a toolkit of ways you can be supportive of a friend or relative who has Alzheimer's or is a caregiver, and make the most of the time you spend together. You'll get many practical tips and 'do and don't' conversation guides to keep you from feeling awkward or uncertain when dementia changes the relationship. To learn more, visit the Bookshelf tab above.

Books to help friends be friends
when it matters most

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Blogs & Stories

#AlzAuthors

#AlzAuthors is a collaboration between authors to share different works—fiction and nonfiction, for children and adults—that help people understand and cope with dementia and caregiving.

Articles, Organizations & Websites

WEBSITES⎮General

The Alzheimer’s Association—The best resource I know for support and information—support groups, social events, fundraising, community resources, a national library of materials; Look up the chapter nearest you.

AARP

Administration on Aging

Alzheimers.net—Information, support, inspirational quotes

Alzheimer’s Reading Room—Well-subscribed blog for caregivers

Alzheimer's Society: United Against Dementia

The Alzheimer’s Store—Unique products to help patients with AD, many products for middle and late stages

AssistedLiving.org —List by state of assisted living facilities (not inclusive) and articles with questions to ask prospective facilities. Based on my experience, I would add this question, too: Has there ever been a lawsuit or formal complaint filed about your facility?

Blondes vs Brunettes: blondesvsbrunettes.org—Group formed to raise awareness of AD among young people; hosts an annual powderpuff football game fundraiser which has contributed over $1M nationally to Alzheimer’s Association chapters; not as much a resource of information as an innovative way to support the Alzheimer’s Association in selected cities; see also the Blondes vs Brunettes Facebook page.

Clinical Trials

Early-onset Alzheimer’s: When Symptoms Begin Before Age 65

Mayo Clinic—Information about Alzheimer’s disease; podcasts, interviews, articles, discussions

National Institute of Aging

RehabNet.com—National Council on Seniors Drug & Alcohol Rehab

seniorguidance.org—Many articles and listings of assisted living facilities

BLOGS

Karen Garner—Karen’s husband, Jim, was diagnosed with early-onset AD. Karen writes honestly and compellingly about her journey as a caregiver with children still living at home

Kris Bakowski—Kris was diagnosed in her mid-forties with early-onset AD. She journals her daily life, posting many photographs of her family and friends. Her blog is an honest look at the difficulty of coping with dementia

Maria Shriver—An uplifting website (and can’t we all use an uplift?) with useful information and resources on caregiving and Alzheimer’s, as well as life in general

ARTICLES & WEBSITES ⎮ CAREGIVING

Alzheimer’s (help with various issues): www.helpguide.org

The Benefits of Cooking with Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s Guide

Caregiver Burnout: How to Recognize, Regroup, & Recoup from Caregiver Stress

Caregiver Tips for Traveling with the Elderly

Caregiver Stress: Remembering to Take Care of Yourself

Connecting With Alzheimer's Patients -- Even in the Latest Stages of the Disease

Dementia and Hygiene: How to Solve Hygiene Problems Common to People with Dementia

Dental Care Tips for Caregivers

Everything to Know for Family Caregivers

How to Care for Your Aging Parents from a Distance

Meals on Wheels America

Nine Essential Mobile Apps for Senior Citizens

Substance Abuse and Caregiving

Summer Skin Care Tips for Seniors

National Alliance for Caregiving—Comprehensive information for and about caregivers. Hosts Lotsa Helping Hands, a resource to help friends organize

The New Breed of Service Dog: Canine Caregivers for Alzheimer's and Dementia Patients

101 Activities | Alzheimer’s Association

Visual Education Center for Family Caregivers—Short, well-produced videos that portray the experience of AD through interviews of patients and caregivers. Informative and practical

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab and Medicare

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Activities for Alzheimer's and Dementia Patients

The Benefits of Emotional Support Animals

https://cbdoilsandedibles.com (I spent some time reviewing this website. While not mainstream, the information is compelling and might provide another approach, worth discussing with your physician, to some of the problems of dementia. In my experience, relief can be found sometimes by thinking and looking "outside the box." Here are two references from the website: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22129319, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17713029).

Connecting With Alzheimer's Patients -- Even in the Latest Stages of the Disease

Depression Is Not a Part of Growing Older

Depression in Older Adults and the Elderly

Drug Abuse Treatment and Recovery

Getting a Pet Can Improve Aging in Place

14 Ways to Help Seniors Avoid Isolation

Guide to Addiction Prevention for Seniors

Healthy Aging: Preventing Isolation

Helping Alzheimer’s Sufferers Cope with the Loss of a Loved One — A Guide for Caregivers

How to Make a Loved One's Final Days at Home Comfortable

How Seniors are Designing Social Support Networks

Alzheimer’s and Keeping Active/Involved

Senior Loneliness: The Risks of Loneliness and Senior Neglect

Recognizing and Treating Depression: A Guide for the Elderly & Their Caregivers

Rehab and Medicare: The Ultimate Guide to Addiction Treatment for Seniors

Three Unique Ways Seniors Can Conquer Anxiety

6 Signs of Elder Abuse in Seniors with Dementia

6 Powerful Ways to Help Seniors Avoid Isolation

Why Substance Abuse Among Seniors Can Be Devastating

FINANCES

Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Money Management

Economic Security for Seniors Facts

Financial Education for Older Adults

Fraud Prevention Checklist

Senior Care Costs: How to Cover Life Transitions

6 Steps to Take When a Credit Card Holder Dies (This article may be useful, too, when a credit card holder has dementia and can no longer be financially responsible. Telephone numbers are provided and instructions about how to freeze credit reports, which is definitely a good idea.)

The Simple Dollar: Taking Over Your Aging Parents' Finances

The Stress-Free Guide to Selling an Inherited Home

HEALTH & EXCERCISE

Alcohol Consumption in Seniors: A Delicate Balance

Dementia and Sleep Disorders

16 Chair Exercises for Seniors and How to Get Started

Mattressreviews.net (Website with helpful reviews if you're looking for a new mattress because you want to sleep better. The choices can be confusing.)

Sleep Guide for Seniors 

Sleep Help for Seniors—Very helpful guide about how sleep habits change as you get older. 

Too Old To Quit? Smoking and Seniors

HOUSING AND SAFETY

Aging at Home: Common Problems and Solutions

Aging in Place Design & Technology Tips | HomeAdvisor

Aging in Place with a Little Help from Roommates, Neighbors and Teenagers

Alzheimer's or Other Dementia: Should I Moved My Loved One Into Long-Term Care?

Alzheimer's: Smoothing the Transition on Moving Day

Budget-Friendly Smart Home Accommodations for Seniors and Individuals with Special Needs

Building the Ultimate Reading Nook for Your Home (This link was sent to me by Jim Vogel. Many people with dementia can no longer read, but my mother, like Jim's enjoys it, even though she suffers from short term memory loss. Creating a comfortable, quiet sitting environment in your home can be helpful for a person with dementia, even if it isn't a reading nook.)

Emergency Preparedness Guide for the Elderly

Fall Prevention Tips for Seniors | A Home Design Guide

A Guide to Downsizing for Seniors and Their Loved Ones

A Guide to Helping Senior Citizens Stay at Home

5 Fall Prevention Ideas for Bathroom Showers

Getting a Pet Can Improve Aging in Place

Helping Your Children Adjust to an Elderly Grandparent Moving In

26 Home Security Tips for Seniors

How to Easily Transition to Assisted Living

Home Safety and Alzheimer's

Limited Mobility Home Modification Checklists and Funding

Good Books

The Alzheimer’s Action Plan: The Experts’ Guide to the Best Diagnosis and Treatment for Memory Problems, P. Murali Doraiswamy, MD, Lisa P. Gwyther, MSW, and Tina Adler (2008) St. Martin’s Press, 496 pages.Well written guide which helps with medical information and treatment options. Provides practical information on living with AD and strategies for maintaining brain health.

Connections: Engagement in Life for Persons Diagnosed with Dementia, Ellen Phipps & Barbara Braddock (2nd EDITION IN PRESS) The Alzheimer’s Association of Central and Western Virginia Chapter, 110 pages. Provides many topics, sentence starters and suggestions, color coded by stage, for engaging people with dementia in activities and conversations. You can quickly find the appropriate sections and gain an understanding of how to provide a safe, enjoyable environment.

Dancing on Quicksand: A Gift of Friendship in the Age of Alzheimer’s, Marilyn Mitchell (2002) Johnson Books, 189 pages. Memoir about Mitchell’s lengthy friendship with a man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Touching, funny, sympathetic, insightful.

A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss, Gerald Sittser, (1995) Zondervan, 184 pages. Memoir about catastrophic loss and the aftermath. Sittser faces his difficult emotions and questions of faith with intelligence and courage, and without glossing over the hard truths. Takes us through his thoughts and feelings and the reclamation of his faith. 

Jan’s Story: Love Lost to the Long Goodbye of Alzheimer’s, Barry Petersen (2010) Behler Publications. About facing early onset Alzheimer’s disease in a life partner. Jan Petersen was only in her 50's when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Love in the Land of Dementia, Deborah Shouse (2013) Central Recovery Press, 192 pages. A daughter’s memoir of her mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s.  

Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times, David Wolpe, (1999) Riverhead Books. Insightful, comforting, wise. Presents the struggle of grief in a clear, confident, compassionate voice. 

The Memory Prescription, Gary Small, MD, with Gigi Vorgan (2011) Hyperion, 370 pages. Comprehensive guide to maintaining brain health. An inspiring motivational tool for changing counterproductive eating and exercising habits.

On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer's, by Greg O'Brien (2014) Codfish Press, 240 pages. An investigative reporter's memoir about living with Alzheimer's.  

Passages in Caregiving: Turning Chaos Into Confidence, Gail Sheehy (2010) William Morrow, 416 pages. Advice, guidance, resources on caregiving.

Partial View: An Alzheimer’s Journal, Cary Henderson, Edited by Jackie Henderson Main and Ruth D. Henderson, Photographed by Nancy Andrews (1998) Southern Methodist University Press, 97 pages. Duke-educated history professor Cary Henderson was diagnosed with AD in his 60's. He documented his experience during the mid-stage using a tape recorder. Transcribed and edited by his wife and his daughter, illustrated with black and white photographs. Sad and lovely book which quickly gives a sense of what living with mid-stage AD is like.

Seven Choices: Finding Daylight After Loss Shatters Your World: Elizabeth Harper Neeld, PhD (1990) Clarkson Potter, Inc., 332 pages. Still relevant 23 years after publication. Powerful and helpful to anyone who must face the loss of a spouse.

100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Age-Related Memory Loss: Jean Carper (2010) Little, Brown & Company, 322 pages. Easy to read and packed with useful information.

Still Alice: Lisa Genova (2009) Pocket Books, 300 pages. Novel about a college professor with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. True-to-life and compassionately written, without the bleak ending you might imagine.

Voices of Alzheimer’s: Betsy Peterson (2004) Da Capo Press, 255 pages.Collection of quotations from people with Alzheimer’s disease, caregivers and others organized around common themes: the diagnosis, denial, anger, grief, gifts, etc. Reading it seems almost like attending a support group.

What’s Happening to Grandpa? Maria Shriver (2004) Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

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Many thanks...

 

 

TO OUR CONTRIBUTORS

Jeff Anderson
Sara Bell
Michelle Billick of GoodCall
Martin Block
Julie Dunlap of The Simple Dollar
Elmer George, elderville.org
Lisa Gonzales
Blake Hughes of Bankrate, Inc.
David Lafferty of CreditCards.com
Stephanie Linder of SleepHelp.org
David Patterson of Pacific Medical Training
Charisse Marcella of AssistedLiving.org
Jessie Morales
Molly Natchek, RehabNet.com
Ashley Peters, Nursing Home Abuse Center
Nicole Peters
Lydia Poon of Money Geek
Shannon Roberts
Patricia Sarmiento of PublicHealthCorps.org 
Jessica Smith of MattressHelp.org
Kellen Smith of Tuck Sleep
Sylvia Smith
Bridget Thompson
Marie Villeza of elderimpact.org
Jim Vogel of elderimpact.org
Susan Williams

 

 

 

 


 



 

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