Saturday, December 28, 2013
Alzheimer's Early Stages
First Steps for Family, Friends and Caregivers
By Daniel Kuhn
Published by Hunter House, December 10th, 2013
Alzheimer's is often a dreaded diagnosis, as feared by family and friends as it is by those people who actually have the illness. Modern Western society places a great deal of emphasis on maintaining one's independence and capacity for caring for one's self, so to be told that you have a progressive disease which will eventually make you incapable of managing your normal activities of daily living without a considerable amount of help is a frightening and distressing situation.
Daniel Kuhn has written a thorough and detailed book about dealing with the early stages of the disease for those who have recently been diagnosed and for their family, friends and caregivers. The diagnostic process, possible helpful medications and considerations about participating in clinical trials are giving full consideration, but enormous weight is giving to discussing what it is actually like to have the disease, using interviews with people who have the disease and also referencing books written about and by people with the disease.
Contrary to popular belief (which is at least partly driven by doom-and-gloom reports in the media), people in the earlier stages of the disease can still lead happy and fulfilling lives with some support from family and friends and it is nice to read about these "success stories" and exactly how they have been achieved; equally, when and how to intervene appropriately to safeguard the person and others as the disease progresses is also thoroughly discussed. Advance planning for the future - with the involvement of the sufferer wherever possible - is essential, in terms of wills, legal powers of attorney, financial planning, end of life/living will directives etc and there are sections of the book with areas to think about and discuss while it is still possible to make these plans with sufferers.
A large chunk of the book is devoted to taking care of the carers, which is all too often ignored. Those involved in the care of those with impaired cognition can rapidly become stressed, exhausted, depressed and overwhelmed with the task of caring and it is essential that carers set up support networks and stratagems for themselves as well as for those for whom they are providing care. Getting help from outside agencies is also encouraged.
This book contains a much of value which could be used to support anyone with a degree of cognitive impairment and it is a book filled with compassion, care and optimism. Whether you are a child, spouse or a friend of someone with Alzheimer's, this book will be of value.