Saturday, October 10, 2015

Caring for a Husband with Dementia: Book Review

Published 17 March 2015.
Every disease makes life more difficult. However, dementia presents a number of challenges that alter health, identity and relationships.

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW, brings over 25 years experience to the pages of her new book, Caring for a Husband with Dementia: The Ultimate Survival Guide (2015).

(I have received a free copy of her book in exchange for a fair and honest review.)

Not only does she loan her professional experience, she includes knowledge gleaned from working closely with eight women whose husbands received a diagnosis of dementia (Alzheimer's Disease and vascular dementia being the most prevalent forms).

The result is a guide book that has very practical helps while also conveying a tone of compassion.

It's evident that she is strongly visualizing the reader as she writes. For example, most chapters contain space for exploring feelings, conceptualizing the journey and making goals for how to best respond.

Gentile's book is organized into the following sections and chapters:

Front matter: Acknowledgments, Foreward, Introduction

Part One: Introductory Information About Dementia

1. Knowing Something Isn't Right
2. Getting a Diagnosis
3. Understanding Dementia

Part Two: Emotional Considerations

4. Stages of Caregiving
5. Personal Power Grid
6. Asking for Help
7. Practical and Emotional Support
8. How to Avoid Caregiving Burnout
9. Improving Self-Esteem
10. Long-Term Care Planning
11. Loss, Grief, and Bereavement

Part Three: Practical Tips

12. A New Way of Communicating
13. When to Consult a Physician
14. Coping with Difficult Behaviors
15. Abuse and Neglect
16. Legal and Financial Preparedness

Back Matter: Conclusion, Recommended Reading List, Resources and Organizations, About the Author

Because the book is very comprehensive, I recommend it as an excellent first book for families who have a member recently diagnosed with dementia. Reading it will provide guidance, calm, comfort and hope.  Some sections will certainly become dog eared from rereading, such as Chapter 12 "A New Way of Communicating" and Chapter 14 "Coping with Difficult Behaviors."

Readers from Canada will be pleased to find resources specific to their country; Gentile is Canadian and provides information about resources specific to her native country.  Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of the guidebook contains information universal to the dementia experience.

Place-specific support can be found by contacting local Alzheimer's Organizations in your own country and for US citizens, their local Area Agency on Aging.


Films that Depict Dementia
Books about Dementia

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