The Alzheimer’s Journey offers invaluable information and support for caregivers.
Past News ReleasesRSS
Albuquerque, New Mexico (PRWEB) May 21, 2013
Barbara Michels, author of “The Alzheimer’s Journey…A Practical Perspective for Caregivers” has over 50 years of experience in the world of dementia. Over 25 years was the process of losing both her mom and dad to Alzheimer’s disease; and, 25 years has been serving as a volunteer with the New Mexico Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
These experiences have given her an understanding and insight into the many challenges caregivers experience. Through “The Alzheimer’s Journey…A Practical Perspective for Caregivers” she shares her journey and learned understandings. The book’s six sections explore topics basic to caregivers developing their own techniques and approaches to managing the day-to-day care of their loved ones.
The first section, “The Fundamentals,” describes how Barbara has come to view the Alzheimer’s-type dementia disease process. Understanding and applying the foundational tool of this book, “The Tape Reel Concept,” will enable a caregiver to manage the many challenges inherent to this difficult journey. “The Tape Reel Concept” describes a general pattern of both mental and physical loss seen in an Alzheimer’s-type dementia. Imagine each person is born with a “tape reel” in his brain: initially, the reel contains the God given gifts at birth. As a person learns and matures through life, more and more is added to the “reel.”
When dementia sets in, it causes the tape to erase, erasing the most recent first. A loved one may not remember who fixed breakfast this morning, but easily recalls a gathering in 1950, who attended, and what was served! When skills begin to deteriorate, the more sophisticated part of the skill is lost first. With table manners, the napkin stops going on the lap. In time, all parts of the being are affected (speech, dressing, bathing, toileting, walking, temper control, attention span) are affected.
Understanding and accepting that these changes are occurring because of the disease process going on in the brain, challenges the caregiver to incorporate new and different approaches to better manage a loved one. “Simplify, Simplify, Simplify, the world of your loved one!” Barbara stresses.
Traveling this journey, Barbara has learned many “Life Lessons.” The second section deals with a few of these lessons: Trust Yourself; You never win an argument with a person with dementia---SO DON’T GO THERE!; Expectations Vs. Reality; The person with dementia person is always right (his reality is real); and, Going into their world.
“Strategies” addresses techniques useful in managing persons with dementia. Communication is key to behavior management. “How you do it, how you say it, and how you respond to it will have a major impact on setting a tone of cooperation with your loved one,” Barbara notes. Not challenging a loved one’s memory, avoiding “catastrophic reactions,” and lying to the disease are discussed within the section.
“Preparation Pays Off” addresses near and long-term care planning and preparation for this journey. Medications, dental care, asking for help, and placement are discussed. Planning ahead gives the caregiver a sense of control, greatly relieves stress, and helps prevent having to make difficult decisions during a crisis.
“Practical Approaches” explores strategies to help caregivers make decisions regarding sensitive and challenging topics, such as, legal and financial issues (which must be addressed early), home safety, wandering, driving, sexuality, and how to handle holidays.
“Coping with Reality” discusses the intimate and personal topics of guilt, stress, grief, and end-of-life issues. Each caregiver faces these challenges differently: there is no single “right” solution for everyone. Having some knowledge, understanding, and access to resources enhances the caregiver’s ability to deal with and move through these difficult, challenging times.
The purpose of this book is to give the caregiver tools that will make this devastating journey a bit easier. “You are the heroes of the Alzheimer’s world,” Barbara says. “You make a difference in the lives of your loved ones each and every day. You walk beside, enable, protect, and carry them through this journey. I salute each of you---and my greatest hope is that your life as a caregiver will be enhanced.”
If you are seeking practical, straightforward tips and strategies that will enhance each day of caregiving, The Alzheimer’s Journey: A Practical Perspective for Caregivers is a “must read.”
“The Alzheimer’s Journey…A Practical Perspective for Caregivers” can be purchased or downloaded online at CaregiverAlzheimers.com. All the proceeds from this endeavor go directly to the New Mexico chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Author Contact: Barbara Michels