Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia is a tough challenge. That’s why it’s such an important thing to be as educated about the disease and how to manage it as you can possibly be.
In this article, we will go over some of the best books for caregivers about Alzheimer’s disease which are both informative for those who have been at the helm of care for an Alzheimer’s patient and also offer great resources on everything from how to manage the day to day challenges to caregiver support groups and services.
Check out our new article on creating an Activity Calendar for Seniors With Dementia. It’s a great resource on activities to help you and your loved one keep busy and entertained.
It’s important for family caregivers of an older adult who is afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease to carefully find books that will be helpful in their current situation. Different methods of care can have different needs when it comes to reading material.
Reading a chapter or two once every couple weeks is enough for ongoing learning trends while also providing information quickly and easily.
Here are some wonderful caregiver books filled with compassionate advice that may help you through this very challenging time of your life. – Print out a PDF list of these resources here.
The 36 Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer’s Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss
by Nancy L. Mace, MA and Peter V. Rabins, MD, MPH
The 36-Hour Day, 5th Edition is the essential guide of practical advice for families who love and care for elderly parents and loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease.
The 36-Hour Day will help family members and caregivers address these challenges and simultaneously cope with their own emotions and needs. This new edition features an expanded section on planning ahead while staying true to the book’s original mission – providing helpful information in a conversational tone that speaks directly to readers.
Dancing with Rose: Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer’s
by Lauren Kessler
Author Lauren Kessler writes a nonfictional story based on her experiences in dealing with her mother’s journey through Alzheimer’s.
The Problem of Alzheimer’s: How Science, Culture, and Politics Turned a Rare Disease into a Crisis and What We Can Do About It
by Jason Karlawish
In The Problem of Alzheimer’s, author Jason Karlawish takes us inside the emerging field of neuroethics to explore how and why science is transforming our relationship with memory. He shows how we have come to think about dementia as a disease of memory, even though it is not.
He explores the role that culture plays in shaping our understanding of what it means to be human, and he asks whether the cognitive abilities that make us distinctively human are worth preserving at all costs.
The Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver’s Handbook: What to Remember When They Forget
by Dr. Sally Willard Burbank and Sue Pace Bell
The Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver’s Handbook is an essential tool for any primary caregiver who wants to help their partner as well as for professional caregivers and their patients. By reading this book, you will become well-prepared with the knowledge and skills needed in order to support a person living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s Guide and Sourcebook
by Howard Gruetzner
You’re not alone when it comes to caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. There are plenty of resources out there that can help you manage the many symptoms and challenges associated with this chronic, degenerative brain disorder.
This book is the best way to care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s. It has everything you need, from how to communicate and support them through their illness, all the way down to what kind of food they’ll be most comfortable eating in this stage of life.
Alzheimer’s Through the Stages: A Caregiver’s Guide
by Mary Moller, MSW CAS
Alzheimer’s through the Stages: A Caregiver’s Guide is a book dedicated for those who care about someone with Alzheimer’s and all that it entails. This guide offers advice, tips on how to deal with different stages of dementia and what you can do during these periods.
It also includes stories from caregivers letting us know they are not alone in this difficult journey which will be helpful when reading since most people feel isolated as they try their best to cope with everything happening around them while caring for loved ones going through cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.
Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s: A Groundbreaking Approach for Everyone Dealing with the Disease
by Joanne Koenig Coste
Learning to speak “Alzheimer’s” is a difficult task for the speaker and listener alike. The diseases causes memory loss, mood swings, and changes in personality that can make communication challenging!
This excellent book can be an invaluable resource in helping you to understand Alzheimer’s and what your loved one may be going through.
When Reasoning No Longer Works: A Practical Guide for Caregivers Dealing with Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care
by Angel Smits
When Reasoning No Longer Works is a guide to help caregivers dealing with different forms of dementia. It explains the mental deterioration of people who have this condition as well as practical tools you can use to take care of them.
The book starts off by explaining what Alzheimer’s disease is, whether or not it has been determined that there are any genetic links, how much scientists know about its progression in different individuals over time, why memories may start getting lost (i.e., forgetting where they put their keys), if an individual will experience periods when he/she doesn’t seem affected at all (or seems more lucid) – these occurrences happen because synapses begin
A Caregiver’s Journey: Self-Care for Caregivers of Loved Ones with Dementia and Alzheimer’s
by Eric James Miller
A dementia diagnosis can put caregivers through a lot of stress, worry, emotion, and different situations in their day to day lives. This book will inspire you on one amazing thing that all caretakers should be doing every single week! That is self-care!
Now what exactly does this mean? Well lets go down step by step starting with emotional needs which may include exercising or writing about your feelings so they don’t become overwhelming;
Next we have cognitive exercises such as reading puzzles books or playing games like chess when possible; Lastly physical workouts help relieve anxiety caused from dementia patients asking where things are constantly. it is imperative each person take time every day – even if its as simple as taking 10 minutes- where they do things JUST FOR THEMSELVES.
Surviving Alzheimer’s: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers
by Paula Spencer Scott
Surviving Alzheimer’s is a practical guide to understanding what it means to care for someone with dementia disease, also known as ‘Alzheimer’s Disease’. The book includes tips from families about how they have coped throughout the years of caregiving.
This short read offers insight on where caregivers can find support services in their communities including but not limited too community centers. Anyone who has or may come into contact with an individual living through this terminal illness should pick up this informative handbook.
Keeping Hope Alive as Memories Fade: The 5 Love Languages and the Alzheimer’s Journey
by Debra Barr, MA, Edward G. Shaw, MD and Gary Chapman, PhD.
It’s a sad day when your parents hold you close, and whisper in their native tongue. They may not remember who you are anymore, but the love they have for you never fades. The 5 Love Languages can help them feel loved even as memories fade away with Alzheimer’s disease.
The world is a cold, cruel place. But there are ways to remember the warmth and love of those you once knew so well as they slip away from your grasp into that long-desired peace we all seek at some point in our lives. One way I found was using Debra Barr’s Five Love Languages!
Surviving Alzheimer’s With Friends, Facebook, and a Really Big Glass of Wine: A Caregiver’s Guide To Love, Humor, Patience, Confusion, Anger and Wine
by Dayna Steele with Heather Rossiello
This book is full of humor and understanding that will help both the caregiver and the person with Alzheimer’s. It also talks about how to get through difficult days by finding hope, laughter, acceptance, peace or even just a good glass of wine! The authors promise: “No matter what you’re going through – we want this to be the best caregiving experience of your life.”
Creating Moments of Joy Along the Alzheimer’s Journey: A Guide for Families and Caregivers
by Jolene Brackey
Nowadays, many people are faced with the burden of caring for their loved ones in addition to themselves. In particular, Alzheimer’s patients can be difficult and confusing when it comes to caregiving because they lose memory and cognitive skills that allow them to function independently or participate meaningfully in interactions.
Fortunately there is a way caregivers can make life more enjoyable by creating moments of joy along the journey through dementia.
Grace for the Unexpected Journey: A 60-Day Devotional for Alzheimer’s and Other Dementia Caregivers
by Deborah Barr and Gary Chapman
Imagine you are a caregiver. Your loved one is sitting in front of you, being very confused about who they are or where they live. You can see their confusion written all over them as well as on their face – but what do you say? What should your next words be to help this person feel better?
This devotional provides guidance from scripture that will support caregivers during difficult times with dementia patients while also encouraging hope among those caring too much!
Mayo Clinic on Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias: A Guide For People With Dementia and Those Who Care for Them
by Dr. Jonathon Graff-Radford MD and Angela M. Lunde, MA
The Mayo Clinic is one of the most trusted places to get medical information. They offer a guide on what you need to know about dementia with an emphasis on how it affects your loved ones. It includes guidance from doctors who specialize in treating people that live with this disease as well as those caretakers caring for them daily.
Dementia can be tough because there are so many different forms or types of symptoms such things don’t seem related at first glance but they all fall under the category “memory loss.” The following topics include diagnosis guidelines, memory tests and other screenings procedures recommended by professionals and much more.
A Caregiver’s Guide to Alzheimer’s Disease: 300 Tips for Making Life Easier
by Patricia R. Callone, MA, MRE, Connie Kudlacek, BS, Barbara C. Vasiloff, MA, Janaan Manternach, D Min, and Roger A. Brumback, MD
Looking to improve your care of loved ones? We’ve got you covered with these 300 tips!
Caregivers often worry that they are not doing enough for their loved one and may even be guilty about what tasks they have had to do. The truth is, it’s hard work taking on the responsibility of caring for someone who can’t take care themselves. Luckily this book’s practical approach can help out in an easy-to-read format!
Just flip through this Caregiver’s Guide which includes helpful hints from experts like how best to navigate a patient’s cognitive abilities while still being able provide them with quality time together or simple things caregivers should pack when going on outings such as snacks, sunscreen and insect repellent (it never hurts) and so much more.
My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping and Surviving as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver
by Martin J. Schreiber with Cathy Breitenbucher
Martin Schreiber, a former governor of Wisconsin and author, watches his wife Elaine transform from the woman he fell in love with when they were both teenagers to an aging version who no longer recognizes him.
His own struggles caring for her as she gradually succumbs to Alzheimer’s disease are revealed through excerpts taken from her journal entries that detail how frustrated she becomes over simple tasks such as cooking dinner or refusing help after falling down.
Finding Joy In Alzheimer’s: New Hope For Caregivers
by Marie Marley PhD and Daniel C. Potts, MD FAAN
When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it can be difficult to know how best care for them. This hope-filled book will give you the tools necessary to free yourself from your caregiver role while ensuring that they are cared for properly.
With tips on what to do and not do in various different scenarios, this groundbreaking volume was written by Marie Marley – a well known author who has dealt extensively with dementia issues – along side neurologist Daniel C Potts MD FAAN both experts when it comes to taking care of someone else’s intellectual disability.
The End of Alzheimer’s Program: The First Protocol to Enhance Cognition and Reverse Decline at Any Age
by Dale Bredesen, MD
This book offers a new way to think about Alzheimer’s and how it may be prevented. The author, Dr. Dale Bredesin lays out his treatment plan to help fight Alzheimer’s. His plan focuses on the Ketoflex 12/3 Diet, 12 hour fasts, restorative sleep, specific types of supplementation, exercise and brain training.
This book also has case studies of patients who followed his treatment plan with success.
Of course – there is no guarantee that any program works for everyone but it is worthwhile for patients and family members to familiarize themselves with all the information that is available.
The Alzheimer’s Solution: A Breakthrough Program to Prevent and Reverse the Symptoms of Cognitive Decline at Every Age
by Dean Sherzai, M.D. and Ayesha Sherzi, M.D.
Yet another book on the topic of a treatment plan to help prevent and/or minimize the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s.
Based on this impressive set of evidence-based findings that were tested over 30 years with tens of thousands participants from all walks of life, Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai have designed an effective plan called “the Brain Health & Alzheimers Prevention Program” (BHAPP).
Dementia With Dignity: Living Well with Alzheimer’s or Dementia Using the Dawn Method
by Judy Cornish
This book is about caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia using the DAWN Method®. This is an innovative way of caring for those with dementia that trains families and caregivers to recognize the skills it doesn’t take away.
“Using the DAWN Method, we can keep our loved ones at home longer. Staying at home longer means not only a higher quality of life, but also less expense—to families, to Medicare, and to Medicaid.” – The Dawn Method
It’s Not That Simple: Helping Families Navigate the Alzheimer’s Journey
by Pam Ostrowsky
If you’re like me, the title of this book might lead to confusion. “It’s Not That Simple: Helping Families Navigate the Alzheimer’s Journey” sounds simple enough but it can be anything but that when trying to help a loved one navigate their journey with dementia or even just try and understand what is happening in theirs head as they struggle every day, hour by hour.
A Pocket Guide for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver
by Daniel C. Potts MD and Ellen Woodward Potts
This book is written by two authors have as they say “…have had 8 relatives with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia…” This book is an excellent and personal guide for you if your friend or family member has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and it looks like they may need more care than just the occasional help around the house.
In this guide we will cover some symptoms of dementia that could be signs that a person might have Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as how to create an environment where someone can live comfortably while being at home without losing their independence too quickly.
Before I Forget: Love, Hope, Help, and Acceptance in Our Fight Against Alzheimer’s
by B. Smith and Dan Gasby with Michael Shnayerson
This book is written by a famous woman, B. Smith who has Alzheimer’s and it chronicles her personal experience through this disease. She has accomplished much in her life. A magazine publisher, a restaurateur, celebrity chef and overall lifestyle maven. But at 66 years of age she is struggling under the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.
This beautiful book written by B. Smith and her husband Dan Gasby will give you a glimpse from his and her perspectives on how they are meeting this challenging time of their lives.
Surfing the Waves of Alzheimer’s: Principles of Caregiving That Kept Me Upright
by Renee Brown Harmon, MD
This book is about the struggles of early onset Alzheimer’s disease which happened to Dr. Renee Brown Harmon who at 55 years of age received this devastating diagnosis.
It may sound like a daunting task, and it often feels impossible to balance the responsibilities of work with those at home. When faced with caring for someone afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease or dementia — whether your spouse or parent—reading Surfing the Waves of Alzheimer’s can offer valuable insight on what you should expect when taking care of your loved one.
Blue, Baseball, Virginia: The Journey of an Alzheimer’s Patient and Caregiver! A Journey of Humor, Help, and Hope!
by Lorrie Davis McDonald
This is a touching and witty account of the journey that author, Lorrie Davis McDonald, went on with her mother-in-law while she helps to care for her. You will laugh as you read about all the things they did together in order to outwit Alzheimer’s disease and help her to live with dignity until her death.
This book has been very helpful not just during this difficult time but also when caring for any loved one who struggles from dementia because it provides step by step guides and insights into how best provide support in both physical health as well emotional wellbeing.
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias: 101 Stories of Caregiving, Coping and Compassion
by Amy Newmark and Angela Timashenka Geiger
This book has 101 stories of caregivers, coping and compassion. Part of the classic Chicken Soup for the Soul series, this book does not disappoint.
The collection of personal stories in this book will help you through your own journey if you are living with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone who is.
Understand Alzheimer’s: A First-Time Caregiver’s Plan to Understand and Prepare for Alzheimer’s and Dementia
by Calistoga Press
This guidebook will help you understand what Alzheimer’s is, and how it progresses. It also has in-depth explanations of the seven stages that are part of this complex disease.
It’s filled with practical and useful information such as checklists on how to make the home environment safer, tips on how to manage stress, how to help prevent depression and many more resources to help anyone living with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone with the disease.
Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease Stages, Treatments, and Other Medical Considerations
by Laura Town and Karen Kassel
This book is more of a medical guide for anyone wanting to learn about the disease, the symptoms and the prognosis of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Coping with Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s Emotional Survival Guide
by Rose Oliver, Ph.D and Frances A Bock, Ph.D
This book is a guide for caregivers who find themselves caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.
This book is a helpful guide for anyone who cares about someone with Alzheimer’s. It will help you deal with your thoughts and feelings in the best way that suits them, as well as guiding on how to be proactive and care for yourself while still doing everything you can for your loved one.
Coach Broyle’s Playbook for Alzheimer’s Caregivers: A Practical Tips Guide
by J. Frank Broyles
This book is a guide for caregivers and it’s styled in the form of a sports coach’s playbook. The author J. Frank Broyles tackles the issue of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s very much like he would tackle the opposing team!
This is a book filled with caregiver tips, insights and resources.
Healing Your Grieving Heart When Someone You Care About Has Alzheimer’s: 100 Practical Ideas for Families, Friends and Caregivers
by Alan D. Wolfelt PhD and Kirby J. Duvall MD
The authors offer insight into how you can take steps towards living with the grief and learning to live a happier life while caring for somebody stricken by Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia.
The 100 tips in this book include suggestions on acknowledging feelings in productive ways as well as activities designed to meet all sorts of different needs – from getting outside more often (which has been shown to improve mental health) to talking through your daily routines so they won’t be forgotten when done out-loud and much more.
Activities to do with your Parent who has Alzheimer’s Dementia
by Judith A. Levy, EdM OTR
The ultimate goal of any Occupational Therapist is to help his or her patient to re-learn to live their best life possible with whatever capacities they have left. And the author, Judith A Levy, EdM OTR does not disappoint in her book filled with more than 50 wonderful activities that can encourage feelings of self worth in your senior loved one living with Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia for Dummies
by the American Geriatrics Society and Health in Aging Foundation
This book covers the symptoms and treatments of Alzheimer’s written in the “for Dummies” style making it as simple as possible to comprehend and understand this disease.
If you are wanting to learn all you can about this disease – I would recommend this book especially if you are just starting to begin your education on this topic.
A Dignified Life: The Best Friends™ Approach to Alzheimer’s Care: A Guide for Care Partners
by Virginia Bell MSW and David Troxel MPH
This book is packed with a plethora of insights and practical knowledge about how to progress more efficiently through the stages of dementia.
The information in this new edition, which has been updated from earlier editions, provides readers with problem-solving advice that can be immediately put into practice for therapeutic activities like brain fitness exercises as well as adding structure and meaning to simple daily tasks.
What to Do Between the Tears: A Practical Guide to Dealing with a Dementia or Alzheimer’s Diagnosis in the Family
by Tara Reed
This wonderful book is written by a daughter who cared for her father as he moved through the stages of Alzheimer’s until he passed away. In it, she documents the journey the family took through the maze of tasks that need to be taken care of such as all the financial and legal issues, all the medical options they were presented with and of course how to maneuver this disease as a family and as a caregiver of a loved one.
Your Name Is Hughes Hannibal Shanks: A Caregiver’s Guide to Alzheimer’s
by Lela Knox Shanks
This is the story of a woman who cared for her husband who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It’s her journal chronicling her fears, grief and final acceptance of what was to come. She lists 20 coping skills to help caregivers through their own journey when caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Movies About Alzheimer’s
Because I love movies as much as books I just wanted to include some wonderful movies that you can watch.
Away From Her
Starring: Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent
This beautiful movie is about a woman who recognizes that she is slowly showing more and more problems with memory loss and ultimately, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The 50 year marriage of this couple is disrupted by this disease and her decision to move into an assisted living facility – leaving her husband to work on reminding her who he is.
Starring: Anthony Hopkins
This movie is an interesting look at Alzheimer’s disease because the movie is from the perspective of the person (Anthony Hopkins) with the disease. It may seem a bit confusing at first but then again, it’s meant to show how confusing Alzheimer’s can be for someone going through it.
Starring: Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin
This movie is about a young woman who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and the impact that it has on her and her family.
Starring: Gena Rowlands and James Garner
Although this movie is more of a “love story” it does showcase how Alzheimer’s can affect a loving couple and their family. The movie is set mostly in the past lives of the couple but there are some very sweet moments that most anyone caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can relate to.
Starring: Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman
A story of two siblings who find themselves having to care for a father they are essentially estranged from because he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and there is no one else to care for him.
The story is mostly about the relationship between the two siblings and the dysfunctional family they had to grow up in. But there are great moments in this movie that anyone who cares for someone with Alzheimer’s can certainly relate to.
Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
A documentary about the the final tour that country singer Glen Campbell did in 2011 (his Goodbye Tour) because he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The film records the struggles and triumphs that the family endured as the disease continued to progress throughout the tour.
The Genius of Marian
A documentary by the son of Pam White who was diagnosed and is living through the stages of Alzheimer’s. As he records his mother’s struggles, there are many clips of their past lives. A beautiful documentary that anyone who has Alzheimer’s or is caring for someone with this disease should watch.
My Name Was Bette: The Life and Death of an Alcoholic
Although this is a documentary is mostly about a nurse who battled alcoholism – it shows how this addiction resulted in her alcohol related dementia. As an Occupational Therapist I have worked with several patients who suffered from related dementia due to alcoholism, stroke, HIV and other medical issues.
I thought it was important to add this to our list of resources.
The Artist’s Wife
Starring: Lena Olin and Bruce Dern
A beautiful story of a wife (who is an artist) who has taken a back stage to her husband’s artistic career. Now that he is showing signs of dementia, she realizes that the important thing now is to work on protecting him and caring for him. But she is also faced with the decision whether or not to go back to her artistry and essentially, find herself again.
We hope that these books and movies will help you if you are on the path of wanting to learn more about the disease or if you are searching for some emotional support during this trying time.