Recommended Books, DVDs and Videotapes

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On this page and the next, we've included a few excellent books that we recommend for family caregivers. Click on the underlined title for more information. For our recommended DVDs and videotapes, click on family caregiver videos.

Large print books can make reading enjoyable again for the elderly. We've put together a wide selection that includes novels, humor, non-fiction and bibles. For many of them, an audio CD and/or audio cassette version is also available for people with limited vision. For more information, click on Large Print Books.

36-Hour Day; Family Guide

The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss in Later Life (4th Edition), by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins. Paperback. (Also available in a large print edition.)

It has been estimated that five percent of older people suffer from severe intellectual impairment. So this eloquent and readable guide will be much in demand as the number of families facing the challenge of caring for a relative with some form of dementing illness continues to grow.

First published in 1981, The 36-Hour Day follows the format of the previous three editions but has been thoroughly updated to incorporate new information on diagnostic evaluation; resources for families and adult children who care for people with dementia; updated legal and financial information; the latest information on nursing homes and other communal living arrangements; and new information on research, medications, and the biological causes and effects of dementia.

The heart of the guide remains unchanged, focusing on helping families cope with this progressive and irreversible disease. Besides tips on how to care for the demented during the various stages of the disease (for example, place a picture of a toilet on the bathroom door), the text discusses the different kinds of help available and how to seek it.


How to Care gor Aging Parents

How to Care for Aging Parents, by Virginia Morris and Robert Butler. Paperback.

This guide, aimed at the "Sandwich Generation," provides a road map to assist adult children in caring for their aging parents. Combining personal experience with expertise in healthcare and social and political issues, Morris has produced a thoroughly researched, well-organized, and comprehensive manual. Chapters follow in logical progression, yet they can stand alone and be read on an "as-needed" basis. Topics covered include concrete, practical issues such as home care, finances, nursing homes and hospitals, legal issues, and medical/safety concerns as well as the psychosocial areas of handling emotions, dealing with death and dying, sibling conflicts, and spiritual needs. In her discussions, Morris adds useful details such as a suggested list of things to pack for the hospital. Support for the caregiver as well as to the elderly person is covered. Sprinkled throughout the text are agencies, phone numbers, and other reference information.


The End-of-Life Handbook

The End-of-Life Handbook: A Compassionate Guide to Connecting With and Caring for a Dying Loved One, by David B. Feldman, Ph.D and Stephen Andrew Lasher, Jr., MD. Paperback.

Families face complicated and difficult choices as loved ones approach their final hours, including how and where death will occur. Seemingly endless medical opinions are offered with little meaningful guidance about how to decide among the available options. Are treatments that may extend life but cause significant side effects best for their loved ones? Or, do they opt for hospice care that focuses on comfort but may mean foregoing other treatments?

The End-of-Life Handbook, written in clear, jargon-free language, offers a balanced approach to difficult end-of-life decisions. It covers the practical and medical realities families typically deal with, as well as the emotional and psychological issues associated with death and dying. But, it carefully avoids the "doom-and-gloom" trap. Instead, it emphasizes the opportunity for hope, inspiration, meaning, and human connection at the end of life.


Coping with Older Parent

Coping With Your Difficult Older Parent: A Guide for Stressed-Out Children, by Grace Lebow and Barbara Kane. Paperback.

Do You Have An Aging Parent Who --

• Blames you for everything that goes wrong?
• Cannot tolerate being alone, wants you all the time?
• Is obsessed with health problems, real, or imagined?
• Make unreasonable and/or irrational demands of you?
• Is hostile, negative and critical?

Coping with these traits in parents is an endless high-stress battle for their children. Though there's no medical definition for "difficult" parents, you know when you have one. While it's rare for adults to change their ways late in life, you can stop the vicious merry-go-round of anger, blame, guilt and frustration.

For the first time, here's a common-sense guide from professionals, with more than two decades in the field, on how to smooth communications with a challenging parent. Filled with practical tips for handling contentious behaviors and sample dialogues for some of the most troubling situations, this book addresses many hard issues.


Talking to Alzheimer's

Talking to Alzheimer's: Simple Ways to Connect When You Visit with a Family Member or Friend, by Claudia J. Strauss. Paperback.

Few books manage to balance practical suggestions and loving sympathy as well as Talking to Alzheimer's, a concise and comprehensive guide to communication with both paid caregivers and their patients. While the title suggests focus on a specific disease, the recommendations are appropriate for any family struggling with serious communication issues, whether those issues are the result of stroke, surgery, disease, or an accident.

One lengthy chapter covers the heartbreakers, such as dealing with refusals to eat or listening to tearful requests to be taken home. Author Claudia Strauss acknowledges the difficulty of these situations honestly, while at the same time providing simple words that can help diffuse the issues and open the path for joyful visits that benefit everyone involved.


Consumer Reports Guide to Health Services for Seniors

Consumer Reports Complete Guide to Health Services for Seniors: What Your Family Needs to Know About Finding and Financing, Medicare, Assisted Living, Nursing Homes, Home Care, Adult Day Care, by Trudy Lieberman. Paperback.

Whether you're exploring options for yourself or for your aging parents, you know that navigating the world of health care services and long-term-care facilities can be a daunting task. Consumer Reports, unrivaled in its unbiased expertise, provides the essential guide to getting the best care.

Filled with hands-on practical advice in a user-friendly tone and format, this invaluable handbook will help you find the right services and secure them at the lowest cost. How can you take advantage of pharmaceutical company drug-assistance programs? What essential services should a home health aide provide? How can you calculate annual health care expenses? How do you decipher a state survey report for a nursing home? Where can you find adult day care? What should you look for in an assisted-living contract? You'll find the answers to these and hundreds of other questions in this book.


Complete Eldercare Planner

The Complete Eldercare Planner, Second Edition: Where to Start, Which Questions to Ask, and How to Find Help, by Joy Loverde. Paperback.

"The simple truth about elders is this: they want their lives to be validated, and they do not want to die alone," writes eldercare consultant Joy Loverde in her preface to the second edition of The Complete Eldercare Planner. While that desire is entirely valid and compelling, there is an equally real parallel reality: caring for elders is a formidable responsibility, a sometimes daunting maze of financial, medical, personal, legal, and logistical issues. Acutely aware of both truths, Loverde's goal is to provide the caregiver the support and efficient, practical guidance he or she needs to be able to enjoy the often-rewarding and moving experience of caring for an aging loved one. And in an era when the fastest growing segment of the population is those 80 and older (among those, the majority are women), it becomes increasingly important for caregivers, who are themselves one day going to need care, to be informed about eldercare facts.


Parents Driving You Crazy?

Are Your Parents Driving You Crazy? Expanded Second Edition: Getting to Yes with Competent, Aging Parents, by Joseph A. Ilardo and Carole R. Rothman. Paperback.

Now in a newly revised and expanded second edition, the co-authors, therapists, and consultants Joseph A. Ilardo and Carole R. Rothman address the common problems of adult children dealing with their aging parents. Practical advice is provided for caregivers and family members having to deal with aging parents who refuse to stop driving when they can no longer safely do so; skimp on expenses when there is no need to do so; refuse to see and/or ignore their doctor; antagonize home health aides; avoid discussing end-of-life issues; as well as those who want to move in with their children. But more than this, this book has sound advice on dealing with family members who never offer to help, who resent the time the caregiving sibling spends on caring for the aging parent, actually discourages caregiving sibling involvement. There is even a section dealing with children who take undue advantage and even steal from the aging parent. Additionally, this new edition addresses the reality that assisted living is not a solution for everyone. If you have an aging parent requiring help and care, then give Joseph Ilardo and Carole Rothman's book a careful reading. It could save time, energy, anxiety, all the while improving the quality of the relationship between an aging parent and their adult children.

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