Suggested Reading

When you first become a caregiver and delve into the daunting task of educating yourself and searching for resources, the plethora of books and websites can be overwhelming to say the least! Here are a few of our favorite books on a few different subjects to get you started.

Books on Alzheimers / Books on Music



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, M.A. and Peter V. Rabin, M.D., M.P.H.

When someone in your family suffers from Alzheimer disease or other related memory loss diseases, both you and your loved one face immense challenges. For over thirty years, this book has been the trusted bible for families affected by dementia disorders. Now completely revised and updated, this guide features the latest information on the causes of dementia, managing the early stages of dementia, the prevention of dementia, and finding appropriate living arrangements for the person who has dementia when home care is no longer an option.

You’ll learn:

    • The basic facts about dementia
    • How to deal with problems arising in daily care– meals, exercise, personal hygiene, and safety
    • How to cope with an impaired person’s false ideas, suspicion, anger, and other mood problems
    • How to get outside help from support groups, friends, and agencies
    • Financial and legal issues you must address.

Comprehensive and compassionate, THE 36-HOUR DAY is the only guide you need to help your family through this difficult time.
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Contented Dementia by Oliver James.

This book helps you understand what you’re loved one is experiencing each day. It also proposes a method that will help both the person with the dementia and the caregiver enjoy living life throughout every stage of Alzheimer’s.

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The Forgetting by David Shenk is a scrupulously researched, multilayered analysis of Alzheimer’s and its social, medical, and spiritual implications. The author presents us with much more than a detailed explanation of its causes and effects and the search for a cure. He movingly captures the disease’s impact on its victims and their families, and he looks back through history, explaining how Alzheimer’s most likely afflicted such figures as Jonathan Swift, Ralph Waldo Emerson,and William de Kooning. The result is a searing, powerfully engaging account of Alzheimer’s disease, offering a grim but sympathetic and ultimately encouraging portrait.

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Where The Light Gets In by Kimberly Williams-Paisley

Many know Kimberly Williams-Paisley as the bride in the popular Steve Martin remakes of the Father of the Bride movies, the calculating Peggy Kenter on Nashville, or the wife of country music artist, Brad Paisley. But behind the scenes, Kim was dealing with a tragic secret: her mother, Linda, was suffering from a rare form of dementia that slowly crippled her ability to talk, write and eventually recognize people in her own family.

Where the Light Gets In tells the full story of Linda’s illness—called primary progressive aphasia—from her early-onset diagnosis at the age of 62 through the present day. Kim draws a candid picture of the ways her family reacted for better and worse, and how she, her father and two siblings educated themselves, tried to let go of shame and secrecy, made mistakes, and found unexpected humor and grace in the midst of suffering.

Ultimately the bonds of family were strengthened, and Kim learned ways to love and accept the woman her mother became. With a moving foreword by actor an advocate Michael J. Fox, Where the Light Gets In is a heartwarming tribute to th often fragile yet unbreakable relationships we have with our mothers.

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Before I Forget by B. Smith and Dan Gasby

Restaurateur, magazine publisher, celebrity chef, and nationally known lifestyle maven, B. Smith is struggling at 66 with a tag she never expected to add to that string: Alzheimer’s patient.  She’s not alone. Every 67 seconds someone newly develops it, and millions of lives are affected by its aftershocks.

B. and her husband, Dan, working with Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Shnayerson, unstintingly share their unfolding story. Crafted in short chapters that interweave their narrative with practical and helpful advice, readers learn about dealing with Alzheimer’s day-to- day challenges: the family realities and tensions, ways of coping, coming research that may tip the scale, as well as lessons learned along the way.

At its heart, Before I Forget is a love story: illuminating a love of family, life, and hope.

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Slow Dancing With A Stranger by Meryl Comer

From Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist and leading Alzheimer’s advocate Meryl Comer comes a profoundly intimate and unflinching account of her husband’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, one of today’s most pressing – and least-understood – health epidemics. 100% of proceeds supports Alzheimer’s research.

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On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s by Greg O’Brien (Author), Lisa Genova (Foreword)

This is a book about living with Alzheimer’s, not dying with it. It is a book about hope, faith, and humor—a prescription far more powerful than the conventional medication available today to fight this disease.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.—and the only one of these diseases on the rise. More than 5 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia; about 35 million people worldwide.

Greg O’Brien, an award-winning investigative reporter, has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s and is one of those faceless numbers. Acting on long-term memory and skill coupled with well-developed journalistic grit, O’Brien decided to tackle the disease and his imminent decline by writing frankly about the journey. O’Brien is a master storyteller. His story is naked, wrenching, and soul searching for a generation and their loved ones about to cross the threshold of this death in slow motion. On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s is a trail-blazing roadmap for a generation—both a “how to” for fighting a disease, and a “how not” to give up!

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Surviving Alzheimer’s: Practical tips and soul-saving wisdom for caregivers by Paula Spencer Scott

What every family member of a loved one with dementia needs to know: How to help without sacrificing YOU. In Surviving Alzheimer’s you’ll find:

    • The best, most current thinking on how to enhance quality of life and safety while minimizing stress on everyone involved.
    • The “Why This, Try This” approach to understanding what’s behind odd, frustrating behaviors — and what you can do about them.
    • How to defuse resentment, guilt, anger, and family friction.
    • Lifesaving insights from a team of top dementia-care experts from geriatrics, psychiatry, social work, law, dementia therapy, and caregiver advocacy.
    • Stories and ideas from real families.

A fast, scannable format, unlike any other Alzheimer’s guide, perfect for the short-on-time caregiver.Advance praise: “Regular doses of Paula Spencer Scott’s supportive and instructive wisdom should be prescribed to every family member dealing with Alzheimer’s. Her why-this, try-this approach is a winner.” — Lisa P. Gwyther, MSW, LCSW, associate professor, Duke University School of Medicine, director of the Duke Family Support Program, and co-author, The Alzheimer’s Action Plan “Insightful and practical guidance for the millions of caregivers struggling to help their loved ones suffering from dementia.” — Gary Small, MD, director of the UCLA Longevity Center and co-author, The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program “Fantastic!” — Leeza Gibbons, television personality and founder, Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation

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Dementia Beyond Disease: Enhancing Well-Being by G Allen Power

From the internationally acclaimed author of the groundbreaking and award-winning book Dementia Beyond Drugs, comes another eye-opening exploration of how to improve the lives of people with dementia and those who care for them.

Focusing on seven essential domains of well-being, G. Allen Power, M.D., a board-certified geriatrician, challenges readers to evaluate their attitudes, expectations, and approaches and to embrace new ways of thinking that will lead to better solutions to problems encountered in all types of care settings.

Learn how to overturn the prevailing disease-based care practices by emphasizing well-being and the many ways it can be enhanced in people with dementia.

See how current care practices chronically erode individual well-being and then discover more dignified and strengths-based alternatives that build it up.

Inspiring and highly readable, this book boldly confronts widely accepted dementia care practices and presents approaches that promise a new and hopeful vision for achieving the best possible outcomes for every person touched by this debilitating disease.

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Dementia Beyond Drugs: Changing the Culture of Care by G. Power M.D.

Reducing the use of psychotropic drugs in the symptomatic treatment of dementia is key to successfully implementing compassionate, person-centered practices in your organization-and this book shows clearly why and how it can be done. The revised second edition of this award-winning resource introduces new research, language, and examples to reinforce the core message that antipsychotic medications are not the solution to ease the distress experienced by individuals living with dementia. Outlined here is the information and inspiration you need to provide alternative solutions for individualized support and care. IN THIS BOOK YOU’LL FIND: * enlightened models to reduce the use of harmful medications by understanding and addressing underlying causes of distress* a pathway to accomplish drug-reduction goals established by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)* discussions of new drug studies and government reports on the dangers and ineffectiveness of antipsychotic medications in the treatment of people with dementia* recognized best practices in dementia care and their transformational results* case studies, stories, and other educational tools illustrating positive outcomes for people living with dementia* ways to respond to anxiety and distress in people with dementia. An essential read for all professionals in long-term care, including administrators, medical directors, nursing staff, psychologists and counselors, social workers, and policy makers, the ideas presented here call for a revolution in dementia care-one that always puts the person first.

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Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

In Being Mortal, bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending
Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.

Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person’s last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.

Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.

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Untangling Alzheimer’s: The Guide for Families and Professionals (A Conversation in Caregiving) (Volume 1) by Tam Cummings PhD

A gerontologist explains dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, from diagnosis to death in terms family and professional caregivers can understand. The stages of dementia, the history of Alzheimer’s and the physiology of the disease are explained. Communication techniques, working with and tracking combative behaviors for the doctor are discussed, as well as techniques to address caregiver stress. Activities for person’s with dementia are offered. The progression of the disease with an emphasis on the A’s of Alzheimer’s are provided, giving caregivers a clear explanation of falls, loss of speech, movement and memory. Vignettes from case histories are used to illustrate key points in the book. A detailed and compassionate explanation of the end of life is presented for caregivers.

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This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin

What can music teach us about the brain? What can the brain teach us about music? And what can both teach us about ourselves?

In this groundbreaking union of art and science, rocker-turned-neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin (The World in Six Songs) and (The Organized Mind) explores the connection between music – its performance, its composition, how we listen to it, why we enjoy it – and the human brain. Drawing on the latest research and on musical examples ranging from Mozart to Duke Ellington to Van Halen, Levitin reveals:<

  • How composers produce some of the most pleasurable effects of listening to music by exploiting the way our brains make sense of the world
  • Why we are so emotionally attached to the music we listened to as teenagers, whether it was Fleetwood Mac, U2, or Dr. Dre
  • That practice, rather than talent, is the driving force behind musical expertise
  • How those insidious little jingles (called earworms) get stuck in our head

Taking on prominent thinkers who argue that music is nothing more than an evolutionary accident, Levitin poses that music is fundamental to our species, perhaps even more so than language. A Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist, This Is Your Brain on Music will attract readers of Oliver Sacks and David Byrne, as it is an unprecedented, eye-opening investigation into an obsession at the heart of human nature.

From Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist and leading Alzheimer’s advocate Meryl Comer comes a profoundly intimate and unflinching account of her husband’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, one of today’s most pressing – and least-understood – health epidemics. 100% of proceeds supports Alzheimer’s research.

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The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature by Daniel J. Levitin

The author of the New York Times bestseller This Is Your Brain on Music reveals music’s role in the evolution of human culture-and “will leave you awestruck” (The New York Times)

Daniel J. Levitin’s astounding debut bestseller, This Is Your Brain on Music, enthralled and delighted readers as it transformed our understanding of how music gets in our heads and stays there. Now in his second New York Times bestseller, his genius for combining science and art reveals how music shaped humanity across cultures and throughout history.

Dr. Levitin identifies six fundamental song functions or types-friendship, joy, comfort, religion, knowledge, and love-then shows how each in its own way has enabled the social bonding necessary for human culture and society to evolve. He shows, in effect, how these “six songs” work in our brains to preserve the emotional history of our lives and species.

Dr. Levitin combines cutting-edge scientific research from his music cognition lab at McGill University and work in an array of related fields; his own sometimes hilarious experiences in the music business; and illuminating interviews with musicians such as Sting and David Byrne, as well as conductors, anthropologists, and evolutionary biologists. The World in Six Songs is, ultimately, a revolution in our understanding of how human nature evolved-right up to the iPod.

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Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, Revised and Expanded Edition by Oliver Sacks

With the same trademark compassion and erudition he brought to The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks explores the place music occupies in the brain and how it affects the human condition. In Musicophilia, he shows us a variety of what he calls “musical misalignments.” Among them: a man struck by lightning who suddenly desires to become a pianist at the age of forty-two; an entire group of children with Williams syndrome, who are hypermusical from birth; people with “amusia,” to whom a symphony sounds like the clattering of pots and pans; and a man whose memory spans only seven seconds-for everything but music. Illuminating, inspiring, and utterly unforgettable, Musicophilia is Oliver Sacks’ latest masterpiece.

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