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I always say I find everything good on Twitter. Over the past few months, The Dawn Method showed up in my cross hairs.
Last week, on a whim, I saw a post on Twitter – and I decided to buy their book on Kindle, The Dementia Handbook: How to Provide Dementia Care at Home, written by Judy Cornish.
This book is a fast read. I read it in just a little over an hour from cover to cover (which I did over the span of two sittings).
To begin, Judy lays out the basic facts about dementia. If you don’t currently know someone living with dementia, the chances are high that fairly soon, someone you know will be affected by it. Contrary to popular belief, all people aren’t able to be cared for in a residential facility. Nor is that is necessarily ‘best practice.’ So to survive dementia, we have to learn how it affects people and how we can adapt to help them live their best life.
Judy explains how the dementia brain works and the changes that take place when someone is affected by dementia. She covers what people lose (memory, skills), but she also underlines what they keep (the ability to enjoy beauty and live in the moment).
Judy gives a broad overview of what person-centered care for a person with dementia looks like. She shares the key elements of care that can enhance what people keep when their brains and bodies are changing. Then she goes on to give more specific strategies for helping an aging loved one with dementia age in place at home.
She covers a ton of topics, from helping with daily activities and recreation to ensuring safety and feelings of security. She offers advice and tips for everyday life: grocery shopping, finding misplaced items, and communicating with other people.
At the end, Judy shares the rationale for caring for loved ones with a form of dementia at home. I rejoiced when I got to this section. Judy confirmed and validated the values and beliefs that I have come to embrace over the years. She challenges the commonly held misconceptions around elder care in our country. It’s a fact. The current system of long term care is not practical. It is out of reach for many families. But even more than that, supporting our loved ones and aging community members is the compassionate thing to do. After a life of giving back to our communities and taking care of us, it’s time we honor our elders’ choices and rights.
This book helped me realize I was on the right track. It gave me some very smart strategies to act on. More importantly, it helped me understand some of the things that I have been doing that weren’t necessarily therapeutic for either of us.
I’m so glad I found this book. I will be telling everyone about it. Even as I read it, I found myself screen-shotting pages to share with my grandma’s ‘helpers’ to help them grasp my vision for supporting my grandma and reinforce things I’ve been saying all along.
Who should read this book? Anyone who
- has a loved one who is getting older,
- works in the health care field,
- family caregivers affected by dementia (or not).
The tips and strategies in this book can be used to support anyone who is aging or has a disability.
Get your copy of The Dementia Handbook: How to Provide Dementia Care at Home on Amazon. I bought the Kindle version, but it is also available as a paperback.