On the shelf: ‘The Alzheimer’s Family: Helping Caregivers Cope’ by Robert B. Santulli

alzheimers-familyBy Lisa Boss, Main Library 
Many of us are close to a friend or relative with Alzheimer’s these days, and over the years, as my relative’s spouse has gone from “mild cognitive impairment”, to a more drastic descent through the middle stages of AD, I’ve become more concerned and worried. What exactly is happening, and why?

I liked the tone and the way Dr. Santulli presented the information in this book. It fel like a compassionate, wise friend/expert was there to help chart a course in frightening waters. A geriatric psychiatrist, and Director of the Dartmouth Memory Clinic, he’s distilled over 20 years of specialization in treating Alzheimer’s patients into his guide. He explains how the different symptoms are tied to physical pathology, and thus certain strategies will be more effective in each case.

The Forgetting: Alzheimer’s: Portrait of an Epidemic by David Shenk is another book I found helpful, as was The Last of His Mind: A Year in the Shadow of Alzheimer’s by John Thorndyke. Olivia Hoblitzelle’s memoir, Ten Thousand Joys and Ten Thousand Sorrows: A Couple’s Journey Tlast-of-his-mindhrough Alzheimer’s is one not to be missed, applying a culturally different understanding of illness, through Tibetan Buddhism. Each loved one, their support system and disease manifestation, will be unique, so it’s natural that some writers will resonate more, and a wide choice of knowledgeable authors is preferable.

ten-thousand-joys-sorrows-book-coverAs I often read, “when you’ve met one person with Alzheimer’s, you’ve met one person with Alzheimer’s”, and that is probably true for most medical and mental health conditions. With Grand Rapids Public Library’s large and in-depth medical and caregiver collections, there will be sure to be ones that speak to you, if or when needed.