Jul 13, 2014

A Pocket Guide for the Alzheimer's Caregiver

Danny, as he is known to most of us, is a noted neurologist, author, educator, and champion of those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

By Lynda Everman
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Dear Friends,

I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you about a book which I feel should be on every Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiver’s nightstand. It is A Pocket Guide for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver by Dr. Daniel C. Potts and Ellen Woodward Potts.

Danny, as he is known to most of us, is a noted neurologist, author, educator, and champion of those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. He also graciously serves as Medical Advisor to our ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s network.

Ellen, a founding member of WomenAgainstAlzheimer's, has over 25 years experience in healthcare management and teaches at the University of Alabama.

Together they have had 8 close relatives with dementia for whom their immediate families provided care.

Together Danny and Ellen offer clear, concise, practical, and most importantly, compassionate information and advice to help care for and improve the lives of patients with Alzheimer’s and those who care for them.

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Their book is divided into two sections - the first with discussions of common issues and problems, and the second with an alphabetical quick reference of problems and listed responses. This is a perfect format for the often weary and distraught caregiver who has many concerns and little time.

The authors affirm that Alzheimer’s disease does not affect a person’s soul and their goal is to provide the caregiver with suggestions for validating, person-centered, dignifying care.

And, while championing the individual with Alzheimer’s, Danny and Ellen also offer loving support for the caregiver. We are reminded time and again that “caregiving is a marathon, not a sprint” and urged to do the best we can under very difficult circumstances, while allowing ourselves to forgive and love ourselves as well.

What struck me about the book is how Danny and Ellen managed to separate the atrocities of the disease from the individual who had the disease. It made the manifestations, the behaviors, and the challenges less terrifying. I say this as someone who experienced almost everything that was described in their book.

Yes, the disease is awful, but the person is sacred and love always triumphs. And being armed with information eases our journey and prepares us for the inevitable decisions we will need to make.

This is a book to be read and returned to for advice and guidance and affirmation to reinforce that even when we think we could have done better, we have done our best.
*Lynda Everman is an Alzheimer's Advocate,  member of ClergyAgainstAlzheimer’s, and working hard to Help Stamp OUT Alzheimer’s.
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Original content the Alzheimer's Reading Room