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Suggested Reading
There are plenty of books about aging and ElderCare, and more new titles crowd the bookshelves daily as authors discover the caregiver market. Unfortunately, not all writers are knowledgeable about these topics, other than superficially. The books listed here are those I believe are written by authors who are experts in their fields. I have found these books helpful. Those that are starred ** are highly recommended reading for most caregivers.
     When you choose books not on my recommended list, I suggest that you look up the author's background and check for education and experience in the field of ElderCare, gerontology, aging, or caregiving. One person's experience with their parents does not an expert make!
     If you discover a book that is helpful to you, please send me the name and a brief description. I'll post it here so other caregivers do not have to spend as much time researching. Thanks!
     Books are arranged in categories beginning with general aging information, legacies, death & dying, Alzheimer's, and others.

GENERAL
Being Mortal: Medicine and What matters in the End, Atul Gawande. M.D.
    In the summer of 2015, this book was chosen for the Dallas Morning News Points Summer Book Club. (www.dallasnews.com/bookclub)   This is one of the best books I've read in several years. Dr. Gawande is a surgeon. He describes how medical school training does not cover the process of dying in human terms. Doctors are trained to keep patients alive rather than help them make decisions about their death. The scope of this book is broad; I've written about his discussion about the history of Assisted Living in an eLetter. He discusses his own father's failing health and determination to remain in control even during the dying process.  read more ...
Boundaries, Cloud & Townsend,
How to set limits. This is highly recommended for those who are having difficulty saying NO to mom, and caregivers who are burning out because they are trying to do it all.   
My Mother, Your Mother: Embracing “Slow Medicine”
 The Compassionate Approach to Caring for Aging Loved Ones by Dennis McCullough, MD   Published 2008 Reviewed by Angela Thomas, RN, MSN, GCM
    The subtitle of this book gives much illumination as to its content however when you realize that the “My Mother” in the title raised one of America’s most experienced and respected geriatricians it is time to sit up and listen.  Dennis McCullough has written a compelling and compassionate story drawn from not only from his extensive professional experiences but his very personal journey of caring for his own mother.  His honesty about the challenges and realities of aging for the individual as well as for all those who love and care for them is refreshing and yet he equally shares the positive benefits and blessings of the journey. read more ...
Coping in New Territory: a Guide for Children of Aging Parents, S. Roberts (2004)
This is a quick read with some solid information about ElderCare, and how to take care of yourself in the process.  
Ethical Wills , by Barry K. Baines
This book is a guide to the process of writing and sharing an ethical will, a document designed to preserve a lasting legacy of your most cherished personal values.  An ethical will bequeaths values, ideas, and personal reflections to family members and other loved ones.   
 read more ...
How to Care for Aging Parents
A One-Stop Resource for All Your Medical, Financial, Housing, and Emotional Issues, by Virginia Morris, 3rd edition.This is the book I chose to use as a text when I taught a course in Caregiving at Southwestern Medical School. It has an introduction by Robert Butler. It covers practical topics such as finding a doctor, getting a POA, and redefining parent-child roles. There are new sections on ‘aging in place’ technology, and worksheets to help caregivers keep track of medications and schedules. From the publisher, Workman Publishing, single copies are $18.95; on Amazon it is $14.12, and there is a Kindle edition.  
Stages of Senior Care: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Making the Best Decisions
by Paul & Lori Hogan
   This book will be helpful to those providing care to older adults across a wide spectrum of needs. It is a basic caregiving guide that could ease the burden of care for many years and in many differing care situations. The authors had previously developed a concept called the ‘40-70 Rule’ a guide to how to start the conversation about future care needs.   
   After initial introductory chapters, the book begins with a chapter set at the beginning of the caregiving journey with the care receiver living independently in the community. There are suggestions about how to make the environment safer and guidelines about the costs of these safety measures, and a discussion about the pros and cons of remaining in one’s home. At the end of the chapter there are valuable online resources.
 read more ...
It Shouldn’t Be This Way: the failure of long term care by Robert Kane, M.D. & Joan West.
    Dr. Kane is a nationally known geriatrician who specializes in studying the delivery of long term care services. You would think he would be able to insure the very best care for his own mother. However, when his mother suffered a stroke in 1999, Dr. Jane and his sister Joan West experienced the same frustrations common to most adult children who are providing care for frail parents. They label the long term care system in the U.S. a “national disgrace.”  read more ...
My Mother's Hip, Margolies. Review by Kay Paggi
Margolies is a professional writer, anthropologist, experienced observer and researcher; all of her professional abilities are used in this masterfully crafted book. What makes this book remarkable is Margolies’ exhaustive research into the American medical system, as it concerns patients in later life. The picture she draws is of a system that is out of control and probably unfixable.
     Margolies became an active caregiver when her mother broke both hips; she also assumed care for her father, who had a severe heart condition and declining cognitive function. The book alternates between narrative chapters describing events chronologically and chapters detailing statistics describing the chaotic system of elderly patient treatment common in the United States today.      read more ...
NOTES FROM THE WAITING ROOM
Managing a Loved one’s End-of-Life Hospitalization, by Bart Windrum
      The author’s parents both died in a hospital, unexpectedly, at separate times. The first chapters of this book are a rant by an angry adult child. By the end of the book, he channeled his frustration into productive ideas that may improve the quality of ANY hospital experience for readers, not just end-of-life. 
   50% of Americans die in the hospital
· The patient/family should be the unit of care during a hospitalization, but usually it is not
· Time-based trial – time allowed for a specified medical treatment that has been agreed upon before it is implemented. If it does not work, it is stopped.
· Families are not informed of alternative care options read more ...
When Mom and Dad Grow Old
Step-by Step Planning for Families and Caregivers, Helen West-Rodriquez and Carolyn Dennis, $22.95, available online at www.amazon.com and at the First Unitarian Church of Dallas bookstore. This helpful book has check lists and blank pages for planning ahead. 
Elder Rage – or – Take my Father…Please!, Jacqueline Marcell
 A manual for dealing with uncooperative, manipulative, difficult older parents. http://www.elderrage.com 
Love you Forever, Munsch
My daughter brought this book home from kindergarten and read it to me. She was dumbfounded when I burst into tears. This is possibly the most beautiful story about caring I've ever read. I read it to my my caregiving classes. http://www.rogerknapp.com/inspire/loveforever.htm 

HEIRLOOMS & LEGACIES
     These books are mostly blank with illustrated pages. They are meant to be an heirloom, memories of one generation passed on to the next. Each page prompts a particular memory, such as early childhood toys and friends, elementary school, first loves, early marriage, and others.
    One of my favorite clients completed a book for her first grandchild. Later she developed dementia and lost many of her memories, in the late stages, she lost even her early memories. Her family and caregivers made copies of the book and read pages to her. It was remarkable to see her face light up as her forgotten childhood memories were brought back to her.
    I gave a similar book to my mother for Mother's Day. After she died, I found it, still blank, in a drawer. I have been given several of these books, and all of mine remain empty, too. I suggest that YOU, the caregiver and adult child, buy a book for yourself. Keep it with you, and take it with you when you visit. Ask about a topic on one of the pages, and write the replies. In this way, you will not risk having an empty book of memories. 

     Look for these and other similar books on Amazon, or in the children's sections of book stores.
Something to Remember Me By: A Story About Love & Legaciesby Susan Bosak and Laurie McGaw
Grandmother's Memories To Her Grandchild, T. Kinkade
Grandmother Remembers: an Heirloom for my Grandchild, Levy
Grandmother Remembers Songbook,  J. Levy and J. Pelikan.

TERMINAL ILLNESS & DYING
How We Die: Reflections of Life's Final Chapter, Dr. Sherwin Nuland
  Dr. Sherwin Nuland wrote this book in 1994 in an attempt to demythologize death and make end-of-life care more rational; tt became a best seller. The book bluntly details what happens physically when the body dies. It won the National Book Award and spurred many conversations about how to make the dying experience more humane. Although Dr. Nuland died recently, his book lives on.  The Amazon review says “How We Die has become the definitive text on perhaps the single most universal human concern: death.  This new edition includes an all-embracing and incisive afterword that examines the current state of health care and our relationship with life as it approaches its terminus.  It also discusses how we can take control of our own final days and those of our loved ones.” It costs $9.68 for the paperback, and can be downloaded with Audible.com
The Grief Recovery Handbook
The Action Program for Moving beyond Death, Divorce and Other Losses, John James & Russell Friedman
    Grief is the range of emotions people feel when they experience a loss. Common responses to loss include reduced concentration, a sense of numbness, disrupted sleep, a change in eating habits, emotional highs and lows. People in our culture are ill-prepared to deal with the grief that follows loss. Our society perpetuates incorrect ideas about grief:
‘Don’t feel bad’
'Big boys don’t cry'
Replace the loss
‘Grieve alone’
‘Just give it time’ 
Be strong for others; don’t let others see you grieve
Keep busy  read more ...
A Death Prolonged, Jeff Gordon, M.D.
A story that attacks end-of-life myths which cause needless suffering and financial waste. The small book attempts to answers real life issues that code status (DNR), living wills, and the excessive costs of terminal illnesses that lead to more fruitless suffering by dying patients.   http://www.adeathprolonged.com 
Hard Choices for Loving People, Hank Dunn
 Whether the decision is about CPR, artificial feeding tubes, hospice, living wills, nursing home placement, ventilators or dialysis, these decisions can be difficult. This book gives families hard information and some guidance about related topics like bioethics, death and dying, and the emotional and spiritual issues surrounding the end of life. http://www.hardchoices.com/about_hc.html  
Talking about Death Won’t Kill You, Virginia Morris
This book is about what happens when someone is close to death. Often directives of older adults are ignored, sometimes due to a misunderstanding of what ‘extraordinary measures’ means. This is a clear eyed look at the implications of care in near death situations.  
Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom
Also available in audiobook and on video with Jack Lemmon. Highly recommended, interviews with a dying man about what is truly important. 
The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, by Lee Buscaglia
A beautiful little book to read to children about death, and also a comforting book for caregivers for frail and elderly. The story normalizes the experience of death as one that should not be frightening but one that is expected and honorable. 
Time Remembered: a journal for survivors, Grollman
As the title implies, this is a book for journaling feelings and memories as the survivor processes the loss of a loved one.  
DEMENTIA & ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE

    Dementia has at least 100 different causes. Alzheimer's is only one of the dementias. Most are very similiar in the way they progress. Reading about Alzheimer's is a good way to prepare yourself to be a better caregiver for care receivers with other forms of dementia.

The 36 Hour Day, N. Mace & P. Rabins

Now in the 4th edition. Thank goodness for this book that helps thousands of bewildered caregivers find their way through the mysterious disease that is Alzheimer's. This book is REQUIRED reading for every dementia  caregiver. My father was diagnosed with "old Timer's disease" in 1983. I'd never heard of it, and neither had anyone I spoke with about it. This book was already there and waiting for me, to let me know that what my dad and I experienced was not unique, and offer insights in how to cope.  

 
The Caregiver's Path to Compassionate Decision Making: Making Choices for Those Who Can't
, Viki Kind. 

This is a terrific book. All families who are struggling with when and how to make decisions for their care receivers who have diminished capacity will find this book helpful. I highly recommend it. It won the 2011 Caregiver Friendly award, and received 5 stars from the National Book Critic. The reviews on Amazon are terrific. Order at most books stores, available in Kindle and Nook editions. Price for the book is $14.95, ISBN: 978-60832-014-7.   Visit www.TheCaregiversPath.com or www.KindEthics.com.

 
Turn of Mind, Alice LaPlante
A stunning first novel, both literary and thriller, about a retired orthopedic surgeon with dementia, Turn of Mind has already received worldwide attention. With unmatched patience and a pulsating intensity, Alice LaPlante brings us deep into a brilliant woman’s deteriorating mind, where the impossibility of recognizing reality can be both a blessing and a curse. 
Coping with Alzheimers, Rose Oliver & F. Bock

A guide to coping with dementia behaviors. When someone you loved has been diagnosed with dementia, one of the facts is that at some point this wonderful person will make poor decisions and probably display some negative behaviors. If dad pees on the potted plants and you are horrified, who is being irrational? When you know that dad is going to do something awkward and you are the one who is upset, then you are the one who needs to sit back and re-consider your reactions. This book helps you anticipate and change your reactions to normal dementia behaviors.

 
The Common Sense Guide to Dementia for Clinicians and Caregivers
by Anne Lipton and Cindy Marshall (published 11/12)   Review by Kay Paggi
    Dr. Lipton is a neurologist who practiced in the Dallas area for several years, specializing in dementia and behavioral disturbances. She trained at UTSW, and co-wrote The Dementias: Diagnosis, Treatment and Research with Myron Weiner. She specializes in. Dr. Lipton has moved out of the country but retains her interest in dementia and helping caregivers care for themselves as well as their care receivers. While in Dallas she officed with Dr. Marshall, a gero-psychiatrist. Dr. Marshall practices at the Baylor Neuroscience Center, 9101 N Central Expy, Suite 400, Dallas, TX 75231. read more ...
Creating Moments of Joy, Jolene Brackey
 Jolene Brackey has been an activity director in special care facilities for dementia for her entire career. This book is written out of her experiences with those residents. This book has much to offer caregivers caring for loved ones whose impairments are less progressed. I highly recommend it. Here are some of her insights into caring for a person with dementia. read more ...
A Caregiver’s Guide to Alzheimer’s Disease
Tips for Making Life Easier, Patricia Callone, Barbara Vasiloff, Roger Brumback, and Janaan Manternach  (Paperback - Dec 28, 2005)
     This book was recommended by Natalie Davis, who instructs activity director certification courses. Nat’s father recently died of Alzheimer’s disease. This is a short book, easily read, and well worth reading. read more ...
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Review by Linda Medlen
       This was a wonderful novel and a fast read. It was full of insights into the world of someone with Alzheimer’s and the fears and frustrations that they and their family experience. I wish I had read this before my mom’s diagnosis, because of the many insights that would have helped me understand what she was going through on many levels. I had several friends tell me they had read the book and enjoyed it. Anyone could read and enjoy the book, whether they experience Dementia personally.  I’m amazed how many people I know who are having it touch their lives with our aging population. read more ...
Aging with Grace
What the Nun Study is teaching us about leading longer, healthier, and more meaningful lives, by David Snowdon. This book is about the famous ongoing study of nuns. It makes fascinating reading. Some of them show plaques and tangles in their brains at autopsy, indicating they had Alzheimer's disease. Many of these nuns showed no symptoms of cognitive impairment during their later years. Is it possible that they somehow re-wired their brains to make alternate pathways for nerve signals? 
The Complete Guide to Alzheimer's-Proofing Your Home
Mark Warner. Loving care at home is difficult to accomplish.  Warner's thoughtful book aims to help by showing how to make a home more   navigable, comfortable, and just plain livable for the Alzheimer's patient. http://alzstore.com/Alzheimers/the-complete-guide-to-alzheimers-proofing-your-home.htm 
Living in the Labyrinth, D. McGowin
This is the first book written by a patient with Alzheimer's. A look into the disease  from the insider's view.  
HUMOR & READING ALOUD

Forever Fifty,   Suddenly 60,  I'm Too Young To Be Seventy: And Other Delusions, by Judith Viorst.  I love these witty poems about turning thirty, forty, fifty, and sixty. Now there is a new volume for the woman who deeply believes she is too young to be seventy, "too young in my heart and my soul, if not in my thighs." Viorst explores the state of our sex lives and teeth, how we can stay married though thermostatically incompatible, and the joys of grandparenthood and shopping. She makes a few helpful suggestions to her kids because "they may be middle aged, but they're still my children." Viorst’s poems are full of the pleasures of life right now, helping us come to terms with the passage of time, encouraging us to keep trying to fix the world, and inviting us to consider "drinking wine, making love, laughing hard, caring hard, and learning a new trick or two as part of our job description at seventy."   I'm Too Young to Be Seventy is a joy to read and makes a heartwarming gift. http://books.simonandschuster.com/I%27m-Too-Young-To-Be-Seventy/Judith-Viorst/9780743267748

**My Middle-Aged Baby Book: A Place to Write Down All the Things You'll Soon Forget, Mary-Lou Weisman. One of my favorite books and a great gift for friends on their birthdays.  It has recently been re-published, thank goodness. Get your copy and laugh.

**Chicken Soup for the Soul,Canfield, J & Hansen, This original book and the succeeding ones are Great for reading aloud together.

 

OTHER RECOMMENDED READING

Other Recommended Reading - Monday, August 24, 2015
Berman, Phillip & C. Goldman, The Ageless Spirit: reflections on living life to the fullest in our later years,   Vignettes about aging written by celebrities. 

Lebow, G, Coping with Your Difficult Older Parent, G. Lebow, & B. Kane read more ...
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