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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.
    This book bridges the gap between clinical, medically worded, technical books written for practitioners and researchers and the caregivers who care for loved ones with dementia. It has a tremendous amount of information that is immediately useful to caregivers, as well as information for physicians who are not geriatric specialists. The book has many ‘Common Sense Rules’ in bold type, such as “Complete all necessary forms and makes copies for yourself’. What a great bit of practical advice – keep copies, so you know what you told a new physician and when.
    The book has sections on herbals and supplements, and reminds caregivers to include these on the medication list that is taken to the doctor at every appointment. These all have potential side effects and may interact with prescription medications. There is a sample of a medication list. The authors suggest bringing a written list of the top 3 concerns/questions to physician appointments.
    There is a wonderful chapter on caring for the caregiver, and another titled ‘The 7 Common Senses of Dementia Care’. One of these is ‘Preserving Safety and Sanity.’ They advise that if you are worried about your care receiver’s ability to drive, cook, drink, then they probably should not do it. The primary caregiver has been shown to be the best judge of what the person with dementia is capable of doing safely. There are frequent reminders to not argue with the dementia patient, as it is frustrating to both of you, and futile.
    The book includes information about the medications currently used to treat the symptoms of dementia, and when they might be stopped. This is followed by information on behavioral interventions that may be more effective than pharmacological ones. Various levels of care are thoroughly discussed, from at home assistance through nursing care and hospice.
    Each chapter ends with a list of websites that deal with the topic.
    This book is highly recommended for caregivers, remote family, physicians, therapists, and everyone else who may be part of the support network for a person with dementia. It’s easily read and well organized. It is available on Amazon.com for $39.95.
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