Best Books on Dementia

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In this article, we have reviewed the best books on dementia. If you are in a hurry, the table below gives a quick snapshot of the top ones.

Alternate Perspective
The End of Alzheimer's: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline
Dale E. Bredesen
What's great?
Offers ways to prevent & possibly reverse dementia through lifesyle changes
What you should keep in mind?
Not a book for dementia caregiving
Alternate Perspective
The End of Alzheimer's: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline
Dale E. Bredesen
What's great?
Offers ways to prevent & possibly reverse dementia through lifesyle changes
What you should keep in mind?
Not a book for dementia caregiving

Dementia is a chronic and progressive condition that causes a steady decline in cognitive function. Someone in the world develops dementia every 3 seconds[1].

People afflicted with dementia may find it increasingly difficult to remember, comprehend, calculate, speak, read, or write. In its terminal stage, the patient may lose a sense of time and place. A door lock and door alarm are quite helpful as of this stage. It is a disease that is very hard on the patient as well as on the caregiver. Dementia is a leading cause of elderly disability across the world.

Top Books about Dementia

There is no known treatment for dementia. Once it sets in, its progress cannot be halted. However, support and care can be offered to dementia patients to improve their quality of life.

More often than not, the conditions of dementia can be managed to a certain extent, and reasonable well-being can be ensured with proper care by friends and family.

For caregivers to be able to offer the right support to dementia patients, they need to gain a comprehensive understanding of the disease and its progression. One way of doing this is to read books authored by eminent professionals on dementia and its care.

Our Top Choice – The 36-hour Day: A Family Guide

The is our top choice for books on dementia, for the following reasons:

  1. The book is authored by very experienced people, and published by Johns Hopkins University Press
  2. It is expansive and covers almost every aspect of dementia caregiving
  3. The book first published 35 years ago, is in its 6th edition
  4. It has received excellent reviews by experts and reputed publications

Top 5 Books on Dementia

#1 The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide

This book is a masterpiece published by the very reputed Johns Hopkins University Press, which is associated with a leading healthcare research university of the same name.

Features and Benefits

This comprehensive book on dementia care is authored by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins. Mace is an authority on dementia, having served on the board of the Alzheimer’s Association and has been a consultant to the US Congress.

Rabins is an academic teaching Alzheimer’s and related diseases at Johns Hopkins University. The book empathizes with the highly demanding life of dementia caregivers, who often do not find 24 hours sufficient to perform all their tasks.

The book, which has seen 5 previous editions is an encyclopedia for families who care for Alzheimer’s patients. From taking about behavioral & psychiatric symptoms to strategies for delaying their progression, the book offers several easy takeaways based on thorough research on the disease and its associated conditions.

‘The 36-Hour Day’ also covers the several technological interventions available today to make patients’ lives simpler. It also explains the recent changes in medical and health insurance laws, banking practices to accommodate changes in cognitive ability, and legal & ethical issues surrounding the disease.

The book explains residential, palliative, and hospice care of dementia patients, and covers the aspect of support groups.  The 530-page book which was first published over 35 years ago, is invaluable for any person caring for a dementia patient.

Several reputed publications and industry association-including the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Journal of the American Medical Association-have commended the book for its quality and depth of information.

The book has garnered superlative reviews from readers, who have likened it to the Bible, owing to the vast information it provides on every aspect of handling the disease. Some users gained a lot of value from the learning that Alzheimer patients can maintain enough social skills to prevent outsiders from noticing the illness.

However, please be informed that the book is not a light read.

Why should you buy it?

This book empowers families & friends of dementia patients with practical and relevant advice to substantially improve the quality of life of dementia patients. It is a quintessential resource for dementia caregivers.

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#2 The Caregiver’s Guide to Dementia

This reassuring book, written by a registered nurse with over 40 years of experience, is a handy guide for any dementia caregiver.

The Caregiver's Guide to Dementia

Features and Benefits

The author, Gail Weatherill has been a specialist at caring for dementia patients for over a decade and has brought to light her experiences and learning through this thoughtful 186-page book.

Gail strongly feels that caregivers are best placed to handle patients and empowers them to make the right decisions through her advice.

The book articulates the various forms of dementia that can afflict senior citizens, and how simple relaxation and mindfulness techniques can help caregivers perform better.

From financial planning to safety tips, the book has questions one must ask of lawyers, service providers, and healthcare professionals.

The book has several “What to say”, “What to ask” and “What to do” sections, which have been reported by readers to be highly practical. Also, there are situational story scenarios at the beginning of the chapters, which provide good context and framework.

There is also a “How are you doing?” section at the end of every chapter that serves as a source of encouragement, empathy, and reassurance for caregivers. The quality of the book may be judged by the words of praise it has received from several eminent psychologists, neurologists, dementia activists & coaches.

Despite its brevity, it is quite comprehensive. The book covers almost all aspects of dementia caregiving, including daily activities, meals, doctor appointments, medications, physical activity, legal matters, and nursing care.

Readers have also found it very soothing that the book reminds them to take care of themselves too while attending to patients.

Why should you buy it?

This book is highly practical, very well written, and is easy for anyone without medical experience to understand.

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#3 The End of Alzheimer’s

The groundbreaking book by Dale Bredesen is supposedly based on clinical trials conducted by medical doctor.

The End of Alzheimer's

Features and Benefits

Dale Bredesen is a globally acclaimed expert in neurodegenerative diseases like dementia. He was the chief neurology resident at the University of California, San Francisco.

In this book, the author highlights the role of a healthy lifestyle and nutrition in limiting and controlling the incidence of dementia.

Unlike the other books reviewed, this one does not offer tips to caregivers on caring for dementia patients but offers holistic advice on preventing and reversing Alzheimer’s. Since 2014, Bredesen has conducted clinical trials on 200 patients and has recorded the findings in research papers.

The author hypothesizes that Alzheimer’s is a combination of 3 medical conditions, and outlines 36 metabolic factors which may lead to its incidence. These include micronutrients, sleep, and hormone levels.

The book gives readers a step-by-step process to maintain a healthy balance of these triggering factors. From daily dietary and schedule changes to physical exercise, the book suggests many small modifications to your life that may in the long run prevent the onset of brain degeneration.

Bredesen asks people to avoid consuming gluten and emphasizes eating meat coming only from grass-fed animals or wild-caught fish, in order to avoid contamination associated with harvesting processes. Another thing the book advises is the avoidance of GMO and processed foods.

They are some drawbacks reported by readers. First, some readers have found parts of the book to be technical, requiring the support of a medical professional to implement the “Bredesen Protocol”.

Secondly, it recommends extensive blood tests on the patients, which not many doctors usually prescribe. However, a few readers have also reported a remarkable recovery in Alzheimer’s patients by following the advice prescribed in the book religiously.

Why should you buy it?

This book is one of the very few to claim that Alzheimer’s can be reversed. It gives hope to the families and friends of those suffering from the disease that all is not lost.

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#4 When Someone You Know Is Living in a Dementia Care Community

This book by Rachael Wonderlin is a guide to family and friends to deal with having a loved one in dementia care.

When Someone You Know Is Living in a Dementia Care Community

Features and Benefits

The author has an MS degree in the field of gerontology which she has taken from North Carolina Greensboro- University.  Also, she authored this book based on her personal experiences and the latest research in the areas of dementia and gerontology.

The illustrated book is published by the reputed Johns Hopkins University Press and covers the various aspects of admitting someone into a dementia care community.

Wonderlin implores readers to not think that they have taken the easy way out since putting someone in a facility comes with its own set of challenges.

The author starts the book with a section titled “16 things I would want if I got dementia”, where she puts herself in the shoes of a reader. The style of writing is simple and entertaining and encourages creative approaches to interacting with dementia patients.

The book very sympathetically talks about the guilt and worry families face when caring for a patient. Also mentioned are the various types of care communities available for such patients.

It talks about the entire gamut of problems that may arise from placing someone in a dementia care community: how to choose the best community, how to improve the quality of visits, how to handle conflicts arising between residents or between residents and staff, etc.

Users have felt that though not very comprehensive, the book contains all essential information, making it a very realistic and essential book. 90% of customers have given it a 5-star rating, making it one of the very few books falling in such a bracket.

Why should you buy it?

This 224-page book is an easy-to-understand quick read that helps family and friends of dementia patients. The publisher is highly reputed and the author is an expert in gerontology.

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#5 Alzheimer’s Through the Stages

This book authored by Mary Moller is a guide to performing daily care for advanced stages of dementia

Alzheimer's Through the Stages

Features and Benefits

Mary Moller has been assisting dementia caregivers for over 15 years and guiding them through their difficult tasks. She currently works at the Albany Med’s Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Her book comprises various aspects of caring for dementia patients, the challenges caregivers confront, why and when they happen, and how to successfully handle them.

The book is divided into three sections. The first talks about the disease itself, taking readers through the 7 stages of dementia, explaining to them what is happening to the patient and how they must respond. The second covers the early and middle stages of the disease, and the third section covers the final stages of the disease.

In each of these sections, there is expansive advice on handling day-to-day caregiving activities. It even carries sample dialogues for easy reference.

While detailing the steps to be taken while caring for a patient, it also devotes enough attention to the carer’s well-being. The book is supportive, inspiring, and reassuring to readers.

The chapters are well organized and the language is clear. Readers have remarked that the book is divided into easy-to-read sections, with bullet-pointed advice on what caregivers may expect and need to do.

Why should you buy it?

This book focuses on handling various stages of dementia and comes with relevant situational references and sample dialogues.

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What should you look for in a book for dementia?

The objective and intended audience

There are various books on dementia directed at various objectives. While some books detail the disease and its progression, some others act as guides for caregivers to manage patients.

There are also books that advise on ways to slow the progression or reverse the effects of dementia through holistic living and lifestyle changes.

Yet other books focus on the process of putting a patient in a dementia care facility. It is therefore very important to identify the purpose of the book and the person it is intended for.

The author

Publishing a book has become relatively easy these days. Hence, care must be taken to ensure the book is written by a competent author, who specializes in dementia care.

Authors of books on dementia are usually gerontologists, registered nurses with a long history of working with dementia patients, neurologists, psychiatrists, or researchers studying the degeneration of the brain.

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The publisher

Sometimes, books are written by relatively unknown authors. In such cases, a factor that can help gauge the quality of the book is the publisher.

Publishers like Johns Hopkins University Press are very reputed and have a history of strong medical research, and any books they publish would have gone through several stages of review.

Reviews and accolades

Another way to judge a book is by the quality of reviews on it. A book of high quality usually carries several reviews and accolades by various stakeholders, like newspapers, researchers, medical experts, etc.

Most books generally highlight good reviews and accolades received from eminent personalities in related fields.

The language

It is also very important to consider the language used in the books. A book that is too technical will be very difficult to consume. The contents should be simple enough for readers from non-medical backgrounds to understand, while not compromising on the depth of information conveyed.

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Frequently asked questions: Books on Dementia

Why do we need books on dementia?

Dementia is a complicated ailment that manifests differently in each patient. This putting enormous strain not only on the patients themselves but also leaves their friends and family highly stressed.

More often than not, the loved ones of dementia patients lack a proper understanding of the disease, and this makes it very difficult for them to interact well with the patients.

Books on dementia hence become quintessential for the caregivers to grasp the various aspects of the ailment.

Who needs to read books on dementia?

It is often the loved ones of dementia patients who go through enormous suffering while living with them.

While on the one hand there is the physical stress of having to care for the patients, there is also the mental stress of not being able to understand or interact with them appropriately. Books on dementia hence come in handy for family and friends of patients.

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What do books on dementia talk about?

Books on dementia are often authored by healthcare experts with extensive experience in dealing with dementia patients.

Most books are available in the market talk about how to properly take care of dementia patients. That said, there are very few ones that also give advice on preventing and possibly reversing the effect of the disease.

How much do books on dementia cost?

Books on dementia come in a wide range of prices. Depending on the reputation of the author and the publisher, they can vary anywhere from 10 to 20 dollars on average.

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In this article, we have selected the best books on dementia, based on the features mentioned in our buyer’s guide and the ratings and comments mentioned by actual users on Amazon.

In our opinion, the is the best choice among the various options that we have considered because it offers the most comprehensive understanding of the disease. It offers family and friends of dementia patients practical and relevant advice on how to care for them.

If you are looking for another perspective, you can also consider the The End of Alzheimer's: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline, which given an alternate perspective and talks about lifestyle & nutrition changes to prevent and possibly reverse the progression of the disease.