The 36-Hour Day, by Nancy Mace and Peter V Rabins
Since this is one of the best books to own if you are coping with Alzheimer’s, I don’t know why I haven’t reviewed this important book before now. It is certainly a book I’ve referred to often enough.
The 36-Hour Day is generally considered the bible of Alzheimer’s disease. It contains such a huge variety of information regarding every step of Alzheimer’s disease. It can (and should) be read cover to cover in the early days, when you only think you might have a loved one with dementia. If the diagnosis comes, you will find it an invaluable tool you can grab when any particular issue arises, and there will be plenty of those times.
From Pre-Diagnosis to Final Stages of Alzheimer’s
In the early days, before you are aware of the disease, you may find your loved one seems suddenly unkind or rude. The book will help show you what is causing the change and how you can make the person more comfortable. At the same time you will find comfort knowing it is unintentional. Alzheimer’s can bring major changes in personality.
If you are trying to decide if you should care for your loved one in your home or if they should be in a memory care facility, this book will help you towards your decision. It includes chapters on what to look for in a facility and how you will feel and react as caregiver. It’s more than a 24/7 task.
When you are dealing with a particular issue, such as an unwillingness to bathe or shower, the book has easily found suggestions. The table of contents for the books nineteen chapters makes for a very fast find for most issues, including when the person should not be driving, illness, incontinence, sundowners, and so much more.
More than 35 Years of Knowledge
The book was first written in the early 80’s. In a way it’s sad that much of the disease hasn’t changed since then. It’s still a terminal disease without treatment. Nevertheless, there have been changes that have been updated regularly in the book. The edition I have was edited and updated in 2012. That’s very helpful, especially in light of additional help and aid that is available now, such as adult day care. The updates also include current information on research that is underway, some of which is very encouraging.
Whatever stage you are in, the book is very useful. It even discusses at what point a decision should be made to switch from regular care to palliative care. The individual won’t be able to decide that—unless they do it before diagnosis. That and many other stage decisions will come up. The book offers suggestions on how to handle a change as well as how to make the decision.
Over the years I’ve often found that I have needed all the help and knowledge I can get. Family support, doctor’s advice, memory care staff, and good well written books from those who know the disease, all have been necessary and helpful in coping.
If you don’t already have The 36-Hour Day, I highly recommend you add it to your library.