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“You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease” – Chapter 7 Excerpt

You Oughta Know: Recognizing, Acknowledging, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer's DiseaseIn this eighth installment of brief excerpts from each chapter in the book You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease, we look at the seventh step in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

This post includes an excerpt from chapter 7, which provides a comprehensive look at how to acknowledge, recognize, and respond to the seventh step in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease: sleep changes and disruptions.

This chapter shows that changes to sleep patterns and sleep disturbances, which includes sundowning, are all part of the seventh step in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s disease.

This chapter also discusses how this step impacts our loved ones and us as caregivers and the practical, real-time, and loving ways we as caregivers should respond and help our loved ones walk through this step in the journey.

This series begins with the forward to the book and an explanation of why I wrote this book and why you should read it.

The series continues with the inclusion of excerpts from Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, and, with this post, Chapter 7.

The steps in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease are presented sequentially in the order in which they actually appear in the course of these neurological diseases.

There are no other books that literally walk through each step in sequential order as they emerge in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Additionally, there is no other book that discusses:

  1. The process we as caregivers acknowledge each new step – there is an acceptance period that we have to go through
  2. The process we use to guide ourselves and our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease through the recognition phase of each step
  3. The concrete, loving, and practical information on how we should respond and how we can help guide our loved ones’ responses

These are the things that make You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease unique and stand alone in the plethora of books about dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

going gentle into that good night divider

Excerpt “Chapter 7: ‘Don’t Know If It’s Day Or Night’”

“Changes and disruptions in sleep are the next step in the journey our loved ones go through with dementias and Azheimer’s Disease. Included in this step is a phenomenon called sundowning, which we’ll explain the logic and science behind.

But first we need to talk about the science of sleep. All humans have a 24-hour internal clock that is known as our circadian clock (the term circadian rhythm refers to any biological process that completes a 24-hour cycle).

This clock, shown below, is a complex and coordinated system of neurology, hormones, environmental factors, and routines that are established from the time we are born.

circadian rhythm sundowning melatonin going gentle into that good night

Everyone’s circadian clock is unique, but each follows the general pattern shown above. In fact, the clock shown above is the ideal and the circadian clock that humans basically followed until the Industrial Revolution took place in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Since the full transition into the Industrial Revolution, human life and the adherence to this natural circadian clock has been altered and challenged because one of the side-effects of the Industrial Revolution was the development of artificial lighting (gas in the 19th century and electricity in the 20th century), which enabled lighting to be available 24 hours a day.

This was the byproduct of greed that served the captains of industry well (instead of limiting work hours to daylight hours only, artificial lighting enabled factories, foundries, mining operations, etc. to operate on a 24/7 schedule), but the human race definitely got the short end of the stick here.

Because the body is designed genetically, neurologically, hormonally, and environmentally to function in sync with the 24-hour circadian clock shown above, disrupted sleep and sleep deprivation has a chaotic effect on the body, even in otherwise-healthy people.

Time and again, science and medicine have shown a significant increase in accidents and serious injuries among shift workers who work at night. This includes not only production workers, but also professionals such as medical personnel. There is also a considerable amount of evidence that shows night shift workers are much likely to be injured or killed in driving accidents because they have a higher incidence of falling asleep behind the wheel going to and from work.

The most disruptive shift to the human body is the graveyard shift (usually 11 pm to 7 am). By the time these workers start their shift, the body is fully prepared (the hormone melatonin relaxes the body and mind for sleep beginning around 9 pm) to sleep. Forcing the body to do the complete opposite of what is it naturally designed to do is often counterproductive and very destructive to human health.”

“You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease” – Chapter 6 Excerpt

You Oughta Know: Recognizing, Acknowledging, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer's DiseaseIn this seventh installment of brief excerpts from each chapter in the book You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease, we look at the sixth step in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

This post includes an excerpt from chapter 6, which provides a extensive look at how to acknowledge, recognize, and respond to the sixth step in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease: sudden and dramatic mood swings in both directions.

This chapter shows that frequent, unexpected, and severe mood mood swings are the sixth step in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s disease. This chapter discusses how this step impacts our loved ones and us as caregivers. It also discusses practical, real-time, and loving ways we as caregivers should respond and help our loved ones traverse this step in the journey.

This series begins with the forward to the book and an explanation of why I wrote this book and why you should read it.

The series continues with the inclusion of excerpts from Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, and, with this post, Chapter 6.

The steps in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease are presented sequentially in the order in which they actually appear in the course of these neurological diseases.

There are no other books that literally walk through each step in sequential order as they emerge in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Additionally, there is no other book that discusses:

  1. The process we as caregivers acknowledge each new step – there is an acceptance period that we have to go through
  2. The process we use to guide ourselves and our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease through the recognition phase of each step
  3. The concrete, loving, and practical information on how we should respond and how we can help guide our loved ones’ responses

These are the things that make You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease unique and stand alone in the plethora of books about dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

going gentle into that good night divider

Excerpt “Chapter 6: ‘How You Suffered for Your Sanity’”

“Dramatic and sudden mood swings are part and parcel of the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease, and they begin to materialize during the step of paranoia, but they can continue throughout the course of these diseases.

There can be several triggers for these mood swings: environmental, physiological, perceptual, and neurological. Sometimes all of these can be in play at the same time, but normally the trigger is singular.

Let’s take a look at each of the areas that can trigger a mood swing in our loved ones suffering with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease and how we can respond to and/or eliminate them.

  1. Environmental changes are often the trigger for sudden and dramatic mood swings. These can include something as seemingly simple as moving something out of a familiar place or having our loved ones in a setting they are not familiar with. It can also include the presence of strangers (or people they don’t remember) and it can include being asked to do something new or unfamiliar.

    For example, one of the most common instances of these kinds of mood swings is with medical personnel. Most nurses, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistants, and doctors have stories about routine care they were providing for a patient with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease that quickly deteriorated into yelling, screaming, aggression, and sometimes even physical assault.”

“You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease” – Chapter 5 Excerpt

You Oughta Know: Recognizing, Acknowledging, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer's DiseaseIn this sixth installment of brief excerpts from each chapter in the book You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease, we look at the fifth step in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

This post includes an excerpt from chapter 5, which provides a thorough look at how to acknowledge, recognize, and respond to the fifth step in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease when paranoia emerges.

This chapter shows why and how paranoia is part of the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s disease, the impact it has on our loved ones, and how we as caregivers should respond to them both medically and personally with kindness, gentleness, and understanding.

This fifth step requires a lot of love, a lot of commitment, a lot of sheer determination, a lot of perseverance, and a lot of courage on our part as caregivers because this, of all the steps, can be most brutal emotionally to us personally because it will literally chew us up and spit us out on a continual basis all the way through it.

This chapter offers practical and accessible information to help us and our loved ones navigate this step successfully and intact.

This series begins with the forward to the book and an explanation of why I wrote this book and why you should read it.

The series continues with the inclusion of excerpts from Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, and, with this post, Chapter 5.

The steps in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease are presented sequentially in the order in which they actually appear in the course of these neurological diseases.

There are no other books that literally walk through each step in sequential order as they emerge in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Additionally, there is no other book that discusses:

  1. The process we as caregivers acknowledge each new step – there is an acceptance period that we have to go through
  2. The process we use to guide ourselves and our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease through the recognition phase of each step
  3. The concrete, loving, and practical information on how we should respond and how we can help guide our loved ones’ responses

These are the things that make You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease unique and stand alone in the plethora of books about dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

going gentle into that good night divider

Excerpt “Chapter 5: ‘Confusion Never Stops, Closing Walls and Ticking Clocks’”

“Pervasive paranoia is the next step in the journey of dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease. At some point, hallucinations and paranoia tend to overlap – the hallucinations, especially if they’re scary will elicit panic and anxiety – but paranoia eventually stands on its own as a distinct step in the journey.

Paranoia has a complicated root system that we’ll break down into its components so that we understand why it occurs and what it looks like.

  1. One of the roots of paranoia in our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease is confusion and fear. There is self-awareness, at this point, within our loved ones that something is really wrong. They don’t know what it is, but the feedback around them, spoken and unspoken, tells them that they can’t trust themselves. 

    Persistent hallucinations leave them with blurred lines between what’s real and what’s not. Constant corrections to the information our loved ones believe is true creates widening doubt. Repeated proofs that disprove what our loved ones believe to be accurate create insecurity. 

    All of this also creates anger and fear because humans are wired to trust themselves – their reasoning, their assessments, their intuitions, their processing of the external world – more than to trust any other human being. When that innate ability is constantly challenged and proven faulty, it’s scary and it is infuriating.”

“You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease” – Chapter 4 Excerpt

You Oughta Know: Recognizing, Acknowledging, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer's DiseaseThis is the fifth installment in a series of posts that includes a brief excerpt from each chapter as a preview of You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

This post includes an excerpt from chapter 4, which discusses in detail the fourth step in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease where visual and auditory perception is affected, resulting in hallucinations.

This chapter shows how these hallucinations present themselves, what the impact is on our loved ones, and how we as caregivers should respond to them both medically and personally with kindness, gentleness, and honesty.

Although lying and dishonesty in this step is overwhelmingly encouraged by support groups and resource books – they call these “fiblets” – I am adamantly opposed to any kind of dishonesty with our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

When we practice dishonesty of any kind, we destroy our character and our trustworthiness. Our loved ones entrusted us with their lives. Lying to them breaks that trust.

And once dishonesty becomes a habit in one area because it temporarily makes a difficult situation – hallucinations, for example – seem easier, we will eventually, by default, begin to employ it as our response in other areas of our lives where and when difficulties arise until it affects every area of our lives. That’s how we peeps work, unfortunately.

I know this fourth step will catch us and our loved ones off guard as it emerges, but this chapter offers practical and accessible information to navigate this step successfully.

This series begins with the forward to the book and an explanation of why I wrote this book and why you should read it.

The steps in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease are presented sequentially in the order in which they actually appear in the course of these neurological diseases.

There are no other books that literally walk through each step in sequential order as they emerge in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Additionally, there is no other book that discusses:

  1. The process we as caregivers acknowledge each new step – there is an acceptance period that we have to go through
  2. The process we use to guide ourselves and our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease through the recognition phase of each step
  3. The concrete, loving, and practical information on how we should respond and how we can help guide our loved ones’ responses

These are the things that make You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease unique and stand alone in the plethora of books about dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

going gentle into that good night divider

Excerpt “Chapter 4: ‘When Men on the Chessboard Get Up and Tell You Where to Go'”

“Well-formed and insightful hallucinations (either manifestations of things and/or people who are not there or the perception that still objects are moving) are overwhelmingly prevalent in our loved ones suffering from Lewy Body dementia, where Lewy bodies are present in the temporal area of the brain (particularly in the amygdala and parahippocampal regions).

limbic system structure you oughta know going gentle into that good night books

The amygdala is linked to aggression and emotions, and is involved in emotional learning, forming long-term memories, and the hormone secretion (along with the pituitary gland) that tells the adrenal glands to release the copious amounts of adrenaline associated with the “flight-or-fight” response to fear, anxiety, and panic.

The parahippocampal (surrounding the hippocampus) region of the brain is responsible for encoding and retrieving memories of landscapes and scenery (faces and facial recognition happens in the fusiform gyrus region of the brain).

Early hallucinations are often seen in short-lived episodes of delirium that are triggered by stress (hospitalizations are the most frequent source of this kind of stress and the subsequent episodes of delirium).”

“You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease” – Chapter 3 Excerpt

You Oughta Know: Recognizing, Acknowledging, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer's DiseaseThis is the fourth in a series of posts that includes chapter excerpts from You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

This post includes an excerpt from chapter 3, which comprehensively looks at the the step in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease where communication difficulties arise. It discusses the kinds of communication problems that arise and how we as caregivers can help our loved ones bridge those gaps.

This series begins with the forward to the book and an explanation of why I wrote this book and why you should read it.

The steps in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease are presented sequentially in the order in which they actually appear in the course of these neurological diseases.

There are no other books that literally walk through each step in sequential order as they emerge in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Additionally, there is no other book that discusses:

  1. The process we as caregivers acknowledge each new step – there is an acceptance period that we have to go through
  2. The process we use to guide ourselves and our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease through the recognition phase of each step
  3. The concrete, loving, and practical information on how we should respond and how we can help guide our loved ones’ responses

These are the things that make You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease unique and stand alone in the plethora of books about dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

going gentle into that good night divider

Excerpt “Chapter 3: “’Don’t Think I Know What to Read or Write or Say'”

As more cells die, the functions that these areas of the brain control become more profoundly affected. Language function is controlled in a deeper portion of the temporal lobe, so in the case of just Alzheimer’s Disease, communication problems might not show up for a while.

However, if our loved ones are suffering from other dementias, such as vascular dementia which causes clusters of cell death through the brain, even the innermost parts, because of a stroke or chronic small-vessel ischemia (usually the result of mini-strokes or transient ischemic attacks, also known as TIA’s), then communication problems may occur sooner.

Regardless of how long it takes, communication problems are the third definitive step in the journey, whether it’s a short step or a longer step.

Communication problems in dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease include fall under the general term of aphasia.”

“You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease” – Chapter 2 Excerpt

You Oughta Know: Recognizing, Acknowledging, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer's DiseaseThis is the third in a series of posts that includes chapter excerpts from You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

This post includes an excerpt from chapter 2, which comprehensively discusses the step where our loved ones with dementia and Alzheimer’s are aware that something’s wrong neurologically, but they don’t know what and the internal and external conflicts that presents for them and us.

This series begins with the forward to the book and an explanation of why I wrote this book and why you should read it.

The steps in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease are presented sequentially in the order in which they actually appear in the course of these neurological diseases.

There are no other books that literally walk through each step in sequential order as they emerge in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Additionally, there is no other book that discusses:

  1. The process we as caregivers acknowledge each new step – there is an acceptance period that we have to go through
  2. The process we use to guide ourselves and our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease through the recognition phase of each step
  3. The concrete, loving, and practical information on how we should respond and how we can help guide our loved ones’ responses

These are the things that make You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease unique and stand alone in the plethora of books about dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

going gentle into that good night divider

Excerpt “Chapter 2: ‘There’s Someone in My Head, But It’s Not Me'”

“In this stage of dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease, where mild cognitive impairment is more obvious, but the extensive neurological damage characterized by the later steps in these diseases has not yet occurred, most of the time our loved ones will function fairly normally and will be lucid.

However, they have an, sometimes quite acute, awareness of their own mental slippage and that something is not quite right. In other words, they are aware they can’t remember things, they are losing things, they are having trouble following directions, and they can’t seem to hold on to new information for any length of time.”

“You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease” – Chapter 1 Excerpt

You Oughta Know: Recognizing, Acknowledging, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer's DiseaseThis series of posts about You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease began with the forward to the book and an explanation of why I wrote this book and why you should read it.

This post will include an excerpt from chapter 1, which thorough covers the first step in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease, which is mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

The title of the book, as well each chapter title, may, depending on your age and musical tastes (mine run toward eclectic, alternative, and indie) sound familiar.

That was intentional on my part for two reasons.

One reason is because music is a universal language, and music can often be comforting to our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

The other reason – one that caregivers do continually – was to look at something familiar in an entirely different context that broadens our relationship to and with it. If you’re familiar with these lines (a list of the song titles and artists for each song line/chapter title is included at the end of the book), you will never listen to these songs the same way again after reading this book.

And that’s the point: life is never the same after our loved ones and we have gone through the journey of dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease. Everything changes, including us.

Most of the changes are personal, internal, and deep. They should be positive in terms of growth in love, compassion, empathy, care, concern, gentleness, kindness, patience, and self-control.

But they will also reflect a greater recognition and understanding of a hostile world that needs change (we have faith that change will come) and a greater awareness – and peace with – our own frailty and mortality as mere humans who only dance on this earth for a short while.

And, on the other side of the journey, we often find ourselves mostly alone, except for a few along the way that we know or befriend who have or are sharing the same journey, in the changes to who we are and how we view the world and how we view life.

That’s not a criticism to those who haven’t been through this journey – and we pray they don’t have to go through it, but we know the odds are not in their favor – but simply a statement of fact.

It’s sad at times and painful at times, but it’s the reality that, for now, we have to live with and move forward in spite of.

going gentle into that good night divider

Excerpt “Chapter 1: ‘I Don’t Remember, I Don’t Recall'”

“Because it affects short-term memory, mild cognitive impairment affects the recent past and the present.

What does this look like in practical terms?

  1. Repeating things in conversations, stories, and writing

    This manifests itself in telling the same things over and over, and with each retelling, it’s as though it’s the first time telling it. It is very similar to the effect of a scratch in an old vinyl record, where that point in the track gets replayed over and over until someone goes over and physically lifts the needle up and moves it beyond the scratch. However, with our loved ones, it’s rarely that easy or that simple.

  1. Frequently losing and misplacing things

    We all, from time to time, pick things up, get derailed in going from point A to point B, laying the things down somewhere in between, and then having no idea where we put them when we finally get to point B. However, with mild cognitive impairment, this becomes normal.”

     

“You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease” – Forward to the Book

You Oughta Know: Recognizing, Acknowledging, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer's DiseaseAs I am researching and writing other posts for this blog – the second post in the series on “Making Life a Little Easier in the Care of Our Loved Ones with Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease” is almost complete – I am also going to be including short excerpts from each chapter in the book, You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

This book is the only one of its kind. It is written by someone, who like you are or will most likely will be at some point in your life, who has walked step-by-step through the caregiving journey with a loved one.

For me, that person was my mom.

I knew practically nothing about dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease when we started the journey.

But perhaps my mom chose me as her medical, legal, and financial power of attorney, not just because she trusted me – even when she couldn’t remember that she did – and not because I was always, as an adult, in continual contact with my dad and her (and daily with Mama, after Daddy died) and knew what was going on, what they were dealing with or needed, and did my best to take care of those needs.

I think she also chose me because she knew that between my love and protectiveness of my parents, my intense interest in biology and neurology, and the profession I consciously choose not to pursue in spite of a strong desire to do so – genetics – because I could foresee the ethical and moral issues that I was not and would not be willing to compromise on, that I had the advanced research skills and very good scientific background to be the best proactive and involved advocate for her.

Since Mama’s death in August of 2012, I have been actively involved in sharing the hands-on, day-to-day lessons – and information – we learned on our our journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

While each type of dementia is unique (which is why I have a “Layperson’s Guide” series on the common types of dementia as well as a guide to the rare types of dementia on this blog), the journey through these diseases is the same.

As I expanded my involvement in education and sharing information to participating in and leading support groups for caregivers of loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease, I became aware of the need for You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

The same questions about the steps in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease face us and our loved ones. If not now, somewhere in the future.

Not a single person on this planet, with the burgeoning rate of dementias (including lifestyle dementias), will escape having to deal with dementia of some type personally. 

The questions are the same. What is this? What does it mean? Is it normal? Where is my loved one in the journey? How do I handle it? How can I help my loved one handle? What can I expect next? How will it end?

You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease answers all of those questions with comprehensive, usable, and practical information you won’t find anywhere else.

I know because I looked for it when my mom and I began our journey. It wasn’t there. But with this book, it is now. 

That’s why I’m going to include the whole forward of the book below and why I will excerpt each of the chapters so that you get an inside look at why this book will be an invaluable resource for everyone involved in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

pink-horizontal-line-going-gentle-into-that-good-night

“Forward” – You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease

“This book takes a comprehensive look at each of the steps in the journey through dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease. I’ve seen, in my own experience (I went, side-by-side, through the journey of vascular dementia, Lewy Body dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease with my mom all the way through the end of her life) and in supporting, educating, and counseling others who are on the journey, that there is a basic lack of comprehension about the big picture of how these neurological diseases progress.

My purpose here is to lay that big picture out in concrete and discrete steps that follow this pattern for each step:

  1. What is happening
  2. What it looks like
  3. How to address it

I cannot emphasis enough that a timely intervention that consists of geriatric psychiatric hospitalization where an accurate diagnosis can be made and a medication regimen to address cognition, psychological issues, moods, behaviors, and psychosis started (it will be tweaked along the way), along with our love and advocacy, can minimize and stabilize a lot of these and increase the quality of our loved one’s lives.

This should be done sooner rather than later. It won’t cure dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease. There is no cure for these neurological diseases. They are always fatal.

However, the proper medication regimen can increase the quality of life for our loved ones in a way that gives them an opportunity to live life as fully as they’re able, to enjoy it as much as they’re able, and to enjoy their relationships with those they love, including us. The goal is to stabilize, not marginalize or invisibalize (being almost comatose is not quality of life), so it’s our job to find the right medical care team to make this happen for our loved ones.

Waiting only hurts them and endangers their lives. And it could end their lives prematurely. None of us want that. So, I urge you to get psychiatric help and medication on board as soon as possible!

The tone of this book is conversational. As I’m writing it, I’m imagining each of you reading it sitting beside me or across from me, as we share a cup of coffee or a glass of tea, talking as friends.

Because we are, even though you and I have never met in person.

I know intimately the struggles you’re dealing with now, as well as the struggles your loved ones are dealing with. I know the sense of helplessness you and they wrestle with. I know the deep, deep desire to fix it, to make it better, to wave a magic wand and make it disappear.

I know the moments of great sorrow and the moments of great joy you and your loved ones share. I also know the great love you have for each other.

And I know the battles you are going to face after this journey is over. It changes you forever. But the lessons you’ll learn are the ones that you will share with others, as I’m sharing mine with you. To not pay them forward is to waste the pain.

If you have not yet read my practical and loving caregiving book, Going Gentle Into That Good Night, please be sure to purchase that as well.

For regular updates and new information on dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease, please subscribe to this blog.

And always, if you have any questions that I can help you with or you just need someone to listen, please email me. I will do the very best I can do to provide you with answers, resources, empathy, and encouragement.”

Promotional Video for “You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease”

The promotional video for You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease (published in April 2014) gives the background of why I wrote this book and gives a brief summary of each of the chapters in the book.

As someone who experienced this journey first-hand with my mom and who, since her death, has been actively involved in providing support, counseling, and information, as well as just listening, to many people who are on this journey themselves or with loved ones, I discovered the need for a book like this.

It’s personal. It’s accessible. And it’s practical. There is no other book on the market like it.

If you don’t read another book on dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease, you should read You Oughta Know: Acknowledging, Recognizing, and Responding to the Steps in the Journey Through Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease (available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions). It will be an invaluable resource that will help you and your loved ones tremendously as you walk the steps of this journey together.

Reminder About “Going Gentle Into That Good Night” on Amazon

I’m working on a couple of posts, but I went in for a full eye exam this morning and they dilated both eyes and I can barely see to type. 🙂

So, since I’m unable to finish the posts I’m working on today, I’d like to thank everyone who is following this blog. I’d also like to remind you that Going Gentle Into That Good Night is available on Amazon.com (there are print and Kindle versions).

And if you find the information here useful and helpful, I would sure appreciate it if you’d consider a small donation (there’s a PayPal button on the left menu). All donations will be used to continue to provide practical and loving caregiving for our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Be sure, if you haven’t subscribed to email updates, to do so. Every time I update the site, you’ll get an email notification. I’m planning on incorporating different kinds of media here (nope, you won’t see me or hear me…and that’s a good thing, trust me!) because I believe that sometimes a picture is – or pictures are – really worth a thousand words.

Hope you have a good weekend and looking forward to being back with you more regularly next week!