An illuminating new way of understanding and coping with a loved one who suffers from dementia.
A loved one suffering from dementia or the effects of a traumatic brain injury may seem vacant, but, Forrest (Symphony of Spirits, 2000) says, we can still speak to their souls, “the deepest part of the self and one’s evolving human essence.” This digestible guide, Forrest’s second self-help book, will aid in understanding how to interact with someone who has degenerative brain disease or severe mental issues resulting from brain injuries. Interspersed with background information on the different types and stages of dementia, the guide also provides tips for strengthening the brain and memory. For instance, Forrest encourages eating antioxidant-rich foods such as blueberries, strawberries and greens, as well as activities like dancing and listening to and playing music to help keep the brain stimulated and trigger muscle memory for people of all ages. There are seven stages to Alzheimer’s, Forrest writes, from early onset to the fully developed disease, and the steps should be known and understood so as to serve as “red flags to alert loved ones.” She points to the caretaker as the “unsung hero” and routinely reminds anyone in that position not to ignore his or her own needs while caring for a loved one. In addition to her solid academic and professional foundation in cognitive behavior with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology (The Fielding Graduate University) and time spent as a psychologist and nurse, Forrest also has personal experience: She was the victim of a car accident that caused brain damage, and she acted as a caregiver for her husband, who was diagnosed with cancer. Though her background is academic, the writing is highly comprehensible and easily readable for general audiences, and the personal anecdotes sprinkled throughout the book add a layer of humanity and humility.
A heartwarming, educational guide for the afflicted, their loved ones and the intellectually curious.