ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE: A Guide for Families by Lenore S. & Katie Courtice Powell

ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE: A Guide for Families

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A practical, immensely sympathetic guide for families struggling to care for a relative with this debilitating mind disorder. Psychotherapist/gerontologist Powell and co-author Courtice remind us that, though Alzheimer's disease is the fourth leading cause of death in the elderly, the mechanisms by which it gradually destroys memory are still poorly understood. They feelingly describe the ""burden of love"" borne by the victim's caretakers: ""living with the helpless and knowing we cannot spare them the pain of losing themselves; nor can we spare ourselves the pain of our own losses."" To lessen such pain, the authors first tell what little is known about the disease (gradually developing memory impairment seems to be the norm) and then explain the denial/anger/depression/guilt phases experienced by relatives. Subsequently, they cover the patient's situation: physical problems (forgetfulness brings plain self-neglect); the psychological toll (in lucid moments, heart-rendingly, patients realize how much they have changed); questions of daily care; the nursing home quandary; death and beveavement. (In severe Alzheimer's cases, the caretaker's relief is immense--but so is the sense of loss while the patient lives.) Equally important is attention to the caretakers' problems--with emphasis on health maintenance via exercise and stress management. Case histories also provide comfort and consolation, while the experience of a young man whose deteriorating mother made persistent, overt sexual advances starkly illustrates the magnitude of the potential problems. Not a comprehensive sourcebook like Nancy Mace and Peter Rabins, 36-Hour Day (which includes financial and legal advice, and more medical detail)--but distinctly helpful within its own, narrower scope.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1983
Publisher: Addison-Wesley