It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. The symptoms and progression of the disease vary from person to person, and there is so much you need to know in order to make the best decisions for care. In Alzheimer’s Matters, Dr. Baumgardner explains what families can expect at each stage of the disease, from pre-diagnosis to end-of-life. Dr. Baumgardner’s own grandmother, mother, and two uncles battled the disease, and her first-hand experience as her mother’s caregiver is an honest and unflinching look at how Alzheimer’s disease impacts all members of the family.
Dr. Baumgardner explores the latest research on Alzheimer’s disease, diagnosis, medications and treatment options, when and where to access clinical trials, housing options and long-term care, financial considerations, the importance of advance directives, and end-of-life care and bereavement issues. As the founder of Alzheimer’s Matters, a company dedicated to improving the quality of life, care, and support for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, she advocates for person-centered care approaches. Even when the dementia is most severe, your loved one can still experience joy, comfort, and meaning in life. Armed with the critical knowledge and resources they need, caregivers can face this difficult disease with compassion, confidence and resilience.
Even as a neurologist who treats persons living with Alzheimer's and other dementias, I felt unprepared when thrust into the role of secondary caregiver for my father, Lester, after his diagnosis. Sure, I knew the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and clinical features of Alzheimer's. But I had little appreciation for the personal and emotional impact on caregivers who accompany their loved ones on this journey, and I felt ill-equipped to help my mother with the challenges of caregiving. In Alzheimer's Matters, Dr. Terri Baumgardner has provided precisely the kind of comprehensive resource my family needed at that time. What makes this book unique is its honesty and authenticity. Dr. Baumgardner gives encouragement and hope, yet does not shy away from describing the struggles she and her family faced in caring for her mother, Sally. When reading this book, one can sense someone walking alongside, helping to bear the burden, sharing the struggles, and rejoicing in the uplifts. There is something here for every caregiver. But healthcare providers who treat persons living with dementia also should read this book, and thereby grow their empathy and appreciation for the plight of caregivers.
As a daughter, whose own mother lived with dementia for 30 years, I can say Alzheimer's Matters would have been helpful when my family started our journey. Dr. Baumgardner cuts a family's work way down as she has pulled together medical definitions, stages, testing, and more, along with options and supportive tools, combined with her personal experience. My guess is this book will become a resource book you will want to share within your inner circle.
This book provides valuable insight into the issues associated with an aging population that is experiencing memory decline associated with dementia. Terri's personal journey with her mother resonated with me as I began my journey with an aging parent. In addition to the emotional connection, it was comforting to have a guide to what is happening and where to turn for help. This is a unique book, as the author provides her own experiences and then takes the reader's hand in this uncertain world of diagnosis, treatment, and decline in an honest, but caring, way. When faced with the diagnosis of Alzheimer's or any dementia, reality quickly becomes surreal. Thanks to Alzheimer's Matters, there is a book and a community that can help chart the unknown.