Baby-boomers by the thousands, and a growing number of younger adults, are dealing with the issues that arrive when a loved one—parent, grandparent, sibling, other relative or friends—begins the descent into dementia. They all tell the same story, often saying:
“Mom has nothing to do—/ ‘m concerned about her quality of life. “
“My husband gets agitated when I need to leave the house—/ don ) know what to do. “
“My father keeps asking the same questions over and over. “
These are some of the common challenges encountered by individuals and families who are caring for someone with dementia. Laura N. Gitlin, Ph.D. and Catherine Verrier Piersol, Ph.D., OTR/L wanted to help. They had firsthand experience in clinical settings, discovering what works and doesn’t work with those suffering with dementia. They offer A Caregiver’s Guide to Dementia: Using Activities and Other Strategies to Prevent, Reduce and Manage Behavioral Symptoms.
This easy-to-use, practical guide is designed to help at-home caregivers navigate the daily challenges. Although there is no cure for dementia or its many behavioral symptoms, there are clear and proven strategies that can be used to enhance the quality of life for persons with dementia—strategies that can make a real difference for their families.
Separate sections in A Caregiver’s Guide to Dementia look at daily activities, effective communication, home safety and difficult behaviors, with explicit strategies to handle agitation, repetitive questions, acting-out, wandering, restlessness, hoarding, resistance to care, incontinence, destructiveness, sexually and socially inappropriate acts at home and in public, aggressiveness and depression. Numerous worksheets are provided to help caregivers customize the strategies that work best for them.
The strategies featured in this guide have been used by the authors in their research and reflect approaches and techniques that families have found to be most helpful.
About the Authors
Laura N. Gitlin, Ph.D. is Professor, Schools of Nursing and Medicine, and Director of the Center for Innovative Care in Aging at Johns Hopkins University.
Catherine Verrier Piersol, Ph.D., OTR/L is Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy and Clinical Director of Jefferson Elder Care at Thomas Jefferson University.