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4 out of 4 stars
Review by CataclysmicKnight
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Anne was married to Don for over 30 years. He was in great shape, never took pills and didn't have a bad knee or bad hip or anything of the sort. He was also a big Civil War buff, memorizing dates of battles far better than Anne ever did. However, none of that prevented Don from slowly succumbing to Alzheimer's. Anne mentions numerous signs that could have hinted that something was going on, but Alzheimer's isn't a sudden change, it results in a slow decline of memory and shift in personality. The most touching part of the book was when Anne once told Don "if you had acted like that when I first met you I wouldn't have been interested in getting to know you better." The changes people undergo are frightening!
In addition to revealing her own experiences, she gives some very solid tips along the way. The first, and perhaps most important, is the necessity to officially become power of attorney. This allows you to make decisions for your loved one, which is especially vital when they aren't able to make decisions for themselves! She briefly explains two ways to make it official, one of which anyone can easily do when it becomes a necessity. This isn't something one should take lightly, however, and as Spider-Man is told, "with great power comes great responsibility."
If your loved one shows unusual behavior, speak up. You will no doubt find yourself in difficult situations from time to time, but you owe your best to the one you care for.
Having power of attorney for medical decisions isn't the only time when decisions must be made, however. Anne points out some even more difficult ones, such as when it's time for a loved one to no longer drive or even not be allowed outside on their own. One extreme (but potentially necessary) tip she gives is tying a scarf (or something similar) to your own wrist and your loved one's wrist so that if they wake up in the middle of the night and try to wander off you'll know about it. Luckily this isn't something she had to deal with herself, but in her journey of seeking out advice and information it's something she discovered.
Overall, the book blended personal experiences with tips and guidance very well. I do wish there were more stories and specifics about things that Anne and Don faced together, because the ones presented were well-written and ranged from scary to touching. The tips were exceptional, however, and make the book an excellent starting point for anyone who has a loved one with dementia (Alzheimer's especially). I'd rate the book 3.5 stars if I could (I really wanted more personal stories!), but as I highly recommend the book I feel it deserves the full 4 out of 4 stars. Also, the final chapter that she added after writing the book does such a fantastic job of telling some really sweet stories and giving additional advice that it pushed it over the edge. I don't think the book has enough of a personal side to warrant purchase for those who are looking for a touching memorial book, but I can't recommend it enough for the advice!
Alzheimer's & Dementia: Paths to Take
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