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Official Review: Living With Alzheimer’s: A Journey...

Posted: 20 May 2019, 20:17
by kdstrack
[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Living With Alzheimer’s: A Journey Observed" by Leigh Smyth, MD.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Living With Alzheimer's: A Journey Observed by Leigh Smyth, MD is a non-fiction book of 126 pages. The author, a psychiatrist and clinician, combined her medical training with her personal experience to present a simple, yet comprehensive, description of what to expect when caring for someone who has Alzheimer's disease (AD).

The author dedicated the first section of the book to recounting how her life changed once she began noticing AD symptoms in her husband. The dynamics of their marriage changed as more symptoms appeared. Social activities became strained as people outside the family began to question her husband's behavior. Numerous decisions became the caregiver's sole responsibility, including the termination of the sexual relationship, suspension of the driver's license and moving into an independent-living retirement center.

The second section expanded upon the symptoms previously described and defined their clinical terms to help readers understand the stages and manifestations of this disease. People tend to dismiss the first signs of memory deficit as a "senior moment." Mood lability can provoke emotional changes that include meltdowns, erratic swings of likes and dislikes, and oppositional behaviors. As the disease progresses, the patient's increasing frustration may express itself in verbal abuse against the caretaker.

The last section delved into specific coping strategies for the caretaker. The direct and practical suggestions motivate and empathize with other AD caretakers. Tips concerning when it is okay to lie to a patient and how to maintain your psychological and physical health encourage caretakers on this challenging journey.

I appreciated the author's professional writing style. She developed a logical progression that began with the home setting, progressed to the clinical explanations of the symptoms, and concluded with practical advice for caretakers. Abundant examples of AD behaviors, such as hygiene problems, nasty remarks made in public, and the patient’s rejection of their first grandchild help readers comprehend the physical and emotional costs this disease causes both to the patient and to the family.

Frequently, the spouse will be the initial primary caretaker for their loved one. Forty years of marriage helped the author to recognize various symptoms in her husband. Their happy marriage also made it more painful for her to watch the love of her life deteriorate before her very eyes. The author provides a helpful link to the website of an occupational therapist. This site offers caregivers a lifeline to education and support from other caregivers.

I give this book a wholehearted 4 out of 4 stars. There was nothing I did not like about this book. The author's writing style is honest, candid, and educative. Her emphasis on remembering that the AD patient has not lost their humanity focuses readers on the patient's need for love and patience. The lack of errors also made the reading fluid and enjoyable.

Anyone who has a relative with AD would benefit from this book. The in-depth knowledge of the full spectrum of the symptoms and behaviors of the AD patient would help caretakers understand what is happening to their loved one. Caretakers, in general, would also benefit from the author's tips for maintaining physical and emotional health. People who have lost a loved one to Alzheimer's might find this book to be too emotionally distressing.

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Living With Alzheimer’s: A Journey Observed
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Re: Official Review: Living With Alzheimer’s: A Journey...

Posted: 22 May 2019, 03:11
by Brendan Donaghy
Brain diseases like Alzheimer's or vascular dementia take a terrible toll, not just on the individual, but also on their network of family and friends. Unfortunately, they seem to be increasingly prevalent these days, perhaps because we're all living that much longer. Think I'll skip this one, but thanks for a great review!

Re: Official Review: Living With Alzheimer’s: A Journey...

Posted: 22 May 2019, 03:31
by Queen Books
Living with Alzheimer's disease (AD) or someone who is affected by it can be very difficult. It's important to know how to handle situations that arise due to the disorder. This sounds like an excellent book for people learning how to take care of loved ones with this ailment. Thanks for the detailed review.

Re: Official Review: Living With Alzheimer’s: A Journey...

Posted: 22 May 2019, 03:58
by Niski
This is such a sad disease. I loved your review, and think that this is definitely a book that would benefit people who have relatives or friends with the disease.
Thanks so much for your wonderful review!

Re: Official Review: Living With Alzheimer’s: A Journey...

Posted: 22 May 2019, 05:16
by DevPravindhya
Alzheimer's Disease is truly a terrible disease for any person and their family. The review explains the reason why people with similar conditions should read this book and the likes of it.

Re: Official Review: Living With Alzheimer’s: A Journey...

Posted: 22 May 2019, 05:52
by Rachel Lea
This sounds like a very useful resource for those who have a loved one suffering from this disease, but I also think that this book would be enlightening to read even for people who don't. Thank you for your in-depth review!

Re: Official Review: Living With Alzheimer’s: A Journey...

Posted: 22 May 2019, 10:49
by Prisallen
Alzheimer's disease runs in my family so I know firsthand the heartbreak it causes. Knowledge is power, so reading books about the illness is definitely something anyone with family members with it should do. This sounds like an excellent book for that purpose. Thanks for a great review!

Re: Official Review: Living With Alzheimer’s: A Journey...

Posted: 22 May 2019, 13:53
by kdstrack
Brendan Donaghy wrote:
22 May 2019, 03:11
Brain diseases like Alzheimer's or vascular dementia take a terrible toll, not just on the individual, but also on their network of family and friends. Unfortunately, they seem to be increasingly prevalent these days, perhaps because we're all living that much longer. Think I'll skip this one, but thanks for a great review!
It is becoming more prevalent which makes this book such a timely publication. Thanks for your comments.

Re: Official Review: Living With Alzheimer’s: A Journey...

Posted: 22 May 2019, 13:56
by allbooked+
I don't know many people who have not had someone in their family afflicted with this horrible disease. This book sounds timely and very helpful to those in this situation. Nice review!

Re: Official Review: Living With Alzheimer’s: A Journey...

Posted: 22 May 2019, 14:04
by kdstrack
Niski wrote:
22 May 2019, 03:58
This is such a sad disease. I loved your review, and think that this is definitely a book that would benefit people who have relatives or friends with the disease.
Thanks so much for your wonderful review!
The author gives apt advice to help caretakers deal with the effects of the disease. I enjoyed reading the book as a way to learn how to recognize the wide array of symptoms. Thanks for your kind comments!

Re: Official Review: Living With Alzheimer’s: A Journey...

Posted: 22 May 2019, 14:08
by kdstrack
DevPravindhya wrote:
22 May 2019, 05:16
Alzheimer's Disease is truly a terrible disease for any person and their family. The review explains the reason why people with similar conditions should read this book and the likes of it.
The third section would be applicable to all caregivers. As the author has cared for her AD husband, her advice comes from the heart and from experience. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Re: Official Review: Living With Alzheimer’s: A Journey...

Posted: 22 May 2019, 14:20
by kdstrack
Prisallen wrote:
22 May 2019, 10:49
Alzheimer's disease runs in my family so I know firsthand the heartbreak it causes. Knowledge is power, so reading books about the illness is definitely something anyone with family members with it should do. This sounds like an excellent book for that purpose. Thanks for a great review!
I agree, knowledge is power, and this book is filled with many insights to this disease that many of us never would have imagined. The author's background as a psychiatrist and clinician gave her a unique position to write about her experience and give heartfelt advice to go the long haul. Hope her book will be helpful for you. Thanks so much for commenting!

Re: Official Review: Living With Alzheimer’s: A Journey...

Posted: 22 May 2019, 16:03
by Cecilia_L
I can only imagine how heartbreaking it would be to watch this disease progress in a spouse. It sounds like the author did a wonderful job, and I'm sure it will help readers caring for family members. Thanks for the excellent review.

Re: Official Review: Living With Alzheimer’s: A Journey...

Posted: 22 May 2019, 18:32
by Stephanie Elizabeth
This has got to be one of the most terrifying diseases. Not only does it steal independence and joy from the individual, but it takes a toll on their loved ones as well. Thank you for your honest review!

Re: Official Review: Living With Alzheimer’s: A Journey...

Posted: 22 May 2019, 18:49
by kdstrack
Cecilia_L wrote:
22 May 2019, 16:03
I can only imagine how heartbreaking it would be to watch this disease progress in a spouse. It sounds like the author did a wonderful job, and I'm sure it will help readers caring for family members. Thanks for the excellent review.
The author writes in a heartfelt way and you can feel her love for her husband and her desire to help others. This is a helpful book for family members but also for a wider audience to help us be more aware of this disease and of the wonderful job these caretakers are doing. Thanks for stopping by!