4 out of 4 stars
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Don Nixon experienced perfect health his whole life. He was known for his wonderful sense of humor and excellent memory. In the thirty years that he and Anne were married, he never needed any medication. Then he started forgetting things, his sense of humor started to vanish, and his behavior started changing. In Alzheimer's and Dementia: Paths to Take by Anne Elizabeth Nixon, the author writes about her personal experiences caring for her husband Don. It is designed to help families tackle the challenges that come with caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease. It contains eleven chapters covering different aspects of Alzheimer's including diagnosis, changes to expect and paying for care, among others. The booklet was written while Don was still alive.
In this 50-page book Mrs. Nixon describes the early signs of the disease that she did not register until they were in hindsight: changes in behavior, anxiety, physical weakening and confusion that she dismissed as normal symptoms of aging. She wrote the book for caregivers with the hope that they will not make the same mistakes as she did out of fear. She explains that the journey would have been easier had she prepared herself at the onset of Don's symptoms, even if he had not been diagnosed yet. Mrs. Nixon remembers repeatedly thinking "I didn't suspect" and "He had never done or acted like that before" (Ch.5) She recommends being a proactive advocate and acquiring a Power of Attorney (POA) early on in the journey.
Readers may find value in this book because of its first person perspective. Mrs. Nixon has written newspaper articles, historical books and a children's picture book. Her personable writing style and gentle, honest depictions of her experiences with Don make Alzheimer's & Dementia: Paths to Take an easy and engaging read. Clinical pamphlets and textbooks serve a purpose, but we all seek accounts and advice from someone who has stood in our shoes. This book fits that description. Color photographs are included that draw the reader in and make the story even more personal.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is thoughtful, honest, well written and well edited. People with loved ones stricken with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia will find lots of information that is directly applicable to their situation. If I could change anything about Alzheimer's and Dementia: Paths to Take, I would add a clickable table of contents and page numbers. These elements would help readers to navigate the material better.
Readers may find Chapter 10 especially helpful, as it contains community resources for families who need help with a loved one who has Alzheimer's disease. Caregivers of people suffering from other diseases may also find this work useful for its advice on caring for their loved one with a long-term illness.
Alzheimer's & Dementia: Paths to Take
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