Mindful Dementia Care
Ruth Dennis’ Mindful Dementia Care is at once educational and inspiring. In this necessary book, Dennis writes to the caregivers of elders, her term for those living with dementia. With a sensitive approach, Dennis discusses all sides of dementia, providing helpful information regarding the process of the disease and treatment options, heartwarming anecdotes from her personal experiences, and passionate words that encourage truly loving care. As a Certified Dementia Practitioner who has worked as the social services director for Vista Living Care Community in Santa Fe, New Mexico for over nineteen years, Dennis is more than qualified to write on this topic.
The book begins with brief snapshots of exchanges between elders and their caregivers, setting the stage for the kind of lovely storytelling style that appears throughout the text. Dennis then seems to wrap the reader into her arms with warm, empathetic passages that speak to the caregiver’s struggles, acknowledging that it is hard to conjure up enough time and energy to love elders fiercely. But she continues to tenderly remind caregivers that they are not alone, urging them to be honest with themselves and others about what they can and cannot do, so that help can be brought in before serious problems arise. Following a warning about the dangers of burnout in caregivers, Dennis urges caregivers to seek love, joy, and hope in the midst of dementia.
One of the best ways to cope with dementia as a caregiver, Dennis posits, is being open and honest about the disease process. She walks readers through detailed explanations of the different progressive dementias and lists common symptoms caregivers can expect to see from their loved ones. While discussing the varied stages of dementia, Dennis asserts that, while the disease “sucks,” elders are resilient and still deserving of honor and respect. Throughout the book she explains a variety of ways in which caregivers can offer care rooted in love. She also understands the stress caregivers face when making difficult decisions, so she weaves rhetorical questions throughout the book that will guide the reader through the decision-making process.
To help caregivers understand treatment options, Dennis lists the many categories of medication for dementia and explores the pros and cons of each; she explains that while treating an elder with medication, his or her comfort should be the priority. Although there is no cure for dementia, Dennis insists that elders are not victims, but rather creative, wise, humorous, and kind human beings who can still live a joyful and loving life.
In the penultimate chapter, Dennis seeks to dispel nine common myths regarding dementia including “Home is always better,” People who need help are weak and worthless,” and “There’s no hope.” With respectful arguments, Dennis attacks the barriers that these false claims uphold. Her final chapter offers a beautiful mix of inspirational interviews with other caregivers that will touch every reader. She ends the book with an incredible list of resources to encourage further reading.
Offering hope and a well-balanced view of palliative care, this deeply compassionate book needs to be read by every caregiver. Love emanates from its pages, and Dennis’ words have the power to change lives.
After editing at City Book Review for a few years, I took up the duties of editorial assistant, which include assigning books for review, posting reviews to our various sites, and nagging reviewers for things. In my non-nagging time, I’m a gamer, artist, writer, and notorious black thumb/bane of plants. My answer to every book-related question: read Octavia Butler.
|Page Count||89 pages|
|Publisher||Terra Nova Books|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Health, Fitness & Dieting|