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The 36-Hour Day
By Nancy L. Mace & Peter V. Rabins

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The 36-Hour Day

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The 36-Hour Day, Fifith Edition
A Family Guide to Caring For People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss
By Nancy L. Mace, M.A., & Peter V. Rabins, M.D., M.P.H.
A John Hopkins Press Health Book, Large Print Edition
The John Hopkins University Press, (2011)
ISBN: 978-1-4214-0307-6
Genre: Health, Self-Help

Reviewed by Auggie Moore & Harry S. Chou - October 24, 2011

Dealing with a family member that has Alzheimer disease or a related from of dementia can be a horrendous undertaking. Not only do you have to face the devastating fact that your loved one is no longer as capable of caring for himself as he once was, but you also face the loss of some of your own independence when you undertake the care of a person who may require around the clock supervision. However, with support and knowledge you can learn to effectively care for the patient, and just as importantly, care for yourself. As important, by understanding the problems that you must face, you will be better able to meet and overcome any obstacles in your way, thereby greatly improving the quality of life for the family member that you are caring for.

Since it was first published in 1981, The 36-Hour Day has been the 'bible' for people caring for a family member with Alzheimer disease, memory loss, or a related form of demintia. Each succeeding edition of this essential book has improved upon the first edition, so it is not surprising that the new, fifth edition of this book is the best yet. The fifth edition of The 36-Hour Day has been fully updated and revised to include the latest in scientific research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of dementia, along with the latest resources available to dementia patients and their families. As well, enhanced information as been included that will help you to find appropriate accommodations for you loved one, when it is no longer possible for them to be cared for at home.

The 36-Hour Day is packed with advice and information about Dementia. It clearly describes what dementia is, how it is diagnosed, possible treatment options, suggestions on how it might be prevented, and what problems may be faced by the patient and his caregivers. It also describes the various conditions that can lead to dementia, and the long term prognosis for various dementia related illnesses. As well, it examines current research being conducted into understanding the causes of dementia and the efforts being made to find a cure.

This book is written for those family members who have taken on the responsibility of being the caregiver for someone with dementia. It also offers information for other family members who, while not in a direct caregiving role, also interact with the patient. The 36-Hour Day includes two invaluable appendixes, one includes a list of agencies and organizations that deal with Alzheimer and other Dementias, and the other offers tips on how to do research on the internet. Most important, throughout this book you will find suggestions on how to find resources on your own, how to evaluate them, and how to determine the quality of service that various programs provide.

Throughout, the authors have included examples of problems that other people have had to deal with, and with tact and caring, offer suggestions on how to overcome such problems. This book covers the full gamut of concerns related to dementia, ranging from medical and legal issues to personal hygiene and bogus cures. I think what many people will find most helpful are the chapters that deal with behavioral issues and problems related to daily care, as these are often the most pressing issues faced by a caregiver. This book endeavors to help you to provide care for a loved one in a manner that preserves the dignity and well-being of the patient. It also explains the various behavioral and psychological problems that a person with dementia may develop, such as paranoia. The authors offer practical suggestions on how to handle these problems, and whenever possible, how to prevent them from arising in the first place. Especially important are the tips given on how to handle problems that arise in public.

Perhaps the biggest point made in this book is that you have a duty to both yourself, and your patient, to take care of yourself. The book also explains why it is vital that you take time off away from the patient, so that you can 'recharge your batteries'. Besides offering advice on caring for the patient, the authors also offer advice on caring for yourself, and the problems that you might face - both physically and mentally - as a result of your caregiver duties. As the title suggests, caring for someone with dementia can make the days seem 36-hours long. If you don't take care of yourself, you'll be in no shape to take care of your loved one. The authors have also included a chapter written specifically for children and teenagers. This chapter helps explain to them what dementia is, why their family member with the disease acts the way he does, and how to deal with the unkind remarks of others.

In short, the fifth edition of The 36-Hour Day is a comprehensive resource guide that will help you learn to care for family members suffering from Alzheimer disease or other dementia related illnesses. It offers practical suggestions on a variety of functional issues such as how to choose, and pay for, a nursing home. As well as tips on how to deal with more subjective issues, such as the emotional impact of the disease, for both patients and caregivers. It also highlights some issues that you may have never considered, such as who will take over your caregiving role if you become ill or if you die?

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