Alzheimer’s Early Stages: First Steps for Family, Friends and Caregivers, Daniel Kuhn, (2003). Hunter House Inc., Alameda, CA, $15.95. This updated edition of Kuhn’s classic 1999 book will be immensely helpful for caregivers who want in-depth information about early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. The book is organized into three easy-to-follow sections: “What is Alzheimer’s Disease,” “Giving Care,” and “Caring for Yourself.” The first section discusses the difficulties in getting an accurate diagnosis: the lack of a single foolproof diagnostic test often causes doctors to overlook the disease or mistake it for another condition. The second section explains how to help a loved one with Alzheimer’s, and discusses changes in relationships and ways to improve communication. The last section focuses on the caregiver and discusses the importance of self-care. Topics include “Listening to Your Body and Mind” and “Maintaining a Sense of Humor” as well as information on the National Family Caregiver Support Program and what to consider when choosing an adult day center.
HIV and Social Work: A Practitioner’s Guide, David M. Aronstein and Bruce J. Thompson (Eds.), 1998, The Haworth Press, Binghamton, NY, $52.95. This book focuses on the issues that arise and the techniques that professionals can use when caring for clients with HIV. It begins with a definition of HIV and discusses how it is transmitted, then proceeds to aspects of the illness such as HIV-associated dementia. Taking a social work approach, the book looks at how HIV affects the family unit, in particular focusing on how different social and ethnic groups are affected by HIV and how to best meet the unique service needs of each group. The book concludes with tips on how practitioners can care for themselves in order to best care for others and describes the more personal issues that arise when helping people with HIV. The book is well organized and a wonderful reference guide for providers who work with this population.
Eldercare for Dummies, Rachel Zukerman, Ph.D., (2003), Wiley Publishing, Inc., New York City, NY, $19.99. Written in a catchy, entertaining style, this book is the Dummies’ series attempt to answer essential questions about caregiving. The book covers a wide array of caregiving issues, but due to its comprehensiveness it is not able to go into much depth. This easy-to-use reference guide, with its many tips, checklists, warning signs and websites, will probably be most useful to new caregivers looking for an overview of eldercare and will help guide them to additional useful resources for further information.
Choosing Assisted Living...What You Need to Know, Consumer Consortium on Assisted Living. (2003), www.ccal.org, $29.95. This 25-minute video provides a wealth of information about assisted living facilities (ALFs). Produced by a nonprofit agency focused on consumer education, the video covers the different types of ALFs, how to find a good ALF and what to look for in a contract. In addition, the video introduces professionals such as geriatric care managers and long-term care ombudsmen who can help families looking into placement. The video is professionally produced and uses real families to illustrate aspects of the search for an ALF. This is particularly effective in showing how to deal with problems in an ALF and what to look for when choosing a facility.
No no the saddest: Poems, Alan Bern, (2003), Fithian Press, McKinleyville, CA, $12.00. Alan Bern’s lovely book of poetry is perfectly titled. No no the saddest reflects the period in his life when his young pregnant wife is struck with an aneurysm that leaves her with severe brain damage. She manages to give birth (although she is unable to grasp that the baby is her own child) and lives for four more years before succumbing to the ravages of the ruptured aneurysm. The poetry is spare, succinct and poignant in this short collection, yet Bern is able to bring the reader into this world and share his pain, anger and struggle to survive and love again.
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