We recommend highly this classic book on caregiving for those with Alzheimer’s: The 36-hour Day, by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins, completely revised and updated 2008 publication.
This is the place to start if your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia. Or, even if he or she has not been so diagnosed, but is exhibiting “difficult” behavior (aggressive, uninhibited, fearful, clinging, confused, forgetful, wandering or other unusual behaviors), you should read this book.
We generally associate memory loss with Alzheimer’s dementia, but a lesser known fact is that difficult elderly behavior, especially in the evenings (“sundowning”) is one of the primary symptoms of dementias, including Alzheimer’s.
You might be surprised to recognize your loved one’s behavior among some of the typical dementia behaviors described in this book.
Statistics indicate that 50% of people age 85 and older suffer from Alzheimer’s or other dementias – and many more may suffer without ever being diagnosed. If you recognize some of the obvious symptoms in your loved one, then rather than staying in denial, you should see a physician specialist to find out if your loved one may be suffering from an early or mid-stage dementia, the most common type of which is Alzheimer’s.
Once you understand what you are dealing with as a caregiver, then you can learn more about the resources available, and coping becomes much easier than when you are in the dark and feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and alone.