Synopses & Reviews
Four million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer's disease and experts estimate that 22 million people around the world will be so afflicted by 2025. Far too many families are struggling with the emotionally and physically draining responsibility of redefining their relationship with, and caring for, someone who not long ago was a vibrant member of society, yet may not know their own name today.
A Dignified Life helps combat the burnout and frustration that often accompany the task of caring for an Alzheimer's patient. Author David Troxel, an Alzheimer's expert and executive director of the California Central Coast Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, maintains that at its simplest this approach is based on treating the person like a best friend and working from their strengths, not their weaknesses. He explains: "As family members, caregivers and professionals, we have to try to connect with them. People with this disease in some way need someone to be . . . attentive and empathetic--someone who really tries to walk a mile in their shoes."
A Dignified Life goes beyond the typical tips offered by most books and takes advantage of readers' instinctive desire to build friendships and taps into the intuitive aspect of caregiving that is part of our very nature. It provides a complete model for care built around creative and effective communication and meaningful activities and includes touching stories that demonstrate how the Best Friends method continues to improve the lives of both those who have Alzheimer's disease and those who care for them.
About the Author
Virginia Bell, MSW, developed the Helping Hand Adult Day Center sponsored by the Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana chapter of the Alzheimer's Association in Lexington, Kentucky. The award-winning facility was one of the first dementia-specific adult day programs established in this country and remains one of the best. She received her master's in social work and served on two Kentucky Governor's Task Forces studying Alzheimer's care and service delivery. A frequent and popular speaker on aging, Ms. Bell has been directly involved with the annual conference of Alzheimer's Disease International for more than a decade.David Troxel, MPH, is a recognized expert on the best practices in Alzheimer's care and is a popular keynote speaker at conferences related to Alzheimer's and aging services. Along with Virginia Bell and others, he established a statewide network of support groups and services in Kentucky for patients and their caregivers. Troxel is the executive director of the California Central Coast chapter of the Alzheimer's Association and is also the associate editor of Early Alzheimer's, an international newsletter sponsored by the California Central Coast chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.