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Redefining Aging: A Caregiver's Guide to Living Your Best Life

Johns Hopkins. Nov. 2017. 312p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781421423678. $59.95; pap. ISBN 9781421423685. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781421423692. HEALTH
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Don't demand, "Remember me?" of a parent with Alzheimer's who doesn't recognize you, advises Stearns (psychology, Baltimore Cty. Community Coll.). Just reintroduce yourself calmly, day after day, as if there was nothing unusual about the situation. The reason: avoidance of situations provoking sadness is critical in eldercare. This book is full of such practical, useful tips. If doctors say there can be some leeway in med-taking time, take that time, especially if there is tension around schedules. Since internal clocks are often "off" in those with dementia, give patients access to nature, with visible rhythms that are orienting. Provide exercise opportunities in the "good" part of their day: the afternoon. Some advice is obvious, sometimes trite—spend time off doing tasks you like, to stay refreshed for your patient; to have mixed feelings about a difficult patient is "human"—no big reveals there. But many exhaustively researched, true stories of caregivers and their difficulties are offered. The stories are raw, unvarnished, and often lengthy, and they may help many of the growing number of people caring for elderly and sick relatives. These accounts distinguish this book from others in the genre.
VERDICT A solid, helpful guide for family members trying to navigate the treacherous waters of eldercare.

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