Right now there are about 50 million people worldwide that are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, including 5.8 million Americans. Every 65 seconds someone in the U.S. develops the disease. In recognition of June being Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, here are some books to learn more about this condition affecting so many lives. You can also find out more, including knowing the signs, finding support, research information and how you can help, through the Alzheimer’s Association.
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
This novel is the story of Alice Howland, a Harvard professor with a husband and three grown children, who notices that she’s starting to experience more and more forgetfulness and confusion in her thinking. When she receives the life-altering diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, she tries to maintain the life she knows and keep things together. This is a heartbreaking look from the inside as Alice gradually loses her memories and cognitive abilities and struggles to hold onto her sense of self.
Before I Forget: Love, Hope, Help, and Acceptance in Our Fight Against Alzheimer’s by B. Smith and Dan Gasby
B. Smith, a restaurateur, cookbook writer, magazine publisher, and television food and style maven, started showing the signs of Alzheimer’s in her early sixties. This book is mostly written from the perspective of her husband but includes short sections from B. as well. Both a narrative memoir and also a practical guide, the authors provide insight into the day-to-day challenges and ways of coping for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and those who find themselves in the role of caregiver. Each section of the book ends with lessons learned on their journey.
In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer’s by Joseph Jebelli
Written by a neuroscientist, In Pursuit of Memory explores the history of this disease. It takes us from nineteenth-century Germany to the present and spans the globe. Jebelli talks with scientists in laboratories working on the latest research in finding a cure and with sufferers and their families about the impacts of this diagnosis. This book is great for learning both the history of Alzheimer’s and about the latest research into it.
The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer’s Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss by Nancy L. Mace, M.A., and Peter V. Rabins, M.D., M.P.H.
The 36-Hour Day is an invaluable resource for families who care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It guides them through various issues like understanding the disease, how to get medical help, what behavioral and other symptoms to expect and how to deal with them, problems with independent living and later in daily care, medical problems that can arise, how to get outside help, how caregivers are affected, financial and legal issues, deciding on other living arrangements, research, and more.
The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline by Dale E. Bredesen, M.D.
Dr. Bredesen outlines a program that people can follow to help prevent or slow cognitive decline. He argues that Alzheimer’s is not one condition, but several, that are driven by imbalances in 36 metabolic factors, such as micronutrients, sleep, and hormone levels. His program shows how various lifestyle changes can balance these factors and so far he has seen some promising results. With his first ten patients following the program, nine showed significant improvement within 3-6 months. While research is still ongoing to fully understand the disease and hopefully someday cure it, programs like these can provide some hope to those who are worried about their current and future cognitive health.