Doll, child or animal representational therapy and dementia

dolltherapy_blog_banner

Doll therapy, child representational therapy and animal representational therapy are successful forms of therapy for supporting some people with dementia. It has been found, both anecdotally and clinically,  that these therapies can reduce anxiety and agitation  and have a truly trans-formative effect for some people with dementia, bringing them a sense of purpose, joy and peace.


doll therapy in dementia careDoll Therapy in Dementia Care : Evidence and Practice  /  Mitchell, Gary  (2016)

Advocating doll therapy as an intervention for people with dementia, this book combines theory and evidence to show its many benefits and present guidelines for best-practice. Despite being widely and internationally used, doll therapy is a controversial and often misunderstood intervention. This book debunks the myths surrounding doll therapy, highlighting its proven positive impact on the well-being of people with dementia. The book gives care professionals an indispensable overview of doll therapy within the context of current advocated best practices, using original research and evidence to present the rationale of its use. The book also engages with ethical issues, ensuring that professionals are aware of the aspects of doll-therapy that may be counter-productive to person-centred care. Providing clear guidelines on how best to utilise doll therapy, this comprehensive book is an important resource for any professional looking to implement this intervention.

 


Understanding Behaviour in Dementia that ChallengesUnderstanding behaviour in dementia that challenges  /  Ian Andrew James and Louisa Jackman  (2017)

This revised second edition guide to assessment and treatment of behaviours that challenge associated with dementia includes a chapter on the  Use of therapeutic dolls 

 


 

articles_finalTherapeutic use of dolls for people living with dementia: A critical review of the literature (2016) in Dementia Vol 15, Issue 5

There are a number of therapies currently available to assist healthcare professionals and carers with non-pharmacological treatment for people living with dementia. One such therapy that has been growing in clinical practice is doll therapy. Providing dolls to some people living with dementia has the potential to enhance personal well-being through increased levels of communication and engagement with others. Despite its potential for benefits, the practice is currently under-developed in healthcare literature, probably due to varied ethical interpretations of its practice.
Abstract

Implementation of a baby doll therapy protocol for people with dementia: Innovative practice (2015) in Dementia Vol 14, Issue 5

Dementia is exhibited by both emotional and physical states such as agitation. Chemical restraints, often used for agitated behaviors, are not always effective and produce untoward effects. Baby doll therapy is a nonpharmacologic therapy that can affect agitated behavior in dementia patients, yet a protocol for the therapy did not exist. An implementation protocol for doll therapy for those with dementia was developed and implemented with 16 residents in a dementia care center. Outcomes were measurements of the impact of the dolls on six areas of the resident’s behavior and their reactions to the doll. Participants had an increase in level of happiness, activity/liveliness, interaction with staff and others, and ease of giving care. There was also a reduction in the level of anxiety. The increase in happiness was a statistically significant outcome. Baby doll therapy is an effective nonpharmacological approach for improving the well-being of patients with moderate to severe dementia.
Abstract

The utilization of robotic pets in dementia care (2017) in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Vol.55(2) pp. 569-574.

Behavioral problems may affect individuals with dementia, increasing the cost and burden of care. Pet therapy has been known to be emotionally beneficial for many years. Robotic pets have been shown to have similar positive effects without the negative aspects of traditional pets. Robotic pet therapy offers an alternative to traditional pet therapy.
Abstract

Group sessions with Paro in a nursing home: Structure,observations and interviews (2016) in Australasian Journal on Ageing Volume 35, Issue 2 June  pp. 106–112

Observations were conducted focusing on engagement, how residents treated the robot and if the robot acted as a social catalyst. In addition, 16 residents and 21 staff were asked open-ended questions at the end of the study about the sessions and the robot.
This study supports other research showing Paro has psychosocial benefits and provides a guide for those wishing to use Paro in a group setting in aged care.
Abstract

Maria’s baby: a case study  (2016) in Nursing Ethics. Vol.23(6),  pp. 713-716.

Abstract

 

 

Grief and dementia

grief_banner

Grief is an omnipresent part of the dementia journey,  experienced by both persons with dementia and their loved ones.
It can present in a  variety of ways ; whether ambiguous loss, anticipatory grief or the loss of an earlier life grief should be fully acknowledged and reckoned with.
A selection of resources follows that may assist in this process.

 


relationshipsandementiaPaper: Relationships and dementia – Alzheimer’s Australia NSW Discussion Paper Number 19 (June 2017)

This discussion paper concludes that society needs to recognise, acknowledge and understand that people living with dementia, their carers and families face relationship difficulties and challenges, and more support is needed to enable people to work through complex feelings of grief and loss.
Download resource


loving-someone-who-has-dementiaLoving someone who has dementia : how to find hope while coping with stress and grief  /  Pauline Boss  (c2011)

This book is intended for partners, family members, friends, neighbours and caregivers of a person living with dementia.
The author discusses the meaning of relationships and offers approaches in a conversational style, suggesting ways to embrace rather than resist the ambiguity of a relationship with someone who has dementia.


caring-for-a-loved-oneBook chapter: Being with grief 
in Caring for a loved one with dementia : a mindfulness-based guide for reducing stress and making the best of your journey together  /  Marguerite Manteau-Rao  (2016)

This chapter looks at ways that mindfulness can help care partners be with their grief while also exploring the grief experience for the person with dementia and what that means for the relationship.

 


Year of magical thinkingThe year of magical thinking  /  Joan Didion  (2007)

In what has become a classic, Joan Didion in a clear and precise voice narrates a year that began when her husband, the writer John Gregory Dunne, collapsed from a fatal heart attack.  Written to purge her grief and to set her loss in the context of her resulting life the result is compelling reading.

“Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.”

“We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. As we were. As we are no longer. As we will one day not be at all.”


andtimestoodstillAnd Time Stood Still  /  By Alice Taylor  (2016)

The author has known, loved, and lost many people throughout her life. When we experience grief, sharing in someone else’s story can often help, and in the hands of master storyteller Alice Taylor, it may be possible to find solace and the space to reflect on your own loss.

 


articles_final

The bereavement experience of spousal caregivers to persons with dementia: Reclaiming self / Shelley Peacock, [et al]  in Dementia   Published online February 17, 2016

Spouses of persons living with dementia both anticipate future loss and grieve for multiple losses occurring with caregiving and this ultimately influences their bereavement experience.
Abstract

 

Dementia grief: A theoretical model of a unique grief experience / Kesstan Blandin and  Renee Pepin  in Dementia (2017) Vol 16, Issue 1, pp. 67 – 78

This paper  introduces the Dementia Grief Model, describing the unique characteristics of dementia grief, and presents the psychological states associated with the process of dementia grief.
Abstract

 


To access resources or assistance with any topic please contact the library vic.library@dementia.org.au

 

The Montessori approach for people with dementia

montessori_header_oct2017

For those inspired by the recent presentation and workshops of Dr Cameron Camp at the The 17th Alzheimer’s Australia Biennial National Dementia Conference  or simply if you want to find out more about the use of the Montessori method for engagement with people with dementia read on.

2015 post
2013 post


Video – Purposeful Activities for Dementia

Purposeful activities for dementia complements other professional development resources about engaging people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, including the downloadable Relate Motivate Appreciate toolkitPurposeful activities for dementia was developed  for families and aged care staff.

This resource has been created for anyone interested in providing people with dementia a range of interesting, encouraging and enriching activities: aged care staff, family carers, activity support workers, personal care attendants in residential and community settings, and people with dementia who want a resource to advocate for purposeful activities. Visit web page

The video is divided into six chapters. Each chapter addresses key messages and provides points for reflection. You can watch the entire video, or each individual chapter below.


Recent evaluation of Montessori approaches

 

articles_final

Assessment of capabilities in persons with advanced stage of dementia: Validation of The Montessori Assessment System (MAS)
Jérôme Erkes, Cameron J Camp, Stéphane Raffard, Marie-ChristineGély-Nargeot and, Sophie Bayard in Dementia  First Published September 21, 2017

This study evaluated the validity and reliability of the Montessori Assessment System. The Montessori Assessment System assesses preserved abilities in persons with moderate to severe dementia. In this respect, this instrument provides crucial information for the development of effective person-centered care plans. A total of 196 persons with a diagnosis of dementia in the moderate to severe stages of dementia were recruited in 10 long-term care facilities in France. All participants completed the Montessori Assessment System, the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale and/or the Mini Mental State Examination and the Severe Impairment Battery-short form. The internal consistency and temporal stability of the Montessori Assessment System were high. Additionally, good construct and divergent validity were demonstrated. Factor analysis showed a one-factor structure. The Montessori Assessment System demonstrated satisfactory psychometric properties while being a useful instrument to assess capabilities in persons with advanced stages of dementia and hence to develop person-centered plans of care.   Abstract

 

Montessori-based activities among persons with late-stage dementia: Evaluation of mental and behavioral health outcomes
Scott E Wilks, P August Boyd, Samantha M Bates, Daphne S Cain, Jennifer R Geiger in Dementia  First Published April 27, 2017

Literature regarding Montessori-based activities with older adults with dementia is fairly common with early stages of dementia. Conversely, research on said activities with individuals experiencing late-stage dementia is limited because of logistical difficulties in sampling and data collection. Given the need to understand risks and benefits of treatments for individuals with late-stage dementia, specifically regarding their mental and behavioral health, this study sought to evaluate the effects of a Montessori-based activity program implemented in a long-term care facility.  Abstract

 

Implementing Montessori Methods for Dementia: A Scoping Review
Sander L Hitzig,  Christine L Sheppard in  The Gerontologist, Volume 57, Issue 5, 1 October 2017, Pages e94–e114,

A  review was conducted to develop an understanding of Montessori-based programing (MBP) approaches used in dementia care and to identify optimal ways to implement these programs across various settings. Abstract

 

Effects of Sustained, Coordinated Activities Programming in Long-Term Care: The Memory in Rhythm® Program
Iva De Witt-Hoblit, Mary Neal Miller, Cameron J. Camp,  in  Advances in Aging Research, Vol.5 No.1, 2016

 An account of  the creation and pilot testing of a sustained, coordinated activities program, Memory in Rhythm®(MIR), which incorporated Montessori-Based Dementia Programming™, in a skilled nursing facility (SNF). Effects of implementing MIR then were examined in memory care units in 16 aged care centers—9 SNFs and 7 assisted living residences in Ohio. For these centers, all data were collected over a period of one year before and one year after implementation of MIR. Results indicate that implementation of MIR was associated with reductions in medication use, increased census, decreased employee turnover, decreased wandering and agitation, and increased sleeping at night, eating and capacity for activities of daily living. Read online

 

Implementing Montessori Methods for Dementia™ in Ontario long-term care homes: Recreation staff and multidisciplinary consultants’ perceptions of policy and practice issues
Kate Ducak, Margaret DentonGail Elliot in Dementia First Published January 8, 2016

Montessori-based activities use a person-centred approach to benefit persons living with dementia by increasing their participation in, and enjoyment of, daily life. This study investigated recreation staff and multidisciplinary consultants’ perceptions of factors that affected implementing Montessori Methods for Dementia™ in long-term care homes in Ontario, Canada. Qualitative data were obtained during semi-structured telephone interviews with 17 participants who worked in these homes. A political economy of aging perspective guided thematic data analysis. Barriers such as insufficient funding and negative attitudes towards activities reinforced a task-oriented biomedical model of care. Various forms of support and understanding helped put Montessori Methods for Dementia™ into practice as a person-centred care program, thus reportedly improving the quality of life of residents living with dementia, staff and family members. These results demonstrate that when Montessori Methods for Dementia™ approaches are learned and understood by staff they can be used as practical interventions for long-term care residents living with dementia. Abstract


 

 

 

#BeTheChange2017

AAV-be-the-change-2017-banner

The 17th Alzheimer’s Australia Biennial National Dementia Conference – Be the Change 2017 – is fast approaching. It is shaping up to be a fantastic conference, which will inspire delegates to Be the Change in improving the lives of people living with dementia.

Take the opportunity to be part of an amazing and unique event which has not been held in Melbourne since 2002. The conference takes place in less than two weeks and registration is still open. Book today.

The conference aims to inspire delegates to explore more innovative and creative ways to improve the quality of life and support of people, of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers.

An extraordinary list of international and national keynote speakers will present including;

  • Naomi Feil, USA, world-renowned since the 1960s, for her Validation method in dementia care;
  • Prof Sam Gandy, USA, an international expert in the metabolism amyloid that clogs the brain in people living with Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Prof Dawn Brooker, UK, who has dedicated her career to developing evidence based practical ways to enable those living with dementia to have the best possible quality of life.
  • Dr Cameron Camp, USA, Director of Research and Development for the Centre for Applied Research in Dementia. He is a world renowned specialist in integrating the Montessori method into dementia practice.
  • Christen Bryden, dementia advocate and author
  • Kate Swaffer, CEO Dementia Alliance International, and  advocate and activist for people living with dementia.

See the full list of keynote speakers

Interactive workshops will provide delegates with unique opportunities to hear from international thought leaders and interact with other delegates.

The event will offer delegates the opportunity to experience Alzheimer’s Australia’s award-winning, groundbreaking technology using virtual reality, video games, 3D design, apps and multiple websites.

You will be able to experience a world-first, walk-through, art installation, researching how sound impacts on our cognitive function, which is aiming to prompt our thinking around how the environment we create can be more supportive.

See the full program of speakers, concurrent sessions and workshops

 

Feed Your Senses at the conference

feedyoursenses

Through the use of technology, the Feed Your Senses space will inspire delegates to think about dementia in new ways, which can provide people living with dementia with greater independence and enjoyment of their lives.

feedyoursenses2

In the Alzheimer’s Australia Sensory Garden, nature and technology meet to create an immersive learning experience. Delegates can play with the Virtual Forest™ and relax in a pop-up dementia-friendly garden. The garden will allow people living with dementia, their carers and families to appreciate the benefits of gardening and the outdoors. It also provides pointers on how to create dementia-friendly outdoor spaces. Guest speakers will explore gardening and cooking activities that benefit people living with dementia, their carers and families.

feedyoursenses3

Explore various technology exhibits from local universities as well as Alzheimer’s Australia.

  • Swinburne University – Meet robots and play with iPad applications that assist people living with dementia.
  • Deakin University – Experience a Smart Home application that enables people living with dementia to live at home safely, and for longer.
  • Melbourne University – View Melbourne University’s Enabling Environments project, where architecture students have designed safe and creative spaces for people living in residential aged care.

feedyoursenses4

Alzheimer’s Australia – Experience an immersive virtual reality in the life of Edie, who lives with dementia. Learn more about the websites, courses and services that Alzheimer’s Australia offers to support people living with dementia, their families and carers. The Alzheimer’s Australia marketing team will also be on hand to provide delegates with vital social media tips and tricks and answer any social media questions.

AAV-be-the-change-2017-banner

Music and dementia

musicanddementia_mast_ver2

 Music plays an important part in society, both past and present. Response to music is universal and it does not diminish with dementia. This post looks at  sustaining meaning and connection through music.


Music remembers me : connection and wellbeing in dementia  /  Kirsty Beilharz  (2017)music remembers me

Music remembers me includes moving stories from music engagement along with practical advice and tips about introducing music into daily care. Author Kirsty Beilharz has woven together fascinating insights into music, our brains and dementia with practical advice on music engagement.

 


Forever today : a memoir of love and amnesia  /  Wearing, Deborah  (2005)forever today

Clive Wearing is one of the most extreme cases of amnesia ever known. In 1985, a virus completely destroyed a part of his brain essential for memory, leaving him in a limbo of the constant present. An accomplished conductor and BBC music producer, Clive was at the height of his success when the illness struck. As damaged as Clive was, the musical part of his brain seemed unaffected.

 


DVD : Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me  (2014) I'll be me_glencampbell

In 2011, music legend Glen Campbell set out on an unprecedented tour across America. He thought it would last 5 weeks; instead it went for 151 spectacular sold out shows over a triumphant year and a half. What made this tour extraordinary was that Glen had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He was told to hang up his guitar and prepare for the inevitable. Instead, Glen and his wife went public with his diagnosis and announced that he and his family would set out on a ‘Goodbye Tour.’ The film documents this extraordinary journey as he and his family attempt to navigate the wildly unpredictable nature of Glen’s progressing disease using love, laughter and music as their medicine of choice.


DVD: Alive inside: A story of music & memory. A film by Michael Rossato-Bennett, 2014Alive Inside DVD

Alive Inside is a joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity. Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals around the country who have been revitalized and awakened by the simple act of listening to the music of their youth.

You can view the trailer for this wonderful film below:


 DVD: Twilight songs  /  Producer and story researcher Nicky Ruscoe  (2014)

Twilight Songs follows music practitioner Michael Mildren as he visits patients in aged care homes in Melbourne. By playing music for them on a variety of instruments, and singing songs from their past, he achieves a remarkable connection, one that helps bring them into the present and improves their quality of life. Michael has been doing this work for 20 years and is devoted to making the lives of the elderly more interesting and enjoyable through the power of music.
ABC Compass


articles_finalLove is listening  / Helen Scott  (2017)

Virtuoso percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie used her listening skills to make meaningful connections with care home residents with dementia. Helen Scott explains how the Love is Listening project worked.
The Journal of Dementia Care Vol 25 No 5 September/October 2017 p.14-15

Young dementia: together in perfect harmony (2017)

Singing in harmony creates togetherness and belonging among people with young onset dementia. Claire Watts and Sabrina Findlay report.
The Journal of Dementia Care Vol 25 No 5 September/October 2017 p.20-21

Music therapy: positive results, changes that last (2017)

Ming Hung Hsu explains how music therapy can help care professionals respond better to the needs of people with dementia, reducing distressing symptoms and improving quality of care.
The Journal of Dementia Care Vol 25 No 5 September/October 2017 p. 28-29


 

Let’s eat – nutrition and dementia

Let's Eat blog

We have to eat; we like to eat; eating makes us feel good.
Ensuring someone with dementia can maintain their enjoyment,  nutritional intake and independence at mealtimes can be complex. This month we look at some resources to assist.

 

helpsheets-aaAlzheimer’s Australia Helpsheets

Read online or download and print the comprehensive information for maintaining enjoyable eating and nutrition.

Eating          Nutrition 

 

 

bestpracticefoodandnutritionmanualBest Practice Food and Nutrition Manual for Aged Care.- 2nd edition (2015)

Section one of the manual includes information
relevant to residents’ nutritional needs and menu
planning guidelines. Included is a menu checklist
and tips on maximising the nutritional content of
the menu items.
Section two addresses the social aspects of
dining by providing ideas to enhance mealtime
atmosphere and mealtime enjoyment.

Download manual

eating-and-drinking-well-supporting-people-living-with-dementia-1-638Eating and Drinking Well: Supporting People Living with Dementia (2017) -training workbook and video

 These training tools are designed to equip frontline nurses and care home staff with the skills needed to improve the delivery of nutrition and hydration for people living with dementia.

 Watch the film                Download the workbook

 

BOOKS

its all about the food         Don't give me eggs that bounce_mm     food and nutrition for people with dementia  practical nutrition

 

  • It’s all about the food not the fork!  /  Morgan-Jones, Peter ,  Greedy, Lisa ,  Ellis, Prudence  &  McIntosh, Danielle  (2016)
    Imagine… you’re not comfortable with cutlery, can’t face a large meal, have reduced appetite, trouble with chewing or swallowing, are always on the move or have other things on your mind—an easy to eat, handheld snack that is high in energy, nutrition and taste will restore dignity and enjoyment to your dining experience. While everyone who loves a snack will enjoy It’s all about the food not the fork, it is a gift of love especially prepared for older people and people with dementia, swallowing difficulties or other disability, as well as carers.
  • Don’t give me eggs that bounce : 118 cracking recipes for people with Alzheimer’s  /  Peter Morgan-Jones, Emily Colombage, Danielle McIntosh, Prudence Ellis.  (2014)
    Australia’s leading aged care chef, Peter Morgan-Jones, has prepared innovative recipes which draw on his extensive international experience, with one recipe even inspired by cooking for a ‘young prince’ at Highgrove House.
  • Food and nutrition for people with dementia  /  Dementia Services Development Centre, University of Stirling  (2009)
    This guide for care workers is designed to raise awareness of the eating and drinking difficulties faced by people with dementia. It provides details of problems likely to be encountered on a daily basis and outlines practical ways to overcome them.
    It shows that, in many cases, a few simple measures – from gaining knowledge of a person’s likes and dislikes and dietary requirements, to making mealtimes and enjoyable experience, can ensure access to good food and drink.
    The guide offers tips to care workers on helping someone with dementia to eat – from how to stay calm and flexible to involving them in meal and snack times – and advises how to maintain the individuality of those receiving care with dignity, respect, empathy and patience.
  • Practical Nutrition and Hydration for Dementia Friendly Mealtimes  /  Lee Martin  (2017)
    In this accessible guide, Lee Martin offers simple, practical and cost-effective solutions to ensure healthy and enjoyable eating for people with dementia. Presenting clinical advice in everyday language, this is the perfect book for unpaid carers and healthcare professionals alike.

 

JOURNAL ARTICLES

Note: should you be interested in any of these articles please request through our handy form.
articles_final

How to manage dysphagia (2017) in Australian Journal of Dementia Care Vol 6 (4) p.21-25
Strategies for carers to support safe swallowing and help people with dementia and dysphagia maintain the pleasures of tasting and eating

Redesigning texture modified foods (2017)  in Australian Journal of Dementia Care Vol 6 (4) p 26-27
LHI Retirement Services in South Australia has improved the mealtime experience for residents with dysphagia by changing the way texture-modified food is presented.
Read Online

 

Engaging mealtimes: a chef’s perspective   (2017) in The Journal of Dementia Care  Jan/Feb  p 18-19
The author discusses suggestions for stimulating the appetite of those with a diminishing interest in food.

 

Food for thought: Facilitating independence with finger foods (2013) in  The Australian Journal of Dementia Care Vol 2(2) p 19-20
Dietician Denise Burbidge discusses finger foods as a flexible, dignified meal option for people with moderate to severe dementia
Read online

 

Residents happy to help themselves (2013)  in The Australian Journal of Dementia Care Vol 2(2) p 21
The introduction of ‘help-yourself’ finger food and a person-centred dining approach has proved a successful addition to daily life at three Scalabrini Village aged care facilities in Sydney and Griffith which support people with dementia.
Rocco Andreacchio and Lauren Kingsbury explain how residents, care staff and families have benefited from the changes.
Read online

 

‘The meals look lovely but mum says the food is tasteless’ (2013) in The Australian Journal of Dementia Care Vol 2(2) p 15-18
Kim Wylie and Monica Nebauer explain how the loss of a person’s sense of taste and/or smell can contribute to under-nutrition in older people and those living with dementia.

 

 

Relationships and dementia

relationshipsanddementia.JPG

People  interact and engage with others on a daily basis whether they are family, friends, work colleagues, or even strangers.  We are social beings.

Our intimate and family relationships are complex. Living with dementia increases this complexity, so relationships need to be reframed and constantly renegotiated as the dementia progresses. (Relationships and dementia, 2017)

This blog looks at a variety of resources that illustrate the complexity of these relationships.

relationshipsandementia.JPGRelationships and dementia – Alzheimer’s Australia NSW Discussion Paper Number 19 (June 2017)
This discussion paper concludes that society needs to recognise, acknowledge and understand that people living with dementia, their carers and families face relationship difficulties and challenges, and more support is needed to enable people to work through complex feelings of grief and loss.
Download resource

Friends_matterFamily and friends matter : how to stay connected to a person living with dementia – Alzheimer’s Australia (2015)
The Family and Friends Matter booklet reinforces the importance of family, friendship and social connection for people with dementia and provides strategies and ideas to help an individual engage and maintain their relationship with a family member or friend who has developed dementia.
Download resource

loving-someone-who-has-dementiaLoving someone who has dementia : how to find hope while coping with stress and grief  /  Pauline Boss  (c2011)
This book is intended for partners, family members, friends, neighbours and caregivers of a person living with dementia.
The author discusses the meaning of relationships and offers approaches in a conversational style, suggesting ways to embrace rather than resist the ambiguity of a relationship with someone who has dementia.

 

Memoirs

bettyvilleBettyville : a memoir  /  George Hodgman  (2015)

A witty, tender memoir of a son’s journey home to care for his irascible mother–a tale of secrets, silences, and enduring love. When George Hodgman leaves Manhattan for his hometown of Paris, Missouri, he finds himself–an unlikely caretaker and near-lethal cook–in a head-on collision with his aging mother, Betty, a woman of wit and will.

 

alzheimersLoveStoryAlzheimer’s: a love story  /  Ulman, Vivienne  (2009)
The author records with tender lyricism and searing honesty the progress of her mother’s Alzheimer’s, her own grief and the way in which her parents’ enduring love for each other sustains them.

 

green vanilla teaGreen vanilla tea  /  Marie Williams  (2013)
In a compelling story that spans both joy and sadness, Marie Williams writes about the bonds in her family, her sons’ love for their father, the spirit that sustains them all during the most testing of experiences and about the struggle they faced in dealing with the inexplicable.

 

ToLoveWhatIsTo love what is : a marriage transformed  /  Shulman, Alix Kates  (2008)
In this elegant memoir, Shulman describes the ongoing anxieties and risks–and surprising rewards–she experiences with her husband and discovers that what might have seemed a life sentence to some has evolved into something unexpectedly rich.

 

Fiction

goodbye vitaminGoodbye, vitamin  /  Rachel Khong.  (2017)

Ruth is thirty and her life is falling apart: she and her fiancé are moving house, but he’s moving out to live with another woman; her career is going nowhere; and then she learns that her father, a history professor beloved by his students, has Alzheimer’s. Goodbye, Vitamin is the wry, beautifully observed story of a woman at a crossroads, as Ruth and her friends attempt to shore up her father’s career; she and her mother obsess over the ambiguous health benefits – in the absence of a cure – of dried jellyfish supplements and vitamin pills; and they all try to forge a new relationship with the brilliant, childlike, irascible man her father has become.

the-woman-next-doorThe woman next door  /  Liz Byrski  (2016)

Over the years, the residents of Emerald Street have become more than just neighbours, they have built lasting friendships over a drink and chat on their back verandahs. This is a tale  of a group of friends and their reactions to growing older.

 

the-things-we-keepThe things we keep  /  Sally Hepworth.  (2016)
Anna Forster, in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease at only thirty-eight years old, knows that her family is doing what they believe to be best when they take her to Rosalind House, an assisted living facility. She also knows there’s just one other resident her age, Luke. What she does not expect is the love that blossoms between her and Luke even as she resists her new life at Rosalind House. As her disease steals more and more of her memory, Anna fights to hold on to what she knows, including her relationship with Luke.

memory bookThe memory book  /  by Rowan Coleman  (2014)

A gorgeous husband, two beautiful children, a job she loves—Claire’s got it all. And then some. But lately, her mother hovers more than a helicopter, her husband Greg seems like a stranger, and her two children are like characters in a movie. Things are changing.

 

Film

Iris DVD coverIris  /  Bayley, John  (2001)

Based on the book Elegy for Iris by John Bayley, this movie tells the true story of English novelist Iris Murdoch’s progression of Alzheimer’s disease and the enduring relationship with  Bayley, her partner of 40 years.
View trailer

gen silent DVD

Gen silent : a documentary film about LGBT aging  /  written and directed by Stu Maddux.  (2011)
Many who won the first  civil rights victories for generations to come are now aging and may be  reluctant to ask for help.
Filmed in the Boston area over a one-year period, director Stu Maddux followed six LGBT seniors through their decision to either stay open about their sexuality or hide it to survive in the long-term health care system.
View Trailer

Still mine  (2012still mine)
Still Mine is ultimately a story about a relationship between husband and wife and their staunch determination to remain together and care for one another. At times, this means other family members are excluded and disregarded. Yet no one doubts their devotion to one another. It is a story of empowerment and acceptance in very stressful circumstances. Whilst their situation bends them, it does not break them and Still Mine is, among other things, a story of triumph.
View trailer

Remember: All titles are available for loan through the Alzheimer’s Australia Vic library and may also be available via your local public library service.