After doctors diagnosed June Fuerst with early onset Alzheimer's disease (AD), her husband attended lectures and read every available book and article on the subject. He followed most advice and found what worked, and what did not. He kept daily notes. As the disease progressed, he found himself in uncharted territory and relied on his own creativity and a process of trial and error. He realized that some of the information he needed was not available from any source.
In June 2006, the Alzheimer's Association cofirmed his realization. They focused attention on the early onset of AD to a Congressional task force. Their report said, "When they occur in people under age 65, the conditions cause additional and unique problems because they are so unexpected and because most of the potentially helpful programs and services are designed for and targeted to older people." They went on to cover six major problems confronted by people with early onset dementia and their families. The sixth problem was especially significant. "Doctors and other providers may not know how to treat, provide care for, or communicate with people with early onset dementia. Training to address this problem is not generally availible, and much of the information that would be needed as a basis for such training does not exist."
This book supplies much of that information. It contains practical solutions to the six problems stated by the Alzheimer's Association and all of the other challenges faced by those caring for a family member. Its completeness reflects the author's first hand experience of seventeen years. It discusses many helpful products and resources. It presents ways of solving problems of behavior, communications, prescription drugs, emotions, mobility, personal care and safety. Its balanced advice includes solutions to problems that can arise when dealing with finances, dentists, doctors, lawyers and part-time caregivers. These solutions are effective, simple, inexpensive, clear and concise. Alphabetical topics within chapters make reference easy. Universal solutions will also help with other incapacitating illnesses. Organizations could use it as a basis for training, and caregivers can now get the help they need.
This book omits information that is readily available. For example, in the first chapter, the definition of and the justification for negative emotions gives way to the resolution of this behavior. Likewise, voluminous and rapidly obsolete research data is missing, but the reader learns how to get the most current data. Thus, the solutions that are included pick up where others leave off. These solutions show how to care for suffering family members while maintaining their dignity. They also tell how to protect a cargiver's own health.