Recommended Reading

Available in our Resource Library

To obtain a copy of any of our books, please email, call  (661) 665-8871 or stop by our center 4203 Buena Vista Rd. Bakersfield, CA. 93311.

Consumer Reports Complete Guide to Health Services for Seniors
This book contains a wealth of information specifically targeted to long-term care issues. It offers an overview of long-term care and addresses frequently asked questions about finding and paying for long-term care services for a loved one. It also provides information for caregivers on how to manage the health care bureaucracy.

The Validation Breakthrough: Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with Alzheimer's-type Dementia
Anyone who has ever know an Alzheimer's patient can tell you that they often find themselves "stuck in time," according to the American Health Assistance Foundation. Unfortunately, it is usually the wrong time. An elderly woman being cared for by her 55-year old daughter, for instance, may have days when she addresses her daughter as her mother, even though her actual mother passed away years ago. The Alzheimer's victim may be seeing the world through the eyes of her younger self, in another time, perhaps as a young mother with a new baby. Or she may think she is a small child. She is disoriented in time and cannot seem to grasp her true age and place. Caregivers, even professional ones, have struggled with this phenomenon for years.

The traditional way of dealing with time and place disorientation has been to remind the patient repeatedly of who she is, where she is in the present time and who is taking care of her. The problem is this almost never works; the patient and the caregiver ends up frustrated and dismayed that all her efforts at "reorientation" have failed.

Today there's a new way of caring for Alzheimer's patients that is gaining ground among professionals. It is both more compassionate and more effective that reorientation and anyone who has a loved one with Alzheimer's should know about it.  It's called "validation therapy" or simply "validation."  Validation therapy was pioneered by Naomi Feil, a gerontological social worker and now the executive director of the Validation Training Institute in Cleveland, Ohio.

Her book, The Validation Breakthrough: Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with Alzheimer's-Type Dementia has become a kind of Bible of the technique, which is now being employed in thousands of nursing homes throughout the U.S., Europe and Australia. According to Feil, caregivers must learn to identify and empathize with the terrifying disorientation that is the root of so many troubling behaviors on the part of the Alzheimer's patient.

By the time Alzheimer's Disease reaches the middle stage, patients are no longer able to learn new things, especially new ways of coping with their losses. The biggest loss of all is their orientation to reality. Some patients become very difficult to handle, lashing out in anger, accusing loved ones of terrible deeds, or trying to run away. Ms. Feil very perceptively acknowledges that somewhere on a deeper level, the patient is aware of his losses and is usually marshalling any resource he can find to cope. A case in point: A 78-year old man with Alzheimer's insists that he has to leave the house to go to work, even though he has been retired for years. His wife catches him about to walk out the front door and stops him. He becomes combative, insisting he's late for a meeting and an important client is waiting for him. The man's wife, who is rightly afraid that he may walk out and get lost, tells him over and over that he is retired and no longer has an office. The patient pays no attention to the "strange woman" that he doesn't even recognize and fights to get out the door. He is angry and confused and his wife ends up frustrated and exhausted.

According to the validation theory, the important things for caregivers to recognize is a scenario like this is that this elderly man is probably struggling desperately to hold onto his identity and to some version of reality that he can still understand.

Remembering who he was in his professional capacity may reassure him as he struggles to cope with a terrifying present that makes no sense to him. For whatever reason, this role is what he needs to cling to now. A validating strategy would be to calm him down by accepting his version of reality and respectfully asking him questions, perhaps about his "job." She may even tell him that his client called to reschedule their meeting for tomorrow.

Once validated, then redirected, most Alzheimer's patients will calm down and more on to something else. Validation therapy doesn't demand that the patient's world make sense. Professionals have learned to recognize that the past is far more clear in their minds than the present, which is shadowy and confusing. This is based upon physiological changes in the brain, which cannot be corrected. Ironically, many caregivers are finding that validation actually improves a patient's orientation to present day reality by reassuring them of their worth and making the present less confusing.

The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer's Care
What does it take to be a friend to a person with Alzheimer's Disease? All the same ingredients that go into any good friendship: mutual respect, affection, understanding and support. It means sharing time, feelings, memories, and new experiences. It's not hard. It's our nature. Amidst the many challenges and faces of this disease, The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer's Care shows how easily you can make a difference in the life of a family member or client in your care.

The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer's Care reflects a growing optimism in the field of Alzheimer's care that much can be done to improve the lives of people with the disease and to transform caregiving from a terrible burden to care that is manageable. The Best Friends model addresses problem behaviors by going beyond a laundry list of tips. Readers will learn a model of caregiving, a way of approaching challenges, that will work for the betterment of both family and professional caregivers. The authors have adopted a positive, optimistic outlook. All family stories mentioned in the book are real, and include the full names of the people involved. This was done to reduce the stigma of Alzheimer's Disease, to bring it out of the darkness. This book is now available in our resource library.

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