Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade: The 5 Love Languages and the Alzheimer's JourneyDebbie Barr, Edward G. Shaw, Gary ChapmanNorthfield Publishing / 2016 / Trade Paperback$10.49 Retail:5 Stars Out Of 5 2 Reviews
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Janet SketchleyCanadaAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5An Excellent ResourceOctober 13, 2018Janet SketchleyCanadaAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This book includes personal stories, practical information, and candid responses from people walking this "unchosen journey" with loved ones. It relies on input from studies and other key books on the subject of dementia and caregiving.
Don't stop half-way through, daunted by the prospect of what Alzheimer's can bring. Once the authors have given that grounding, they move on to share strategies, stories, and hope.
And don't say we could never do what these care partners have chosen to do. Maybe we couldn't, but we never truly know what we can do until we're in a situation and we rely on God.
The authors contend that, like coma patients, persons with dementia hear more than they can respond to. Also, studies show their emotional reaction to a stimulus lasts after they've forgotten the cause. So do visit, do show love in ways they can receive.
In the call to choose to love unconditionally, I heard the same thing I hear from parents of handicapped children, about the role of loving becoming a gift.
Among the many books on the topic of Alzheimer's and other dementias, this one focuses on applying the 5 Love Languages for both the patient and the care partner. It includes a simple self-assessment of the reader's own love languages, plus suggestions on how to assess the person with dementia if they've progressed to the point of being unable to comprehend it themselves.
The authors say, "We believe that the love languages are tools for gently lifting a corner of the dark curtain of dementia, making it possible to sustain an emotional connection with a memory-impaired person." [p. 41]
Then they provide practical tips and examples of how to show love as cognitive ability fades, including ways to help the person with dementia feel useful. The authors also advise that in the mid- to advanced stages of the disease, care partners should use all five love languages because the person's languages will change.
This is not a book advocating keeping Alzheimer's sufferers home in the later stages, nor does it push putting them into care facilities. It's an honest look at different case studies that recognize the uniqueness of each situation and the people in it.
The authors warn care partners not to do this alone, due to the health risks. It's important to form a teamand the members who'll choose to step up to help may not be those you'd expect.
They suggest early testing for dementia because some forms are treatable (eg. depression, brain tumours) and also because the testing can take time to reach a true diagnosis. This is especially true if more than one type of dementia is involved or if it's one of the less common varieties. They note that personality change can be an early sign.
Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade is an excellent resource equipping care partners to not only demonstrate love to persons with dementia but to also identify how to keep their own "love tank" filled. In that sense, I think it would be helpful for all types of caregivers as well.
Brianna5 Stars Out Of 5Keeping Love Alive as Memories FadeFebruary 19, 2017BriannaQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade piqued my interest as soon as I read the title. The trio of authors Deborah Barr, Edward Shaw, and Gary Chapman bring a spectrum of expertise that provides crucial insight to the book.
Dementia, Alzheimers, and cognitive impairment are rapidly increasing in the middle aged and elderly. Most people find it easier to avoid the topic, as it yields difficult questions without easy answers, or with no answers at all. My interest in this topic is certainly influenced by my professional focus in gerontology. However, I also have family members who live or lived with dementia.
It is through these perspectives that I found Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade to be particularly insightful and thought-provoking. Barr, Shaw and Chapman explain an underlying principle of hesed love, and emphasize that it is an imperative component of dementia care. With no cures or permanent treatments for dementia, hesed love is the only hopeful solution.
Barr, Shaw, and Chapman also integrate numerous stories as examples of how to practice the love languages in the context of dementia care. Certainly not every suggestion or example will work in all circumstances, as each person with dementia has a unique story and situation. However, the examples do provide a foundation for brainstorming, experimenting, and practicing ideas that might work.
Though they include a brief explanation of dementia and cognitive impairment, the authors do not purport to give thorough dementia education. Therefore, Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade should be used in conjunction with other educational resources. However, the suggestion to incorporate the five love languages into dementia care is what makes this book unique from other books on the subject.
I highly recommend Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade to all persons affected by dementia, including patients, families, friends, care partners, healthcare professionals, counselors, and churches.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in order to write an honest, unbiased review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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