Cover image for Alzheimer's for dummies
Alzheimer's for dummies
Smith, Patricia Burkhart.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Hoboken, NJ : John Wiley, [2004]

Physical Description:
xviii, 360 pages ; 24 cm.
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RC523.2 .S635 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



An estimated 4 million people are living with Alzheimer?s Disease (AD) in America today, with approximately 370,000 new cases diagnosed every year. AD patients live anywhere from 5 to 20 years after their diagnosis; and their inability to care for themselves grows more dramatic as the disease progresses, creating profound implications for their families and healthcare providers. Its impact on families during the caregiving years is overwhelming.

If you have a family member or close friend who?s suffering from Alzheimer?s Disease and you?re looking for current, useful information, then Alzheimer?s For Dummies is for you. This reference guide also is helpful if you

Need to know more about its diagnosis and treatment Want to take care of yourself while taking care of your loved one Are not the primary caregiver but want to know how to help Want to know how Alzheimer?s Disease is going to affect you and your loved one

Alzheimer?s For Dummies takes a realistic look at Alzheimer?s Disease, what it is and what it isn?t. It offers pertinent, easy-to-understand advice for dealing with the myriadnbsp;concerns and responsibilities that a primary caregiver must assume when managing an Alzheimer?s patient. Here?s a sampling of the information you?ll find in this valuable guide:

Maneuvering through medical, legal, and financial tangles Distinguishing AD from other brain diseases and medical conditions Handling the fears that may accompany the diagnosis Evaluating current drug therapies; watching out for scams and quack treatments Finding the best doctors; dealing with attorneys and CPAs Looking at Medicare regulations Evaluating the cost of care The current state of research, diagnosis, and treatment

Television personality Leeza Gibbons, whose mother was stricken with AD, writes in the foreword of this book, ?There is no upside to keeping your head in the sand. This book is a crucial step in your new fight. Arm yourself with the knowledge waiting for you in these pages. It will help you find answers and resources as you adjust to your new reality.?

Author Notes

Patricia B. Smith is an award-winning medical writer
Mary Mitchell Kenan, PsyD, is the Director of Education for Baylor College of Medicine's Alzheimer's Disease Center
Mark Edwin Kunik, MD, MPH, is a geriatric psychiatrist at the Houston Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) and Baylor College of Medicine

Table of Contents

Forewordp. xix
Introductionp. 1
About This Bookp. 2
Conventions Used in This Bookp. 2
Foolish Assumptionsp. 2
How This Book Is Organizedp. 3
Icons Used in This Bookp. 4
Where to Go from Herep. 5
Part I Could It Be Alzheimer's Disease?p. 7
Chapter 1 The Facts on Alzheimer's Diseasep. 9
Defining Alzheimer's Diseasep. 10
Busting the Myths About ADp. 11
Looking at Symptoms and Causesp. 11
Discovering Treatment Optionsp. 12
Tackling Financial and Legal Issuesp. 12
Making Medical Decisions and Providing Carep. 12
Finding Respitep. 13
What Should I Do Now?p. 13
Chapter 2 Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factorsp. 15
Getting an Idea of What to Look Forp. 16
Red Flag or Red Herring?p. 23
Looking at Some Theories on the Causes of ADp. 24
Examining Risk Factors for Developing Alzheimer's Diseasep. 28
Chapter 3 Getting a Diagnosisp. 31
How Doctors Diagnose Alzheimer's Diseasep. 32
Finding Someone to Do an Evaluationp. 32
Before You Seek a Diagnosis: Collecting Medical Historyp. 37
Understanding AD Diagnostic Testsp. 40
What to Do When the Diagnosis Is Madep. 50
Chapter 4 Distinguishing Alzheimer's Disease from Other Medical Conditionsp. 53
Making Sure that You Have a Reliable Diagnosisp. 53
It May Be Dementia, but Is It Alzheimer's?p. 55
Ruling Out the Usual (and Unusual) Suspectsp. 56
Chapter 5 Identifying Your Fears: For the Patient and the Caregiverp. 69
Concerns for the Alzheimer's Patientp. 70
Concerns for the Caregiverp. 80
Part II Helping a Loved One Manage the Illnessp. 85
Chapter 6 Understanding the Stages of Alzheimer's Diseasep. 87
How to Use the Classificationsp. 88
Three Stagesp. 88
Four Stagesp. 90
Five, Six, and Seven Stagesp. 93
The Current Thinking: Assessing Alzheimer's Stages Via Cognitive and Functional Impairmentp. 94
Chapter 7 Evaluating Drug Therapiesp. 99
A Little Background on Brain Chemistryp. 99
Reviewing Current FDA-Approved Drugsp. 102
Considering Other Types of Drugsp. 107
Chapter 8 Avoiding Snake Oil and Other Ineffective Treatmentsp. 111
Treatments and Tests That Aren't Worth Your Time or Moneyp. 112
Sniffing Out Scams: Five Warning Signs to Look Forp. 118
Chapter 9 Taking Part in Clinical Trialsp. 121
What Is a Clinical Trial?p. 122
Weighing the Benefits and the Risks When Participating in a Clinical Trialp. 123
Finding Clinical Trialsp. 126
Enrolling in a Clinical Trialp. 127
What Happens During a Trialp. 129
Current Alzheimer's Trialsp. 132
Chapter 10 Promising New Drugs and Diagnostic Toolsp. 137
The Current State of Affairsp. 138
Promising (and Not-So-Promising) New Drugsp. 138
An Ounce of Prevention: The Hunt for an Alzheimer's Vaccinep. 142
Drugs and Therapies Already Approved for Other Usesp. 143
Testing Positive: Looking for the Definitive Diagnosisp. 150
Chapter 11 Finding Alternative Therapiesp. 157
Calming Alzheimer's Disease Patientsp. 158
Having Some Fun and Easing Isolationp. 162
Part III Providing Care for the AD Patientp. 165
Chapter 12 Making Medical Decisionsp. 167
Finding the Right Healthcare Providerp. 168
Building a Teamp. 169
Keeping Good Recordsp. 170
Using Alternative Therapiesp. 171
Evaluating Clinical Trialsp. 172
Understanding the Importance of Cholinesterase Inhibitorsp. 173
Deciding on End-of-Life Care Optionsp. 174
Considering Brain Donationp. 177
Chapter 13 Understanding Legal Issues for Alzheimer's Patientsp. 181
Getting Startedp. 182
Evaluating Your Legal Optionsp. 183
Durable Power of Attorneyp. 184
Guardianships or Conservatorshipsp. 191
Living Trustsp. 195
Making Choices for Medical Carep. 197
Drawing Up a Willp. 199
Chapter 14 Working through Financial Issues for Alzheimer's Patientsp. 203
Reviewing Financial Needs and Resourcesp. 204
Taking Over the Financial Reinsp. 207
Understanding Changes in Tax Statusp. 209
Deciding Whether You Need a Financial Advisorp. 210
Quitting Workp. 214
Evaluating Insurance Coveragep. 217
Running Out of Resources: What Next?p. 223
Chapter 15 Evaluating Care Optionsp. 227
Identifying Your Optionsp. 228
Respite Care Optionsp. 231
Making the Transition to Residential Carep. 242
Residential Care Optionsp. 244
Chapter 16 Caring for the Alzheimer's Patientp. 251
Making a Care Planp. 252
Defining Practice Parameters and Standards of Carep. 253
Standards of Care and Practice Parameters for AD Patientsp. 256
Caring for AD Patientsp. 257
Planning Activities and Exercisep. 273
Preparing for Bedp. 276
Making the House Saferp. 277
Dealing with the Patient's Emotionsp. 280
Part IV Respite Care for the Caregiverp. 283
Chapter 17 Coping While Caregivingp. 285
Caregiving Is Hard Workp. 286
Caring for an AD Patient Affects You Emotionallyp. 287
Caregiving and Your Physical Healthp. 292
Using Humor to Copep. 294
Knowing When to Ask for Helpp. 295
Chapter 18 Finding Supportp. 297
Finding Out What's Availablep. 298
Looking into Support Groupsp. 302
Finding a Counselorp. 304
Chapter 19 Taking Care of the Caregiverp. 305
Giving Yourself a Breakp. 306
Being Good to Yourselfp. 308
Avoiding Isolationp. 311
Chapter 20 Handling Work and Family as Caregiverp. 315
Understanding the Importance of Routinesp. 316
Juggling a Job and Caregiving Responsibilitiesp. 316
Balancing Family and Caregivingp. 321
Making Time for Your Familyp. 324
Chapter 21 Helping When You're Not the Primary Caregiverp. 325
Understanding How Family Dynamics Affect Caregiving Decisionsp. 326
Learning How to Helpp. 329
Dealing with Out-of-Towner's Guiltp. 332
Part V The Part of Tensp. 333
Chapter 22 Ten Tips for the Alzheimer's Caregiverp. 335
Good: Ask for Helpp. 335
Bad: "I'd Rather Do It Myself"p. 336
Good: Modesty Garmentsp. 336
Bad: Birthday Suitp. 336
Good: Ask for Volunteer Assistancep. 337
Bad: "I Don't Need Help from Anyone"p. 337
Good: Cook Once, Eat Twicep. 337
Bad: Fast Food Bingop. 337
Good: Remember to Laugh Dailyp. 338
Bad: Wallow in Your Miseryp. 338
Chapter 23 More Than Ten Internet Resources for Alzheimer's Caregiversp. 339
ADEAR (Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral)p. 340
Administration on Agingp. 340
AgeNet Eldercare Networkp. 341
Alzheimer's Associationp. 341
Alzheimer's Caregiver Support Onlinep. 342
The Alzheimer's Foundation of Americap. 342
benefitscheckup.orgp. 342
Caregiver.comp. 342
CareSsentialsp. 343
Family Caregiver Alliancep. 343
The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundationp. 343
Long-Distance Caregivingp. 343
National Family Caregivers Associationp. 344
Needymeds.comp. 344
Medlineplus.govp. 344
Indexp. 345