Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s, A Book Review

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Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s, A Book Review

One thing you learn quickly with Alzheimer’s disease is that telling your loved one, “You just said that,” is pointless. At least, I hope you learn it early on.  It’s strange, but I miss those days now with Mom.  Back then she was contributing to the conversation, being social as she always had been.

That is just one of the reasons I recommend the book Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s, by Joanne Koenig Coste.  If you have a family member or friend with the disease the book gives you an idea of what to expect, and perhaps more importantly, what to look for in a memory care facility.

The premise that struck me was to meet the patient where they are.  Rather than correcting the person for what they say, you respond in a way that comforts.  Often as the memory fades, they seem to go back in time.  You will often hear a resident ask about their mother or father, wondering when they will come and get them.  They will look for their spouse, perhaps deceased.  It is as though they are reliving another stage of their life.

I was surprised to learn in the book that in some facilities caregivers were taught to correct them, to tell them that their parent or spouse was gone.  In an attempt to keep the resident connected to “reality,” instead the caregivers would cause anxiety and sometimes anger.  To what end?  Still now when I think of it, it seems almost cruel.  Thankfully, nearly all facilities now no longer do that.

Learn all you can before it is needed!
After years of Alzheimer’s in our family, my goal for Mom is comfort.  Which is another reason I recommend this book. The tips it offers have given me ideas that hopefully are making Mom’s days more content.
Besides the excellent information on ‘habitation,’ you will find information on the stages of the disease, the treatments currently available, and even contact information for various organizations that may offer assistance.

Alzheimer’s is usually a lengthy disease.  If there is a chance you will be dealing with it, the more you know before you are in the midst of it the better.  Knowing what to expect can make the journey smoother. It can alleviate some of the shock and fear and help with acceptance.  Plus, suggestions in the book offer activities and treatments that could prolong the early stage days.

If you would like to read more about the book, click here for my full review.

Probably one of the most popular books you can read concerning Alzheimer’s disease is The 36-hour Day, by Nancy Mace and Peter Rabins.  It’s been called a guide, a manual and the bible on Alzheimer’s.  Definitely a worthwhile addition to your library.



After seeing what Alzheimer’s does to a body, it has become more important than ever to learn about prevention.  Currently there isn’t a cure or even a treatment medically, though hopefully that will change very soon.  So we need to look at diet and lifestyle to help.  This is an excellent book to that end.  In this easy to read and understand edition, you’ll find a wealth of suggestions.  As the author says, why not try all we can.  It can’t hurt, and it might prevent the disease.  Excellent book!


Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Alzheimers HQ and Simple Living Ideas

Author: Merry

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