March 14, 2018

Reading carer’s stories and well researched novels can be inspiring and informative for carers

*These resources and eRsources are available for loan to members of AANSW - if you would like to reserve them please email the Library on

new books for carers

Rain birds 
Alan and Pina have lived contentedly in isolated – and insular – Boney Point for thirty years. Now they are dealing with Alan’s devastating early-onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis. As he is cast adrift in the depths of his own mind, Pina is left to face the consequences alone, until the arrival of a flock of black cockatoos seems to tie him, somehow, to the present.

Nearby, conservation biologist Arianna Brandt is involved in a project trying to reintroduce the threatened glossy black cockatoos into the wilds of Murrungowar National Park. Alone in the haunted bush, and with her birds failing to thrive, Arianna’s personal demons start to overwhelm her and risk undoing everything.

At first, when the two women’s paths cross, they appear at loggerheads but – in many ways – they are invested in the same outcome but for different reasons.

Ultimately, unexpected events will force them both to let go of their pasts and focus on the future.

review by a carer
"I have just finished reading 'Rain Birds' by Harriet McKnight. I really enjoyed it, and could relate well to the carer - Pina - in the novel. I appreciate your observation along the lines that sometimes we can get more from fiction than reading a biographical /autobiographical account."

Somebody I Used to Know

What do you lose when you lose your memories? What do you value when this loss reframes how you've lived, and how you will live in the future? How do you conceive of love when you can no longer recognise those who are supposed to mean the most to you?

When she was diagnosed with dementia at the age of fifty-eight, Wendy Mitchell was confronted with the most profound questions about life and identity. All at once, she had to say goodbye to the woman she used to be. Her demanding career in the NHS, her ability to drive, cook and run - the various shades of her independence - were suddenly gone.

Philosophical, profoundly moving, insightful and ultimately full of hope, Somebody I Used to Know gets to the very heart of what it means to be human. A phenomenal memoir - it is both a heart-rending tribute to the woman Wendy once was, and a brave affirmation of the woman dementia has seen her become.

The gingerbread house

Recently-redundant Tess is keen to start work on a novel and needs to make it work. She and her freelance journalist husband Donn desperately need the money and three weeks looking after Donn's aged mother while the carer takes a break seems like an opportunity to get started. She knows it'll be tough looking after Eleanor, who has increasingly severe dementia, but she'll surely find some time for herself, won't she? Arriving at the isolated country house their daughter Katia has named The Gingerbread House, a tearful Tess begins to realise that she has a far more difficult few weeks ahead than expected. Her mother-in-law is now in need of constant attention and Donn can't help as he has to stay in town for work. Narrated by Katia - their only child - who prefers not to speak but observes everything, The Gingerbread House is a deeply moving and compassionate story of a family and its tensions and struggles with her grandmother's dementia, as the reclusive teenager describes the effect it has on everyone in a strangely detached but compassionate way. But as the situation regarding her grandmother's care unfolds, a family tragedy even closer to home reveals itself.

'Charming, funny, tender and sad, and devastatingly readable. I will never forget it.' 
'Frank and incredibly moving.' 

Alzheimer's - life in reverse
After graduating with honours from Sydney University, Philip Minter undertook post graduate studies in America, leading to a Ph D. At about this time, he was introduced to his future wife, Mary, and after a brief courtship, they married in January 1959. The book then tells the story of their life together as they followed their careers, including the arrival of their two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret in Australia and USA. All went well for several years until Mary began to show an early sign of dementia – forgetfulness. Other symptoms followed and she was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in the mid-1980s. The effects and progressive nature of this pernicious disease are then carefully documented until Mary’s eventual demise, some 15 years later.
The great value of this book lies in its forthright telling of the relentless nature of Mary’s ever worsening symptoms and the loving care needed to make her as comfortable as possible. It is written in a straightforward manner with short chapters that describe the neurological effects of Alzheimer’s disease, and in passing, informs the reader much about life in America at that time.
Ebooks to download and read include:
  • On Pluto 
    Greg O’Brien, an award-winning investigative reporter, has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's and is one of those faceless numbers. Acting on long-term memory and skill coupled with well-developed journalistic grit, O’Brien decided to tackle the disease and his imminent decline by writing frankly about the journey. O’Brien is a master storyteller. His story is naked, wrenching, and soul searching for a generation and their loved ones about to cross the threshold of this death in slow motion. On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s is a trail-blazing roadmap for a generation—both a “how to” for fighting a disease, and a “how not” to give up!
  • New York Times Bestseller
    Emmy-award winning broadcast journalist and leading Alzheimer’s advocate Meryl Comer’s Slow Dancing With a Stranger is a profoundly personal, unflinching account of her husband’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease that serves as a much-needed wake-up call to better understand and address a progressive affliction.

    When Meryl Comer’s husband Harvey Gralnick was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease in 1996, she watched as the man who headed hematology and oncology research at the National Institutes of Health started to misplace important documents and forget clinical details that had once been catalogued encyclopaedically in his mind. With harrowing honesty, she brings readers face to face with this devastating condition and its effects on its victims and those who care for them. 

    Detailing the daily realities and overwhelming responsibilities of caregiving,Comer sheds intensive light on this national health crisis, using her personal experiences—the mistakes and the breakthroughs—to put a face to a misunderstood disease, while revealing the facts everyone needs to know.

    Pragmatic and relentless, Meryl has dedicated herself to fighting Alzheimer’s and raising public awareness. “Nothing I do is really about me; it’s all about making sure no one ends up like me,” she writes. Deeply personal and illuminating, Slow Dancing With a Stranger offers insight and guidance for navigating Alzheimer’s challenges. It is also an urgent call to action for intensive research and a warning that we must prepare for the future, instead of being controlled by a disease and a healthcare system unable to fight it.
  • Where the Light Gets in : Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again

    Many know Kimberly Williams-Paisley as the bride in the popular Steve Martin remakes of the "Father of the Bride" movies, the calculating Peggy Kenter on "Nashville," or the wife of country music artist, Brad Paisley. But behind the scenes, Kim’s mother, Linda, was diagnosed with a rare form of dementia that slowly took away her ability to talk, write and eventually recognize people in her own family. "Where the Light Gets In" tells the full story of Linda s illness called primary progressive aphasia from her early-onset diagnosis at the age of 62 through the present day. Kim draws a candid picture of the ways her family reacted for better and worse, and how she, her father and two siblings educated themselves, tried to let go of shame and secrecy, made mistakes, and found unexpected humour and grace. Ultimately the bonds of family were strengthened, and Kim learned ways to love and accept the woman her mother became. With a moving foreword by actor and advocate Michael J. Fox, "Where the Light Gets In" is a heart warming tribute to the often fragile yet unbreakable relationships we have with our mothers."
  • When your parent becomes your child : a journey of faith through my mother's dementia [available in book or CD]
    by Ken Abraham
    As he chronicles his own mother's degenerative condition, New York Times best-selling writer Ken Abraham educates while offering inspiration to help readers cope with and manage their family circumstances. With humor and spiritual reminders of God's command to honor our parents, Abraham encourages readers through often-difficult responsibilities. And though in most cases patients will not recover this side of heaven, he suggests many practical things that families can do to make the experience safer, kinder, and more endurable for everyone involved.

March 09, 2018

Reducing the risk of dementia

*resources are available to members of dementia Australia NSW by emailing 

The end of Alzheimer's : the first program to prevent and reverse cognitive decline - book - eBook and audio CDs available

A groundbreaking plan to prevent and reverse Alzheimer's disease that fundamentally changes how we understand cognitive decline.
Everyone knows someone who has survived cancer, but until now no one knows anyone who has survived Alzheimer's disease.
In this paradigm shifting book, Dale Bredesen, MD, offers real hope to anyone looking to prevent and even reverse Alzheimer's disease and cognitive decline. Revealing that AD is not one condition, as it is currently treated, but three, The End of Alzheimer's outlines 36 metabolic factors (micronutrients, hormone levels, sleep) that can trigger "downsizing" in the brain. The protocol shows us how to rebalance these factors using lifestyle modifications like taking B12, eliminating gluten, or improving oral hygiene.
The results are impressive. Of the first 10 patients on the protocol, nine displayed significant improvement with three to six months; since then the protocol has yielded similar results with hundreds more. Now, The End of Alzheimer's brings new hope to a broad audience of patients, caregivers, physicians, and treatment centers with a fascinating look inside the science and a complete step-by-step plan that fundamentally changes how we treat and even think about AD.




Audio Book (CD) | August 22, 2017

Don't miss the bus
by Rex J. Lipman
What if you could employ a few simple measures to fight cognitive decline, and to remain mentally and physically fit in your golden years? In easy-to-understand language, author Rex J Lipman presents insights and exercises that are proven to work.

What if you could employ a few simple measures to fight cognitive He draws upon the wisdom of award-winning scientist and Emeritus Professor, University of California at San Francisco, Dr Michael Merzenich PhD.
Rex Lipman has a simple prescription for our brain health in these pages... we must eat, physically engage our body, and directly exercise our brain powers, all in ways that help assure its good health. Rex has acted on this prescription throughout his older life, and his extraordinary vitality and intelligence, now so beautifully expressed in his tenth decade are vivid testimony to its values.
~ Emeritus Professor Dr Michael Merzenich, Ph.D
If you have ever been fearful that your longevity might be tarnished by dementia, or considered that perhaps those extra years might be a dubious gift then this is the book you need to read. It convincingly explains that we can all mould our destiny and don't have to be the victim of our genes or accident. 
~ The Hon Dr Jane Lomax-Smith, AM

Stop Alzheimer's now! : How to prevent and reverse dementia, Parkinson's, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, and other neurodegenerative disorders 

Dementia and other forms of neurodegeneration are not a part of the normal ageing process. The brain is fully capable of functioning normally for a lifetime, regardless of how long a person lives. While ageing is a risk factor for neurodegeneration, it is not the cause! Dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders are disease processes that can be prevented and successfully treated. This book outlines a program using ketone therapy and diet that is backed by decades of medical and clinical research and has proven successful in restoring mental function and improving both brain and overall health. You will learn how to prevent and even reverse symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis (MS), Huntington's disease, epilepsy, diabetes, stroke, and various forms of dementia. In the case of Alzheimer's disease, approximately 70 per cent the brain cells responsible for memory are destroyed before symptoms become noticeable. You can stop Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases before they take over your life. The best time to start is now.


  • The anti-alzheimer's prescription : the science proven plan to start at any age
Doctors now know that the damage associated with Alzheimer's begins decades before any symptoms appear. That is why it is never too early to start applying Dr Fortanasce's straightforward and sensible lifestyle prescription. This involves first of all identifying your specific risk profile and then following his 4-step program to improve brain health
or try our eLibrary
download these to your phone 

To borrow or reserve this item please email
or download from our overdrive link and search for the dementia Australia library 

Save your brain : 5 things you must do to keep your mind young and sharp 

Expert advice on how to ward off memory loss and dementia beginning with a diagnostic quiz to help you determine your overall brain health, and ending with meal plans and recipes for a brain boosting diet.
Doing the daily crossword puzzle and drinking Ginko Biloba may not be enough in fighting off mental decline. Alzheimer's and Dementia are on the rise but clinical neuropsychologist David Nussbaum presents a comprehensive 5-part program for keeping brains operating at their best and fighting off these debilitating diseases.

Defying dementia : understanding and preventing Alzheimer's and related disorders 
The first explains the anatomy and physiology, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of the full spectrum of dementias. The second section, titled "Lowering the Risk," features four chapters offering evidence-based lifestyle changes and interventions that could potentially decrease the risk of developing dementia and/or maximize cognitive functioning. Levine's intended audience is the "intelligent layperson," but the book would be equally appropriate for selected health professionals or social service students seeking general coverage of the topic. The medical case studies interspersed throughout section 1 would be of limited interest to most readers. Overall, this succinct, credible resource on these devastating diseases sums up the present-day state of affairs and hints at the future.

March 02, 2018

Topic - How to get your staff engaged in better care techniques

*theseDVDs, books and Eresources are available to members of dementia Australia NSW by emailing 

Topic :How to get your staff engaged in better care techniques 

How to get your staff engaged in better care techniques DVD by Teepa Snow

Have you had trouble motivating your staff to learn, embrace, and regularly use new skills? Do you love Teepa Snow’s dementia care methods, but don’t know how to best implement them within your organization? Changing peoples’ set behaviors and a groups’ culture of
care is not an easy task.

Get practical tips, techniques, and recommended strategies from Teepa so you can find the best and most effective way to change your staff’s mindset, actions, and enthusiasm towards the most compassionate care techniques available today. Learn how to create true culture change, and positively impact the quality of care and life for those living with dementia.

After watching this program you will know:

  • how to build skills to change staff behavior toward individuals with dementia
  • how to propel your managerial techniques from traditional supervising to effective coaching
  • how to best guide staff during challenging behaviors and care situations
Run Time: Approx. 145 minutes

Fish! : a proven way to boost morale and improve results
Fish! is an inspirational parable for all businesses and managers that need to boost morale and regain enthusiasm. Using the example of Mary Jane Ramirez, a manager hired to turn around the "toxic energy dump" that had become Seattle's Pike Place Market, the authors present the keys to turning a stagnant department into a positive, thriving environment. Fish! provides the concrete steps to maximizing energy, enthusiasm, productivity, and creativity in the workplace.


Providing good care at night for older people : practical approaches for use in nursing and care homes 
"Night staff have to provide the same level of person centred, individualised care as day staff. Their primary task is seen as the promotion of sleep. This can often mean that they feel compelled to get people back to bed as quickly as possible. Often, however, residents need, time, food, activity, and TLC as well as an opportunity to talk and discuss, particularly their fears and worries." 

Night time activities include --  calm gentle nights by the radio  --  a walk in the evening air --  having a snack/ nightcap --  reading aloud

The experiences and needs of residents and patients in nursing and care homes are very different at night, and this is particularly true for those with dementia.

The authors look at all of the issues that are particularly pertinent in caring for older people at night, including nutrition and hydration, continence, challenging behaviour, medication, night time checking, pain management and end of life care. They also look at the impact that working at night has on care staff, and offer practical suggestions to help them to safeguard their own health. The final chapter provides a set of night time care guidelines for inspectors that can also be used by managers to evaluate night time practices in their homes.

This book is essential reading for night staff and their managers and employers, as well as inspectors of services, policy makers.

Frontline workers in assisted living 

...assisted living workers—mostly women and minorities—are already in short supply and their numbers are shrinking. The work generally pays substandard wages. It is physically hard, dirty, and mentally and emotionally challenging.

This book examines individual- and community-level factors that influence the experiences and work conditions of direct care workers in assisted living. 

It explores how and why they selected this type of employment, shows what the job entails, highlights the importance of these workers to the people they care for daily, and gives important new information about the interrelationships among issues that affect worker satisfaction and turnover in assisted living. In doing so, it reveals the reasons for the inherent tensions among frontline workers, facilities operators, and residents and their families and loved ones, and it offers practical strategies for attracting and retaining top-notch direct care workers.

"...An extraordinarily comprehensive and thoughtful analysis of the issues involving direct care workers. This is an excellent resource for scholars and researchers studying any type of residential long-term care, as well as for administrators of long-term care facilities and policy experts who deal with assisted living..." 

also available from our Elibrary

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