Alzheimer Support Group leader suggests book to caregivers
Published 2:00 am Friday, September 4, 2015
At the Alzheimer’s Support Group meeting Thursday at Troy Regional Medical Center, Ann Marie Hussey, group leader, suggested a free resource book titled “The 36-Hour Day,” for the caregivers of those with memory loss of any kind.
“When my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I found that ‘The 36-Hour Day’ is the caregiver’s bible,” she said. “As the title suggests, a day in a caregiver’s life is never 24 hours. Every day seems like it’s 36-hours long.”
Hussey said she used the book, which is a Johns Hopkins Press Health Book, often and recommends it to anyone whose loved one is suffering from memory loss.
“When we think of memory loss, we most often think of Alzheimer’s but there are many different kinds of memory loss,” she said. “There is no all-for-one guide for those caregivers because each patient is different. Not every Alzheimer’s victim is not going to want to take a bath or change his or her clothes. But for those who are dealing with those situations, there are suggested ways of handling them.”
Hussey said one Alzheimer’s patient would not take a bath but had once loved to soak in the tub.
“Some Alzheimer’s patients lose their depth of perception,” she said. “Looking into a white bathtub, it appeared to this patient that there was no bottom, no end to the tub. When, the caregiver started putting rubber fish on the bottom of the tub, the patient willingly and eagerly got into the tub.”
Hussey said “The 36-Hour Day” is filled with beneficial information but could also be a “hard” read.
“Not every person who has memory loss is going to experience the same things,” she said. “It can be depressing for the caregiver to read about the different situations that could occur. So, I suggest reading only the sections that apply to each caregiver’s situation.
“When a patient is wandering or is taking things from stores, repeating questions, hiding things or rummaging through closets, those kinds of things can cause a caregiver to become frustrated or anxious. So those are the sections of the book a caregiver needs to read. There’s also a section on the needs of a caregiver.”
Hussey said people often don’t realize that the caregiver of a person with memory loss needs the love and support of others.
“So many times, people will shy away from a situation because they ‘don’t know what to say,’” she said. “Caregivers and their needs are often overlooked. The victim of memory loss is not the only one suffering. Just a quick phone call or a short visit can make a positive difference in a caregiver’s day. Ways to support a caregiver are addressed in ‘The 36-Hour Day.’
“If you are a caregiver or one who cares about a family member or friend who is in that situation, this book is worth reading.”
Hussey said those who would like to have a copy of “The 36-Hour Day” may call the Alzheimer’s Resource Center in Dothan at 334-702-2273 or 1-800-702-8689 and request a free copy.
Hussy said the donations to the Walk to Remember in Dothan on Oct. 3 make this book and other resource material free to the public.