Helpful Book List Compiled by Alzheimer’s Message Board Members

This list of recommended books about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia has been compiled and annotated by members of ProHealth’s Alzheimer’s Message Board. The list includes both informative and personal books that provide many types of support for Alzheimer’s patients, care partners, friends, and family members of all ages. It does not include any book claiming to have an Alzheimer’s cure.

We've provided links to for information about these books, all highly reader rated, and suggest that local libraries, Alzheimer's support groups, and the Alzheimer's Association may be other sources for hard-to-find but ageless and helpful titles. Also, please visit the Alzheimer’s Board to learn more and add suggestions or comments to the list.


What To Do When the Doctor Says It's Early-Stage Alzheimer’s
(2005) by Winnie Yu and Todd Feinberg

Alzheimer’s Early Stages: First Steps in Caring and Treatment
(1995) by Daniel Kuhn
Still one of the best.

Learning to Speak Alzheimer's: A Groundbreaking Approach for Everyone Dealing with the Disease
(2003) by Joanne Koenig Coste
Joanne was requested to write this book. It helps new caregivers formulate a healthy attitude for Alzheimers caregiving, and how relate… I found it very helpful.

Speaking Our Minds: Personal Reflections from Individuals with Alzheimer's
(2000) by Lisa Snyder
Based on interviews and work with people in the earlier stages of Alzheimers.


The 36 Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementing Illnesses, and Memory Loss in later Life
(2001) by Nancy L Mace and Peter V Rabins
The first and still the current bible. Some people recommend The 36 Hour Day, but I didn't care for it. The thing is, all AD people are different. If you see one AD person, you've seen one AD person. Some just have memory problems, some get mean, some wander, there are just so many different ways they get…. Some people find it overwhelming…. I did read the 36 hour day. I didn't like learning some of the things I learned from it, but it did prepare me. It is the kind of book you can read only sections at a time, and skip around…. Do not let The 36 Hour Day overwhelm you or depress you. It gives us information so we can be prepared to deal with the disease….

Alzheimer's Disease – A Guide for Families
(1993) by Lenore S Powell with Katie Courtice
This is about 350 pages of information dealing with What Alzheimer's is and what it is not; all the way to the end stage. This book covers just about every emotion from diagnosis, denial, anger, depression, guilt, and fears. Understanding and dealing with the patient's problems – this section breaks down to several sections including the psychological toll of memory loss, everyday life, the nursing home dilemma, death and bereavement. Taking care of yourself – this goes into safeguarding your own health, excercises for a healthy mind and help for troubled caregivers…. I have not completely read this book as yet but well into it as this book was loaned to me recently by a person who has an adult home for Alzheimer's and dementia that we are considering placing my Mother in as soon as an opening comes up. I have been reading sections of it and it is a down-to-earth type book easily read but full of information. Every area is well explained and how to deal with it…. This is a book more for the family to help with understanding Alzheimer's, what to expect and how to cope with the changes of our loved ones as the AD progresses.

Mayo Clinic on Alzheimer's Disease
(2002) by Ronald Petersen, MD
The Mayo clinic book is really good too.

Courage to Care: A Caregiver's Guide Through Each Stage of Alzheimer's
(2001) by JoAnne Parrent

Alzheimer's Essentials: Practical Skills for Caregivers
(2007) by Bretten C Gordeau and Jeffrey G Hillier
A very concise book that is accurate and sometimes technical (i.e., is not short because it is dumbed down). One early caregiver review on Amazon was ecstatic about this book because he could read it in only an hour or two. I shudder at the thought of a caregiver who is only willing to spend 2 hours learning about the disease.

Creating Moments of Joy for the Person with Alzheimer’s or Dementia
(2008, 4th Edition) by Jolene Brackey.
Another good book. The title says it all. That's what you try to do with a LO with AD -create moments of joy for them and for you. As the disease progresses it's more and more difficult to communicate: what to say, what not to say, how to handle bath times, etc….

There's Still a Person in There: The Complete Guide to Treating and Coping with Alzheimer's
(2000) by Michael Castleman.

Staying Connected While Letting Go: The Paradox of Alzheimer's Caregiving
(2003) by Sandy Braff and Mary Rose Olenik

Understanding Difficult Behaviors: Some Practical Suggestions for Coping with Alzheimer's and Related Illnesses
(1991) by Anne Robinson, Beth Spencer and Laurie White
Available for purchase ($15-$20) from the Alzheimer's Association. [For example, the New York City Chapter's online book store.] One to five pages on each of the following issues: Angry/Agitated Behavior, Hallucinations/Paranoia, Incontinence, Bathing, Dressing, Eating, Sleeping, Wandering, Repetitive actions, Screaming/Verbal Actions, and Wanting to Go Home.

A Curious Kind of Widow – Loving a Man with Advanced Alzheimer's
(2006) by Ann Davidson
A book I have recently read, that I really appreciated. If you are a caregiver of your spouse and have begun to think about day care or placement in a facility, this book is outstanding.

Coping with Alzheimer's – A Caregiver's Emotional Survival Guide
(1989) by Rose Oliver and Frances Bock
This book deals directly with the caregiver and how to handle situations, and your response. They give some great helps.

When Love Gets Tough: The Nursing Home Decision
(1983) by Doug Manning
I am currently at the stage of considering placement. An excellent book on this topic. It is not specific for Alzheimer's, but is excellent on all the areas.


Sunshine and Joy's Big Book of Alzheimer's Activities
(2007) by Jill Hernandez
The activities are amazing! They are unlike anything I've found in other Alzheimer's activity books. My mom is only able to speak a word here and there and yet I've been able to make her laugh and smile and respond.

The Best Friends Book of Alzheimer’s Activities
(2004) by Virginia Bell, David Troxel, Tonya M Cox, and Robin Hamon
Based on suggestions from professional activity directors.


Hard Choices For Loving People: CPR, Artificial Feeding, Comfort Measures Only and the Elderly Patient
(1999) by Hank Dunn
Written by a hospice chaplain.

Dying Well
(1998) by Ira Byock, MD
My children and our older granddaughter were struggling with their Dad. The Hospice nurse suggested this book. It really helped them a lot and they were more at peace about everything.


A Caregiver's Guide to Alzheimer's Disease: 300 Tips for Making Life Easier
(2005) by Patricia R Callone

Into the Mist: When Someone You Love Has Alzheimer’s Disease
(2005) by Deborah Uetz with Dr. Anne Lindsay
From website: "answers the questions that come along with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. What are the symptoms of the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease? When should someone stop driving? Why is my loved one becoming withdrawn and insecure? Are hallucinations an occurrence with Alzheimer’s disease? Does Medicare or Medicaid cover expenses? How do I cope with the stress of constant care giving? Is Alzheimer’s disease fatal?…. "The book began as a personal journal but grew into a comprehensive resource for Alzheimer’s caregivers as well as a compilation of information from researchers, psychologists, Aging experts and families coping with this devastating illness all over the world. As you walk into the mist of Alzheimer’s disease this book serves as a roadmap because of the life lessons of others who have traveled this road before you."

Caring for Mother: A Daughter’s Long Goodbye
(2007) by Virginia stem Owens.
I got it at the library. It was really good. [The mother] does have dementia and goes into a nursing home.

He Used to Be Somebody: A Journey into Alzheimer's Disease Through the Eyes of a Caregiver
(1996) by Beverly Bigtree Murphy
Check out the Bigtree Murphy website

Marshall's Journey: The Power Of Understanding Alzheimer's
(2004) by Vailia Dennis

Dancing with Rose: Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer's
(2007) by Lauren Kessler (also available as a CD)
For those of you who haven't read "Dancing with Rose", do so. It tells a lot about nursing homes and what goes on. It really says a lot about the caliber of employees in these homes. I enjoyed the book tremendously…. Written by a journalist who took a job in a nursing home to see for herself what goes on.


What's Happening to Grandpa?
(2004) by Maria Shriver
It is supposed to be for children but is good to let anyone know what is going on with your loved one (in non-technical words).

What's Happening to Grandma? A Family's Experience with Alzheimer's
(1996) by Margaret Shawver

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (19 votes, average: 4.21 out of 5)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (19 votes, average: 4.21 out of 5)

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