Joanne Koenig Coste, now a renowned pioneer in implementing positive methods of caring for Alzheimer's patients, began to develop her groundbreaking approach when her middle-aged husband was diagnosed with progressive dementia shortly after the birth of her fourth child. As she struggled to care for him and their family, she recognized that it was possible to avoid some of the tremendous emotional burdens Alzheimer's patients and their care providers endure during the course of the disease. In this book Koenig Coste explains the five tenets of her "habilitation" approach, an accessible and comprehensive plan proven to have worked with thousands of patients and care providers.
Refuting long-accepted ideas, she calls for care "partners" to join patients in their current sense of place or time; to encourage patients to use their remaining skills to support their sense of independence and dignity; and, most of all, to continue communicating with patients by focusing on their emotional "language." Learning to Speak Alzheimer's also offers hundreds of practical tips to ease life for everyone involved with Alzheimer's, including how to
- cope with the diagnosis and figure out if the patient wants to discuss it - respectfully stop the person from driving - make meal and bath times as pleasant as possible - adjust room design and lighting for the patient's comfort - deal with wandering, paranoia, and aggression - establish a plan of care
Learning to Speak Alzheimer's revolutionizes the way we perceive and deal with Alzheimer's disease.