September 15, 2015

book review on Ten thousand joys & ten thousand sorrows : a couple's journey through Alzheimer's by ALZ NSW Healthcare professional

Because I have a background in Buddhist meditation I really connected with the story and the couple’s experiences of living with dementia as described in the book. I have often wondered what the experience of living with dementia would be like for experienced meditators. I think it possibly taught me more about the benefits of meditation.  I was so moved by Hobb’s capacity and willingness to describe his experience. I think it gives a rare insight into what it might be like for a person with dementia. We don’t often have the privilege of hearing it from ‘the horse’s mouth’ and certainly not with such humour, poetry and precision. I was inspired by his capacity to continue living with a sense of purpose, learning and personal growth throughout the course of the disease and heartened to know that is possible.

The carer’s experience also gave me insight into the enormity of that role. I imagine her as a pretty calm, sensitive and resilient person with a great deal of family and community support… and yet, with all that on her side, she was clearly exhausted by the experience. It made me think about carers who go into the role with significantly less resources and I guess increased my understanding of and compassion for carers. What a staggeringly enormous undertaking!

 Quite simply it was a beautiful story about a truly inspiring couple.  Their capacity to ‘be with what is’ supported them through the journey with incredible positivity, wisdom and acceptance.

books to help with meditation and mindfulness include:
Mindfulness for carers : how to manage the demands of caregiving while finding a place for yourself
by Dr Cheryl Rezek
This book shows how simple mindfulness techniques can help caregivers to manage the stress, anxiety, depression and burnout that too often accompanies the care of people with physical, psychological or emotional needs. The enjoyable mindfulness exercises will help caregivers to regain control and maintain a positive outlook.

Coming to our senses

As stress continues to exact a toll on everyday life, people are increasingly turning to meditative methods, tested by science, to relieve its ill effects and become more focused, healthy, and proactive. Kabat-Zinn is a leader of the mind/body revolution in medicine and health care, demystifying it and bringing it into the mainstream. This book offers insight into how to use the five senses -- touch, hearing, sight, taste, and smell, plus awareness itself -- as a path to a healthier, saner, and more meaningful life. 

If you don’t get enough time to read everything you would like to read and you spend hours driving or on the bus or walking - if you feel like listening to something uplifting - why not pop in a CD
    Don't sweat the small stuff...and it's all small stuff: simple ways to keep the little things from taking over your life by  Carlson, Richard

 .    Unconditional confidence: [instructions for meeting any experience with trust and courage]  by Chödrön, Pema

    Don't bite the hook: finding freedom from anger, resentment, and other destructive emotions by Chödrön, Pema

  Full catastrophe living: using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness  by  Kabat-Zinn, Jon

. Wherever you go, there you are : mindfulness meditation in everyday life by  Kabat-Zinn, Jon

. Buddha's brain: the practical neuroscience of happiness, love & wisdom   ABC radio

. Learned optimism: how to change your mind and your life  by Seligman

. Breathing : the master key to self-healing   Weil, Andrew

. Taking care of yourself: strategies for eating well, staying fit and living in balance Weil, Andrew

 Healthy sleep by Weil, Andrew   

 . Mindfulness meditation for pain relief: guided practices for reclaiming your body and your life Kabat-Zinn, Jon

 Pebbles and pearls by Kabat-Zinn, Jon

 Mindfulness for beginners by Kabat-Zinn, Jon

 Guided mindfulness meditation: series 3   Kabat-Zinn, Jon

 Guided mindfulness meditation: series 2   Kabat-Zinn, Jon

. Meditation for optimum health   Weil, Andrew Kabat-Zinn, Jon

. Learning to meditate King, Petrea  

. The beginner's guide to meditation: how to start enjoying the benefits of meditation immediately   Young, Shinzen

 Learning the 8th habit: from effectiveness to greatness   Covey, Stephen R.

 Carers relaxation: stretch, recharge, relax   Brunton, Maggie Balcombe, Michael

. Relaxation: yoga nidra   Ross, Gillian

. Relaxation made easy   Ross, Gillian

. Relaxation II   Ross, Gillian

The beginner's guide to healthy breathing: how to calm your mind and energize your body with every breath   Cohen, Ken

. Resilience   by Deveson, Anne

. Self-love: accepting yourself and loving others : including guided meditations set to J.S. Bach   Dowrick, Stephanie

. Forgiveness and other acts of love: the humane virtues discussions by Dowrick, Stephanie

. The art of acceptance: living well in an imperfect world   Dowrick, Stephanie
These resources are available for loan to members of AANSW - if you would like to reserve them please email the Library on

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