December 02, 2016

books that look at intimacy and companionship for the carer

These resources are available for loan to members of AANSW - if you would like to reserve them please email the Library on nsw.library@alzheimers.org.au


Jan's story : love lost to the long goodbye of Alzheimer's

"...Eventually, Petersen made a decision that is often privately made but rarely discussed. He felt his only chance of survival was to find new love..."

Barry Petersen, long-time CBS news correspondent, has an impressive list of endorsements for his book, including testimonies from Katie Couric, Brian Williams, and Rosalynn Carter.

This is a love story with a controversial and important ending.

Petersen and his wife met and quickly fell passionately in love. Their marriage was enduring and happy as they shared his life as a traveling correspondent. Then came the diagnosis that would explain Jan’s changing behaviour. Beautiful, vivacious, smart Jan was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Eventually, Petersen made a decision that is often privately made but rarely discussed. He felt his only chance of survival was to find new love. He met a widow who had loved her spouse as much as he loved Jan. They became a couple, with the blessings of most of Jan’s family and friends.



A funny thing happened on the way to the nursing home: a different handbook for carers of dementia patients

This short, funny and sad book is a series of snapshots rather than a handbook as such. It describes, with a mixture of humour and pathos, some of the experiences of caring for a spouse with dementia, and in so doing imparts practical and useful advice. It is one person's view of how to manage an increasingly common problem, and explains why a sense of humour, and indeed a sense of the ridiculous, are very necessary attributes for surviving the caring process.
 The author's methods of managing his wife's difficult behaviour are excellent examples of lateral quick thinking. Dealing with an imagined visit from a duchess at 2 am, or the urgent need to plant a tree in the middle of the dining room floor, requires a good imagination and fast footwork - it contains some useful ideas for dealing with some of the more difficult behaviours associated with the dementing process.

Dementia and sexuality : the rose that never wilts

This book offers understanding and a positive attitude to care staff and relatives about the sometimes challenging sexual behaviour of people with dementia. It describes the possible causes and shows that, armed with this knowledge, a satisfactory outcome for all can often be achieved.
The author, Elaine White, has been consulted about sexual behaviour for many years, and is therefore able to include for the benefit of readers many true stories from her work. Dementia and sexuality makes the powerful point that how each of us perceives and responds to challenging sexual behaviour is very important. It asks readers to think deeply about their own attitudes as well as the behaviour of people with dementia....



The ethics of sex and Alzheimer's
Alzheimer’s punishes not only its victims but also those married to them. This book analyses how Alzheimer’s is quietly transforming the way we think about love today. Without meaning to become rebels, many people who find themselves "married to Alzheimer’s" deflate the predominant notion of a conventional marriage. By falling in love again before their ill spouse dies, those married to Alzheimer’s come into conflict with central values of Western civilization – personal, sexual, familial, religious, and political. Those who wait sadly for a spouse’s death must sometimes wonder if the show of fidelity is necessary and whom it helps.
Most books on Alzheimer’s focus on those who have it, as opposed to those who care for someone with it. This book offers a powerful and searching meditation on the extent to which someone married to Alzheimer’s should be expected to suffer loneliness. The diagnosis of dementia should not amount to a prohibition of sexual activity for both spouses. Portmann encourages readers to risk honesty in assessing the moral dilemma, using high-profile cases such as Nancy Reagan and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to illustrate the enormity of the problem. Ideal for classes considering the ethics of aging and sexuality.


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