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Dementia in the Family: Helpful Books, Useful Resources & Weekly Memory Care Programs

Posted on July 26, 2023 at 6:00 am

By Savannah Stewart

A Family Story

Growing up, my grandpa loved pranks. He once brought three tiny eggs wrapped in a handkerchief that he had found in a nest that was on the ground. He carried them so carefully, and we all oohed and aahed at the tiny eggs. Just as we were getting really close and examining them, he grabbed one tenderly and then took a big bite out of it! We yelped and he showed us that it was candy and not an actual robin’s egg. He thought that was so hilarious.

His love of pranks got to the point where I wouldn’t answer the phone on April Fool’s Day because I knew he had some story to weave that wouldn’t be true, but I’d end up believing it anyway. I don’t know how many times he picked us up for ice cream and would drive past an old, burned-down building saying, “Oh no! Looks like no ice cream today!”

When he was in his 60s, after he retired, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. It slowed him down a bit, but he still loved to travel and send me postcards from everywhere he went.

He had worked at the airport as an Equipment Service Chief and his job required some hard manual labor. This led to a herniated disk that he went in for a routine surgery when he was in his 70s. After his surgery, due to an infection and his Parkinson’s, he fell into a type of dementia known as Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). It was hard to watch the progression of the disease as he succumbed pretty quickly. He couldn’t feed himself or remember who anyone was, and he died 10 months after the surgery.

Dementia was something my family had heard about but had never personally experienced. During this time, we learned about support groups, and my mom (who also works at SCLD) checked out anything and everything that had to do with Parkinson’s and dementia. It helped knowing that we weren’t the first ones with a loved one who succumbed to the disease and that there are resources to help families and caregivers.

About Dementia

Dementia is a term that encompasses several diseases that affect the brain and cause memory issues. Unfortunately, dementia isn’t uncommon for our aging population. In 2014, there were an estimated 5 million adults suffering from dementia and that number has been projected to rise to nearly 14 million by 2060.

A common misconception is that extreme memory loss and forgetfulness is a regular symptom of aging. When memory loss affects a person’s abilities to complete tasks independently, remember names of close friends or family members, or walk around a familiar neighborhood without getting lost, then it is not normal aging.

The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for 60–80% of dementia cases. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s. There are other types of dementia that you may or may not have heard of before, including Lewy bodies, frontotemporal, and vascular dementia.

If you are curious about dementia and memory loss or need some support, the library has some great resources for you including books, digital resources, and our Tuesday Memory Café program.

Books on Dementia

You can find books, DVDs, and audiobooks on cd in our catalog as well as eBooks and audiobooks on OverDrive and in the Libby app. Here are some titles that you may find helpful and interesting:

You’ll also find a large collection of eBooks and audiobooks on OverDrive and with the Libby app in our booklist Alzheimer’s, Dementia & the Brain as You Age.

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Digital Resources

The following resources in our Digital Library give you access to journal articles and studies about dementia along with the latest news and science about it.

Gale in Context: Global Issues

Learn about important global issues and events through topic overviews, international viewpoints, news, and multimedia content.

Gale in Context: Health & Wellness

Browse by topic to access consumer health resources that provide authoritative information on the full range of health-related issues.

Gale in Context: Science

Explore articles, images, videos, and more on scientific topics.

ProQuest

Search all 11 ProQuest databases at once, providing access to newspapers, magazines, podcasts, blogs, as well as scholarly journals and trade publications.

ProQuest: Research Library

Search for content from a highly respected, diversified mix of scholarly journals, professional and trade publications, and magazines.

Tuesday Memory Café Program

Memory Cafés are a comfortable way to connect, socialize, and build new support networks with other caregivers and people experiencing memory loss. We will have a variety of activities to experience and enjoy, including music, crafts, and more.

This program is for adults.

No registration is needed—just drop in during the program.

NORTH SPOKANE
Tuesdays, 11am–12pm

Other Community Resources

Savannah Stewart is the Communication Associate with Spokane County Library District. She enjoys spending her time reading, hiking, traveling, and eating delicious food, including the homemade pizza her partner makes. To relax, she meditates, practices yoga, and snuggles with her kitty Zelda.

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