KNOWING WHERE TO GO for info and support is useful, plus it helps you hold it all together when you’re on the brink.

Quite frankly, there are SO many resources that it becomes overwhelming.  To get you to where you need to go the quickest, here are some of my favorites that helped me survive the crisis.  These are Sparky approved morsels of wisdom!Sparky Wisdom

LINKS

Alzheimer’s Association

Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Michigan Chapter

Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Michigan Chapter – Early Stage Lecture Series & support group A wonderfully-rich 7-part weekly couples’ workshop.  Couples receive information on what to expect, how to cope, and how to plan accordingly (financial, safety, etc.) through all the coming stages of the disease – plus, they break off into separate Patient and Caregiver Support Groups to address personal issues.

The Alzheimer’s Store – Wonderful products to help you through every stage and problem!!! Special favorites: “Please Be Patient Card” and “Motion Detector” (we used ours to detect when Dad got out of bed)  (Ask for a FREE catalogue!)

The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM).  The term Geriatric Care Manager/Care Advocate/Senior Care Expert/Care Consultant sounds evasive… but this role is vital to a smooth experience if you’re caring for a loved one with ongoing health needs like Alzheimer’s!  Use this website to understand what they can do for you, how much their services cost and locate a list of accredited Care Managers nationwide.  This service is not affordable for everyone but these experts can save you unbelievable time and energy when it comes to knowing what info you need as you need it.  They forge ahead on your behalf when catastrophes arise – and they will arise!

Alzheimer’s Reading Room.  This blog provides a daily short-enough-to-read-quickly article to help you cope from so many angles, plus connecting you with other caregivers.  Subscribe or just log on when you have time/needs.

Aging Care.  An amazingly helpful site for what-do-I-do-now problems regarding elder care and the stress of being a caregiver for aging parents.  The site caters to all physical/mental situations, disabilities and illnesses, not just Alzheimer’s.

Memory Walk (annual fundraiser) – via Alzheimer’s Association

Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center

American Health Assistance Foundation: Alzheimer’s Disease Research

Courtyard Manor of Farmington Hills, MI (an independent assisted living community specializing in the care of the physically frail and those with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, or with behavioral needs; accepts only long-term care insurance or private pay.)  (Total saints!  This is where my dad lived when no one else would take him.  He was treated with amazing kindness and dignity until the day he died.)

The 10 Types of Dementia (article)

MOVIES

1.) “Memories of Tomorrow”/”Ashita no Kioku (Japanese) 2006

Read My Review:

(5 of 5 stars)  “Memories of Tomorrow” is an emotionally gripping experience!  Ken Watanabe (“The Last Samurai”, “Memoirs of a Geisha”) plays a successful 50-year-old ad executive whose life is in balance: he commands the respect of his employees, he loves his wife, and his daughter is about to marry.  Slowly, however, his coworkers and wife begin realizing something is wrong.  A doctor’s visit ends with the devastating diagnosis: early-onset Alzheimer’s!  This movie is an extremely realistic portrayal of the traumatic journey any couple will undergo if affected by Alzheimer’s.  If you only choose to see one Alzheimer’s movie, I highly suggest you conquer these English subtitles!

Watch Movie Trailer (NOTE: Trailer does not contain English subtitles, but you can purchase it that way)

Purchase Online:

The movie is hard to find, especially with English subtitles.  I purchased the DVD with English subtitles successfully online through Buyoyo (link below).  With shipping, it cost $18 USD, although you will see the pricing listed in Hong Kong dollars.

Buy DVD via Buyoyo.com ($13.70 USD)

* Be sure you choose ENGLISH at top right corner of the website so you can read it.

* Be sure you choose DVD (vs. VCD): Product# 266351-D

* Be sure you choose AIRMAIL for shipping ($3 vs. $20 courier!)

I also found the movie for sale on 2 other sites:

Buy DVD via DDDHouse.com ($13.85 USD)

Buy DVD via DVDAsian.com ($17.95 USD)

2.) “Away From Her” (Canadian) 2006

Read My Review:

(4 of 5 stars)  Fiona and Grant are in the twilight of their life, married for 45 years.  Fiona’s growing forgetfulness can no longer be ignored after a wandering incident in which she gets lost.  Fiona helps make the decision to put her in a nursing home.  Grant’s heart slowly breaks through the entire ordeal, including when Fiona doesn’t recognize him anymore, and when she ends up having intimate relations with another patient at the nursing home!  This movie is realistic and moving in many ways and helps prepare you for what to expect if you are dealing with Alzheimer’s in your life.  However, I believe there must be differences in nursing home policies between the US and Canada, as Fiona’s first 30 days allows no visitors and I haven’t seen that practice in the US.  This movie is quite a bit slower and darker than “Memories of Tomorrow” but has immense value.

Watch Movie Trailer

Purchase Online

3.) “The Notebook” (2004)

Read My Review:

(3 of 5 stars)  “The Notebook” is a wonderful movie; truly a love story of epic proportions.  However, I don’t find the ending to be realistic in regard to how someone with Alzheimer’s typically dies from it.  Although I was crying at the end, the movie contains a too-perfect “Hollywood ending” in which death seems almost romantic and comes too easy.  Also, the wife with Alzheimer’s in the movie seems to have good days and bad, good moments and bad, but when she ‘comes to”, it’s with such clarity that it ceases to be realistic.  James Garner and Rachel McAdams are 2 of the 4 main actors in this movie.  The movie is worthwhile as a whole, but it’s not a 100%-realistic depiction of what to expect towards the end of someone’s life who is suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Watch Movie Trailer

Purchase Online

ONLINE VIDEOS

1) “What is This– a lesson on patience and redefining how we relate to persons living with Alzheimer’s

2) “My Name is Lisa – a realistic short film about a teenager trying to cope with her mother as she progresses further into the world of Alzheimer’s

3) CNN’s “Filling the Blank” – an enthralling 4-part series which covers 2 families devastated by genetic mutations which put them at high-risk of developing early-onset Alzheimer’s: the Noonan family (USA) and Ricardo’s family (Columbia).  Groundbreaking testing in Colombia is set to begin in 2012.

Filling the Blank: PREVIEW (4 minutes)

Filling the Blank: PART 1 – Fear and Hope

Filling the Blank: PART 2 – Groundbreaking Alzheimer’s Study

Filling the Blank: PART 3 – Waiting and Worrying

Filling the Blank: PART 4 – The Search for an Alzheimer’s Cure

BOOKS

1) Frankly Speaking: Alzheimer’s™ – The Autobiography (Frank H. Firek, Sr.) (Forward by Joleen Firek) – the story of a life lived to the fullest which then ends with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.  Left to contemplate introspectively what his life has meant up until this moment, what the rest of his dwindling life may now hold, and what the true purpose of his life is, Frank Firek began to ponder the defining moments of his life which helped make him who he is today.  This list of 42 pinpointed, personal milestones now serve as the 42 chapters of this book.

(NOTE: Sold out – Not currently in circulation)

2) Alzheimer’s from the Inside Out (Richard Taylor, Ph.D.) – a book I found to be extremely helpful in trying to understand where my loved one with Alzheimer’s was going and how to best communicate with them along the way.  I felt truly lucky that this book existed, written by someone with Alzheimer’s who was still capable of communicating the experience.

Read Book Review and Purchase Online

3) Still Alice (Lisa Genova, Ph.D.) – the ONLY book to which the Alzheimer’s Association has ever given their stamp of approval!  Written by a granddaughter years after her grandmother passed away from Alzheimer’s, this fictional story is based on real-life experiences and encapsulates many common facets of living with Alzheimer’s.

Read Book Review

Purchase Book Online

4) Measure of the Heart – A Father’s Alzheimer’s, A Daughter’s Return (Mary Ellen Geist) – a true account of a wife and daughter sacrificing everything in their own lives in order to care for their beloved Woody.  Author Mary Ellen Geist walked away from a highly successful career as reporter/anchor at WCBS radio in New York City in order to follow her heart home.

Read Book Review

Purchase Book Online

5) The 36 Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease, Other Dimentias, and Memory Loss in Later Life, 4th Edition (Nancy L. Mace, M.A. & Peter V. Rabins, M.D., M.P.H.) – the ABCs of what to expect with each stage of Alzheimer’s, including how to dementia-proof your home, organize your legal and financial life, cope with changes in your loved one, understand medications, etc.  Packed with useful information!  I had a hard time absorbing the book all at once and used it more as an encyclopedia when problems occurred or to prepare for new stages of the disease.

Read Book Review

Purchase Book Online

6) The Peaceful Pill Handbook (Drs. Philip Nitschke & Fiona Stewart) – an interesting scientific breakdown of various end-of-life strategies; banned in Australia and New Zealand.  I found this book to be very thought-provoking regarding whether a person living with early stage Alzheimer’s should legally and morally be able to choose an end-of-life option for themselves.  However, since none of the options discussed in this book are legal in the United States, the book was unhelpful overall. 

Read Book Review

Purchase Book Online

ARTICLES

1) What’s the Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia? – by Dr. Robert Stern, Director of the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center Clinical Core (original Spring 2010 BU ADC newsletter article repurposed via The Alzheimer’s Reading Room on Oct 29, 2010)

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4 Responses to “Sparky Wisdom & Helpful Resources”

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