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Four million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer's disease and experts estimate that 22 million people around the world will be so afflicted by 2025. Far too many families are struggling with the emotionally and physically draining responsibility of redefining their relationship with, and caring for, someone who not long ago was a vibrant member of society, yet may not know their own name today.
"A Dignified Life" helps combat the burnout and frustration that often accompany the task of caring for an Alzheimer's patient. Author David Troxel, an Alzheimer's expert and executive director of the California Central Coast Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, maintains that at its simplest this approach is based on treating the person like a best friend and working from their strengths, not their weaknesses. He explains: "As family members, caregivers and professionals, we have to try to connect with them. People with this disease in some way need someone to be . . . attentive and empathetic--someone who really tries to walk a mile in their shoes."
"A Dignified Life" goes beyond the typical tips offered by most books and takes advantage of readers' instinctive desire to build friendships and taps into the intuitive aspect of caregiving that is part of our very nature. It provides a complete model for care built around creative and effective communication and meaningful activities and includes touching stories that demonstrate how the Best Friends method continues to improve the lives of both those who have Alzheimer's disease and those who care for them.
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