The best books about dementia and how to find joy, meaning, and purpose while caregiving

Who am I?

During my decades of working with caregivers as a dementia care expert, I have heard many accounts of what the experience is like—from the sad and hollow to experiences rich in significance. Everyone faces obstacles when caring for a loved one; some of these obstacles come in the form of uncomfortable or painful emotional histories or past unresolved conflicts. After each opportunity to raise awareness and understanding about how dementia impacts individuals, their families, and their communities, I have been gratified to witness enhanced feelings of hope and comfort for all involved. It is my hope that through this book I will enter your home or your professional caregiving setting and work alongside you. 


I wrote...

A Loving Approach to Dementia Care: Making Meaningful Connections While Caregiving

By Laura Wayman,

Book cover of A Loving Approach to Dementia Care: Making Meaningful Connections While Caregiving

What is my book about?

Caring for someone with dementia means devotedly and patiently doing a hundred little things each day. But few care providers are trained to meet the challenges of dementia—despite the fact that millions of people will struggle with it. In A Loving Approach to Dementia Care, Laura Wayman, who is known professionally as the Dementia Whisperer, offers practical, compassionate advice on overcoming caregiving obstacles and maintaining meaningful relationships with loved ones who have dementia and memory loss.

Each chapter contains two sections—"Lessons Learned" and "Perceptions and Approaches"—which provide details about how readers can apply lessons from the stories Wayman tells to their own caregiving practice. A Loving Approach to Dementia Care is an empathetic guide filled with respect, calm, and creativity. It will leave readers feeling empowered and inspired.

The books I picked & why

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The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss

By Nancy L. Mace, Peter V. Rabins,

Book cover of The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss

Why this book?

The 36-Hour Day is a comprehensive guide for caregivers that is often recommended by physicians to the families caring for a loved one with any cause of dementia symptoms or cognitive decline. I found the information provided very practical on the medical, legal, financial, and emotional aspects of caring for an individual presenting any level of dementia symptoms.

The clinical insights provided were very helpful, and the information for the caregiver throughout on the value of accessing outside help is such an important reminder for them to not try and navigate this dementia care journey alone!

Combining practical advice with specific examples on how to cope with the challenges associated with caring for a loved one with dementia symptoms make this an excellent guide for the family caregiver.


The Validation Breakthrough: Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with Alzheimer's-Type Dementia

By Naomi Feil,

Book cover of The Validation Breakthrough: Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with Alzheimer's-Type Dementia

Why this book?

Sensitive and insightful, The Validation Breakthrough is an essential resource for families, friends, neighbors, home health aides, doctors, nurses, social workers, and long-term care staff.

I learned as I read this book the necessity of walking beside the elderly in the final life stage. I learned empathy and to listen and talk with them, rather than patronizing them or telling them what to do. And I learned a very different understanding of why those with dementia symptoms do the things that they do-how the decline in cognitive abilities affects them in a very individual way, and to better understand the reasons behind their disorientation and sometimes challenging behavior.

The Validation Breakthrough was the foundation for my dementia care programs and method, and I often recommend this to all my family and professional clients to help raise their dementia awareness.


Creating Moments of Joy Along the Alzheimer's Journey: A Guide for Families and Caregivers

By Jolene Brackey,

Book cover of Creating Moments of Joy Along the Alzheimer's Journey: A Guide for Families and Caregivers

Why this book?

Full of practical solutions and insights to help navigate the often difficult dementia care journey.  Ms. Brackey’s positive and “can do” approach is valuable to both the family care provider as well as professionals, helping to maintain individual dignity and enhance the quality of life for those being cared for.

I found the way that the author broke down the information into five sections easy to understand, even with all of the complex information she shares. Her advice to let go of expectations and savor the simple surprises instilled hope from the beginning to the end of her book, truly helping to create more moments of joy, for not just the individual with dementia symptoms being cared for, but for the caregivers as well! 


A Dignified Life: The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer's Care: A Guide for Care Partners

By Virginia Bell, David Troxel,

Book cover of A Dignified Life: The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer's Care: A Guide for Care Partners

Why this book?

This book shows you how to meet many of the daily challenges of caring for someone with dementia. Illustrated through the heartfelt stories of others this book shows your how The Best Friends method brings dignity to the lives of those presenting dementia symptoms and those who are caring for them.

I found the explanation of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia symptoms very interesting and helpful, specifically how this type of loss and experience can make the individual feel. I appreciated learning additional and successful ways to respond and communicate to many situations that caregivers face when caring for any individual with any cause of dementia symptoms.

Dementia care is complex and different for every person, and I am always looking for new perspectives and care approaches to share with family and professional care providers that can give confidence and feelings of empowerment to anyone on their individual dementia care journey-and I found this book to full of these valuable insights and useful strategies.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and caregiver?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and caregiver.

Alzheimer's Disease Explore 43 books about Alzheimer's disease
Dementia Explore 57 books about dementia
Caregiver Explore 32 books about caregiver

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease and Other Dementias, Floating in the Deep End: How Caregivers Can See Beyond Alzheimer's, and Learning to Speak Alzheimer's: A Groundbreaking Approach for Everyone Dealing with the Disease if you like this list.