100 books like A Dignified Life

By Virginia Bell, David Troxel,

Here are 100 books that A Dignified Life fans have personally recommended if you like A Dignified Life. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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

Laura Wayman Author Of A Loving Approach to Dementia Care: Making Meaningful Connections While Caregiving

From my list on dementia and how to find joy while caregiving.

Why am I passionate about this?

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. 

Laura's book list on dementia and how to find joy while caregiving

Laura Wayman Why did Laura love 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.

By Nancy L. Mace, Peter V. Rabins,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The 36-Hour Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Through five editions, The 36-Hour Day has been an essential resource for families who love and care for people with Alzheimer disease. Whether a person has Alzheimer disease or another form of dementia, he or she will face a host of problems. The 36-Hour Day will help family members and caregivers address these challenges and simultaneously cope with their own emotions and needs. Featuring useful takeaway messages and informed by recent research into the causes of and the search for therapies to prevent or cure dementia, this edition includes new information on * devices to make life simpler and safer…


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

Laura Wayman Author Of A Loving Approach to Dementia Care: Making Meaningful Connections While Caregiving

From my list on dementia and how to find joy while caregiving.

Why am I passionate about this?

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. 

Laura's book list on dementia and how to find joy while caregiving

Laura Wayman Why did Laura love 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.

By Naomi Feil,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Validation Breakthrough as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Validation is a practical way of communicating with and managing problem behaviour in older adults with Alzheimer's-type dementia. It helps reduce stress, enhance dignity, and increase happiness. Since its inception in 1989, Validation has helped thousands of professional and family caregivers improve their relationships with residents and loved ones with dementia. Caregivers who use these techniques validate older adults' expressed feelings, rather than focusing on disorientation and confusion.

In this Anniversary Edition of The Validation Breakthrough, you'll learn how to re-create relationships between confused older adults and their caregivers. be caring and non-judgmental understand and handle challenging behaviours interpret non-verbal…


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

Mary McDaniel Cail Author Of Dementia and the Church: Memory, Care, and Inclusion

From my list on books for dementia-friendly churches.

Why am I passionate about this?

I founded the All-Weather Friend, which is about helping friends get through difficult situations. My first book, Alzheimer’s: A Crash Course for Friends and Relatives, tells how to help people living with dementia. I’ve had hard times in my life—my husband’s brain tumor and suicide, my father’s dementia, infertility, miscarriage, my brother’s sudden death, and other things that flooded me with grief. But my life is filled with joy; I’ve learned that joy comes from God and from a compassionate connection with friends and people we love. I write and speak about “informed compassion.” I hope you’ll visit my website, where there’s a great dementia resource page with contributions by many readers.

Mary's book list on books for dementia-friendly churches

Mary McDaniel Cail Why did Mary love this book?

Moments of joy are often all that can be had by people in the later stages of dementia when life is lived moment by forgotten moment. What people may not realize, though, is that while the memories of joyful moments (an ice cream cone, petting a dog, looking at pictures, taking a walk) may be quickly forgotten, the emotion of joy will linger.

Brackey tells us how to create moments of joy for our loved ones with dementia and that people with dementia have much to teach us about ourselves.

By Jolene Brackey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Creating Moments of Joy Along the Alzheimer's Journey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The beloved best seller has been revised and expanded for the fifth edition.

Jolene Brackey has a vision: that we will soon look beyond the challenges of Alzheimer's disease to focus more of our energies on creating moments of joy. When people have short-term memory loss, their lives are made up of moments. We are not able to create perfectly wonderful days for people with dementia or Alzheimer's, but we can create perfectly wonderful moments, moments that put a smile on their faces and a twinkle in their eyes. Five minutes later, they will not remember what we did or…


Book cover of Floating in the Deep End: How Caregivers Can See Beyond Alzheimer's

Andrew E. Budson and Maureen K. O'Connor Author Of Six Steps to Managing Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia: A Guide for Families

From my list on to understand dementia.

Why are we passionate about this?

As a neurologist and neuropsychologist team who have spent their entire clinical, teaching, and research careers focused on individuals and their families experiencing memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia, our goal is simple. We want to empower individuals and their families with the tools they need to manage memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. We work to balance pharmacological and nonpharmacological management, as well as the needs of the individual with those of their family. Reading books like the ones in our list plus articles in medical journals keeps us current with the progress in the science of dementia and the humanity of individuals and families living with the disease. 

Andrew's book list on to understand dementia

Andrew E. Budson and Maureen K. O'Connor Why did Andrew love this book?

Reading Patti Davis’s book is like sitting in her living room talking with her, one caregiver to another. Because she not only lived through Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with her father, Ronald Reagan, but ran a support group for a number of years, her knowledge is vast and she shares it with you. For example, chapters with titles such as, “Grief Arrives Early,” “Creative Lying,” “The Battle Over Bathing,” and “Where is the Person I Knew?” discuss important topics in relatable ways. Her story and the way she tells it also make this book a wonderful read.

By Patti Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Floating in the Deep End as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"For the decade of my father's illness, I felt as if I was floating in the deep end, tossed by waves, carried by currents but not drowning." In a singular account of battling Alzheimer's, Patti Davis eloquently weaves personal anecdotes with practical advice tailored specifically for the overlooked caregiver. After losing her father, Ronald Reagan, Davis founded a support group for family members and friends of Alzheimer's patients; drawing on those years, Davis reveals the surprising struggles and gifts of this cruel disease. From the challenges of navigating disorientation to the moments when guilt and resentments creep in, readers are…


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

Andrew E. Budson and Maureen K. O'Connor Author Of Six Steps to Managing Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia: A Guide for Families

From my list on to understand dementia.

Why are we passionate about this?

As a neurologist and neuropsychologist team who have spent their entire clinical, teaching, and research careers focused on individuals and their families experiencing memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia, our goal is simple. We want to empower individuals and their families with the tools they need to manage memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. We work to balance pharmacological and nonpharmacological management, as well as the needs of the individual with those of their family. Reading books like the ones in our list plus articles in medical journals keeps us current with the progress in the science of dementia and the humanity of individuals and families living with the disease. 

Andrew's book list on to understand dementia

Andrew E. Budson and Maureen K. O'Connor Why did Andrew love this book?

Now in its 7th edition, this book is the classic guide to caregiving for individuals with dementia. Comprehensive, and filled with stories and anecdotes, it is packed with valuable information on dementia and the behaviors that dementia engenders. We have read it several times and have recommended it to hundreds if not thousands of families. 

By Nancy L. Mace, Peter V. Rabins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 36-Hour Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With over 3.5 million copies sold, the bestselling guide to understanding and caring for people with dementia is now completely revised and updated!

For 40 years, The 36-Hour Day has been the leading work in the field for caregivers of those with dementia. Written by experts with decades of experience caring for individuals with memory loss, Alzheimer's, and other dementias, the book is widely known for its authoritativeness and compassionate approach to care. Featuring everything from the causes of dementia to managing its early stages to advice on caring for those in the later stages of the disease, it is…


Book cover of Learning to Speak Alzheimer's: A Groundbreaking Approach for Everyone Dealing with the Disease

Andrew E. Budson and Maureen K. O'Connor Author Of Six Steps to Managing Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia: A Guide for Families

From my list on to understand dementia.

Why are we passionate about this?

As a neurologist and neuropsychologist team who have spent their entire clinical, teaching, and research careers focused on individuals and their families experiencing memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia, our goal is simple. We want to empower individuals and their families with the tools they need to manage memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. We work to balance pharmacological and nonpharmacological management, as well as the needs of the individual with those of their family. Reading books like the ones in our list plus articles in medical journals keeps us current with the progress in the science of dementia and the humanity of individuals and families living with the disease. 

Andrew's book list on to understand dementia

Andrew E. Budson and Maureen K. O'Connor Why did Andrew love this book?

This book is wonderful for so many reasons. It reminds us that simple, commonsense approaches often work to solve or ameliorate daily problems. It shows us ways that communication is possible even when language fails. It encourages us to see through the individual’s eyes and live in their world. It urges us to focus on what the person is still able to do, and to compensate for or simply ignore what they cannot. And it inspires us to create moments of success and laughter along the way. 

By Joanne Koenig Coste,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Learning to Speak Alzheimer's as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A guide to more successful communication for the millions of Americans caring for someone with dementia: “Offers a fresh approach and hope.”—NPR

Revolutionizing the way we perceive and live with Alzheimer’s, Joanne Koenig Coste offers a practical approach to the emotional well-being of both patients and caregivers that emphasizes relating to patients in their own reality. Her accessible and comprehensive method, which she calls habilitation, works to enhance communication between carepartners and patients and has proven successful with thousands of people living with dementia.

Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s also offers hundreds of practical tips, including how to
-Cope with the…


Book cover of On Vanishing: Mortality, Dementia, and What It Means to Disappear

Susan H. McFadden Author Of Dementia-Friendly Communities: Why We Need Them and How We Can Create Them

From my list on innovative approaches to living with dementia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been teaching college students about aging since I was in my late 20s. The audacity! Now that I am officially in the “young-old” category I used to describe to my students, I more fully appreciate the social constructions of aging that affect elders, the medical conditions that can derail plans for “a good old age,” and the challenges we all face in attempting to live with meaning and purpose as we grow older. In addition to teaching, writing about, and researching various aspects of aging, especially aging with various type of dementia, my work has addressed the positive and negative ways religious faith can shape how people cope with aging.

Susan's book list on innovative approaches to living with dementia

Susan H. McFadden Why did Susan love this book?

Lynn Casteel Harper, currently minister for older adults at The Riverside Church in New York City, has written a compassionate book about contemporary fears of aging, dementia, and death. She shows how these fears produce greater social isolation and suffering for people living with dementia and caring for loved ones, whether in private homes or in care communities. She uses personal experiences to illustrate the way our fears of “vanishing” can be overcome when we learn to connect meaningfully with people with dementia.

By Lynn Casteel Harper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On Vanishing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An essential book for those coping with Alzheimer's and other cognitive disorders that “reframe[s] our understanding of dementia with sensitivity and accuracy . . . to grant better futures to our loved ones and ourselves” (Parul Sehgal, The New York Times).

An estimated fifty million people in the world suffer from dementia. Diseases such as Alzheimer's erase parts of one's memory but are also often said to erase the self. People don't simply die from such diseases; they are imagined, in the clichés of our era, as vanishing in plain sight, fading away, or enduring a long goodbye. In On…


Book cover of A Tattoo on My Brain: A Neurologist's Personal Battle Against Alzheimer's Disease

Jason Karlawish Author Of The Problem of Alzheimer's: How Science, Culture, and Politics Turned a Rare Disease Into a Crisis and What We Can Do about It

From my list on making sense of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a physician and a writer. Together, they create a matrix of practice, research, and writing. I care for patients at the Penn Memory Center and am a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where I teach and study topics at the intersections of bioethics, aging, and the neurosciences. I wrote The Problem of Alzheimer’s: How Science, Culture, and Politics Turned a Rare Disease into a Crisis and What We Can Do About It and the novel Open Wound: The Tragic Obsession of Dr. William Beaumont and essays for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Hill, STAT, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. I raise whippets, and I’m a passionate reader of the physician and poet John Keats. 

Jason's book list on making sense of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

Jason Karlawish Why did Jason love this book?

This first-person account of living with a biomarker-defined diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is a clearly written story of two very distinct, even antagonistic experiences. There’s the highly subjective experience of being a patient and the highly objective experience of being a physician who has diagnosed and cared for persons with the same disease. In one book is one narrative of two perspectives embodied in one person. The result is an unadorned account of what it’s like to lose one’s mind just a little bit at a time. Case in point is his account of apathy. I’m routinely prescribing this book to my patients. 

By Daniel Gibbs, Teresa H. Barker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Tattoo on My Brain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dr Daniel Gibbs is one of 50 million people worldwide with an Alzheimer's disease diagnosis. Unlike most patients with Alzheimer's, however, Dr Gibbs worked as a neurologist for twenty-five years, caring for patients with the very disease now affecting him. Also unusual is that Dr Gibbs had begun to suspect he had Alzheimer's several years before any official diagnosis could be made. Forewarned by genetic testing showing he carried alleles that increased the risk of developing the disease, he noticed symptoms of mild cognitive impairment long before any tests would have alerted him. In this highly personal account, Dr Gibbs…


Book cover of Creative Care: A Revolutionary Approach to Dementia and Elder Care

Jason Karlawish Author Of The Problem of Alzheimer's: How Science, Culture, and Politics Turned a Rare Disease Into a Crisis and What We Can Do about It

From my list on making sense of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a physician and a writer. Together, they create a matrix of practice, research, and writing. I care for patients at the Penn Memory Center and am a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where I teach and study topics at the intersections of bioethics, aging, and the neurosciences. I wrote The Problem of Alzheimer’s: How Science, Culture, and Politics Turned a Rare Disease into a Crisis and What We Can Do About It and the novel Open Wound: The Tragic Obsession of Dr. William Beaumont and essays for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Hill, STAT, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. I raise whippets, and I’m a passionate reader of the physician and poet John Keats. 

Jason's book list on making sense of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

Jason Karlawish Why did Jason love this book?

Among my prescriptions to caregivers – especially those who struggle to find meaning and in creating a typical day that is safe, social, and engaged – is Anne Basting’s book. Basting, a theater arts professor, makes a persuasive case that upends the usual and customary approaches to caring for persons living with dementia. Her central premise is this: Together, caregivers and patients can create. She offers concrete ideas and steps to address some of the most vexing challenges such as when a patient asks the whereabouts of a long-ago deceased relative.

By Anne Basting,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Creative Care as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A MacArthur Genius Grant recipient pioneers a radical change in how we interact with older loved ones, especially those experiencing dementia, as she introduces a proven method that uses the creative arts to bring light and joy to the lives of elders.

In Creative Care, Anne Basting lays the groundwork for a widespread transformation in our approach to elder care and uses compelling, touching stories to inspire and guide us all-family, friends, and health professionals-in how to connect and interact with those living with dementia.

A MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, Basting tells the story of how she pioneered a radical…


Book cover of The Experience of Alzheimer's Disease: Life Through a Tangled Veil

Julian C. Hughes Author Of Thinking Through Dementia

From my list on personhood and dementia.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an old age psychiatrist, I was naturally interested in dementia. But I’m also trained to doctoral level in philosophy. I’ve been both an honorary professor of philosophy of ageing (at Newcastle) and a professor of old age psychiatry (at Bristol). Whilst training in psychiatry at Oxford, I came across the work of Tom Kitwood. Subsequently, I’ve become great friends with Steve Sabat. His work and Kitwood’s brought home to me the complexity of personhood and its relevance to how we care for and think about people living with dementia. And the more you consider it, the more the notion of personhood broadens out to include citizenship and human rights.

Julian's book list on personhood and dementia

Julian C. Hughes Why did Julian love this book?

Difficult for me not to gush about this book by my good friend! It is amazingly rich. It builds on Kitwood, introducing the idea of ‘malignant positioning’. It deepens Kitwood’s approach to personhood using William Stern’s notion of ‘Critical Personalism’. Steve sets out how, from a social constructionist standpoint, we can give different accounts of selfhood. He shows how these remain relevant even as dementia advances. The richness, for me, comes from the verbatim accounts of people with whom Steve worked closely over an extended period of time. Theory and reality come together. We get to know real people and see into the intricacies of their lives. The importance of the new culture of dementia care – where seeing the person as a psychosocial being is imperative – becomes utterly compelling. 

By Steven R. Sabat,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Experience of Alzheimer's Disease as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At a time when the incidence of Alzheimera s Disease is increasing dramatically, this accessible account revolutionises our stereotypes of Alzheimera s patients and their care.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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