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An Unintended Journey: A Caregiver's Guide to Dementia Paperback – July 16, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; 1 edition (July 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616147512
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616147518
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This advice-filled book is a helpful, service-oriented addition to the growing number of books about caring for loved ones with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. As freelance medical and science writer Shagam notes, as many as five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s, which causes “a slow and progressive decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills.” Baby boomers who worry about their parents’, or their own, memory lapses will find the tables and charts in the book especially useful. One lists the 10 signs of Alzheimer’s, which include confusion regarding time or place and difficulty in completing familiar tasks such as driving to a familiar location. Another lists 10 signs that death will happen soon, which include swelling in the feet and ankles, and mottled skin. Though Alzheimer’s in America: The Shriver Report on Women and Alzheimer’s (2011) is a better book, this does provide practical, sensible advice for people who need it. --Karen Springen

Review



   • FIRST PLACE WINNER: 2014 National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest Best General Nonfiction Book for Adult Readers

   • FINALIST:  2014 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards Health Book category

“[A] splendid manual… combines the practicality of a how-to guide with the heartfelt story of caring for a parent suffering from senile dementia. [Shagam] courageously transforms her painful journey into an enlightened guide and a primer on appreciating what you have while you have it.”
-Publishers Weekly

“This advice-filled book is a helpful, service-oriented addition to the growing number of books about caring for loved ones with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.”
-Booklist 

“Janet Yagoda Shagam is thoughtful, compassionate and clear in how she addresses what for many families is a heart-breaking topic.
-Prime Time Magazine 

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
First of all, you should know that Janet Yagoda Shagam is a very talented storyteller.
Marc Yellin
I would highly recommend this book to anyone starting the "unintended" journey or someone who is in the depths of the care-giving role.
susan cicala
I am actually only halfway through the book as I write this - it is that good - and would give it 6 stars if I could.
Nancy B.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Nossoff on December 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
An Unintended Journey is a very well researched and clearly written easy to read guide for those, including a paid caregiver, who provide care for those who have dementia OR those who are in need of care who do not have dementia. There are many chapters in the book that apply to the latter. I have found the book very useful in the care of my 92 year old mother who as the months pass, is in need of more and more care. I have found the book useful in the planning of my own future needs. I have made the book a gift to several family and friends and they have found it immensely helpful in the care of their loved ones who are experiencing "old age." They in turn have made the book available to others. The book, An Unintended Journey, is an invaluable resource.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Victoria Godwin on October 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An Unintended Journey is a book that can help you prepare for what could happen to yourself or someone that you love. It is a good book for those who are caregivers as a paying job. In any form a caregiver's roll is a hard one and the more knowledge and understanding they have the better they can be a better caregiver. This book provides inside look at what dementia can do to the person and those around them. The fact that Janet takes you to the end which no one wants to think about but is better off being more prepared for is a wonderful thing. Thank you Janet for putting it in plain words to help us all understand better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Z. Shapiro on September 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a thoughtful, comfortably written and compassionate experiential and explanatory book that addresses the heart breaking condition we call dementia - a condition suffered by millions of older Americans. Our perception and understanding of this degenerative disease at a societal level is at best limited. We usually associate it with advanced stage Alzheimer's by which time the sufferer has become unable to care for himself, incontinent and forgetful. But it turns out there are several types of dementia and the symptoms are far more far ranging and insidious. This is a must read regardless of whether you think you have a relative with dementia or not, because there are so many people in this country over 65 with the potential of having some form/stage of dementia. It might help everyone view older people with more compassion and not just dismiss them with such phrases as "he's just become more difficult as he gets older", or "that's just what old people are like", or any number of other condescending statements that enable them to not deal with what is standing in front of them - a person with a degenerative disease. If people were simply more aware, the behaviors that evidence early decline might be addressed and alleviated in many cases. This is why I consider this book a "must read". If more people were aware of the symptoms, cases of dementia might be discovered earlier and it turns out there are some medications that can be helpful if the disease is caught in its early stages. Reading this book, I realized I knew nothing about dementia other than some anecdotal information from people who had experience with parents who had succumbed to the disease.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marc Yellin on August 29, 2013
Format: Paperback
Albuquerque's Janet Yagoda Shagam has written - carefully, concisely, and clearly - the required guide for those who provide care for others with dementia.

Amazon tells us:

According to the 2009 census, more than five million people living in the United States have Alzheimer's disease or some other form of dementia. Not reported in these statistics are the fifteen million family caregivers who, in total, contribute seventeen billion hours of unpaid care each year. This book addresses the needs and challenges faced by adult children and other family members who are scrambling to make sense of what is happening to themselves and the loved ones in their care.

And the cover itself states that An Unintended Journey provides:

Everything from diagnosis to estate management
Tools for self-reflection and getting through your day
Information for veterans and their caregivers
Family dynamics - how to avoid pitfalls
Navigating the financial and legal aspects
Riding the emotional roller coaster

But wait; there's much more to this story.

First of all, you should know that Janet Yagoda Shagam is a very talented storyteller.

In An Unintended Journey, she takes her personal story and tells it in a fresh, engaging way that makes it universal. But not just universal - Ms Shagam makes her story universally appealing.

That's important - because there's a lot that caregivers need to learn about caring for those with dementia. And they'll never get through it all if that learning comes hard.

Here is what I learned from An Unintended Journey:

1. Make sure it's dementia that you are dealing with.
On one hand: forgetting where you put your keys is not a sign of dementia.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By susan cicala on August 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently bought this book because my parents and my father in law are suffering from "old age". Trying to figure out when it is normal and when to worry is a common question. This book helped me to focus on what signs to look for and what to do if I see them. It is a book written for the layman- a help guide on where to begin, the different diagnosis and how to cope. The personal stories are touching. And for anyone going through the care giving stage a plethora of tips and and- more importantly-knowledge that you are not alone. I would highly recommend this book to anyone starting the "unintended" journey or someone who is in the depths of the care-giving role.
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