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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book for caregivers
This book doesn't tell you how to get your Dad to take a shower. It doesn't tell you how to take the car keys away from your mother. It doesn't tell you when it's time for assisted living or nursing home care. Instead, it tells you how not to go crazy right along with your loved one. Actually, it helps you understand that you aren't crazy -- the conflicting emotions...
Published on September 22, 2011 by April E.

versus
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Are you facing this ??
So many of us are facing this situation.When I saw this bok --I jumped for it.

It is not quite the book I thought it would be. But we are in uncharted waters with Dementia...and SO many of us are involved.

This book seems to be broken down to a real basic level for the real basic people that find themselves in this struggle as caregivers...
Published on October 2, 2011 by C. Cook


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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book for caregivers, September 22, 2011
This review is from: Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and Grief (Paperback)
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This book doesn't tell you how to get your Dad to take a shower. It doesn't tell you how to take the car keys away from your mother. It doesn't tell you when it's time for assisted living or nursing home care. Instead, it tells you how not to go crazy right along with your loved one. Actually, it helps you understand that you aren't crazy -- the conflicting emotions you're feeling are normal.

The tone of this book is a bit medical and formal at times, but not so much that a tired mom caring for her aging mother-in-law with alzheimers can't read it. I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed at first that this book wasn't going to help us figure out the issue of the car keys and assisted living, but I was wrong. I was wrong to not put value on reading about my emotions, my husband's emotions, and our mental health as caregivers.

Two of my favorite chapters included the chapter on Family Rituals, Celebrations, and Gatherings as well as the chapter outlining Seven Guidelines for the Journey. As the holidays are approaching and we're trying to figure out how to adapt them yet again for my mother-in-law's increasing confusion, I needed to read that. And with a recent increase in her care needs, I also needed to read the seven guidelines for the journey. Because it is a journey ... a long and tiring journey. But Pauline Boss helped me see the benefits of the journey again.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars COMPASSIONATE PRIMER, July 20, 2011
This review is from: Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and Grief (Paperback)
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Reviewer Richard Blake wrote "Pauline Boss writes with authority, conviction, and compassion. "Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and Grief" will be a welcome addition to the resource shelf of individual and professional caregivers, family members, counselors, and clergy. Dr. Boss introduces a whole new concept of managing caregiver stress and grief."

That pretty much says it all. (And makes a tough act to follow! A tip of the hat to you, Richard.)

We all think we're familiar with dementia - until it strikes someone close to us. Then we find out "the hard way" that of all the terrible illnesses that can befall us, this one is as close to pure cruelty as it can get.

While nothing can completely prepare us for "stress and grief" that accompanies dementia, "Loving Someone..." is a GREAT place to start because it's written specifically for you and me - the caregivers - rather than as a "textbook" discussion of this horrendous disease.

I found it to be well-written, insightful, wise and compassionate. In fairness (considering that at the time of this writing there are two "scathing" one-star reviews)I'm compelled to mention that an immediate family member has just been "officially" diagnosed by two doctors (i.e. "second opinion") and this is the FIRST AND ONLY book I've read so far. On the other hand, we've purchased a total of five copies between family members, and we've all found it to be immensely helpful at this early stage. I don't think any one book can cover this topic "from A-to-Z". As reviewer Blake said, it "will be a welcome addition to the resource shelf..." I agree, except that I'd consider it a good STARTING POINT, and that the additions follow as needed!

I recommend it without reservation.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Help for Caregivers of Those with Dementia, July 17, 2011
This review is from: Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and Grief (Paperback)
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This is a fantastic book. I wish that it had been available when my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease several years ago. I am giving my copy to a friend who, after reading it immediately, will mail it to another friend whose mother has just been diagnosed with this horrendous disease. Dr. Boss' emphasis is on the caregiver rather than the patient and what the caregiver can do in order to be both more effective ("isolation leads to higher burden and depression for caregivers--and in turn, this leads to more behavioral problems in the person who has dementia") and survive with his/her own life intact. The author gives a sobering statistic: "caregivers die at a rate 3 percent higher than people the same age who are not caring for someone with dementia."

Dr. Boss uses the words "ambiguous loss," over and over to describe when your loved one is here but isn't here and you are faced with an imperfect relationship that is not the way it once was, it never will be that way again and it will get even worse. One thing you can do to make things better for everyone involved is to continue with family rituals: celebrating birthdays, weddings, graduations, Thanksgiving and religious holidays as well. She also discusses the difference between depression and grief, reminding us that all too often professionals see a caregiver as being depressed she/he is actually experiencing extended grieving and is sad, a perfectly normal phenomenon for someone whose loved one is slipping away with dementia.

The author, to her everlasting credit, debunks the myth of that awful word "closure," which she points out has been done to death by pop psychologists and television reporters. In our society where everything should be easily cut and dried, we are supposed to get over everything and get on with our neat lives. She points out--and gives example after example--that that is not the way of the world, particularly when it comes to caring for someone with dementia. The latest studies on the subject indicate that we can live more easily with grief if we do not try so hard to get over it and that dementia teaches us that grief's door is never completely shut. (The great American poet Emily Dickinson, whose poem on hope Dr. Boss quotes, may have had that door of grief in mind when she said that sorrow has its own season.)

The author emphasizes that the caregiver should avoid isolation at all costs and seek out what she calls his/her psychological family--those persons you have created in your heart and mind as your family--as well as doing something for yourself on a regular basis, whether it be going to a museum or a movie, reading a book or poetry, engaging in physical exercise, playing cards one night a week with friends, going out to dinner, whatever will make your life easier and relieve your stressful situation.

Dr. Boss also includes a list of warning signs you should look for if you are in need of professional help while being a caregiver and suggests that you not use the professional who is caring for the person with dementia but rather see someone else. She encourages us to just do the best we can do, that hope lives in understanding that we are doing the best we can do, to remember that there should be no stigma associated with dementia, that this disease is not anyone's fault, and to remember that life isn't always fair.

This writer, a psychotherapist now in her 70's, is obviously someone full of a lifetime of wisdom. I came away from this book convinced that Dr. Boss is a wonderful practitioner. Had I had any doubts, I would have been sold when I got to the passage about her father who came to the United States in 1929 from Switzerland. Although he loved his adopted country, he carried for the rest of his life a photograph hidden in a secret compartment of his billfold of his hometown, Burgdorf, Switzerland. You can feel Dr. Boss' deep love for her father as she describes finding this photograph after her father's death. She uses his situation to illustrate our two families, the one present and the other, the one we hold in our "hearts and minds." We can keep those we love who are out of reach forever with us in other ways.

If you are taking care of someone with dementia or know someone who is--and most of us unfortunately do--this book, written in accessible language for the ordinary reader rather than professionals, has page after page of lifesaving advice and help. It concludes with a long list of available resources.

Highly recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High praise for Loving Someone Who Has Dementia, August 1, 2011
This review is from: Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and Grief (Paperback)
This book is flowing and clear, and reads as though the author were in the room speaking her words. It really touches the heart of the matter, the reality of loving someone who is there, but not really (or not constantly). It affirms the scope of the matter of being in relationship with someone who in some way is missing, and in the case of dementia, someone who remains with you, in ... odd and diminished relationship, requiring often the care given to that of a very young child. I found the book very moving, comforting, and useful (my Mother has a moderate form of dementia), and have already given copies of it to family members.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like an understanding friend, August 17, 2011
This review is from: Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and Grief (Paperback)
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Ambiguous loss. This is the term Pauline Boss uses to describe Dementia. She hit the nail on the head! My Mother in Law was diagnosed several years ago with this cruel disease and has progressively drifted further and further away from us.
Reading through this book I felt as though I was sitting with someone that has been down this road and understands just how the disease effects everyone in the family. I've read and reread passages and now keep it close by. Its helpful to re-read a few pages on those difficult days when you feel no one understands. Thank you Ms. Boss.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Ideal Resource For Caregivers, October 9, 2011
This review is from: Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and Grief (Paperback)
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I am not only a pastor, I am an individual who has lost my mother to end stage dementia. I wish I would have had this book available during the dark days of losing Mom, not just for me, but also for my family.

While I highly recommend the chapter, Seven Guidelines For The Journey, reading through the whole book will give you insights into the loss you are experiencing. How is it possible to lose a loved one while they remain with you? How do you grieve this loss?

I can't recommend this book strongly enough for those responsible for caring for the caregivers, pastors, doctors, family, and friends. It will help you to be a support to those in this situation, and will help you to understand the meaning of ambiguous loss.

I also recommend it for those who are losing and caring for loved ones with dementia. But please, if you know someone caring for a loved one with dementia, do not buy this book for them without reading it yourself. Books do not replace personal caring.

One key thing to note, if you are weary from care, this book is designed so that you can choose a chapter and just read it. You don't need to read the whole book all at once.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Provides those desperately needed steps for those who find their loved ones stricken with dementia, November 21, 2011
By 
JC in OKC (Oklahoma City) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and Grief (Paperback)
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This book is truly the best book I've read on having dementia. You actually get a calmness when you read it. Although it is only a couple hundred pages, the abundant info it provides you on how to face this journey is amazingly packed in. Simply having a reference and framework, and knowing that you're not alone, lightens the load considerably.

This book provides practical, succinct advice of the different facets of the relationship with someone with dementia. You can determine where you are and what to expect. I've recommended it to several support group leaders and I recommend it to you too.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Footsteps on the Path from Helplessness and Despair to Peace and Strength in the Changing Relationship Resulting from Dementia, July 1, 2011
This review is from: Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and Grief (Paperback)
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Pauline Boss highly recognized for her pioneer work in stress reduction for people whose loved ones are ambiguously lost addresses the question, "With the demands of caregiving, how can I possibly take care of myself?"

"Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and Grief" is more than a handbook or survival guide. It is a self-care manual for living well, with options for finding balance and managing the stress that accompanies caring for a loved one suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

The book is designed to be read for reflection and for discussion with others. The topics covered in each chapter can stand alone focus on a specific area of challenge being faced currently or sequentially. A look at the table of contents and the clarity of chapter titles invite the reader to preview the book in it's entirely before determining a personal approach. Although the chapters are independent there is an overlap of information for the sake of continuity.

I found the chapter titled "Family Rituals, Celebrations, and Gatherings" especially helpful as we have recently relocated and are adjusting to new experiences blending into existing local extended family and established traditions and intergenerational relationships.

The format of the book is designed for preview, assimilation, review, for reflection and discussion. As an avid reader I always look for organization, topic highlights, lists, tips, etc. Dr. Boss has effectively incorporated all of these in her work. She has written this book at the layman's of level of understanding but does not "talk down." She clearly articulates her message of positive action throughout her narrative.

I plan to frequently draw on the "Ideas for Reflection and Discussion" section within each chapter for interactive conversation among individual family members, my support group members and my friends.

Pauline Boss writes with authority, conviction, and compassion. "Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and Grief" will be a welcome addition to the resource shelf of individual and professional caregivers, family members, counselors, and clergy. Dr. Boss introduces a whole new concept of managing caregiver stress and grief.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Survival Guide for the Caretaker, August 24, 2011
This review is from: Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and Grief (Paperback)
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This is a great reference book for any caretaker of one who has dementia. It addresses not the medical nor health care aspect, but rather the emotional. Unlike most books, it's a survival guide for the caretaker, not the patient! And this is crucial since, as the book points out, "caregivers die at a rate 63 percent higher than people the same age who are not caring for someone with dementia."

The book stresses the concept of "ambiguous loss" which is explained in chapter 1: "Ambiguous loss is a loss that is unclear; it has no resolution, no closure ... Dementia creates ambiguous loss. The duality of your loved one's being absent and present at the same time is confusing." People also don't acknowledge your loss as they do when the loved one dies--nonetheless, the person with dementia is "slowly slipping into another world." As they say, the person with Alzheimer's dies twice.

The book includes a chapter summary in the introduction and explains that "there is overlap so that you can review or read one chapter at a time." Topics include the complications of both loss and grief; stress, coping and resiliency; family rituals, celebrations, and gatherings (including cultural differences); and more. One chapter details seven guidelines: find meaning; balance control with acceptance; broaden your identity (Ex: You're both child and parent to a parent with dementia.); manage your mixed emotions; hold on and let go; imagine new hopes and dreams; take the time to mind yourself. Each chapter ends with a section titled "Ideas for Reflection and Discussion."

This book addresses critical concepts such as the social stigma that still exists around dementia and the importance of the caregiver's finding support, as well as understanding the unique, long process of grief in the case of dementia. One of the final chapters is "Delicious Ambiguity," named after comedian Gilda Radner's describing the end of her life while battling cancer. It's all about finding a positive viewpoint in the midst of this tragedy.

The book ends with a conclusion, a note to caretakers, and a resource section that includes workshops, books to read, and related websites. Highly recommended for all caregivers of this affliction which hits half the people over 85. In fact, I found it interesting simply because I have so many friends who are caregivers.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much needed, April 15, 2012
By 
Barbara Brennan (The Space Coast, Florida) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and Grief (Paperback)
I am the sole family member responsible for my 88 year old mother. I left my life in California and moved to Florida to be near her. Fortunately for me I am able to hire a home health agency to be with her for 4 hours a day/seven days a week (she will not tolerate more) and so far that is working. If she ends up in the hospital, which has happened three times within the past three years, I am here to be of service and talk to the doctors and make decisions about her on-going care. The emotional burden of being the primary caregiver is creeping up on me and although I made it a priority to carve out a new life for myself I feel the heavy weight of responsibility everyday. Pauline Boss's book has been a godsend to me. She perfectly describes all of the emotions and conflicts I have been feeling and I am comforted by her wisdom and insight. My mother is physically here, but mentally gone. She still knows who I am, but I can see her slipping away and letting go of everything that was meaningful to her. I will cherish Pauline's book during this time of ambiguity and loss.
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Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and Grief
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