No one returns from dementedness to tell us what it is - or is not. Indicators show it is like being trapped in hell. My mother has taught me a lot. She has a diagnosis of "Alzheimer's." Dealing with my own denial about the gravity of her future is difficult. I take the responsibility of my mother's circumstances one day at a time. The only life she knows is in the moment; as a family, we try living in some of those moments with her. Fortunately, Dad made provisions for Mom's care. Her caregivers are loving and supportive to her and to us.
Three helpful books that deal with dementia are The 36-Hour Day, The Notebook and Candle in the Darkness. The 36-Hour Day is authored by a team of specialists from Johns Hopkins Medical Center who knowingly say, "The responsibility for a loved one with dementia makes a day seem 36 hours long." This book discusses communication and planning from the time an aging parent or family member needs help living alone to the time he/she needs full-time assisted care.
The contributors to The 36-Hour Day explain lab tests and results, define medications and talk about adequate nutrition and "normal" behaviors within dementia. This book's most important message is, a healthy person with dementia enjoys life and is more enjoyable to the family than an ill person with dementia. Recent editions of this book include resources for buying nursing supplies and for finding adequate medical support and legal aid.
The Notebook is noted in the "Fiction" section of this web-site. The book is more truth than fiction. Notebook gave insight into my father's grief as a spouse and his concern for my mother - his wife of 59 years. He died unexpectedly of a massive coronary.
Candle in the Darkness discusses the science of Alzheimer's Disease. It is recommended by the Ronald and Nancy Reagan Alzheimer's Research Center. Dr. Joseph Rogers, the author, clarifies current research giving hope for the families of one whose "mind has gone away."