best books on dementia

Books on dementia: 12 of the best books on dementia

7 min read |
Alistair Clay Author

Author 08.06.2022

Alistair Clay

The best books on dementia can be a real help when someone first receives a diagnosis.

Living with dementia or caring for someone with dementia will bring new challenges into your life and you may feel ill-equipped to deal with the journey ahead.

These recommended books on dementia are all written by experts and those who have experienced similar situations.

Let's take a look at some of the best books on dementia.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:

  • This blog is a list of the best books on dementia that we recommend to you.
  • It can be beneficial to understand how the disease manifests through symptoms as well as understanding similar experiences.
  • These books will tell you what to expect as a part of living with and/ or caring for someone with dementia.
Living Your Best With Early-Stage Alzheimer's

Living Your Best With Early-Stage Alzheimer's: An Essential Guide

By Lisa Snyder

Good for: Practical suggestions and coping strategies for managing an Alzheimer’s diagnosis in its early stages (see this for the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s).

This book will help you with topics such as memory loss and other symptoms, finding meaningful activity, planning for the future and maintaining hope and humour. 

When faced with the early stages of Alzheimer’s, individuals and families must adapt and prepare for the changes that come with a progressive disease, which can be an emotional rollercoaster. 

Many readers have found comfort in Snyder’s positive attitude that teaches people to stay strong in the face of a life-changing diagnosis. One of the best books on dementia. 

Contented dementia

Contented Dementia

By Oliver James

Good for: This is a practical guide for managing dementia, beneficial to both the person living with dementia and their carer.

With real-life examples and user-friendly tried-and-tested methods. 

Clinical psychologist Oliver James discusses how feelings and their associated memories can be a powerful tool when it comes to supporting someone living with dementia to retain and create new memories. 

Contented Dementia outlines how the SPECAL method (Specialized Early Care for Alzheimer’s) works by creating links between past memories and the routine activities of daily life in the present.

Are you worried about a loved one?

Early signs of dementia free guide

36 hour day dementia

The 36-hour Day

By Nancy L. Mace

Good for: Carers for someone living with dementia in need of detailed advice and takeaway messages for how to care for and cope with the changes that dementia brings to family life. 

This book covers the full range of the dementia journey, from the early signs of dementia to advanced care of someone with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. 

It is one of the most trusted guides on the dementia care book lists and is known for its authoritative yet compassionate approach to care. 

While this guide is over 40 years old, its most recent edition features up to date ideas, information and layouts for the current reader. 

For consumers, it remains the definitive guide to dementia care for families and carers.

what i wish people knew about dementia (1)

What I Wish People Knew About Dementia

By Wendy Mitchell

Good for: People living with early-onset dementia who want to hear real-life stories of hope and encouragement. 

A real-life story that offers a light at the end of the tunnel approach in the face of a life-changing dementia diagnosis. 

When Wendy Mitchell was diagnosed with early-onset dementia at age 58, she was unable to access helpful information about the early stages of the disease, especially for someone as young as her. 

This book combines anecdotes, research and Wendy Mitchell’s own brilliant wit and wisdom to tell readers exactly what she wishes they knew about dementia.

somebody i used to know

Somebody That I Used To Know

By Wendy Mitchell

Good for: A heartfelt memoir written by someone diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s who is embracing the changes in her life. 

This book takes a different approach from many of the others in this list, due to the fact that it is a memoir rather than a guide book written by dementia experts. 

Mitchell describes her experience and discusses techniques from the point of diagnosis to adapting to her new and changing brain in an engaged and positive manner that offers hope for those with an early-stage or early-onset dementia diagnosis. 

This book has been described as a tribute to the woman Wendy Mitchell used to be and a brave affirmation of the woman she has become.

Caregivers guide to dementia

The Caregivers Guide to Dementia

By Gail Weatherill 

Good for: Helping caregivers understand and maintain their own mental wellness to bring out the best in their care for someone with dementia. 

The Caregivers Guide to Dementia is a comprehensive companion to helping you understand what is dementia, caring for someone, and caring for yourself.

The book opts for a 3 question strategy at the end of each chapter. ‘What to do?’, ‘What to ask?’and ‘How are you doing?’ to help you structure your thoughts and adapt to the caregiver experience. 

Caregiver health and well-being is at the forefront of this guide with helpful moments of checking in, mindfulness techniques and other ways of centering yourself in the present moment.

creating moments of joy (1)

Creating Moments of Joy

By Jolene Brackey 

Good for: An alternative, fun and friendly approach to finding moments of joy despite the challenges posed by Alzheimer’s disease. 

For the loved ones and caregivers of people living with dementia, it can be hard to face the reality that those moments of joy won’t be remembered, even minutes after they happen. 

This book teaches you to grasp those moments of joy with a carefree attitude, making the most of every moment with your loved one, despite the fact that they won’t necessarily remember it.

when reasoning no longer works (1)

When Reasoning No Longer Works: A Practical Guide for Caregivers Dealing with Dementia & Alzheimer's Care

By Angel Smits

Good for: Personalised and compassionate approach to understanding dementia and how to care for it. 

 This reference guide gives the reader an easy to understand view of what dementia does to the brain, how it is diagnosed, and most importantly, how to deal with its effects.

It also follows the story of Lou and Rose, a couple who share their lives with Alzheimer’s disease. Together, they find the answers to questions caregivers and victims are sometimes afraid to ask.

Readers love the realistic and compassionate approach to care that deals with preventing triggers rather than fire-fighting crisis moments in dementia care.

Are you worried about a loved one?

Early signs of dementia free guide

When Someone You Know Is Living in a Dementia Care Community

When Someone You Know Is Living in a Dementia Care Community: Words to Say and Things to Do (A 36-Hour Day Book)

By Rachael Wonderlin

Good for: Practical advice for family caregivers of a loved one with dementia to help you engage with the tough decisions.

Rachael Wonderlin, a gerontologist, dementia care expert, and popular dementia care blogger, helps caregivers cope with the difficult behaviours, emotions, and anxieties that both they and their loved one may experience.

Readers describe the book as an easy-to-understand, quick read which guides family and caregivers to engage in some extremely difficult discussions around dementia care for a loved one.

when waves rise

When Waves Rise: Navigating Difficult Moments Associated with Dementia

By Sarah Viola 

Good for: Understanding how to care for someone living with dementia with a compassionate and calm approach in a personal or professional setting

This practical ‘how-to’ guide was born from the author’s own clinical practice and expanded as a resource for the wider community to understand the peaks and troughs of dementia care. 

The author refers to the dementia care experience as “riding waves”, as waves build you ride them out with the tools you have, and this helps them become calm again.

dementia care giver book

Essential Strategies for the Dementia Caregiver: Learning to PACE Yourself

By Tami Anastasia

Good for: Strategies for dealing with dementia care such as the 4 D’s and PACE. 

Tami Anastasia discusses the use of strategies for dementia caregivers to create compassionate and functional relationships between those living with dementia and their caregivers.  

She discusses using the 4 D’s of Dementia Care – detach, document, diffuse, distract – caregivers can find solutions for behaviours ranging from shadowing to wandering to medication refusal.

In addition to this, she uses the PACE model which emphasizes the importance of prioritizing the caregiver’s well-being while navigating the dementia journey: P = Permission for Trial and Error/ A = Acknowledge Their Reality/ C = Compassionate Care/ E = Empower Yourself. 

Readers say that Tami demystifies the disease in this book with practical tips for how to survive and thrive as a caregiver with real-life examples of how caregivers handled challenges with a loved one suffering from dementia.

books on dementia guide

Creative Engagement: A Handbook of Activities for People with Dementia

By Rachael Wonderlin

Good for: Proven strategies and creative, hands-on ways to engage with people living with dementia and cognitive decline.

Wonderlin’s expertise is teaching caregivers how to find dementia-friendly daily activities and introduce them into a person’s life in twelve chapters of useful, easy-to-understand activities cover many topics, including exercise, technology, cooking and baking, memory games, and arts and crafts.

The book also covers how to create a dementia-friendly environment, creating a daily calendar, and scheduling community entertainment.

They also suggest special activities geared toward people in hospice care and give targeted advice for dealing with caregiver stress.

This comprehensive, empathetic guide is aimed at both family members and professionals.

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Alistair Clay Author

Author 08.06.2022

Alistair Clay

Alistair is a founding Director of Sweet Pea Care and the Managing Director of social care communications agency Arc Seven where he advises some of the UK’s biggest care providers.