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Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite
Martha Stettinius writes so very well in this memoir of how she, her family and caregivers dealt with her mother Judy's dementia as it moved from mild to progressively worsening stages. The author is very forthright in telling readers that she wished she had paid more attention to what was going on in the early years when her mother was developing dementia. Judy lived by herself for over twenty-five years in her family's remote lakeside cottage in rural New York. And even though Judy was bright and had been a special education teacher, her solitary life was dangerous as her brain needed stimulation. She needed to learn new skills and participate in a variety of social and cultural events but since she lived alone, she did not. Her daughter, author Martha Stattinius, writes at the beginning of "Inside the Dementia Epidemic" that dementia, often called the "silver tsunami", is not just Alzheimer's but is also 100 different conditions. It is the fifth leading cause of death for those over 65 and of the leading 10 causes of death, it is the only one without means of prevention.
"Inside the Dementia Epidemic" is an honest and thorough look at diagnosing and then dealing with a family member or close friend who is in one of the seven stages of Alzheimer's. Stettinius gives suggestion after suggestion on how to deal with someone afflicted with dementia. She tells of her own experiences and shares information about how to deal with the high financial costs of care-giving. Martha Stettinius also shares her mistakes in moving her mother from one nursing facility to another and what the reader should look for in a care facility. Above all, she stresses that in dealing with a dementia patient their jumbled words should never be equated with loss of self awareness. The appendixes, bibliography, and index at the book's end are thorough and excellent, a treasure trove of information. As baby boomers ago, dementia diagnoses will increase, so "Inside the Dementia Epidemic" is a "must read" book for readers everywhere.