Baycrest publishes expanded 3rd edition of popular guidebook for caregivers

Toronto, ON – Baycrest Health Sciences has published an expanded third edition of its quick reference guidebook for anyone looking after a person with Alzheimer’s or other dementia.

The newly-titled Dementia: A Caregiver’s Guide is a rich resource of evidence-based strategies for solving almost every kind of challenge that arises when caring for a person with dementia. Since first publication in 1999, the softcover book has sold thousands of copies, becoming an indispensable resource for family caregivers and frontline healthcare professionals.

Read Carol Goar’s column about the book in The Toronto Star 

Baycrest_Dementia_Caregiving_CoverWritten in clear and accessible language, the content is provided by knowledgeable Baycrest experts and community healthcare professionals as well as family caregivers and those experiencing dementia. The latest edition comes with updated chapters and more topics, all set out in easy-to-navigate, color-coded sections. 

Twenty-one topics are covered in the third edition, each chapter beginning with a case example followed by tips and strategies to manage the situation.  The topics include Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias, Communication, Coping with Activities of Daily Living, Eating, Bathing, Dressing and Grooming, Incontinence, Medication, Driving, Safety and the Home Environment, Sex and Intimacy, Late-Stage Dementia, Nourishing the Spirit, Caring for Yourself, and Navigating the Care System. The chapters on Levels of Care (Choosing the Right Option), Legal Issues, and Leisure Activities have been updated along with an enhanced glossary of terms at the back of the book. Three new chapters have been added: Travelling, Sleep, and Mouth and Dental Care.

“This guidebook is the next best thing to having a Baycrest advisor by your side to coach you through a caregiving challenge, make you feel better equipped for managing the next one, and hopefully reduce unnecessary stress,” says co-author Bianca Stern, Executive Director of the Department of Culture, Arts & Innovation at Baycrest.

The Canadian Medical Association reports that more than 75 per cent of the care provided to older Canadians is supplied by unpaid, informal caregivers who often experience stress and burnout. Last January, the Mental Health Commission of Canada released a report warning that Canadians who care for chronically ill family members are experiencing extreme stress.

Dementia numbers & impact on caregivers

“Many of our clients with dementia still live at home,” says Stern. “We’ve found that families, especially the primary caregiver, need information on what changes to expect in their loved one, how to deal with them, and where to go for help.”

Dementia caregiving is often a “marathon, not a sprint,” says the book’s co-author Nira Rittenberg. For many caregivers, the role will continue for years, with highs and lows marked by special moments to treasure and unrelenting tests of patience and strength.

When those with dementia become more forgetful, disoriented and sometimes resistant to care, it can be hard to communicate with and relate to them, explains Rittenberg, an occupational therapist, case coordinator, and member of Baycrest’s psychogeriatric team that provides outreach to family caregivers at home. Rittenberg also leads caregiver support groups.

Family members may feel that they have lost the person they knew, but look beyond the obvious symptoms of cognitive decline and there are often many abilities still preserved, she says.

“We want to encourage caregivers to look beyond the missing pieces. It’s not uncommon for certain abilities to remain intact – familiar habits, specific memories, and certain social skills.Tapping into these preserved abilities is an important part of delivering care and reducing agitation and anxiety in the person with dementia.”

Dementia: A Caregiver’s Guide
is available in softcover for $27.99 + tax and shipping at Baycrest’s e-store.  The website address to purchase the book is: www.baycrest.org/dacg. All proceeds will support Baycrest programs for caregivers of persons with dementia. The authors hope to translate the book into other languages in future.

The third edition was made possible with a generous donation from the Koschitzky family, which has also funded the creation of the Koschitzky Centre for Innovations in Family Caregiving at Baycrest.

The Koschitzky Centre is a leading-edge centre to help family caregivers cope with the physical and emotional demands of looking after a loved one who is cognitively and/or physically frail. It brings together a range of Baycrest’s services for caregivers include counseling, education and support groups, and online support for those taking care of people with early onset dementia. These services are recognized as a national leading practice by Accreditation Canada.

About Baycrest Health Sciences
Baycrest Health Sciences is a global leader in geriatric residential living, healthcare, research, innovation and education, with a special focus on brain health and aging. As an academic health sciences centre fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, Baycrest provides an exemplary care experience for aging clients combined with an extensive clinical training program for students and the Rotman Research Institute, one of the world’s leaders in cognitive neuroscience. Through its commercial and consulting arms, Baycrest is marketing its sought-after expertise and innovation to other healthcare organizations and long-term care homes, both in Canada and internationally.

For more information on this press release, contact:
Kelly Connelly
Senior Media Officer
Baycrest Health Sciences
416-785-2432
kconnelly@baycrest.org