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The Book that Gave Me Hope

After my mother's diagnosis, the doctors told us they would not release her back to her house. Due to the severity of her dementia, we had to find a skilled nursing facility. Again, we were still processing the idea that she was not getting better. A nursing home was the last thing we ever thought we'd do; however, given her rapid decline and urgency to find an appropriate place, we began our search. They all seemed the same. They all reassured us that we doing the right thing. I remember a book-shelf filled with copies of The 36-Hour Day. I thought it was odd, until the end when the admissions counselor handed me the book. She said she gave it to every prospective family. I remember thinking it was odd that they'd give away so many books. At the time, I was still trying to process the idea of actually having to put my mother in a nursing home; reading was the last thing I wanted to do. Little did I know that The 36-Hour day would be the foundation for our philosophy and approach to caring for our mother.

When I got home, I put it on the shelf. I was having difficulty coming to grips that my mother wasn't getting better. In all the months I'd been reading, researching, going from doctor to doctor trying to find a cure, it never once dawned on me that my mother may have had early-stage dementia. Neither of her parents had it, and because she was physically so much like my grandfather, I figured she would live to be 90, virtually disease-free. Dementia/Alzheimer's was the furthest thing from my mind. Reading the book was my first step at acceptance.

I'm not sure how long it took me to read the book, but I can honestly say I used every tip I learned from that book, even today. This book teaches you how to care for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer's and how to love them in a way that is most beneficial to them.

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