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12 Best Alzheimer’s and Dementia Books for Caregivers

These 9 top books on dementia and Alzheimer's for caregivers make daily life easier

Learning about dementia makes caregiving easier

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is a tough challenge.

Plus, many of the most effective care and communication techniques aren’t easily figured out and might even go against our intuition.

Not knowing these helpful techniques can cause added frustration and stress for both you and your older adult.

That’s why educating yourself is so important.

Learning as much as you can about the disease helps you solve everyday issues and improves quality of life for both of you.

To make caring for your older adult a little easier, we rounded up 12 top Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiving books that are helpful for both new and experienced caregivers.

They’re praised and recommended by experts and family caregivers alike.


9 must-read Alzheimer’s books for caregivers

These 9 books help with practical care tasks, explain how to manage challenging dementia symptoms, share tips for coping with stress, give ideas for realistic and engaging activities, and share personal stories.

1) The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer’s Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss, 7th edition, by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins The 36-Hour Day is often referred to as the “gold standard” book for families who are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

It’s a care guide that has practical tips and information to improve the lives of people with dementia and also to help caregivers cope with their own emotions and needs.

The latest edition also includes new info on:

  1. Devices to make life simpler and safer for people who have dementia

  2. Strategies for delaying behavioral and neuropsychiatric symptoms

  3. Changes in Medicare and other health care insurance laws

  4. Palliative care, hospice care, durable power of attorney, and guardianship

  5. Dementia due to traumatic brain injury

  6. Choosing a residential care facility

  7. Support groups for caregivers, friends, and family members

What caregivers are saying in Amazon reviews: “This book had been recommended to me by my mother’s nurse approximately 5 years ago. It was a tremendous reference guide for me. As I have friends with loved ones that have dementia I give them this resource as a tool to use while on the journey.”

“I read this very informative book when my mother was diagnosed with dementia in 2015. It’s like the “what to expect when you expecting” books of long ago. So much helpful information for the many phases, issues, obstacles one faces when dealing with the ever changing issues dementia/Alzheimer’s presents. Great section on caregiving as well. I give this book to friends that are facing the challenges a caregiver or loved one will face during the dementia/Alzheimer’s journey! HIGHLY Recommend!”

“This book was so informative. I could not believe what I was reading was things that had already happened. Really helped me put things in perspective. Has helped me handle these a lot better. This book was suggested by a loved one I would definitely recommend it to anyone going through the same situation.” See more reviews or buy The 36-Hour Day

2) Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s: A Groundbreaking Approach for Everyone Dealing with the Disease, by Joanne Koenig Coste Joanne Koenig Coste has a practical approach to the emotional well-being of both the person with dementia and their caregiver.

She emphasizes relating to people with dementia in their own reality and focuses on improving communication – proven successful with thousands of people living with dementia.

This book also offers hundreds of practical tips, including how to:

  1. Cope with the diagnosis and adjust to the disease’s progression

  2. Help the patient talk about the illness

  3. Face the issue of driving

  4. Make meals and bath times as pleasant as possible

  5. Adjust room design for the person’s comfort

  6. Deal with wandering, paranoia, and aggression

What caregivers are saying in Amazon reviews: “A really nice reference for all stages of Alzheimers. I appreciate the “to the point” talk and suggestions and feel much better approaching challenges of being a caregiver.”

“Written by someone who knows from experience what a caregiver’s life entails. She gives so many practical hints for making life better for the caregiver and the one with dementia.”

“This is an excellent book to help understand how to care for someone with dementia. I highly recommend it. It is eye-opening and invaluable for helping and interacting with someone who has dementia. And it will allow the caregivers/family members to have a far more enriched relationship with the dementia sufferer. I strongly believe that this helps me and my sisters improve the quality of our father’s life.” See more reviews or buy Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s

3) Creating Moments of Joy Along the Alzheimer’s Journey: A Guide for Families and Caregivers, 5th edition, by Jolene Brackey Jolene Brackey’s vision is that we’ll focus on creating moments of joy that put a smile on their face or a twinkle in their eyes. Even if they won’t remember what we said or did, the positive feelings will stay with them.

The newest edition of this book is filled with even more practical advice sprinkled with hope, encouragement, new stories, and humor.

What caregivers are saying in Amazon reviews: “Good book for caregivers and families of those with Alzheimer’s. I like that the book has questions/scenarios so you can quickly read about the different daily occurring topics, which are right on for our family.”

“This book has made me laugh out loud during moments when I felt like sobbing. I am the primary caregiver for my Mom; I have two sisters who are here for Mom and for me as much as they can be. Reading this has helped me create moments of joy for all of us. I AM the nutty caregiver the author urges us to be. Nothing is too outrageous to say or do in order to make Mom laugh. I have let go of my inhibitions; I have let go of my preconceived notions of how I think Mom should act; I have let go of the thought that I know what’s best for her to eat or wear.”

“Good book, helped me do things with my mom that brought her joy. I am so happy I read this and implemented some of the ideas in it because she died six months after I bought the book,and I am SO HAPPY that I was able to bring her joy in her last months of life. She was so confused and angry and depressed about her dementia, and the ideas in here made her forget about it, even if only for a little while…” See more reviews or buy Creating Moments of Joy

4) Surviving Alzheimer’s: Practical tips and soul-saving wisdom for caregivers, by Paula Spencer Scott In her book, Paula Spencer Scott talks about what every family caregiver needs to know – how to help someone with dementia without sacrificing yourself.

This book includes:

  1. The best, most current thinking on how to enhance quality of life and safety while minimizing stress on everyone involved.

  2. The “Why This, Try This” approach to understanding what’s behind odd, frustrating behaviors – and what you can do about them.

  3. How to defuse resentment, guilt, anger, and family friction.

  4. Lifesaving insights from a team of top dementia-care experts from geriatrics, psychiatry, social work, law, dementia therapy, and caregiver advocacy.

  5. Stories and ideas from real families.

  6. A fast, scannable format that’s perfect for the short-on-time caregiver.

What caregivers are saying in Amazon reviews: “An excellent and extremely helpful book for anyone caring for someone with dementia. It has helped me and my sisters improve the quality of our father’s life as he is being affected by this cruel disease. It has also helped us improve the quality of OUR interaction with him, learning how best to communicate with him, and learning how to keep him engaged and focused as much as possible. Truly remarkable!”

“This book has save me from so much stress and help figure things I wasn’t aware my mother was suffering from. You learn the code to speak with them…”

“Love the format – quick and easy to look up a symptom and find reassuring advice.” See more reviews or buy Surviving Alzheimer’s

5) Thoughtful Dementia Care: Understanding the Dementia Experience, by Jennifer Ghent-Fuller Jennifer Ghent-Fuller explains the loss of different types of memory and other thinking processes and describes how that affects someone’s daily life and their understanding of the world around them.

She also shares practical suggestions based on the way people with dementia view common life situations and real-life experiences that clarify and deepen the explanations.

What caregivers are saying in Amazon reviews: “READ this book! You will understand why your loved one seems perfectly fine on the phone to those who don’t live with them when you know perfectly well that they aren’t fine. It will help you change your approach and lessen the stress all the way around. It’s an easy read, too.”

“I recently became a caregiver for my father who has Alzheimer’s Disease and didn’t understand what he is going through cognitively or why I was getting so stressed out until I began reading this book. I highly recommend it to others who have loved ones with dementia or who, like me , find themselves suddenly thrust into the role of caregiver for a parent with Alzheimer’s.”

“Concise and to the point, lots of great creative suggestions. Seeing my problems discussed in this book helped validate my experience and bolstered my feelings of a tough job well done. The author shows you how to see things from the patient’s viewpoint, which enables novel solutions to otherwise perplexing problems.” See more reviews or buy Thoughtful Dementia Care: Understanding the Dementia Experience

6) Activities to do with Your Parent who has Alzheimer’s Dementia, by Judith A. Levy EdM OTR Everyone needs to feel engaged & entertained. But finding activities that someone with dementia can enjoy is a constant challenge.

The activities in this book help maintain your older adult’s self-care skills, mobility, and socialization. The tasks encourage success, boost self-esteem, and give you different opportunities to interact with your older adult.

The book also includes:

  1. Over 50 activity ideas with suggestions on how to do them

  2. Caregiver burnout prevention ideas

  3. Alzheimer’s dementia support sources

  4. Room by room safety suggestions

  5. Home and personal safety assessment

  6. Definitions of frequently used medical terms

What caregivers are saying in Amazon reviews: “Great ideas with good background on why these activities are beneficial cognitively and emotionally.”

“…As you know, it’s so difficult to keep up a positive, cheerful attitude when faced with the never ending task of caring for my mother. The most important thing for us is to keep my mother as happy and healthy as possible and these suggestions are just what we needed.”

“This is a great book. Each chapter is a quick read. I love that she explains why this activity- what it does for the person doing it. She also gives insight about what she saw with her own Mother while doing the activities. At the end of each quick read chapter there is an assessment page so you can keep notes on how your loved one responded. It is a well thought out book and I recommend it for anyone who has a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s.” See more reviews or buy Activities to Do with Your Parent Who Has Alzheimer’s Dementia

7) The Dementia Handbook: How to Provide Dementia Care at Home, by Judy Cornish Judy Cornish is the founder of the Dementia & Alzheimer’s Wellbeing Network® (DAWN). She approaches dementia care with clear and empathetic methods that improve the lives of the person with dementia and those caring for them.

Judy has identified a pattern in the abilities and disabilities of people living with dementia. Based on this, she developed methods for caregivers to ease emotional distress, which can quickly and safely resolve challenging behaviors.

What caregivers are saying in Amazon reviews: “This book has such an unique simple way to explain how to handle some of the common problems that arise in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and how to handle them with the least amount of resistance.”

“I got more useful information and strategies for dealing with dementia from this book than I have from any physician. I highly recommend this book.”

“Good examples of how to deal with all kinds of situations. Very practical advice you can start using right now.” See more reviews or buy The Dementia Handbook: How to Provide Dementia Care at Home

8) When Reasoning No Longer Works: A Practical Guide for Caregivers Dealing with Dementia & Alzheimer’s Care, by Angel Smits Angel Smits is a gerontologist with over 20 years of experience and wrote this book to be like a training manual for family caregivers caring for someone with dementia.

It gives an easy-to-understand view of what dementia does to the brain, how it’s diagnosed, and most importantly, how to deal with its effects.

Topics include:

  1. How to avoid a catastrophic reaction

  2. Specific approaches for aggressive behavior

  3. How to deal with disruptive behaviors

  4. Ways to diminish wandering

  5. What to do when a wanderer is missing

  6. When to look for outside help

What caregivers are saying in Amazon reviews: “Being a retired nurse, I thought I may know how to comfort & care for my mother. Not so ! This book is so helpful in all aspects. A very easy read. i didnt want to put it down! THANKS to Ms Angel Smits, I feel I have learned how to deal in more situations without upsetting Mother any more.”

“We are 3 years into our Alzheimer’s journey with my father. This book was so helpful for all of us on his caregiving team. It is easy to read, interesting, and give you good understanding of how the patient is seeing the world and how that is so totally different that a “healthy brain”…which can exacerbate A LOT of situations and cause MANY CATASTROPHIC REACTIONS. I highly recommend this book for anyone on the caregiver team!”

“Excellent, simple, concrete information when needed. Easy to read. There is a “story” at the beginning of each chapter and the ‘solutions’ afterward about how things could have been handled better.” See more reviews or buy When Reasoning No Longer Works: A Practical Guide for Caregivers Dealing with Dementia & Alzheimer’s Care

9) Understanding the Changing Brain: A Positive Approach to Dementia Care, by Teepa Snow Teepa Snow is one of the world’s leading advocates and educators for anyone living with dementia or other forms of brain change.

With over 40 years of dementia care experience, Teepa’s insights will help anyone interested in the topic of dementia understand why changes are happening in the brain, and how our response to those changes can create distress or lead to more successful interactions.

What caregivers are saying in Amazon reviews: “I attended a presentation from Teepa Snow and found the information she shared to be very accurate and relevant, not to mention super helpful. I am a nurse and the recommendations she makes drastically improve my relationships with my patients who suffer from dementia. I have recommended her books to my patients’ families and have shared them with my staff. I highly recommend to anyone who cares for family or patients with dementia.”

“This is my very favorite dementia book ever. It has been a life-saver dealing with my mom.”

“Anyone that works with, lives with or has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s should read her book. She will give you insight, hope and coping skills. Read this book and share it with everyone.” See more reviews or buy Understanding the Changing Brain: A Positive Approach to Dementia Care

10) The Caregiver’s Guide to Dementia: Practical Advice for Caring for Yourself and Your Loved One, by Gail Weatherill From understanding common behavioral and mood changes to making financial decisions, this book shares expert guidance for understanding dementia, supporting your loved one, and practicing self-care.

It helps you understand common behavioral and emotional changes and explains what to do, say, or ask in specific situations.

This book also contains bullet-pointed lists of actions you can take to improve your health and your caregiving.

What caregivers are saying in Amazon reviews: “Just what I needed!!!! My grandmother was just diagnosed with vascular dementia, and I was at a loss as what to do. This book is very well written, easy read, yet packed with How To’s and suggestions not only as to what to do but also what to say and not say. It’s also very real, the author is very honest and realistic as to what can happen, everything I read was just what was happening, and the suggestions really work…”

“If you have someone in your life living with dementia, I wholeheartedly urge you to read this book. It’s easy to read and understand, practical, loving, encouraging… I’ve been a nurse for 17 years and worked with plenty of “brain failure” patients in many settings, but it’s totally different when I’m the caregiver to a parent. I so needed the information in this book and I’m so grateful that I found it. (Plus, I think it has relevant tips for anyone who might need help addressing health, financial, legal, etc issues with an aging parent.) Huge thanks to to Ms. Weatherill for writing it!!”

“This book is excellent! It is so easy to read and gives such good advice on how to handle specific situations. I wish I had read it a few years ago. It would have helped all of us interact with our mother in a more knowledgeable, kind way. Who would have thought asking, “What special meal would you like me to bring when I come tomorrow?” would cause such confusion in someone with dementia. Instead you give them just two choices which makes it so much easier for them to decide. It makes sense! And, so does the rest of the book. If you have a family member, friend, or if you are showing signs of dementia, do yourself a favor and read this book.” See more reviews or buy The Caregiver’s Guide to Dementia: Practical Advice for Caring for Yourself and Your Loved One

11) Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and Grief, by Pauline Boss In this easy-to-understand book, Dr. Boss helps caregivers find hope in “ambiguous loss” – having a loved one both here and not here, physically present but psychologically absent. She explains how to manage the on-going stress and grief.

Topics include:

  1. 7 guidelines to stay resilient while caring for someone who has dementia

  2. The meaning of relationships with individuals who are cognitively impaired and no longer as they used to be

  3. Approaches to understand and cope with the emotional strain of care-giving

What caregivers are saying in Amazon reviews: “As a caregiver for my Mom who has alzheimers, this book was full of helpful information about what to expect at each stage of the disease.”

“I’ve read several books on caring for my parent with dementia. This book focuses more on the caregiver and their viewpoints and needs. This offered me tremendous validation and support, including resources. It helped me understand my ongoing ups and downs and grief. Strongly recommend this book for the caregivers of dementia patients.”

“My mom is living with me and I am her 24 hour care taker. I get breaks now and then. She has advanced alz and I belong to support groups but this book goes above and beyond and cleary gives me coping skills along with true insight. I would reccommend it for anyone.” See more reviews or buy Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and Grief

12) Chicken Soup for the Soul: Navigating Eldercare & Dementia: 101 Stories for Family Caregivers, by Amy Newmark These revealing stories from family caregivers – spouses, grown children and grandchildren – share the emotional support and practical tips that you need as you navigate eldercare with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. 

Find the help you need in stories like:

  1. Joining your family member in his or her new reality

  2. Understanding and accepting Alzheimer’s and dementia

  3. Tough choices—moving, driving, hiring help, finances

  4. Independent living, assisted living, memory care, or staying home

  5. Love, loss, romance and friendships

  6. Self-care and perspective for the caregiver

  7. Making your “village” and asking for help

  8. Learning how to be patient and compassionate

  9. Finding the humor and the blessings along the way

  10. Strategies and tips that work for family caregivers

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By DailyCaring Editorial Team

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