Few conditions upon first diagnosis strike such terror into victims and relatives as Alzheimer's disease. The dementia that is its best-known symptom can provoke feelings of helplessness and despair, coupled with fear that the patient will inevitably suffer loss of dignity and self-respect. There is hope, however, and Joanne Koenig-Coste is well qualified to say so. For over thirty years she has advocated and practised a communication-based form of care. Now she has distilled her experience into this encouraging and supportive book showing how, by following a few straightforward and simple ideas, the quality of life of sufferers can be dramatically improved, and their dignity and self-respect renewed. Habilitation capitalizes on the remaining emotions and skills of the patient and offers chances to feel successful by reaching past the recognized losses, ignoring the failures, and rejoicing in whatever still defines the essential humanity of the sufferer. Perhaps as importantly, it also suggests ways that the carers can care for themselves too. Learning to Speak Alzheimer's is a practical guide to coping with a cruel disease. It offers a wealth of information, understanding and advice, but above all it offers a message of hope based on respect, common sense and quiet dignity.
Joanne Koenig-Coste is a recognized expert on Alzheimer's disease. She has practised as a family therapist for over thirty years and during that time has written and lectured widely on the illness. She has also appeared on numerous television shows, including the NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw.