Dementia Resource Library

Living Branches Blog Posts

Dementia Care for Seniors: Communication Techniques

Because every senior is different, there isn’t a specific technique that works across the board when it comes to dementia care for seniors. Often, caregivers must rely on trial and error, determining what works in their situation. What are some things that caregivers can do when communicating with seniors with dementia?

Finding the Best Activities for People Living with Dementia

Keeping active can improve a person’s quality of life, bringing pleasure and meaning. Seniors living with dementia often find everyday activities are more difficult. But choosing appropriate, failure-free activities can lead to a better quality of life, and reduce challenging behaviors.

10 Early Signs of Dementia

Providing senior memory care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia isn’t an easy task, but caregivers can make the process much more effective and beneficial by knowing a few things about this condition.. Here are some early signs of dementia you might notice.

Understanding What Your Loved One Needs in Memory Care

As the Silent Generation continues to age and the first of the Baby Boomers are officially seniors, the number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease continues to rise. Anyone who is currently experiencing a loved one with Alzheimer’s knows first hand how important senior memory care is in maintaining a comfortable and safe environment.

4 Myths About Brain Health and How to Stay Sharp

An AARP survey found that 87 percent of respondents reported being very concerned about this issue. And in April, a highly influential nonprofit released a new report whose recommendations represent the best available medical knowledge on how our brains change as we age and what we can do about this.


I Care by Jennifer Brush and Kerry Mills
Top of the line. Practical help for care-partners. Appendix of helpful resources for interviews and checklists. Link to purchase.

I’m Still Here by John Zeisel, Ph.D
Recommended for all those who relate to those experiencing mental impairment. Especially helpful for family members, those in the ministry, and care-givers. The emphasis is on appreciating and affirming each individual’s person-hood, while creating a healing environment and relationship with his/her remaining abilities. Refreshing read. Link to purchase.

In Pursuit of the Sunbeam by Steve Shields and LaVrene Norton
A practical guide to transformation from institution to household. After historical and regulating background, the author pursues the philosophy of change in the environment and the transformation of “self.” Link to purchase.

Transforming Long-term Care by Kelly O’Shea Carney and Margaret P. Norris
Excellent. “Elder care method.” Comprehensive approach for health care professionals, policy strategists, and family managers. Link to purchase.

Hiding The Stranger In The Mirror by Cameron J. Camp, Ph.D
Helpful series of examples of stories of individuals with dementia and lessons to learn at the end of each chapter. Basic to care is the need to always see the person as someone who is responding in a way that makes sense to him/her. Finding and using strengths that remain. Recommend read for caregivers. Link to purchase.

Relentless Goodbye by Ginnie Burkholder
Most insightful and inspiring description of the journey of grief and mourning during years of caring for a loved one with dementia. Recommended for all who face the sadness that permeates every aspect of life when loss is relentless and impacts one’s hopes, and self awareness with the helplessness that accompanies dementia. Link to purchase.

Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade by Gary Chapman, Deborah Barr, Edward G. Shaw
This book is easy reading and captivating as it applies the five love languages to those with dementia and their care partners. An informative book. Link to purchase.

Better Living With Dementia – Implications for Individuals, Families, Communities and Societies by Laura N. Gitlin, Nancy A. Hodgson
Excellent, comprehensive book that is useful for everyone touched by dementia. Combines research evidence and theories with practical know how.  The care vignettes that illustrate key points are a nice touch. Link to purchase.

The End of Alzheimer’s – The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline by Dale E. Bredesen, MD
A resource for medical professionals. Outlines in detail the various forms of cognitive impairment with supporting documentation from research and testing.  Includes several appendices providing helpful guidelines for prevention and reversal of cognitive decline.  Recommended reading for those desiring a deeper understanding of Alzheimer’s disease, its causes and treatment. Link to purchase.

New Possibilities in Memory Care – The Silverado Story by Loren Shook and Stephen Winner
A most interesting account of the development of care around the philosophy that “love is greater than fear” which is Silverado’s belief. Highlights are focus on the basics that include the loss of self-esteem, set up the environment to succeed, pets vs dolls, engagement vs activities, memories that unlock the senses, behaviors as unspoken language and choices as positive reinforcement. The book gives many stories of how care partners can help residents sustain memories and ways to offer spiritual care by fulfilling last wishes. Well worth the read and recommended for anyone working to enhance the lives of individuals who need memory support. Link to purchase.

Second Forgetting: Remembering the Power of the Gospel during Alzheimer’s Disease by Benjamin Mast
If you are a Christian who knows or loves someone with Alzheimer’s disease, have recently been diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s disease, or are a pastor or ministry leader seeking to better understand and minister to people with Alzheimer’s disease this book will encourage you with the good news of God’s faithfulness and the future hope he calls us to. Link to purchase.

Finding Grace in the Face of Dementia by John Dunlop
A diagnosis of dementia in a loved one can be both frightening and frustrating. Only a biblical foundation fuels a Christian response that both honors the patient and glorifies God. Drawing on years of professional experience working with Alzheimer’s patients, Dr. John Dunlop wants to transform the way we think about dementia. Rooting his vision of care in the inherent dignity that stems from the fact that all people are made in the image of God, he explains biblical principles, describes the experience of dementia, and answers common questions about the condition. With a plan for how to care for patients with compassion and respect, this book helps caregivers, family members, and anyone else affected by dementia honor God as they improve quality of care to patients. Link to purchase.

Walking Through Twilight: A Wife’s Illness, A Philosopher’s Lament by Douglas Groothuis
In these pages, philosopher Douglas Groothuis offers a window into his experience of caring for his wife as a rare form of dementia ravages her once-brilliant mind and eliminates her once-stellar verbal acuity. Mixing personal narrative with spiritual insight, he captures moments of lament as well as philosophical and theological reflection. Brief interludes provide poignant pictures of life inside the Groothuis household, and we meet a parade of caregivers, including a very skilled companion dog. Losses for both Doug and Becky come daily, and his questions for God multiply as he navigates the descending darkness. Here is a frank exploration of how one continues to find God in the twilight. Link to purchase.

Other Media

Dr. David Amen, clinical neuroscientist and best-selling author, shares simple steps to boost your brain to dramatically decrease your risk for Alzheimer’s disease in the following DVDs: