Sherman Macdaniel has published an Alzheimer’s Caregivers Guide entitled, Welcome Stranger. The title reminds us that the caregiver becomes a stranger to the patient even though they may have been married or children for years. This transformation is one of the most subtle and difficult adjustments confronting the caregiver. No longer does the patient express warmth, gratitude or appreciation for assistance and eventually the patient may actually become belligerent and hostile. The caregiver must make changes in order to respond to the stark changes in the behavior of the patient.
This guide is intended to supplement books on Alzheimer’s such as The 36 Hour Day and others. They offer helpful information on the disease and patient but frequently without much helpful emphasis on what to expect emotionally and how the caregiver should respond to unexpected behavior.
According to a 2016 American Alzheimer’s Association report, Alzheimer’s disease represents 60-80 percent of the dementia patients in the United States and the numbers are growing rapidly. While much has been and is being written on the disease, little focuses on the huge cadre of non-paid spouses, children, relatives and friends who represent the bulk of dementia caregivers. The report estimates that 15.9 million persons are serving as caregivers.
The 50 page booklet covers the following topics: Denial, What to Expect, Role Reversal, Little White Lies, Patience, Do Not Show Emotions or Anger, Travel, What Can Go Wrong, Rules, Prayer, Support Groups, Dementia Drug Trials, Beware.
Two members of our Chapel congregation: Merton Minter and Walt McFadden shared their experience of caregivers to their wives with Sherman and made a significant contribution to this manual.
I strongly commend this booklet to the attention of anyone who is dealing with Alzheimer’s patients as a caregiver or a friend of a caregiver. Copies may be obtained from Sherman P. Macdaniel, P.O. Box 429, Fayetteville, Texas 78940 for $10.00.