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Synopsis

Winner of an Honorable Mention in the Life Stories category of the 20th Annual Writer's Digest Book Awards, Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter's Memoir is the unflinching and hopeful story of one woman's journey into family caregiving, and a vivid overview of the challenges of Alzheimer's care.

With the passion of a committed daughter and the fervor of a tireless reporter, Martha Stettinius weaves this compelling story of caregiving for her demented mother with a broad exploration of the causes of Alzheimer's disease, means of treating it, and hopes for preventing it. She shares the lessons she's learned over seven years of caregiving at home, in assisted living, a rehabilitation center, a "memory care" facility for people living with dementia, and a nursing home--lessons not just about how to navigate the system, but how caregiving helped the author to grow closer to her mother, and to learn to nurture her mother's spirit through the most advanced stages of dementia.

One in 8 people over age 65 has Alzheimer's disease, and nearly fifty percent of those over age 85. As baby boomers age, and we all live longer, most of us will know someone with Alzheimer's disease or another dementia, or care for someone with dementia. Alzheimer's disease is the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States for those age 65 and older, but the only one in the top 10 without a means of prevention, a way to slow its progression, or a cure. In the United States, over 15 million family caregivers provide 17.4 billion hours of unpaid care to family members and friends with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

This memoir is not a lament, however; it is guide, and, the author hopes, a means to soften the blow upon all of us. In the course of the author's experience, she discovered what could have been done earlier to help her mother, and what can be done now to help us all. Ms. Stettinius's greatest gift to readers is that of optimism--that caregiving can deepen love, that dementia can be fought, and that families can be strengthened. Her book is appealing, enlightening, and inspiring.

Through its intimate scenes and skillful storytelling, Inside the Dementia Epidemic is a call to action for better dementia care, more funding for dementia research, and more support for family caregivers. In the appendices, the author shares facts she wishes she had known years ago, including how to get a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease; what medications are approved to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease; risk factors for dementia, and possible preventive measures; promising explorations in dementia research; the link between insulin resistance, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease; the benefits of "memory consultations" and early diagnosis; and national and international movements for more dementia research and better care.

Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter's Memoir includes source notes, resources for caregivers, and an index, and is highly recommended by reviewers including the Library Journal, Midwest Book Review, and Publishers Weekly Select.

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