A 5-Star Review: ‘Daughters Of Dementia’ is a book that I wish had been available when I had to deal with a spouse suffering from this life changing disease. I would now recommend it to just about everyone, because as we age, almost all of us will be confronted with dementia. The authors share their heartfelt journey with helpful advice, encouragement, and even a dash of necessary humor here and there. But the great theme is always how understanding, tenderness, and love can get you through this all too common difficult disease!
Roy Skagen, Assistant Chief of Police, Seattle Police Department (Ret.)
A 5-Star Review: Once I started reading Daughters Of Dementia, I couldn’t put it down. I can’t even put into words how great this book is. So many people are going to benefit from it. Leslie Birkland and Lindsey Denhof did such a great job sharing their story, I really felt like I was having a conversation with them.
Tina D., Canyon Lake, CA
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I purchased Daughters Of Dementia at an Alzheimer function event.
A must read for anyone who has a family member or friend suffering from dementia.
May 18, 2018
June 18, 2018
Author Leslie Birkland with D’London and Deana Molle`
OnlineBookClub.org Official Review: Daughters Of Dementia by Leslie Birkland – 4 out of 4 stars
[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of “Daughters Of Dementia” by Leslie Birkland.]
I’ll never forget my first experience with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. I was fourteen, volunteering after school at an assisted living facility. One day, my supervisor took me up to the “lockdown” floor. I climbed aboard the elevator, and my supervisor used a key to get us moving. When the doors opened, I was greeted with an identical hallway to those found on the second and third floors. It wasn’t until I followed my supervisor to the communal kitchen where I met two women who repeated the same syllable over and over again that it hit me. These people were not well. I went on to meet other ladies. Some were just forgetful. Some lacked the ability to perform basic daily tasks. By the time I got back on the elevator, fourteen-year-old me was terrified. I never wanted to encounter another person with Alzheimer’s or Dementia again.
Imagine my shock when, a year later, my grandfather was diagnosed with Dementia.
Daughters of Dementia is a tribute to Duane, father of the book’s co-authors, Leslie Birkland and Lindsey Denhof. Through two very different, but also similar, views, these step-sisters describe Duane’s life—from meeting Leslie’s mother through his journey with Dementia. At times both heartbreaking and funny, the authors set out to show those who are embroiled with this disease that they are not alone. Dementia is no one’s fault, and the family caregivers can only do so much.
I found this book easy to read and understand. Both Birkland and Denhof write with clear, simple prose. I felt as if I were sitting around with friends and talking about loved ones who suffer from the terrible memory-stealing disease. For those watching a loved one perish, this book would serve as an invaluable companion.
One of the most important ideas this book communicates is not to keep Dementia a secret. At one point, Duane’s family moves into a new apartment. Soon after, the building manager pulls Leslie aside to say the office has been getting complaints about Duane’s behavior. One of the characteristics of Dementia is the performing of socially odd or unacceptable actions as if they pose no issue. Birkland and Denhof offer examples like getting into someone’s car or staring out windows for hours on end. When the building manager brought such complaints to Leslie, she went against her mother’s wishes and informed the manager of Duane’s Dementia. Once the community was aware, the attitudes of the other residents went from complaining to helping. No one thought less of Duane or his family because of the Dementia. This is such an important idea to make clear. Dementia, like Cancer, is a disease. It just happens to change a person’s personality and steal their memories. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Sickness happens.
Aside from being an emotional tool, this book is also a wealth of resources for Dementia patience and their families. There is information about the disease sprinkled throughout. At the end, there is a list of organizations that provide support for Dementia patience and their caregivers. I was so glad to see the list. When my grandfather was diagnosed, my family was at a loss for so long. Having this list would have helped us, and will no doubt be of great help to others seeking support.
After all this, you may be wondering about my statement earlier that part of this book was funny. My response—of course it is. No, it’s not hilarious or worthy of a comedy routine, but there are little things that are just so sad that they have to also be funny. As Birkland puts it “Because if you don’t laugh, you’ll just be crying all day.” I can’t agree more. Watching my grandfather lose to this disease broke my heart. It wasn’t funny at all, but I had to laugh—had to learn that it wasn’t all terrifying, if I wanted to keep my own sanity.
With no reservations, I rate Daughters of Dementia 4 out of 4 stars. The book is very well-edited with only a few small errors. The wealth of information presented and the emotional support this story lends to anyone dealing with a loved one’s Dementia firmly bring this book above a 3-star rating. I would recommend this book for anyone needing somewhere to turn when this disease feels like too much. I also recommend it to anyone wishing to better understand Dementia. While I believe children should be made aware of the disease, this book may be beyond the comprehension of the very young. Though, it may help parents learn how to broach the topic with their kids. Really, this is an excellent read for just about anyone.