From its title Forget Me Not to the words of author Debra Kostiw in her Dedications section, “Dear Mom, You were murdered twice. The first time was when Alzheimer’s viciously attacked your brain and the second was the betrayal of your own son. . .I wrote this book in your honor,” readers know that this book is powerful and containing content based on real, first-hand experience. From the first sentence to the last, this easy-to-understand, lesson-based book for dementia caregivers should be among one’s first reads as a new caregiver.
Professor of Geriatrics for SUNY Upstate Medical University Dr. Brangman writes in her forward that Kostiw’s book is “an excellent resource that covers the major behaviors and care issues frequently seen in dementia.” With chapters on the topics of communication, activities, diversions, sundowning, bathing, and safety, among others, we could not agree more. This book is written in such a way that readers could jump around to topics most of interest or read the book cover to cover. Every chapter introduces a concept and then presents the lessons helpful to learn surrounding that concept.
One of the features that is most beneficial are the exercises that are available for each concept. For example, for the concept of sundowning, readers can fill out within the book, solutions to various scenarios, so that the information could be revisited at a later time as needed. There are charts, for easy reference, such as the one that lists behaviors/actions and solutions/rule in the chapter on behaviors, as well as diagrams and games that readers can review to better understand the concepts.
The illustrations within the book are especially useful in bringing forward important points and displaying pictorially, some of the lessons or recommendations. Kostiw mentions in her Dedications section that these “spellbinding illustrations” are the work of her daughter Olivia. We agree with Kostiw that they bring the book to life on a “whole other dimension.” They certainly increase the comprehension factor of the concepts and lessons for the reader.
There are also many value-added features made available to the reader through this book. One of those, is the “Chapter That Has Been Omitted,” which covers the topic of death and dying. Kostiw mentions that she decided to omit this chapter from the hard copy of the book because she wanted to dedicate this book to “creating a better quality of life for the living.” She notes, however, that many people have asked for her expertise in explaining how people with dementia pass away. Readers are able to access this omitted chapter on Kostiw’s website: AnswersAboutAlz.org. This website also has a number of the resources highlighted in Forget Me Not available to the reader for free and that are downloadable.
In her closing author’s bio, it is written that “Debra Kostiw gets fired up about advocating for seniors.” In reading this book, it is clear that Kostiw has a deep passion for the topic of dementia caregiving. Forget Me Not is a genuine work of the heart. Kostiw has taken a very personal situation in her own life and used it for the good of all caregivers. Pick up a copy of this book, if you have not done so already, and you will understand what we (and the many others who write endorsements in the book’s opening pages) mean.