Recommended Reading/Viewing

Books

What if it’s Not Alzheimer’s, edited by Lisa Radin and Gary Radin (updated and revised in 2014)
This comprehensive guide, the first to deal specifically with frontotemporal degeneration, provides a wealth of information to both healthcare professionals and caregivers. Designed as both a resource and a reference guide, it contains twenty-five chapters full of practical information that every caregiver needs, from medical facts exploring the differences between FTD and Alzheimer’s, to clinical, medical and rehabilitation care issues.

Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief, by Pauline Boss (2011)
Boss, a psychotherapist and professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota, explores ambiguous loss, a common and painful condition that affects, among others, people caring for someone perceived to be psychologically absent but physically present such as in dementia and FTD.  She encourages families to talk with each other to mourn what has been lost and celebrate what remains as a way to foster acceptance and strength.

Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and Grief, by Pauline Boss (2011)
Boss, a psychotherapist and professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota, offers research-based advice on how to manage ongoing stress and grief, while caring for someone with dementia.

The Common Sense Guide to Dementia for Clinicians and Caregivers, by Drs. Anne M. Lipton and Cindy D. Marshall (2013)
Clinicians, family members, and other caregivers will find this volume useful from the moment that symptoms of dementia emerge. Written by a neurologist and psychiatrist who have cared for thousands of patients with dementia and their families, this guide espouses general principles of dementia care that apply across the stages and spectrum of this illness. Non-Alzheimer’s types of dementia are included in addition to Alzheimer’s disease.

The 36-Hour Day, by Nancy Mace and Peter Rabins, MD (revised and updated in 2012)
This guide has been used widely for over 25 years by caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease. It offers practical and compassionate guidance on a wide range of caregiving issues including diagnostic evaluation, research, medications, legal and financial information, and community living arrangements.

The Dance: Our Journey Through Frontotemporal Degeneration, by Deborah G. Thelwell (2014)
The Dance is a memoir of a couple’s five-year journey through FTD. Deborah and Alan’s story – and how they handled this challenge together and with the help of their family and friends — is told with honesty, humor, and love.

Green Nails and Other Acts of Rebellion: Life After Loss, by Elaine Soloway (2014)
The author has previously published other works, and in Green Nails and Other Acts of Rebellion, Elaine Soloway provides a glimpse into the life of a wife who becomes a caregiver after her husband Tommy receives a diagnosis of FTD. The story of his disease’s progression is one that manages to be uplifting while revealing the daily struggles of being caregiver and wife to someone with an incurable illness.

The Banana Lady and Other Stories of Curious Behavior and Speech, by Dr. Andrew Kertesz (2006)
Dr. Kertesz, a neurologist and researcher, presents 19 factual stories of people with FTD, chosen to represent the typical behavior and language changes associated with the disorders. In each chapter the biology of the underlying brain disorder and the social and cultural aspects of the behavior change are explored. Additional chapters address tips for caregivers and the biology, genetics and pharmacology of the disease in lay terms.

DVDs

Planning for Hope-Living with Frontotemporal Disease is a moving documentary created by Susan Grant, who is diagnosed with FTD, to bring attention to this terminal disease. Six families share their heart-wrenching stories of perpetual grieving, amidst financial struggles and caring for their loved ones. Sharing another aspect of hope, professionals explore financial and estate planning for FTD victims and their families.

Disordered is a three-part documentary depicting the ways FTD has changed the lives of three people – as well as those around them. The filmmakers, Klaas Jansma and Pieter Wolswijk, are respectively a psychologist involved in the Dutch National Steering Committee for Young People with Dementia and a geriatric psychologist. This documentary is an initiative of the Intercollegiate Group of Geriatric Psychologists in the Arnhem Region, the Netherlands. Email krjansma@hotmail.com for ordering information.

Blogs

These blogs and vignettes are shared with us by members of our community whose unique perspectives offer support, encouragement and truly honest responses to others going through similar experiences. We appreciate their generosity in sharing some of their intimate thoughts, emotions, and experiences, and recognize that it is through this generosity that we will all find the comfort and support of community.

If you have a blog or story you would like to share, please contact us at info@theaftd.org.

FTD Doesn’t Bring Me Flowers: Living with FTD – Cindy Odell has been living with FTD since 2011. In her regularly updated blog, she hopes “to offer information and insight into dealing with having FTD, or dealing with someone who has it.”

Aphasialand – This poignant blog series, written in German by Silvia Teich, details the difficult struggles that FTD can bring to a family. Ms. Teich is a wife and mother whose husband was affected with Primary nonfluent primary progressive aphasia in September 2016. The couple have two children aged 5 and 15, and live in Berlin. Read Silvia’s blog posts here.

Songs Without Words – Written by Sarah Scheuermann, who passed away from PPA in 2016, this well-written and thought-provoking blog series gives the reader insight into how it feels to battle FTD from the perspective of the person affected. Read Sara’s beautiful blog posts, poems and verses here.

Go to Your Corners and Come Out Loving – This blog was written by Ada Gerard, wife to Gary who at 65 years old, was diagnosed with FTD. Still working full-time as Executive Director for West Coast University, Ada shares her daily struggles with coming to terms with her husband’s diagnosis.

The Unlikely Caregiver: Caregiving as a twenty-something daughter – When Abigail was 24, she moved back in with her parents, noting, “It wasn’t because I was broke or unemployed, instead it was because my mom’s Frontal Temporal Lobe Dementia was progressing quickly and my dad needed backup.”

Lydia’s FTD House – Lydia’s sister blogs to create a support community for all to share FTD-related experiences and information. The ultimate goal is to help others recognize the symptoms of FTD and shorten the time to a correct diagnosis and help.

Chasing Dignity – Cindy, whose mother-in-law has FTD, blogs about her family’s journey coping with the disease and adjusting to their new reality.

Frontotemporal Degeneration: Tumbling down the rabbit hole – Alice, whose husband was recently diagnosed with FTD, writes about her journey.

A Nice Day for a Hike – a blog by Brandon and Katherine, as they hike the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail in memory of Brandon’s dad, who had FTD.

Dementia: Stuck in Between – a thoughtful blog by a group of 20- and 30-somethings who have a parent affected with FTD.

Putting One Foot in Front of the Other – a blog by Nancy Carlson, author/book illlustrator whose husband has FTD.

FTD is my niche (apparently!) – a blog by Deborah Thelwell, whose husband has FTD.

Dr. Patty’s Blog – Dr. Patricia Bay writes about her husband’s recent diagnosis of FTD.

FTD’s Painful Road – a blog by Kendra Gibson, whose mother has FTD/ALS, whose uncle passed away from the same disorder and whose aunt passed away from ALS.

Journey with Dementia – a blog by Cassandra Jones, whose mother has semantic dementia.

The Rookie Caregiver – a blog by writer and PR professional Elaine Soloway, whose husband was affected with primary progressive aphasia.

FTD Isn’t Just Flowers Anymore – a blog by Kelly on the West Coast about her affected father.

Rest.Stop.Ranch – an eco-spiritual blog by Mary MacDonald, whose mother had FTD.  This blog features some short (2-5 minute) guided “breaks” with photos, breathing exercises, and other calm-inducing techniques.

Caring Bridge Blog by Lorraine Cox – a blog about her husband’s struggle with FTD.

Matt Matherne – a blog written by Matt’s wife, Amy.  Matt is affected with FTD.

Don’s Daughter – a blog written by Melisa McElmurray, whose father is affected with FTD.

FTD/Dementia Support Group – a blog written by FTD patient Howard Glick.  A first-person look at living with FTD.

Cindy’s Life Updates with Frontemporal Dementia – a blog maintained by Natalie, whose mother Cindy is living with an FTD diagnosis. Natalie’s goal is to help at least one person and to help shed light on this disease.

Published Tributes

Many people find writing to be a valuable way to process their experiences while caring for a family member or friend who has FTD.  These books have been written to honor a loved one, or share personal perspectives of the impact of FTD.

Griefwriting, By Joan Zlotnick
The author was a caregiver for 12 years to her husband, who suffered from FTD. She writes: “After his death three years ago, I found solace and healing through writing my book, which is about a recently widowed English professor (not unlike myself) who teaches a therapeutic writing course.” Zlotnick’s work explores themes of caregiving, loss, grief, and the redefinition of the self after traumatic loss. Find a link to this Kindle e-book– as well as testimonials from readers–  here.

The Dance: Our Journey Through Frontotemporal Degeneration, By Deborah G. Thelwell
The Dance is a memoir of a couple’s five-year journey through FTD. Deborah and Alan’s story, and how they handled this challenge together and with the help of their family and friends, is told with honesty, humor and love. Purchase at: Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com

Dementia: The Journey Ahead, By Susan Kiser Scarff
Within a year of receiving her husband’s diagnosis, Susan Kiser Scarff had a classic case of caregiver burnout. She couldn’t concentrate at work. Friends drifted away. Overwhelmed, she struggled to make the transition from Red’s wife to his protector, nurse, and mother. Purchase through: the book’s website.

Green Nails and Other Acts of Rebellion, Life After Loss, by Elaine Soloway
The author has previously published other works, and in Green Nails and Other Acts of Rebellion, Elaine Soloway provides a glimpse into the life of a wife who becomes a caregiver after her husband receives a diagnosis of FTD. With symptoms beginning about ten years after their marriage, Tommy’s diagnosis offered an explanation that changed the dynamic of the relationship. The story of husband Tommy’s progression and ultimate demise is one that manages to be uplifting while revealing the daily struggles of being caregiver and wife to someone with an incurable illness. Purchase at:  Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com

Strange Relation: A Memoir of Marriage, Dementia and Poetry, by Rachel Hadas
In 2004 Rachel Hadas’s husband, George Edwards, a composer and professor of music at Columbia University, was diagnosed with early-onset dementia at the age of sixty-one. Strange Relation is her account of “losing” George. Her narrative begins when George’s illness can no longer be ignored, and ends in 2008 soon after his move to a dementia facility (when, after thirty years of marriage, she finds herself no longer living with her husband). Within the cloudy confines of those difficult years, years when reading and writing were an essential part of what kept her going, she “tried to keep track… tried to tell the truth.” Purchase at:  Amazon.com

Dueling with Dementia: Not the Love Story We Planned, by Kate Fritz Leonard
Kate Fritz Leonard is a wife, mother, friend, educator and now caregiver, who was living a happily-ever-after life with her husband and children until dementia took over her husband’s brain and he became a stranger in their home.  Kate writes about her family’s journey into the strange and scary world of dementia, and how she and her children, with much love and laughter, are coping and thriving together while dueling with their loved one’s dementia. Purchase at:  Amazon.com

An Evolution of Love: Life and Love with FTD, by Marie Sykes and Michelle Stafford
Bob Sykes passed away on April 7, 2006 from frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) at the age of 50.  He struggled mightily with this illness and his wife and daughter struggled with him, gaining an even greater respect for this fine man, as he slowly succumbed to a progressive and irreversible form of dementia. Purchase at:  www.anevolutionoflove.com or Amazon.com

And Two Shall Become One, by Jim Cardosi
After the death of his wife Cindy in July 2008, Jim Cardosi wrote this book for his children to honor her memory.  Written as a tribute their love and commitment to each other, Cardosi portrays the spirit of a woman fully devoted to her family and her faith. (A portion of the proceeds of sales of this book will be donated to AFTD). Purchase at Amazon.com or www.allbookstores.com

Dementia: The Monster Within, by Herb van Roekel
This book shares story of one family’s battle through five generations of the Monster, along with the stories of others who have met the Monster. It provides a framework of essential steps necessary to prepare both caregiver and victim for the future. It also shows the types of dementia and some of the science involved to help give understanding. “While we dare not offer false hope, there is every reason to have hope …” for finding a cure. Purchase at:  Amazon.com

I Can’t Hear the Music Anymore: One Family’s Journey with Frontotemporal Dementia, 2nd edition, by Linda Anne Bentz Parsons
The author tells the story of her husband, Douglas Parsons, who has FTD. Short practical chapters tell of changes in independence, social interaction, reasoning and judgment, as well as caregiving issues.  The book is written to give faith and hope that people are not alone in their journey with FTD. To purchase send $10 check or money order to Linda A. Parsons, 222 Chicago Place NW, Canton, Ohio 44703 or email or at: laparsons61@sbcglobal.net

If you have published a book or memoir that you would like to share with others, please let us know at info@theaftd.org or 866-507-7222.