The 24-Hour Rule:
Living with Alzheimer’s
As I began to assemble information that would help me care for Michael in the most effective and loving ways possible I discovered that others, too, might benefit from what I was learning. So I began to write The 24-Hour Rule: Living with Alzheimer’s. The title is based on my husband’s personal philosophy regarding the way one should handle a challenging situation: you have one day, and one day only, to be sad or angry or whatever big emotion comes. After that, nothing good, he always said, will come of wallowing in it—you’ll just waste your energy.
The book contains everything I’ve learned along this lengthy journey of living with Alzheimer’s. On every page are practical strategies you can implement at home, away from where you live, at friends’ houses, just about anywhere. Everything from buying a digital watch, laminating a card with important personal information, and keeping multiple sets of keys to telling everyone you know what’s going on is included in the book. Also, I outline in detail, for example, how exercise can pump blood to the brain and provide less obvious benefits like feelings of competence and preserving intimacy for couples.
Chapters cover finding and evaluating clinical trials, eating right for your own body chemistry, hiring a “buddy” who’s really a companion, choosing the best “therapy” dog, and, yes, planning ahead. But mostly this is a book about living in the moment each day, in real-life ways, without dwelling in the past or dreading the future. It’s the story of a marriage, but the lessons learned will benefit anyone on a similar journey who is willing to embrace Michael’s 24-Hour Rule.
The book is divided into chapters that cover everyday tips, including, for instance, what foods to eat to maximize health, using music and art to stimulate the brain, and hundreds of other simple but extremely effective strategies for living with the disease that will enrich and strengthen patients and the people who care for them. The book also examines topics that tend to recede into the background but are essential for everyday health. Specifically, The 24-Hour Rule will show readers how to stay connected to family, friends, and the surrounding community and why this connection is crucial. And we’ll openly discuss how to look ahead and what to do about what you see and feel.