JONES, Moyra

Gentlecare (H&M/Raincoast, $34.95)

People are living longer, and dying longer.

According to Moyra Jones’ Gentlecare (H&M/Raincoast, $34.95) Alzheimer’s disease will affect one in three families and 80 percent of caretakers will be family members ‘often at a tragic cost to their own health’.

Relatives are forced to become primary care givers, says Jones, because the health care system is prejudiced against elderly patients and community care facilities are often insensitive to the Alzheimer’s patient.

“Not infrequently he is transported to hospital in an emergency vehicle or a stranger’s car,” she writes. “He is placed in a communal living situation, surrounded by large numbers of people he doesn’t know.

“Often it is suggested that his spouse or other family member leave, ‘until he settles in’, which in some cases can be for a period of several weeks.

“He is shown to a bedroom, directed to a dining room, and then expected to manage in a strange and complex environment that may resound with telephones, intercoms, emergency buzzers and alarm systems.

“There is not a familiar face in sight.”

She has trademarked Gentlecare, a Prosthetic Life Care System for Persons with Dementing Illness, having dealt with her father’s dementia in the 1960s long before Alzheimer’s became a household word. She emphasizes what an Alzheimer’s sufferer can do rather than what he or she cannot do, recognizing the person behind the disease.

“My dad was a wonderful gardener,” she recalls, “so I was aghast the day he began to dig holes in his beautiful lawn. At first I tried to entice him into the house, the car, anywhere, just so long as I could keep him from ruining the lawn.

“Then suddenly I realized what was happening: he was working! This man was engaged in a job, and not about to be distracted from it by my protestations. Where once he had created wonderful flower beds, now he dug holes...

“And so I encouraged him to dig holes—and I filled them in. We spent endless joyful hours at this activity.” 0-88179-171-7


Gentlecare: Changing the Experience of Alzheimer's Disease in a Positive Way (Moyra Jones Resources $30)

According to Moyra Jones' 600 page Gentlecare: Changing the Experience of Alzheimer's Disease in a Positive Way (Moyra Jones Resources $30) half of people aged 85 and over will suffer some form of dementia by the year 2000.
Jones provides a human and individual approach for taking care of Alzheimer's patients, gearing therapy to the pace of decline. The stage by stage decline of the brain is explained. Also discussed are loss of memory and time awareness, wandering, obsessiveness, balance problems, personal and toilet care, seizures, vision impairment, language and speech impairment, medication and preparation for death.

[BCBW 1997]