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Piersol Publishes Guide for Caregivers of People with Dementia


PHILADELPHIA – According to the World Health Organization, 35.6 million people suffer from dementia and a new case is diagnosed every four seconds. Dr. Catherine Piersol, Director of Jefferson Elder Care, recently published a guide for caregivers of individuals with dementia with the hope of assisting the millions of families affected. Dr. Piersol, Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy in Jefferson’s School of Health Professions is an occupational therapist with specialty knowledge and skills in the area of dementia care.

From her work as an occupational therapist, Dr. Piersol knows the burden for caregivers can be overwhelming. The negative behaviors associated with dementia can be particularly challenging including acting-out, wandering, agitation, hoarding, restlessness and others. For the book, Dr. Piersol, and her co-author, Dr. Laura Gitlin, identified strategies from their research studies and compiled a list that families felt were most helpful.

A Caregiver's Guide to Dementia: Using Activities and Other Strategies to Prevent, Reduce and Manage Behavioral Symptoms, published by Camino Books, Inc., gives caregivers practical, proven tools to improve quality of life for individuals with dementia and their caregivers. While many guides and activity books have been published for caregivers, this volume brings together activities, day-to-day strategies and specific tools to address dementia-related behaviors.

“The chapters offer information about dementia and most importantly provide specific strategies that a caregiver can implement right away when they encounter a problem,” said Piersol. “The guide can be read cover to cover or a caregiver can choose the chapter that will help them the most and start there.”

In addition, the book includes personalized worksheets that offer caregivers a structured way to organize and keep track of a plan. “These personalized worksheets can be shared with family and friends to promote consistency for the person with dementia,” said Piersol.