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August 6, 1982

The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for Persons With Alzheimer's Disease, Related Dementing Illnesses, and Memory Loss in Later Life

JAMA. 1982;248(5):598. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330050080051

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The 36-Hour Day by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins, MD, is an excellent book for families who are caring for persons with dementia. The title, The 36-Hour Day, reflects the authors' experience that the responsibilities, worries, and tensions of caring for such a patient at home more than fill up a 24-hour day.

The book begins with a lengthy case study of "Mary," who had dementia, which serves both as an introduction and as a guide to the rest of the book. The book is full of suggestions to help the care provider. Catastrophic reactions, problems with language, and the use of nonverbal cues are discussed. The authors describe many medical complications, such as falls, decubiti, and pneumonia, that the care provider must understand. Behavioral and mood changes in patients with Alzheimer's disease are well detailed, and there are suggestions for coping mechanisms. The authors are very aware