Senior Moments: A Book for Seniors and Those Who Love Them

Jacqueline D. Byrd. Senior Moments: A Book for Seniors and Those Who Love Them (Byrd & Byrd, LLC, Bowie, Maryland, 2005. 314 pages).

$15.95 from publisher.

Many elder law books for consumers do an excellent job of covering the "nuts and bolts" topics of the field, such as Medicaid and Medicare, guardianships, and estate planning. But this book goes well beyond this, covering the human side of aging and offering solutions to issues that many other references overlook.

Author Jacqueline D. Byrd, an ElderLawAnswers member attorney in Bowie, Maryland, has based Senior Moments on a weekly column of the same name that she writes for two local newspapers. As Byrd explains in her introduction, a "senior moment" means more than momentarily forgetting a name; here it refers to the many issues and challenges facing the aging population and those who care for them. With each passing year, more and more Americans of any age are experiencing such "senior moments."

Byrd's compassion for the struggles of the elderly and those who love them is evident on every page. It is fitting that the book starts off with a generous section on the role of caregiving, where readers can find helpful counsel like "10 Caregiver Burnout Warning Signs" and tips for visiting a loved one in a nursing home, including a list of gifts to bring.

Topics in subsequent chapters that won't be found in many other such books include a discussion of the myths surrounding the health care privacy law (HIPAA), advice on communicating with Alzheimer's patients, how to find community supports to help a senior stay at home, questions to ask before entering a residence facility, planning ahead for a nursing home stay, and legal issues involved in the raising of grandchildren. Each section ends with a copious list of resources, suggesting that Senior Moments will have a long shelf life as a useful reference.

Readers should note that Byrd occasionally illustrates her points by referencing programs or circumstances in her home state of Maryland, and the section on Medicaid uses Maryland's eligibility requirements. But readers in other states with slightly differing rules should still find the discussion useful.

Filled with a storehouse of practical advice and information, Senior Moments is one book you won't want to forget, even momentarily.