Understanding Dementia

The Man with the Worried Eyes

Over the last ten years a number of new concepts have emerged within social psychology, gerontology, socio-linguistics and psychotherapy which present a challenge to the view of dementia as simply an organic illness. These ideas have led to service innovations including the development of support groups for people with dementia; the adaptation of psychotherapeutic approaches to this client group; and the development of methods of care evaluation from the perspective of the dementia sufferer. This book seeks to summarize these 'new' ideas thereby bringing together, for the first time, a wide range of critical thinking relating to old age and dementia.

The authors aim to advance a psychological framework from which to understand the experience of dementia from the perspective of the dementia sufferer, so making intelligible the symptoms of dementia and setting out new avenues of care such as the need to adopt psychotherapeutic/counselling approaches as an integral part of care. Including background, clear argument and practical guidelines, this insightful and comprehensive study makes an important contribution to the currently emerging trend in dementia care towards person-centred work.

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Press reviews for: Understanding Dementia

Ageing and Society

Understanding Dementia: The Man with the Worried Eyes is an ambitious undertaking which the authors have pulled off with considerable success. Their aim is to consider dementia comprehensively and to give the reader the tools to become independently critical of what they have been told about dementia... The focus here is on dementia as a process that erodes an individual's sense of identity and security, affecting their ability to process information - to think and to respond, rather than solely to remember... There are lots of inspiring examples from practice, both the authors' own work and others'... This book provides a thorough look at all the stages of the training process, and is a good checklist of the complex variety of tasks and skills involved... Understanding Dementia could be used as a textbook. It is clearly argued and logically set out with useful summaries at the end of each chapter.

Therapy Weekly

The authors believe that the key task is to try and understand the world through the eyes of the person with dementia, which is acknowledged as a challenging and often painful process for all concerned. People with dementia are seen as capable of emotional growth and change as long as their environment supports this... This is an excellent book for students of all disciplines and for clinicians, like me, who have been working in the field for some time. It is clearly laid out and divided into sections on contemporary attitudes, constructing a psychological model of dementia, applying a person-focused approach to psychological interventions, and looking to our future.

Community Care

This is the best book on dementia that I have ever read. In it two clinical psychologists develop a coherent theory concerning the reactions and management of people with dementia. Put simply their theme is that the neuro-pathological changes within the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease may be the same, but the ways in which people react to their problems are different. The message is focus on the person, not on the disease... Developing their theme of a mind-body partnership, Cheston and Bender rightly draw attention to the work of others, especially Tom Kitwood, in paving the way for their work. Who knows, perhaps their names will one day be on everyone's lips, for the synthesis they make in this book heralds a new dawn. The more I read the more I enjoyed reading it... I can see Cheston and Bender's book playing an important role in establishing the future pattern of education in many fields of medicine, psychology and social work.

Irish Social Worker

The book analyses dementia from the perspective of the person who develops the disease and, using case histories, illustrates the emotional world of dementia sufferers, the feelings and particularly the sense of loss and fear experienced as the disease progresses. They propose new approaches to assessment and therapeutic interventions which, up to now, have rarely been applied in cases of dementia. They suggest changes in service delivery systems to make them more sensitive to dementia service users and their carers including more and better training of staff and service evaluations sensitive to the impact of care from the perspective of service users. Social workers would be comfortable with the values and ethics incorporated in the authors' approach.

Journal of Community Nursing

This excellent text aims to provide professionals or interested parties with an understanding of dementia in the context of today's ageing society. Overall this book is well laid out, the language succinct and each chapter informative and easy to read. Evidently the authors have a wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with people with dementia and their families. The sections of this book range from the very recent history of dementia to all current thinking surrounding this illness. The text addresses societies negative perception of dementia and challenges the medical approach of treatment. Person focused therapy is suggested as the alternative and the text considers and applies this therapy to the dementia sufferer. I would recomemend this book to all interested individuals.

Journal of Dementia Care

Understanding Dementia has been written for a diverse readership including direct careworkers, planners and policy makers... Its style is direct, accessible and sometimes outspoken. The book is an ambitious one. It presents the first truly psychological model of dementia and sets this, and its service implications, within a historical, social, economic and political context.

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