The best books with innovative approaches to living with dementia

Susan H. McFadden Author Of Dementia-Friendly Communities: Why We Need Them and How We Can Create Them
By Susan H. McFadden

The Books I Picked & Why

Creative Care: A Revolutionary Approach to Dementia and Elder Care

By Anne Basting

Creative Care: A Revolutionary Approach to Dementia and Elder Care

Why this book?

Anne Basting offers lively examples of how creative care enables people living with dementia to experience joy and connect meaningfully with others. Her ideas about creative care are grounded in solid research and her experiences developing innovative arts experiences in communities and long-term care settings. Throughout the book, she offers concrete suggestions for integrating creativity into all aspects of care. She knows this field well and movingly describes her own mother’s journey with Alzheimer’s dementia.


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The Problem of Alzheimer's: How Science, Culture, and Politics Turned a Rare Disease Into a Crisis and What We Can Do about It

By Jason Karlawish

The Problem of Alzheimer's: How Science, Culture, and Politics Turned a Rare Disease Into a Crisis and What We Can Do about It

Why this book?

This fascinating and highly engaging history of Alzheimer’s dementia offers insights into the origins of the so-called “Alzheimer’s disease movement,” and the political and social influences on how post-modern societies deal with the cognitive, emotional, and motivational challenges experienced by people given that diagnosis. It concludes with insights about why the millions of dollars spent on searching for a “cure” have produced so little and it suggests other approaches that can contribute to the well-being of people living with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. 


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On Vanishing: Mortality, Dementia, and What It Means to Disappear

By Lynn Casteel Harper

On Vanishing: Mortality, Dementia, and What It Means to Disappear

Why this book?

Lynn Casteel Harper, currently minister for older adults at The Riverside Church in New York City, has written a compassionate book about contemporary fears of aging, dementia, and death. She shows how these fears produce greater social isolation and suffering for people living with dementia and caring for loved ones, whether in private homes or in care communities. She uses personal experiences to illustrate the way our fears of “vanishing” can be overcome when we learn to connect meaningfully with people with dementia.


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Dignity and Grace: Wisdom for Caregivers and Those Living with Dementia

By Janet L Ramsey

Dignity and Grace: Wisdom for Caregivers and Those Living with Dementia

Why this book?

Janet Ramsey’s experiences as a chaplain, therapist, and family caregiver have taught her that people living with dementia deeply desire interactions with others that uphold their dignity and offer them love and forgiveness. She interviewed many dementia caregivers and throughout the book, she lets them express what dignity and grace mean in their everyday interactions with loved ones. Each chapter concludes with a reflection on a different Psalm, reflections that speak directly to the challenges and opportunities for growth that come with caregiving. Readers need not be Christian or in any way religious to appreciate the warmth and humanity conveyed throughout this book.


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Jewish Wisdom for Growing Older: Finding Your Grit and Grace Beyond Midlife

By Dayle A. Friedman

Jewish Wisdom for Growing Older: Finding Your Grit and Grace Beyond Midlife

Why this book?

Rabbi Dayle Friedman’s wisdom about aging can be appreciated by people of all religions and no religion. Her honest engagement with some of the most difficult issues aging persons face leaves readers with hope rather than despair. Her many years as a chaplain for people living in long-term care with dementia undergird her suggestions on how to make sense of what she calls “dementia’s brokenness”. She concludes each chapter with a spiritual practice readers can employ to engage more deeply with the chapter’s topics, and also at the end of each chapter, she offers readers a blessing for their own efforts to flourish as they age.  


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