Explorations in Dementia: Theoretical and Research Studies into the Experience of Remediable and Enduring Cognitive Losses

Explorations in Dementia: Theoretical and Research Studies into the Experience of Remediable and Enduring Cognitive Losses

Explorations in Dementia: Theoretical and Research Studies into the Experience of Remediable and Enduring Cognitive Losses

Explorations in Dementia: Theoretical and Research Studies into the Experience of Remediable and Enduring Cognitive Losses

Synopsis

Based on the findings of several in-depth research studies and on the author's long experience of working with people with dementia, this groundbreaking book provides fresh perspectives on the condition. Showing how evidence is lacking to support the model of dementia as a disease, the book explores the possibilities of psychological intervention for remediable or enduring cognitive losses.

Excerpt

This book is about one of the most terrifying and least understood human conditions – losing your memory and, with it, your identity. So it asks: what do people who believe they are losing their memory think is happening to them? What are they experiencing? How do they maintain and/or change their identity? How does it affect how they construe the behaviour and intentions of those close to them, and how they relateto them? Can we help them regain some control of their minds and of their lives?

The purpose of this book is, on the one hand, simple and, on the other, very ambitious – to create a psychological explanation of 'dementia'. Such a project is doomed to incompletion at our present state of knowledge, but at least we can attempt to see what the necessary structure within which to develop such work might look like.

It might be expected that psychologists would want to develop ideas and theories about the experience of dementia – about the rather fascinating and important concept of the confused mind – and actively work to decrease that confusion – in short, to develop a psychology of dementia. Sadly, many psychologists have rather tamely accepted the validity of the disease model.

The effect of this consensus is to render all old people as potentially diseased and to overlook the fact that a lack of resources creates incompetence. 'Dementia', because it is seen as a separate and terrible disease, becomes a field of study in its own right with even its own university degree (Capstick 2001) so that links with other forms of human distress are not made.

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