The Experience of Alzheimer's Disease: Life Through a Tangled Veil / Edition 1

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At a time when the incidence of Alzheimer's Disease is increasing dramatically, this accessible account revolutionizes our stereotypes of people with Alzheimer's Disease and their care. Written to appeal to general readers as well as professionals and students, it shows what sufferers can still do despite the loss of certain cognitive abilities, and offers constructive ways to improve the relationship between sufferers and healthy others.

Rather than focusing on the etiology or treatment of Alzheimer's Disease, the author helps the reader to understand the psychology behind it. Getting away from a traditional scientific-medical focus on symptoms, the book brings to life the experience of suffering the disease, and the ways in which caregivers can identify and support the intact abilities of those afflicted.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Almost everything written about Alzheimer's Disease and itsvictims describes the condition, their condition, fromoutside, in terms of deficit and loss. The Experience ofAlzheimer's Disease is quite different in that each patient ispresented as a unique subject and emphasis is laid on what isstrong and preserved, the ways in which the self and a sense ofworth and meaning can be maintained, despite the progressive natureof the disease. Such an 'existential' perspective is radicallydifferent from the usual 'medical' or 'pathologizing' one, and onewhich is vitally needed, and complementary to it. I think TheExperience of Alzheimer's Disease, while respecting scientificaccuracy and avoiding sentimentality, has something of the beautyand feel of a novel." Oliver Sacks, M.D.

"This is the finest book thus far written about the experienceof Alzheimer's disease. Readers will be deeply impressed by Sabat'smany detailed observations and interpretations of the psychologicalneeds of persons with dementia, and with his case examples of howresponding to these needs can be beneficial. This book is animmediate classic not only because it qualitatively defines theexperience of dementia better than all previous attempts, but alsobecause is humanely releases the reader from the grip of invalidand ultimately harmful assumptions about the deeply forgetful."Stephen G. Post, Center for Biomedical Ethics, CWRU

"Steven Sabat's book points the way to a soundly based andeminently humane approach to dealing with the problems of languageand communication that are encountered in Alzheimer's disease.Linguists and psycholinguists could learn a great deal from him."Roy Harris, Editor of the journal, Language andCommunication

"In this masterly and original study Steven Sabat introduces usto a cast of characters, each in his or her own way struggling tomaintain a sense of self and to preserve a place of dignity andvalue in what remains of their life worlds. As we follow Dr. B,Mrs. D and Dr. M and the others through various real life episodeswe begin to see that there are possibilities for the enhancement ofthe lives of even the most seriously disadvantaged, provided wecontinue to view them as people who are, in all that reallymatters, like ourselves." Rom Harré, Linacre CollegeOxford

"In his deep commitment to discovering and honoring theexperience of selfhood, Sabat has penetrated the tangled veil ofAlzheimer's to reveal with illuminating scholarship, uncommonempathy, and profoundly skilled listening, the enduring humanity ofpersons with the disease." Lisa Snyder, MSW, University ofCalifornia, San Diego and Alzheimer's Disease ResearchCenter.

"Rarely has a book so amply fulfilled the promise of its title!Steven Sabat's unique ability to interpret the life worlds of hispatients, his scholarly grasp of the research literature, and hisvivid case histories, set a new standard in understanding theexperience of Alzheimer's Disease. In an age of neuroscience andgenetic determinism, his book is a timely reminder that mentaldisorder, even in cases of obvious "brain disease", may be aproduct as much of dysfunctional treatments as of dysfunctionalbrains. " K.W.M. Fulford, University of Oxford & Universityof Warwick.

"This is truly a humane and scholarly treatise on the livedexperience of Alzheimer's disease. Sabat guides us beyond theshattered biomedical world of patients diagnosed with dementia toreveal them still as people with intact capabilities. A "must read"for anyone involved in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment ofAD." Phyllis Braudy Harris, John Carroll University.

"This is a "must read" for any practitioner whose clienteleincludes patients with Alzheimer's disease. It combines humanity,humility and a clear conceptual framework that can be put topractical use. While captivating the reader, Sabat providesinsights that can be extremely helpful in clinical practice andprogram development". Michael Gordon, University of Toronto,Canadian Medical Association Journal, February 2002

"Sabat has written a complex, thought-provoking book which aimsto give some insight into the subjective experience of Alzheimer'sdisease. [...] The book is interspersed with the voices ofAlzheimer's disease patients and Sabat displays warmth, empathy andrespect for the individuals described." R Clafferty, ForthValley Primary Care NHS Trust, Psychiatric Bulletin, January2003

"this book is a rich source of people with dementias’experiences of having the condition, described using many examplesof their own words and conversations ... provides a useful insightinto what it might feel like to have dementia, and challenges us toreflect on how we interact with people with the condition. It isthus a useful text for psychiatrists and students alike who want abasic grounding in social theories as applicable to dementia and anevidence base for person-centred approaches to dementia care, andis a rich source of data for those who already ascribe to thisphilosophy." Claire Surr, Bradford Dementia Group, Bulletin ofMental Health in Old Age, September 2004

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631216650
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/28/2001
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.28 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Sabat is Associate Professor of Psychology at Georgetown University. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Washington area chapter of the Alzheimer's Disease Association, and has co-led support groups for Alzheimer's sufferers.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Ways of Understanding the Effects of the Disease 1
Ch. 2 Language and Communication 24
Ch. 3 Excess Disability: The Potential Impact of Others in the Afflicted Person's Social World 91
Ch. 4 The Maintenance of Self-Esteem 114
Ch. 5 The Alzheimer's Disease Sufferer as a Semiotic Subject 161
Ch. 6 Goals, Intentions, and the Alzheimer's Sufferer's Predicament in Light of Critical Personalism 224
Ch. 7 Selfhood and the Alzheimer's Disease Sufferer 274
Ch. 8 The Tangled Veil is also a Mirror 309
References 341
Index 351
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