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 revolutionises our stereotypes of Alzheimer's patients and their care.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Almost everything written about Alzheimer's Disease and its victims describes the condition, their condition, from outside, in terms of deficit and loss. The Experience of Alzheimer's Disease is quite different in that each patient is presented as a unique subject and emphasis is laid on what is strong and preserved, the ways in which the self and a sense of worth and meaning can be maintained, despite the progressive nature of the disease. Such an 'existential' perspective is radically different from the usual 'medical' or 'pathologizing' one, and one which is vitally needed, and complementary to it. I think The Experience of Alzheimer's Disease, while respecting scientific accuracy and avoiding sentimentality, has something of the beauty and feel of a novel." Oliver Sacks, M.D.

"This is the finest book thus far written about the experience of Alzheimer's disease. Readers will be deeply impressed by Sabat's many detailed observations and interpretations of the psychological needs of persons with dementia, and with his case examples of how responding to these needs can be beneficial. This book is an immediate classic not only because it qualitatively defines the experience of dementia better than all previous attempts, but also because is humanely releases the reader from the grip of invalid and 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 and eminently humane approach to dealing with the problems of language and 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 and Communication

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

"In his deep commitment to discovering and honoring the experience of selfhood, Sabat has penetrated the tangled veil of Alzheimer's to reveal with illuminating scholarship, uncommon empathy, and profoundly skilled listening, the enduring humanity of persons with the disease." Lisa Snyder, MSW, University of California, San Diego and Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.

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

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

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

"Sabat has written a complex, thought-provoking book which aims to give some insight into the subjective experience of Alzheimer's disease. [...] The book is interspersed with the voices of Alzheimer's disease patients and Sabat displays warmth, empathy and respect for the individuals described." R Clafferty, Forth Valley Primary Care NHS Trust, Psychiatric Bulletin, January 2003

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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631216667
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/18/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (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



Chapter 1. Ways of Understanding the Effects of the Disease.

Chapter 2. Language and Communication.

Chapter 3. Excess Disability: The Potential Impact of Others in the Afflicted Person's Social World.

Chapter 4. The Maintenance of Self-Esteem.

Chapter 5. The Alzheimer's Disease Sufferer as a Semiotic Subject.

Chapter 6. Goals, Intentions, and the Alzheimer's Disease Sufferer's Predicament in Light of Critical Personalism.

Chapter 7. Selfhood and the Alzheimer's Disease Sufferer.

Chapter 8. The Tangled Veil is Also a Mirror.



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